1 . Carton House Hotel Kildare

Maynooth,

CALL DIRECT: (0) 1 5052000

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If queens come here, you know it’s going to be good. That’s why we’ve crowned Carton House Hotel Kildare the No. 1 spot on our list of Top 10 Ireland Luxury Estates. Boasting 1,000 acres decorated with much more than just a stunningly-remodeled historic hotel, you’re bound to feel like royalty!

Minimalist interiors marry a classic Palladian exterior at this elegant house set just a half hour away from Dublin. And you’ll likely want to tie the knot with this Irish eye candy if that means you won’t have to leave the striking modern art, curved corridors and airy chambers flooded with natural light. If you couldn’t tell, we were truly taken with the loveliness of the Carton House. This beauty has brains, too. Instead of just offering a place to sleep, the Carton House gives you more than enough options to fill your entire vacation right there on the property. Fishing, walking trails, clay pigeon shooting, off-road adventures – even an acclaimed golf course! And no estate is complete without a spa, like The Spa at Carton House!

Fun facts

Notables like Queen Victoria and Grace Kelly have stayed at the elegant Carton House Hotel.

Highlights

Carton House Hotel sits on a 1,100-acre private estate!

Getting there

From Dublin, take the main N4 motorway west. From the motorway, take the Leixlip West Exit and follow the signs to Carton House. Carton House is approximately a five-minute drive from the N4 Motorway Exit.

2 . Killashee House Hotel and Villa Spa

Killashee,

CALL DIRECT: 045 879277 

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From the towering Wicklow Mountains to the peaceful Kildare countryside, you won’t know where to look when you gaze out from your indulgent digs at Killashee House Hotel and Villa Spa. And wait until you see the Rasul Mud Chamber at the No. 2 gem on our list of Top 10 Ireland Luxury Estates!

What is the Rasul Mud Chamber, you ask? It’s your dirty dream come true! Actually, there’s no grime involved in this grand Villa Spa treatment, just six different therapeutic muds. After a spell sitting in a heated seat while the starry chamber fills with soothing steam and melodic Eastern sounds, a warm, tropical rain shower will pour down on you. If it sounds kind of exotic, it is! Just like the equally relaxing Hammam treatment. This ancient therapy from Turkey combines a marble slab, a steam chamber and a traditional Turkish scrub for the ultimate exfoliating experience! You don’t have to take advantage of Killashee House’s spa to have a superb time here, but you’d be a darn fool not to. Heck, that’s part of the luxury at this Kildare retreat. But that’s not to say your luxe guestroom or suite won’t be spa-like itself!

Fun facts

Killashee House Hotel and Villa Spa sits on more than 200 acres of manicured gardens!

Related Onsite Offerings

Along with the Rasul Mud Chamber, The Villa Spa features two Balneotherapy baths, two dry floatation suites, a nail bar, pedicure suite and a relaxation room.

Getting there

From Dublin, locate the N7. Continue on N7 once you see Newlands Cross. Take Exit 9 for Naas and take the second exit at the first roundabout. Take the first exit at the second roundabout at Big Ball. Continue straight and take the second exit at the third roundabout. Continue to Kilcullen Road and Killashee House Hotel and Villa Spa will be on the left.

3 . Hayfield Manor

Cork,

CALL DIRECT: +353 21 315600

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We know that when traveling with the family, it’s sometimes hard to uncover a place that finds your little dumplings just as charming as you do, and gives them the much needed attention they deserve. That’s where Hayfield Manor steps in. Without sacrificing elegance, our No. 3 spot delivers!

Tell us the truth; have you ever vacationed at a hotel that offers plush bathrobes for the fully grown, plus mini bathrobes for the little sprouts in your life? How cute is that! Cork City’s premier five-star hotel also makes your younglings feel welcome with yummy cookies and milk at bedtime, special children’s afternoon tea and even privileged rates at nearby Fota Wildlife Park. You don’t need kids to appreciate Hayfield Manor’s Master Suite. In fact, we recommend you keep the little tykes at home and enjoy this antique-laden room all to yourself – and your sweetie of course! The most luxurious suite on the property, it not only features the uber-elegant Drawing Room bathed in sunlight from the floor-to-ceiling windows, but original artistic impressions and a marble fireplace, too! Gracious His and Her bathrooms add the final touches, with a deep Jacuzzi bath and a steam power shower.

Fun facts

Cork is the most southern county of Ireland.

Related Onsite Offerings

Mayfield Manor’s Master Suite also features 24-hour butler service.

Address

Perrott Avenue, College Road, Cork, Ireland

4 . Faithlegg House Hotel and Golf Club

Faithlegg,

CALL DIRECT: (0)51 382000

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We beg you; please have faith in the No. 4 place on our list of Top 10 Ireland Luxury Estates. Actually, no faith is needed here, just your involuntary nod of approval once you see that the 18th-century Faithlegg House Hotel and Golf Club overlooks one of Ireland’s Three Sisters.

The estuary of River Muir has never looked prettier than from the grounds of this bygone mansion. Here, the deeply-hued river meets with the Atlantic to form eddying waters, and the eye-popping backdrop to your Irish getaway. All 68 guestrooms and junior suites are worthy of your stay, but we couldn’t write about Faithlegg Estate without mentioning the Mews, a collection of 51 houses and apartments adjacent to the Faithlegg’s four-star hotel. Perfect for those seeking a true home-away-from-home, these condo-like accommodations have fully-equipped kitchens and laundry rooms, which come in mighty handy when junior needs a pick-me-up midday snack or senior dribbles some Guinness on his brand new coat.

Highlights

Faithlegg House Hotel and Golf Club is just six miles from Waterford City!

Related Onsite Offerings

Faithlegg Estate’s features the Mews, a collection of 51 houses and apartments, offering one- to three-bedroom accommodations

Getting there

From Dublin N9/ Limerick N25, cross the bridge into Waterford city and follow the Quay until you arrive to the Tower Hotel. Directly after the Tower Hotel, turn left at the traffic lights and follow the Dunmore Road traveling through four roundabouts. Veer left at a fork in the road by the large Maxol Garage. Follow the road and take a right, under Jacks Meade’s bridge. Faithlegg House Hotel and Golf Club will be on the left.

5 . Adare Manor Castle Hotel and Golf Resort

Adare,

CALL DIRECT: 353 61 396566

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Castles aren’t just for princess anymore; here at our towering No. 5 pick – Adare Manor Castle Hotel and Golf Resort – we can’t deny that you may have the urge to put on a tiara and prance down the stone halls, or prance down the fairway with your best club in hand on the award-winning golf course!

Like something from the pages of an olden fairytale, this architectural masterpiece will be forever etched in your mind as soon as you lay eyes on it. Towers, turrets and ancient stonework accents make up Adare Manor, not to mention the impeccably manicured gardens decorating the front lawn. Here, Sleeping Beauties like yourself will rest in guestrooms or townhouses lavishly decorated in both period and modern décor. Part of the 840 estate acres includes a golfer’s dream come true: the Adare Golf Club, a Robert Trent Jones, Sr., championship golf course. After a rousing 18-hole game, get your gams to the Treatment Rooms at Adare Manor. The Golfers Elixir is your cure-all for sore muscles, with its Stress Away bath and Well Being Aromatherapy Therapy back massage.

Fun facts

The Adare Golf Club was the last major golf course designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr.

Highlights

The Adare Golf Club made the Condè Nast Traveler Magazine’s Top 100 Golf Resorts 2008 Readers' Poll.

Getting there

From Dublin, take the N7 from Dublin to Nenagh (in Co. Tipperary). Continue along the N7 until you reach Limerick City. Once you reach Limerick City, look for the signs for the N2 (South Side of Limerick City). Follow this road which runs through the village of Adare. Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort will be on the left as you approach the village.

6 . The K Club Golf and Spa Resort

Straffan,

CALL DIRECT: (0)1 6017 200

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No luck of the Irish is needed on your trip to the Emerald Isle if you stay at The K Club Golf and Spa Resort. This 19th-century Georgian mansion estate bordering the flowing Liffey River will make you kick your heels up in glee once you learn there are not one, but two championship golf courses here!

That’s right; both the Palmer Ryder Course – venue of the 2006 Ryder Cup – and The Palmer Smurfit Course offer 36 holes of challenging links and fairways at this five-star retreat. Of course we were excited to hear about the courses, but we understand if you aren’t a putting Peter. Instead of being a nagging Nancy about it all, we recommend you check out the other outdoor activities before pouting all the way back to your ornate guestroom. Maybe it’s our Midwest roots, but we were more than thrilled to hear we could spend a day on the Liffey River fishing for wild brown trout and salmon at The K Club, too. Prefer a more stately way of life? How about a soak in the Oak Suite? This K Club Spa haven features a brass bathtub harkening back to the days of cabbages and kings.

Getting there

From N4/M4, take the M1 from the airport and follow the signs for the M50 to the Westlink Toll Bridge. Immediately after coming off the toll bridge, exit at Junction 7 and head right to N4- Galway/Sligo and The West. Continue on this road past the Lucan Spa Hotel and on to the M4 Motorway. Exit Motorway at Naas/Maynooth signpost. At the junction, take a left for Naas. Cross Clane Road and follow sign for Straffan Past Barberstown Castle and into Straffan Village. The K Club Golf and Spa Resort will be on the right.

Highlights

The K Club is set on the former site of the Straffan House, which was originally modeled after a French chateau by Hugh Barton in 1832, the grandson of legendary winemaker Thomas Barton.

7 . The Cahernane House Hotel

Killarney,

CALL DIRECT: 64 6631895

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Forget about four-leaf clovers, when you vacation at our revered No. 7 selection, you’ll have more than just those lucky little shamrocks outside your window. The Cahernane House Hotel sits on the edge of Kilarney National Park, the first national park established in Ireland!

As the most extensive covering of native forest remaining on the island, the national park offers a lush, green adventure on your Irish getaway. Walk the trails and try to catch a glimpse of not just those elusive leprechauns, but Ireland’s only native herd of red deer. Afterward, come back to The Cahernane House Hotel and retire to your classic suite in the original house built in the 1700s, or the more contemporary garden rooms in the newer wings. And with Killarney Town Centre just a mere 10-minute walk away, you might just want to investigate the charming city shops and get a taste of authentic Irish cuisine, whether it be the garlicky potato dish of colcannon or tasty Dublin Bay prawns. While we can’t promise you’ll like what you fill your tummy with, we do guarantee you’ll love the view of the remarkable mountain vistas and unspoiled Killarney countryside from your suite!

Highlights

The Herbert Room restaurant at Cahernane House Hotel is an award-winning Killarney Restaurant!

Getting there

From Kerry County Airport, follow signs to Killarney N23 Junction with N22. Turn left N22 into Farranfore. Take the Cleeny Roundabout (Killarney) and then take second exit, N71 (signposted Town Centre). Head to Killarney. Follow signs on Kenmare N71. Cross over the River Feale bridge and The Cahernane House Hotel will be on the right.

Address

Muckross Road, Killarney, Kerry, Ireland

8 . Glenlo Abbey Hotel

Galway,

CALL DIRECT: 091 - 526 666

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No, just because the title of the No. 8 pick on our list of Top 10 Ireland Luxury Estates is called Glenlo Abbey Hotel, doesn’t mean you’ll have to don a black and white nun habit when you enter. Sure, there is an abbey here, but there’s also sinfully sumptuous accommodations just waiting to be indulged in

Galway’s only five-star hotel is heavenly for sure, and we’d bet our entry through the pearly gates that you’ll hear joyous angels singing when you catch a panoramic glimpse out your lakeview room of the Lower Lough Corrib, Connemara and the pilgrimage-worthy Croagh Patrick – or, what the locals call the Reek. As a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Glenlo Abbey Hotel prides itself on offering unrivalled personal service – and it obviously shows throughout the estate. Besides en-suite marble bathrooms and plush beds mounded with pillows and fine linens, Glenlo offers just as many fanciful outdoor extras for those days when the rain stays at bay. Try Glenlo Abbey’s one-of-a-kind, 9-hole double green course, or the ever-rousing clay pigeon shooting and archery.

Fun facts

Ireland’s whopping Croagh Patrick Mountain rises 2,510 ft. in the air and is the pilgrimage site of the annual Reek Sunday.

Highlights

When you stay at Galway’s Glenlo Abbey Hotel, you’re staying in the same city where the most famous festivals in Ireland are held, like the Oyster Festival, the world-renowned Galway races and the Galway Arts Festival – one of the largest arts festivals in Europe.

Getting there

Coming into Galway from the north, east or south, you will encounter a series of roundabouts. The N59 to Clifden is sign posted at most of these roundabouts. Once you approach the Galway, keep veering towards the N59 to Clifden. Glenlo Abbey is situated two miles from Galway City Centre on the N59 to Clifden.

9 . Butler House

Kilkenny City,

CALL DIRECT: +1 (056) 772 - 2828

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While the origins of the name of our stately No. 9 estate actually have to do with the last name of the original inhabitants, you may just as well assume that Butler House is what it sounds like: a very hospitable Kilkenny haven! This is your pot of gold at the end of an Irish rainbow!

You’re lucky the staff members at Butler House are so darn helpful because you just may need one to catch you from your faint-induced fall when you see the stunning Georgian gardens gracing the front of the 18th-century, ivy-covered mansion. A glimmering, green-hued pond with lily pads popping up from the waters welcomes you to the flourishing, walled garden restored to its former glory. You may be tempted to just traipse around in the garden all day, but we assure you the interior is just as pretty as the exterior at this boutique estate. The 1970s Art Deco style blends beautifully with the age-old curves and architecture of Butler House. We especially loved the terracotta-tiled bathrooms with the unique, round bathtubs – perfect for soaking in after a day in Kilkenny City’s bustling Patrick Street, just outside the back door.

Fun facts

A soup kitchen was run from Butler House during the cholera epidemic of 1832.

Highlights

Butler House boasts 13 special rooms and suites, all one-of-a-kind.

Getting there

When leaving Dublin follow signs for Southeast and M7, Exit M7 for M9 (heading towards Waterford). M9 joins N9, which will take you through the town of Castledermot and outside Castledermot. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto the M9 (signposted Waterford) and continue toward the Leighlinbridge Bypass – N9. The N9 joins the N10 approx. 15 miles outside Carlow. Continue along N10 to Kilkenny City and Butler House.

10 . Lough Rynn Castle Estate

Leitrim,

CALL DIRECT: +1 (071) 963 - 2700

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While Lough Rynn Castle Estate hails as our final selection, its position on our list certainly doesn’t diminish any of its opulent Irish offerings. Yes, it’s a castle; yes a notable public figure once lived here – the third Earl of Leitrim to be exact. And, yes, you’ll love it here!

No list of Ireland luxury estates would be complete without the once-home of Lord Leitrim himself. Though his negative traits are what made him most memorable throughout Ireland’s lofty history, we doubt you’ll remember anything bad about his digs – probably because there aren’t any! The estate’s 300 acres in verdant rural Ireland houses are home to 43 upscale guestrooms and suites, divided into restored historic suites and newer building additions. Laze in what some call the finest private gardens in the country, or have a smashing good time on the first Nick Faldo-designed golf course in the Republic of Ireland. And for a sophisticated night out, head to The Dock – the 19th-century former Carrick on Shannon Courthouse building that now houses Leitrim’s first integrated centre for the arts.

Related Onsite Offerings

Conference facilities, spa, leisure center with pool, Jacuzzi and sauna, private gardens and nature trails.

Fun facts

Lough Rynn Castle Estate’s Sandstone Restaurant is a 2008 and 2009 AA Rosette Award Restaurant for Excellence in Food.

Highlights

Celebrate Christmas in style at Lough Rynn Castle Estate with the Christmas package featuring a mulled wine evening reception, four-course meals and more!

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