Play lord and lady in these castles and manor houses to rent around Ireland

These luxurious historic homes can be all yours for a weekend or longer

 

With the Downton Abbey movie hitting the big screen this weekend, there is sure to be a renewed love of all things regal. If playing Lady Mary Crawley in the Irish equivalent of Highclere Castle (where the movie is filmed) is something you aspire to, there are plenty of castles and manor houses to rent around Ireland where you can do just that.

Ballyfin Demesne, Co Laois

ballyfin.com
One of the most luxurious, Downton-esque properties on the list has to be Ballyfin, which will take you right back to the era of butlers, horse-drawn carriages and canopy beds.

At the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains, an hour’s drive from Dublin, Ballyfin is one of the most lavishly restored Regency mansions in Ireland.

All rooms are individually designed to mirror the style of the original house, and guests can sleep like royalty in “The Lady Caroline Coote” junior suite, named after the wife of Sir Christopher Coote, who inherited Ballyfin in 1813.

Guests can choose from a collection of period costumes from the Lyric Opera Company in Chicago, and dress the part for dinner. This is especially suitable for large groups and with all guests suitably attired, you can enjoy a banquet and entertainment reminiscent of Downton.

Price for full rental available on request.

Wilton Castle, Co Wexford

wiltoncastleireland.com
For an authentic castle experience at a more affordable price, Wilton Castle near Enniscorthy is a solid choice. The origins of this historical castle date back to 1247, with the De Dene family having it in their possession until Cromwell confiscated the land in 1659.

The castle itself is located on a private estate surrounded by parkland and private wooded countryside. The bedrooms are bright with a modern feel, while still retaining classic features like period windows, four-poster beds and vintage dressing tables. There are also several drawing rooms throughout the castle, with big open fires.

The castle can be booked all year round, has seven double rooms and sleeps up to 14. Full private rental comes to €2,500 for a weekend. It’s also possible to rent by the room or suite.

Longueville House, Co Cork

longuevillehouse.ie
Longueville House is a 300-year-old listed Georgian country manor in the heart of a 450-acre wooded estate, in the Blackwater Valley.

The house was built in 1720, after the land was forfeited to Cromwell in 1650 and the name changed to Longueville. In 1938, the land was returned to the original owners, the O’Callaghan family, who still own and maintain it today.

Jane O’Callaghan, owner of Longueville House, at Longueville, Ballyclough, Mallow, Co Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/ Provision
Jane O’Callaghan, owner of Longueville House, at Longueville, Ballyclough, Mallow, Co Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/ Provision

Guests staying at Longueville can experience the house much as it would have been as a private country house estate. Bedrooms overlook the parklands and the Blackwater Valley beyond.

The President’s Restaurant is the ideal location to enjoy a Downton Abbey-like dining experience while eating produce from Longueville’s walled garden and farm.

Should you wish to be the only lord and lady of the manor, the facilities are available for exclusive rental for up to 30 guests for a minimum of two nights. Prices start from €3,500 per night for bed and breakfast.

Luttrellstown Castle Resort, Dublin

luttrellstowncastle.com
Standing on 567 acres of lush park and lakeland, this 15th-century castle has been painstakingly restored, and is definitely one for those seeking luxury.

While the castle itself is stunning, the walled estate is something to behold with more than 300 species of trees, as well as a rose garden, a clubhouse and a 20-acre lake. The estate also offers activities like horse riding, falconry and golf.

Luttrellstown Castle Resort, Dublin.
Luttrellstown Castle Resort, Dublin.

Twenty bedrooms feature all mod cons, while maintaining their fairytale charm; expect large bay windows, antique furniture and historical artworks. Look out for stunning architectural features such as the Gothic hall with its Italian crystal chandelier.

The castle is available to book all year round and costs €12,150 to hire all 20 rooms for one night.

Enniscoe House, Co Mayo

enniscoe.com

Enniscoe House, Co Mayo.
Enniscoe House, Co Mayo.

The Enniscoe Estate has been in the same family since the 1650s. Built in 1790 and hidden among the woods at the foot of Mount Nephin, Enniscoe House is the last great house of north Mayo.

With its wonderful over-sized entrance doorway, guests can sashay from one elegant reception room to the next, sleep in finely furnished bedrooms and eat in the intimate dining room.

Prices start from €1,500 per night based on 12 people sharing with dinner, bed and breakfast.

Coopershill House, Co Sligo

coopershill.com
Dating back to the 1700s, Coopershill House was built for the current owner Simon O’Hara’s great-great-great-great-grandfather. It is nestled in the centre of a 500-acre private estate of mature hardwoods, deer pastures and its own river. For those seeking total privacy, this property offers that.

Inside, open fires and original Georgian antique furniture feature throughout. The rooms have no televisions or radios which lends to the authenticity of the experience.

Coopershill House, Co Sligo.
Coopershill House, Co Sligo.

Dinner is served using produce grown in the kitchen garden, as it would have been in the 1920s and 1930s. Guests are seated at individual antique tables set with Irish crystal and family silver. The 14ft high ceiling, 18th-century family portraits and antique furniture make for an altogether grand dining experience, fit for the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley herself.

Two nights dinner, bed and breakfast is €5,000 based on 14 people sharing.

Currarevagh House, Co Galway

currarevagh.com
Currarevagh House is a Victorian country house set on 180 acres of private parkland and woodland, bordering on Lough Corrib. It has been in the Hodgson family for many years and was built by the present owner’s great-great-great-great-grandfather in 1842.

Currarevagh House, Oughterard, Connemara, Co Galway.
Currarevagh House, Oughterard, Connemara, Co Galway.

Currarevagh has 11 bedrooms, all of differing character and style. Afternoon tea is a ritual at the property, as it often was in Downton. Served in the drawing room, residents can enjoy scones, sponge cakes and a selection of teas. In the evening, guests will dine on a four-course dinner made with local produce.

Prices start from €1,500 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast, based on 16 people sharing.

Springfield Castle, Co Limerick

springfieldcastle.com
This unique property brings together 15th-century Gothic architecture with a lived-in, family feel. Originally built in the 1200s, it is now owned and lovingly maintained by Jonathan and Betty Sykes.

Springfield Castle, Co Limerick.
Springfield Castle, Co Limerick.

Dining here is something special, with its huge deep mahogany table, red walls and vintage silver chandelier. The property also has an east tower, which is a fully contained self-catering family home, which can be rented separately or with the castle.

The castle has eight bedrooms and can sleep up to 16 guests, while the tower can accommodate an additional 10. Prices start at €1,900 for two nights self-catering.

Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan

castleleslie.com
Castle Leslie exudes old world grandeur and, unlike newer hotels, there are no televisions, radios or minibars in the bedrooms, and each one is uniquely furnished with its own distinctive style. The castle is filled with beautiful furniture, antiques and heirlooms.

The Red Room at Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan.
The Red Room at Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan.

Log fires crackle throughout the castle and several elegant reception rooms offer a range of places to take afternoon tea or read the papers. The drawing room, with its grand piano and famous De La Robbia fireplace, is one such spot. The Leslie family have lived on the estate since 1665, and the castle’s history is awash with politics, royalty and war.

Guests can dine as a large group, overlooking the glistening Glaslough lake.

Prices on request for full private rental, but rooms start at €115 per person sharing for bed and breakfast.

Dunderry Park, Co Meath

dunderrypark.org
Dunderry Park is a Georgian property set on 25 acres of park and woodland. Originally built by a British army officer who was given the land by the British crown in 1800s, it now operates as a retreat centre and venue for private hire.

Dunderry House, Co Meath.
Dunderry House, Co Meath.

The property has some quirky features, including a candlelit cairn or hobbit hole, a woodland music stage, a library opening onto a balcony, and a labyrinth maze set on an old tennis court. The bedrooms feature mostly shared accommodation with comfy single beds and vintage French furnishings.

The house is available for rent year round. It sleeps up to 35 and can be booked for groups as small as 10 for €95 per person a day, with breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Mount Juliet Estate, Co Kilkenny

mountjuliet.ie
Mount Juliet Estate was a family home until 1898. In 1760, husband and wife Somerset Hamilton Butler and Juliet Boyle purchased the property and expanded it considerably, renaming it Mount Juliet.

Over the years a great many illustrious people have dined, fished and hunted before turning in to one of the bedrooms, which are named after a select few guests – The King of Ossory, The Black Earl, Lady Juliana and Fitzwilliam Le Gros.

The Michelin Star restaurant Lady Helen Restaurant at Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny.
The Michelin Star restaurant Lady Helen Restaurant at Mount Juliet, Co Kilkenny.

Guests can dine like royalty at the Michelin Star Lady Helen Restaurant, which is named after Lady Helen McCalmont, a previous owner of Mount Juliet.

Room-only prices start at €240.

Temple House, Co Sligo

templehouse.ie
Temple House boasts boat trips on a private lake, a terraced garden and kilometres of outdoor walkways in the shadow of Benbulben.

Aerial view of Temple House in Sligo.
Aerial view of Temple House in Sligo.

The staircase showcases classic art works and a vintage grandfather clock. Bedrooms are big and bright with huge windows and antique furniture; several open on to the large hall, which forms the heart of the house.

Dinner is a charming affair with guests seated at a large mahogany table.

It sleeps between 14 and 20 people and costs from €2,800 a night.

Farran House, Co Cork

farranhouse.com
For people looking for more of a period house experience than a full-on medieval castle, this is a great choice. This classically designed home is surrounded on three sides by huge trees, on 12 acres of parkland.

Farran House, Co Cork.
Farran House, Co Cork.

The house was built outside of the architectural constraints of its time. Especially impressive is the huge kitchen and dining area at the heart of the property, which gives a homely energy to the house.

The bedrooms are filled with Edwardian furniture and large comfortable beds.

It’s fully self-catering, but outside catering can also be arranged. The house sleeps up to 10 people, but there’s room for up to 15 if you also rent the garden rooms.

Price available on request.

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