Fodor's Expert Review Lough Eske Castle

3 km (2 miles) north of Donegal Town, Lough Eske, Co. Donegal, Ireland Fodor's Choice

Most guests gasp as they come down the sweeping drive through ancient woodland and arrive at this magnificent Tudor-style baronial castle—complete with Sleeping Beauty tower and crenellations and a suitably regal backdrop of Lough Eske and the Blue Stack Mountains. Built in 1621, the estate was tastefully converted into a hotel at the turn of the 21st century. The main salons have impressive oak paneling, crewelwork armchairs, and colorful artwork. Upstairs, guest rooms are designed in neutral beige, brown, and tan tones and have traditional furniture that is superbly crafted; all rooms were redecorated early in 2019. With its crystal light fixtures and towering button-back upholstered banquettes, the Cedars Grill dining room strikes just the right note between hip and elegant and offers a menu of Irish produce, including fresh catches from nearby Killybegs and vegetables grown in the on-site greenhouse. Enjoy afternoon tea and cakes served in the lounge: €24, €31 with prosecco, or €40 with champagne. For even more indulgence, head to the spa. Check for midweek and sports deals (including golf, horseback riding, pony trekking, or whale-watching). All in all, this is quite the Irish paradise. The website often has special getaway deals such as the Wild Atlantic Way package.

PROS

  • sheltered oasis in stunning location
  • attentive and impressive service
  • stunning location
  • gracefully furnished bedrooms
  • despite size, still feels intimate

CONS

  • lines form at busy breakfast times
  • limited choice on the dinner menu
  • pricey afternoon tea

QUICK FACTS

Hotel
Historical
Sophisticated
Countryside
$$$$

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 074-972–5100

HOTEL DETAILS

97 rooms

What’s Nearby