Our expert guide to the best castle hotels in Ireland for families, chosen for charm, comfort and child-friendly amenities.
Spending a night in a castle is at the top of the travel list of many families visiting Ireland. Indeed, it is hard to find a country more conducive to to the full castle experience than the gorgeous Emerald isle.
With a staggering number of castles and a reputation for family friendliness, Ireland seems designed to please princes and princesses in the making. However, when you actually try and book such a night, you may find yourself stumped.
Not all castle hotels actually look like castles, not all are open to bookings (some are for private events only) and only a handful of them actually caters for families!
After helping many friends and readers book their Ireland castle hotel stay and having tested out some myself, here is my selection of the best Irish castle hotels for families.
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Best Irish castle hotels for families
I have selected these Irish castle hotels for location, welcome and family friendliness.
They all fall in either 4 star of 5 star category but don’t let their stunning grounds and interior scare you, if travelling on a budget!
While you are definitely in for an upscale experience, the castles often offer reasonable family packages and even budget friendly options. These are usually in the form of family rooms outside of the main castle but within its grounds and can be a charming compromise especially for larger groups.
Staying in castle lodges usually means you still have access to the castle amenities and entertainment and you can have a meal fit for a king in the main restaurant.
So whatever your budget is, have a look!
Looking from more resources about visiting Ireland with kids? Then also check out our:
- Family guide to Dublin
- Recommended Ireland itineraries for families
- Tips for families visiting Ireland with young kids
- Family hotels in Dublin
Waterford Castle, Co. Waterford
I open this list with Waterford castle since we recently spent a night here and found it fabulous. The feature photo and the pin in this post are from there!
Waterford castle hotel is located on a small island just outside the city of Waterford and is beautiful, tranquil and family friendly.
You can book a rooms in the castle itself, for the full Ireland castle hotel experience, or you can choose one of the family lodges in the castle estate.
The lodges are not as atmospheric as the castle itself but they are nice, well equipped (they have kitchen and en-suite rooms) and they are very affordable, not something you usually associate with a castle experience!
Consider a stay in Waterford castle hotel for your families for:
- Fabulous rooms (up to 2 adults and 2 children in roll our beds)
- Excellent restaurant on site (Kids breakfast for free)
- Self catering option for larger families
- Lovely playground near the lodges
- Great island walk
- Kid friendly activities available on the island such as falconry, clay pigeon shooting, golf, and nature trails
This is one of the best castle hotels in Ireland for families if you are looking for warm welcome, cozy atmosphere and excellent food.
Ashford Castle, Co Mayo
Ashford Castle is often consider THE family friendly castle hotel in Ireland and with good reason. This Irish castle hotel is stunning, truly regal in appearance and pushes the idea of ‘family friendly’ well beyond the ‘you can bring the kids along’ type of attitude.
Here kids are truly welcome and they are treated like royalty both inside the castle and when taking part into the many activities available. Stay in Ashford castle hotel with your kids for:
- Stunning rooms and surroundings
- Family friendly dining with child friendly seating
- Kids activities on site including falconry, Equestrian Centre, Woodland Zip-Line Course, Archery and more
- A special afternoon tea experience just for kids (and their parents)
- Special attention for kids such as the Lego menu with butler service, child bathrobe and slippers
- Baby sitting available
This is one of the best castle hotels in Ireland for families who can invest in an upscale and truly regal castle stay.
Check prices and availability directly on the Ashford castle website here
Dromoland castle, Co Clare
I have a love affair with Dromoland, one that started the moment I set eyes on it. I don’t know what it is about this place: maybe its location or the beauty of its entrance or the kind butler, but I long for a stay here and got positively giddy when I discovered they accept kids!
The hotels is truly welcoming to children and they cater for them with special menus, junior bathrobes and slippers, board games and even a bug hotel outside!
The estate also offers activities just for kids such as archery, falconry and much more and has the added advantage of being so close to some of Ireland’s most beautiful and must-see sites you don’t have to alter your Ireland itinerary excessively to fit a night in.
Stay in Dromoland Irish castle hotel for:
- Elegant surrounding
- Fabulous restaurant on site (with kids menu, no dress code)
- Kids activities on the estate
- Amazing surroundings in stunning Co Clare.
Dromoland is one of the the best Irish castle hotels for location, in my opinion, since it outs you on the doorstep of some of the country’s most beautiful and famous sites such as the Cliffs of Moher (check how to visit them with small kids here), the wider Wild Atlantic Way and one of my personal favourite, the Burren.
Lough Eske Castle Hotel, Co. Donegal
Lough Eske is a five star Irish castle hotel welcoming families in stunning Donegal, in the North West of the country. The hotels is elegant and surrounded by gorgeous grounds and is the perfect base to visit Donegal, with its stunning windswept beaches and breathtaking scenery.
The hotel has beautiful family rooms that can take one extra roll out bed and a limited number of interconnecting rooms: book early to secure one as they are in demand!
Book a stay in Lough Eske Irish Castle Hotel for:
- Spacious family rooms, some interconnecting
- Gorgeous grounds
- Several dining option including casual dining in the bar/grill
This is one of the best castle hotels in Ireland for families if you want easy access to the wonderful Donegal nature.
Ballyseede Castle, Co Kerry
Located in stunning Cunty Kerry, one of the most popular areas of the whole of Ireland for visitors, Ballyseede castle is a 4 tar luxury castle hotel member of the’ Original Irish Hotels collection’, a selection of 60 luxury boutique hotels and castles located throughout Ireland.
Ballyseed castle hotels has special family rooms that cater for the needs of families with kids and also offers baby sitting service both in room and in the castle area. As well as the rooms in the castle itself, Ballyseed castle hotel also has lodges that are very well fitted and can be a good choice for larger family groups.
Book a stay in family friendly Ballyseed castle hotel for:
- Great location in County Kerry,
- Spacious family friendly rooms
- Boutique hotel atmosphere
- Great dining options both casual and more upscale, welcoming to kids. Dress codes apply (smart casual / casual depending on the restaurant chosen)
Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin
Staying in an Irish castle hotel in Dublin feels very different than picking a property surrounded by the lush Irish countryside. However, if you are in the city and you want a taste of Irish castle hospitality, the Clontarf castle hotel is a good address.
It is located in a nice area of Dublin, outside of the city centre but with good connections to it, and it is close to the sea and Dublin Bay, something city centre hotels lack.
Stay in Clontarf Castle hotel for:
- Great location in Dublin city
- Great dining option on site
- Lovely, family friendly atmosphere in an inner-city Irish castle hotel
Check prices and availability at Clontarf castle hotel here (booking.com) or here (hotels.com)
I hope your enjoyed this selection of the best Irish castle hotels for families. Safe Ireland travels!