For a lot of people, staying in a castle is high up there on the to-do list when visiting Ireland. It is certainly something that has been on our wishlist and last week we spent a night at Cabra Castle, as my cousin was getting married there. We didn’t actually stay in the main castle though, so I’m going to leave a castle stay on the wishlist for now. Call me fussy but I want the whole four-poster bed, creaky floorboard, medieval castle experience and our accommodation, which was not part of the main building, was a little too modern for that! Nevertheless, we loved our stay at Cabra Castle and here are five reasons why we think you would too:
1. It Looks the Part
If you are looking for an authentic castle experience then Cabra Castle has it all. Some castles are more like large stately homes but with it’s towers and turrets, Cabra Castle will live up to most people’s expections of what a castle should be. Inside, the period furniture and architectural features exude old-world charm and there are no shortage of nooks and crannies, which the smaller wedding guests had a great time exploring. Older guests will also find it hard to resist the urge to have a wander through the reception rooms, common areas and up and down the staircases too!
2. Accommodation options to suit your budget
On this occasion we had booked one of the six on-site cottages, which was handy for us as we could share it with the rest of my family. They’re also a more cost effective option if you’re on a budget. The cottages are located within a short walk of the castle and contain either five bedrooms or four rooms and a kitchen/living room. The rooms are beautiful and really spacious and each one had an ensuite. On the advice of the lady who checked us in, we pinched the nicest room, which had a lovely balcony overlooking the grounds and woodland area. Not that we got to make much use of it but what can you do!
Other options at Cabra Castle are the Courtyard rooms located at the rear of the castle as well as 12 luxury bedrooms in the main castle, perfect if you really want to spoil yourself. There are also rooms available in the Gate Lodge. Some family members stayed in the Courtyard rooms, which were really nice too with lovely stone detail inside. Inside the castle, I managed to sneak a peek into the bride and groom’s suite, which was amazing. It of course had that four-poster bed of my dreams but even more impressive was the amazing claw-foot bath, complete with overhead chandelier. They also had an outdoor area with a spa pool. Heaven!
3. The opportunity to have a ghostly experience
Add a little paranormal activity to the mix and you have the complete package. After all, what’s a castle without a ghost haunting it’s corridors, right! Guests have reported seeing a man in full military uniform marching down the corridor, while another heard the sounds of a horse and carriage arriving in the courtyard, followed by the cries of an infant being dropped at the hotel steps. When we asked the woman on reception for more information, she said that one ghost was believed to be a former servant at the castle name Sarah who became pregnant by the owner. She then died, or was killed and has been said to haunt the castle since.
With such stories going around it’s no surprise that in 2010, Cabra Castle was declared the second scariest hotel in the world by Trip Advisor. In the entrance area, an article from the Irish Times about it is on display, yet I couldn’t find anything about it on the website. Perhaps they don’t want to scare away any guests who are easily spooked and once you’re there, it’s too late to run!
4. Meet Oscar, the resident Irish Wolfhound
There are two dogs residing at the castle that you may meet on your visit. Oscar is very friendly and will probably approach you to welcome you. He’s often accompanied by his little buddy Lucy but she doesn’t stand still as often, so I didn’t get a photo! Judging by the amount of photos and mentions of Oscar online, he’s become quite the mascot of Cabra Castle.
Even if you only have a short stay in Ireland, Cabra Castle is located only about an hour and 15 mins drive from Dublin city centre so is an easy option if a castle stay is a must on your itinerary. It’s also set on 100 acres of parkland and gardens and many guests remark on how peaceful and tranquil their stay was. Take a stroll around the estate, wander through the woodlands or even enjoy a game of golf on the onsite course, if you fancy. Check prices and availability.