Have you always wanted to stay in a castle? If your travel plans take you to Dublin, Ireland, you’ll be able to realize that castle overnight experience with a stay at Barberstown Castle in nearby County Kildare. Dating back to 1288, the castle is very authentic, yet modern in its conveniences and amenities.
The castle itself has 55 bedrooms, each one uniquely decorated with antiques to give guests a feeling of a completely different time period. Located in Straffan, a tidy town, yes, that’s a real award given out to towns within the Emerald Isle that maintain a clean and pleasing vibe, all rooms in the hotel are non-smoking. As my husband and I were visiting Ireland during the shoulder season in early March, we were fortunate to be upgraded from a four poster bedroom to a junior suite. Our room 35 featured a stately four poster bed, as well as a desk, dresser, sofa with table and large dresser.
The restaurant, the Barton Rooms Restaurant, features a blend of French and Irish cuisine by award winning Chef Bertrand Malabat. As is typical of Irish dining, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely-paced dinner – ask for a table by the fireplace. There are hotel packages offered for romantic getaways, multi-night stays or, in our case, a one night stay. I wish we had booked two nights, as we didn’t get a chance to enjoy the gardens on the castle’s 20 acres.
If you’ve ever thought of getting married in a castle (not something easily done in the United States) Barberstown Castle is happy to arrange the details as long as you provide the night in shining armor. Actually, they’d prefer you forgo the armor – but do check out the antique armor in the bar area. While you are at the bar, ask for a pint of the castle’s hand-crafted beer. I prefer tea over beer, but my husband loved it. The medieval banquet hall is reason enough to get married! The fabulous beams on the ceiling were adorned with hops and lovely murals hung on the castle walls.
If medieval times aren’t your cup of tea, order a beer or wine in Clapton’s Lounge. Eric Clapton used to own the castle in the 1970’s before it was purchased from Irish native Ken Healy and refurbished. Healy has taken great pains to return the castle to its historical roots, reflective of each era.
All room rates include a full Irish breakfast. If you have yet to experience “full Irish” you’ll want to try the black & white pudding and home-made brown bread.
Hotel rates range from 185 Euro to 195 Euro per night. Barberstown Castle is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book, an organization devoted to maintaining some of Ireland’s historic properties for guests to enjoy. Make a reservation through Hotels.com.
Review by Nancy D. Brown, Bay Area Travel Writer and historic castle lover. I was a guest of Barberstown Castle. All castle photos, except exterior castle photo, courtesy of Nancy D. Brown.