Norman castles were royal military bastions. The
The end of feudalism, and not the introduction of explosives, hastened the use of castles. A few nobles still live in castles, surrounded by servants, or they are turned into luxury hotels or tourist attractions with Medieval banquets. Royalty still lives in castles in England, at
The signature castle in
Dromoland is not just a castle, it is a large sixteenth century Gothic revival castellated multi-towered aslar (hewn and dressed stone columns laid horizontally) monument. Dromoland was the former home of the O'Brien Family, one of the great noble Irish clans, who ruled Southern Ireland. This stone splendor is set on 365 acres of its own estate in a natural amphitheatre scooped out in bygone days by the action of a glacier ice sheet and surrounded by a lake (louge) and woodlands filled with deer. The castle first opened as a hotel in 1963, and today, after many renovations, there are 75 rooms and 21 suites on four floors; function space and conference facilities can handle hundreds.
This is the most romantic place I have ever stayed in, and all the guests I talk to wish they could stay forever and role play as a baron or baroness. Because of its romantic appeal, Dromoland is a major draw as a wedding and honeymoon destination; set your Rolex to GMT so you won’t be late for your own special event!
Plush carpets regale the landed gentry’s museum quality of the castle. Vibrant paintings are the stars on vivid velvet walls. Exquisite sculpture stands testament to fine living. Luxury service is expected and received on damask dinner tables. Jetetters Magazine readers have always given the castle superior ratings.
Gourmet dining at the castle is a knightly pleasure, with many options and wonderful cuisine choices for various group sizes or for private romantic interludes.
The Castle's signature restaurant is The Earl of Thomond Restaurant, offering a relaxed but elegant dining experience. Located on the ground floor, dinner can be enjoyed in an ambience enhanced by the soft music of the castle's resident harpist. Enjoy breakfast, light lunch, and dinner in this wonderful setting. The bill of fare includes a large à la carte menu, a daily table d'hôte menu, and a selection of gastronomic menus.
I don’t have to drop the drawbridge to get to my luxury deluxe room overlooking the grounds; nearby is the 300-year-old stone Walled Garden that is used for special events, such as weddings. The romantic sleeping rooms are designed in three styles: standard, deluxe, and state (suite) rooms, and all are ensuite with TV, direct dial telephones, iron, ironing board, hairdryers, and trouser press. I look for the ironing board, and it drops down off the side of the armoire. Other room amenities include a modem jack, laundry services, room service, turn down service, and safe deposit box. The best amenity is the box of Dromoland chocolates on the polished hardwood night desk!
The rooms in the entire castle complex are spread out over several buildings. The Caste Keep itself incorporates public rooms, game rooms, and the Earl of Thomond Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Hotel Reception, and 27 bedrooms (This is where I stayed.). The 19th century Queen Anne Court incorporates 28 bedrooms, and although I didn't get to see them because they were occupied, I hear that they are the ultra romantic rooms overlooking an enclosed courtyard. The Moriarity Wing incorporates 24 bedrooms. The Links Rooms have 16 bedrooms. The Orchard Wood development area has 13 private golf course houses.
My room is so serene.
The plushness of the enscouncement includes boutique spa products, lush towels on a heated rack, and a huge tub for soaking. The vintage hardware pours out the hot water. The marbled bath is a palace in its own right. So later . . .
Slip between the sheets all warm and scented. Start a fire without using peat. The eyes flicker like candles. Think with the body and not the mind. Warm hands roam with abandonment. The soft wet lips moue. The rhythm of the night burns throughout the morning moonlight. The dew drops, the precious lily opens. The rustling wind and driving rain complete you. The spirit flies fulfilled. Rest.
I think it is beginning to rain again!
The Castle Spa invites its own indulgence in tranquil surroundings: experience the best in Swedish massage, aromatherapy, nail therapy, facials, reflexology, and a hair clinic. The castle also has its own gym and heated indoor pool.
Conferences at Dromoland Castle - The Brian Boru Hall and Centre
All banqueting functions, product launches, themed parties etc., are held in the Brian Boru Hall, a state-of-the-art facility, with catering for groups ranging from 80 to 320 people. However, if requirements are for smaller, more intimate groups, the Drawing Room, Terrace Room, and Club Lounge are ideal venues for dinners, lunches, and meetings, utilizing the award-winning kitchens of the Earl of Thomond Room.
With its 30 foot ceilings, height adjustable staging, and freight-sized mahogany arch doors, the Brian Boru Centre is ideal for product launches, exhibitions, and vehicle unveilings.
Dromoland offers guests a wide range of leisure pursuits, most of which can be organized in advance right at the hotel, such as golf (not only Dromoland, but nearby courses, too!), tennis, fishing right from the bank of the lake or the River Rhine that flows through the estate, shooting (clays, not the deer), archery, and boating. The beautiful gardens and secluded woodlands offer any number of opportunities for jogging, cycling, or for a leisurely stroll to the Temple of Mercury or the Hermit's Grotto. Should your tastes extend to more adventurous pasttimes, like horse riding or deep-sea fishing, the staff can organize them on your behalf. (Click the lucky clover leaf to book your golf outing, and see Dromoland course photos.)
The castle is located in County Clare, just eight miles from Shannon Airport (SNN), making it an ideal base from which to explore the exceptional beauty of the
For more information about Ireland log on to www.tourismireland.com or call 800/223-6470.