When traveling to Ireland, we were looking for unique experiences. Having researched we found there were many castles in Ireland that we could visit. After comparing our intended itinerary, we several castles that were on the route we would be traveling.
We booked our air travel and started booking our hotels. At this point we realized there were plenty of unique options in hotels, Castles, and decided staying at one was one thing we wanted to add to our list!
Throughout Europe there are many hotels that have been re-purposed as museums and hotels. Prices can vary, but some may be just a little more expensive than staying at a hotel.
In our case, we found that staying at Waterford Castle was just a bit more expensive than staying at a local hotel in the city. So we booked!
We arrived in Waterford and headed towards our castle. The Castle is on a private island on the River Suir and the Kings Channel. The island was a settlement for Monks between the 6th and 8 centuries. It was given to the FitzGeralds in 1170 as a reward for their participation in the Norman invasion. The Castle has since changed ownership and in 1988 was transformed to a 19 room luxury hotel.
As with most Castles, there are portions built in different periods, but the first part of the structure was built in the 16th century. Additions were made in the 19th century, but as you walk around the castle, it is hard to see what is part of the original structure and what is part of the newer structure.
Access to the island is by ferry. The ferry makes the crossing four times an hour during the day.
The drive up to the hotel is a beautiful drive through the lush green landscape on the island. The Castle is not visible from the mainland.
When you arrive at the Castle, you are immediately captivated by its gardens. Full of flowers that make up the main drive.
We started our stay with some Irish tea sitting by the Castle’s original fireplace. The fireplace still maintains the FitxGerald crest on the mantle.
The Castle grounds are over 420 acres. So we went for a walk.
The island is full of wildlife and beautiful nature walks. There is a golf course on the island as well.
Dinner at the Castle can be a bit pricey, but you do not need to leave the island to find a meal. If you are looking for a more economical option, the Golf Clubhouse offers some excellent food as well.
Dinner at the Castle can be a very romantic experience. You can choose to sit in the sun room with candlelight at your table.
The Castle features 19 bedrooms, but also has cottages on the porperty which are larger and more modern.
However, if you are looking for the full Castle experience, you should stay in the Castle.
Our room, The Kildare Room, was above the main lobby and part of the original structure. The room was quite cool at night, despite there not being any air conditioning. Despite it being the summer, we closed the window at one point to keep warmer.
The room has a sitting area, a king size bed, its own fireplace and a traditional bathroom with a clawfoot tub.Our booking included breakfast, which is a buffet breakfast. We were able to enjoy the view in the sun room before heading off on our journey.
It was a great experience and one everyone should have at least once!