Castles, Cruises & CoastlinesWords by Courtney Kellar
Ireland: Celebrate in a Regal Castle
If you’re considering an Ireland castle wedding or honeymoon, it isn’t a matter of “why,” but a matter of “where.” The logic is sound (A romantic, historic backdrop? Yes, please!), but narrowing down your options can seem like a daunting task. There are some big-time heavy hitters that a lot of couples will come across at first glance, but take the time to explore the other high-end options in the way of castle accommodations.
One such example is the five-star Dromoland Castle Hotel. It recently completed a 20 million-euro renovation, bringing the 16th century country estate firmly into the 21st century. While it boasts all the modern conveniences you might want for your destination wedding or honeymoon, it maintains its charming castle feel with stone walls, grand staircases and a quirky layout.
What sets Dromoland apart from its competitors, is that it remained privately owned until the 1960s. As a result, it provides a dramatic setting, but with a familial comfort and attitude – perfect for celebrating special occasions. “Dromoland feels lived in and you can tell it was a home,” says Marie Chawke, director of business development. “There’s a great camaraderie and family feel here. Most employees have been here for over 20 years.”
With 97 rooms to choose from, there’s something to suit every guest; from large rooms for families and odd-shaped options with turreted corners, to the Brian Boru Suite (one of the last High Kings of Ireland) with its luxurious furnishings and four-poster bed. For your wedding weekend events, kick things off with welcome cocktails in the bar (the former family library) and enjoy live music, complemented by Frank the singing bartender. Say “I do” in the castle’s walled gardens, before shifting into celebratory gear for a Medieval banquet reception in the Brian Boru Gallery.
In terms of entertainment, all 450-acres are at your leisure. Exit through Dromoland’s original front doors, which date back to 1480, and traverse the grounds in search of Ireland’s oldest trees – some are over 300 years-old. For guests, there’s a complimentary activity every day, ranging from golf lessons and falconry to historic carriage rides and garden tours.
As a special treat, be sure to book the River Shannon and Lough Derg Experience through the hotel’s concierge. Explore the countryside by land, air or sea and travel back in time to learn about key periods in Ireland’s history – all while being hosted by local history enthusiasts.
Dromoland’s lineage has links to a king, so you can expect the royal treatment.
Images courtesy of (in order of appearance): Courtney Kellar (1st, 2nd, 3rd & 7th) & Dromoland Castle (4th, 5th, 6th & 8th)
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2019 issue. You can order a copy here.
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