We both had an eagerness to stay at a castle hotel, so we were excited when we fulfilled it at Dromoland Castle. There are several different castles to stay in Ireland, in fact, we experienced three. Each castle hotel is different and what we loved about Dromoland Castle was the architecture of the castle, the ambiance of a hunting castle, the surrounding environment, fine dining options and the activities offered. Falconry in Ireland is very popular and the falconry experience was one activity we thoroughly enjoyed at Dromoland Castle. We have so much to share about why Dromoland Castle is an Irish fairytale experience we will never forget.
Full disclaimer – We paid for our reservation at Dromoland Castle, but received a complimentary upgrade. As always, our opinions are non-biased and our own. Our post may contain affiliate links. When you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but we would receive a small commission. We want to thank Dromoland Castle for their generosity and for everyone following and supporting us on all of our sweet adventures.
Hunting Estate Ambience
As we briefly stated, there are so many castles to stay in Ireland, but we found Dromoland Castle to be very unique with its ambiance. There are several different drawing rooms that guests can enjoy at their leisure. Each one beautifully decorated with an elegant but country-esque ambiance. The drawing rooms have crystal chandeliers, floor to ceiling tapestries, oil paintings, antique vases, fireplaces, and dark wooden accents.
The drawing rooms and the hallways leading into them have hunting trophies on the wall. In addition to the hunting trophies, the overall ambiance throughout Dromoland Castle gives you the sense that it was used as a hunting estate. In fact, an employee confirmed it.
Luxurious Accommodations Fit for Royalty
Dromoland is a castle in Ireland that offers eight different room categories all fit for royalty. Each room is designed to be unique so that no room is one and the same. They are all newly refurbished with respect to their Irish heritage but decorated with luxurious-modern touches to elevate the guest experience.
We were upgraded generously to a stateroom and as our maitre d’hotel called it, her favorite room in the entire castle. Each stateroom is housed within the castle’s original walls, so we felt like a part of Dromoland’s history. They also have either a lake or a garden view.
We stayed in the Edward Hyde Suite and fell head over heels for it. Our stateroom did not feel like a stateroom at all, but more of a suite. It was fully equipped with a four-poster bed, a living and dining area, and a spacious bathroom. It was truly one of the biggest hotel rooms we have ever stayed in.
The living area had a gorgeous silver plush couch with gold pillows. The wall across from the couch had a light wooden facade that played as both decor and storage. It had a double door that opened for some closet space, a mini-fridge, a safe and a coffee maker. We also had a lovely desk that served as Christina’s area for work and vanity. The dining area was a small step above our living room and had a round dining table that overlooked the lake.
Welcoming us to our stateroom was a handwritten letter and complimentary treats from the staff of Dromoland Castle. We received a platter of fresh-cut fruit, a bag of dried fruit and nuts and delectable chocolate truffles. It not only made us feel at home but also served as great snacks for the rest of our road trip.
Our spacious ensuite bathroom could not have been more perfect. It had a modern style with a double sink, full bathtub, a warm towel rack, a walk-in glass shower and wonderful amenities from Asprey.
State of the Art Dinner
We have dined in a lot of beautiful and memorable restaurants, but dinner at Earl of Thomond will remain one of our favorite dining experiences. Not only was it the most classy and elegant dinner, but it was also flawless in service and food.
You know you are eating somewhere worthy of a King or Queen when the servers wear tuxedos. Every small detail you can possibly think of was executed to perfection from every server at Earl of Thomond. Each question we had was answered with confidence. All of our entrees were delivered at a precise time in between each course. We never had to wait more than five minutes to receive our next course. When we received our main entree, we each had a server lift our silver domes at the exact time for a true five-star experience. To be honest, it was mesmerizing to watch the servers do this act for every table. Lastly, we had a harpist playing during our entire dinner for the final touch of pure elegance. This was easily the best dinner service we have ever experienced.
Earl of Thomond is led by the talented, Executive Head Chef David McCann. Chef David uses classical techniques with the freshest produce from around Ireland to provide guests with a true sense of fine Irish cuisine.
Guests are able to enjoy either the a la carte menu, a five-course tasting or an eight-course tasting. We encourage guests to enjoy the full dining experience with at least a five-course tasting menu. We could not have been more pleased with our five-course dinner, which included an amuse-bouche. The menu is constantly changing, but here is what we enjoyed.
Between the two of us, we devoured the St. Tola Goat Cheese Mousse and Clarinbridge Rock Oysters. Both entrees were locally sourced. The St. Tola goat cheese comes very close from the same county of Dromoland, Clare. The cheese was so luscious we could easily spread it on a baguette slice and call it a perfect evening. The Clarinbridge Rock oysters are from Galway and are honestly the best oysters we have ever had and we’ve had plenty across the world. If you are in Ireland, especially Galway, and see these oysters on the menu, you MUST order them! You will not be disappointed.
For our second course, we had soup and salad. Adam savored the soup of the evening, roasted red bell pepper. It was perfectly seasoned and absolutely delicious. Christina enjoyed a light and refreshing salad with pickled vegetables, smoked almonds, and wonderful rapeseed oil and balsamic dressing. Both entrees were the balanced and great buffer between our first and third course.
For our third course, we both chosen popular Irish proteins – beef and duck. Another locally sourced produce, the duck is from Ireland’s well-known duck farm, Silver Hills. The tender duck was served with parsnip puree, coriander couscous, pak-choi, pineapple and chili salsa, and jus. The entire entree was very hearty and Adam barely needed a knife to cut his delicate and juicy duck. While Adam enjoyed his duck, Christina was salivating on her beef tournedo (a small fillet usually cut from the tip of the tenderloin), and ox cheek roulade. Like the duck entree, this also came with hearty components of spiced carrot puree, puy lentils, savoy cabbage, and a claret sauce. Christina’s plate was basically licked clean it was so divine.
Fourth Course – Dessert!
Alas, our favorite entree – dessert. Though we were on the verge of full, there is always room for dessert. Both of our choices of desserts were delicious and not heavy at all, which we really appreciated. Adam had the playful, Caramel Parfait Roulade, which was a plate of art. The carmael parfait roulade was wrapped around a colorful sugar tube and then finished with a sugar twist. The caramel parfait inside was a perfect balance of sweetness with a hint of bitterness. Christina had a light and tropical, mango-passion souffle with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The souffle was beautifully prepared and baked to perfection – an excellent way to finish dinner.
The Perfect Bar
After dinner we decided that we did not want the amazing night to end, so we went next door to Dromoland Castle’s cocktail bar. Little did we know, this would be one of our best nights ever in Ireland. The cocktail bar is housed in what was once the O’Brien family library and is shaped in an octagonal room. The atmosphere of the cocktail bar is very romantic. There are several window seats with a cozy booth that couples can enjoy together – we did.
Though the cocktail drinks are pricey, they are worth every penny. Dromoland Castle also has their own bottled pale ale. If you enjoy pale ale beer, we highly recommend you try this one of a kind beer. All drinks are accompanied by a small tray of olives, rice cracker mix and scrumptious crackers. We could not believe we were still snacking after a five-course dinner, but they pair so well with the atmosphere and drinks.
Lastly, every night the bar hosts a local artist to perform. After Galway let us down with their music, we were overjoyed with this artist. Not only was he extremely talented, but the first two songs he played were the ones we requested – Galway Girl and All I Want by Ireland’s famous band, Kodaline. Little side note, one of Kodaline’s songs was our first dance at our wedding. So the fact that this artist played Kodaline, meant the world to us.
Activities to Enjoy at Dromoland Castle
One of the biggest reasons people love staying at a castle in Ireland is because of the unique activities they offer. Dromoland Castle is no exception because they offer their guests at least ten different activities to enjoy on the estate. To name a few: archery, fishing, horse riding, pony and trap ride, falconry, clay shooting, tennis and more. Dromoland Castle has an activity for everyone to try!
Falconry in Ireland
Falconry in Ireland is very popular, in fact, you can find this activity in other castles in Ireland. However, Dromoland Castle does it best and we have heard that the falconry experience is everyone’s favorite activity on the estate.
Our falconry experience at Dromoland Castle was both educating and fun. We learned a tremendous amount of information about falcons, owls, hawks and more bird species. Did you know that only 20% of birds of prey live for more than one year? Falconry actually provides a long life span for the wild birds and they are always free to leave.
In addition to learning a lot, our falconry experience included our falcon flying to us and perching on our hand. Of course, we hand the proper falconry gloves on, so no, it did not hurt. It was exhilarating! The falcon would fly so fast and swiftly to us and yet land so softly on our hand. We both could not get enough of this unique experience and learn so much about these birds of prey.
If you visit Dromoland Castle, we highly encourage you to enjoy the falconry experience.
Clay shooting was another fun activity we loved at Dromoland Castle. We met with our instructor at the shooting area and were both given 30 shots. Learning how to shoot the shotgun was very easy. Two most important things we learned: where to look i.e. point/aim for the clay and how to properly hold the gun or it will be painful. We really enjoyed our experience of clay shooting for the first time. We never imagined that we would enjoy this sport.
Have we sold you on Dromoland Castle as the castle to stay at in Ireland yet? We hope so because we love staying at awesome hotels around the world and Dromoland Castle was no exception. It is truly an incredible experience that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy. From the hospitality to the ambiance, food, and activities – Dromoland Castle is simply the perfect Irish fairytale!
Dromoland, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare, V95 ATD3, Ireland
+353 61 368 144
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