Have you ever imagined yourself walking amongst the green vales of Ireland? Exploring the choppy waters of the Irish sea by cliff walk, then taking shelter in the ambience of an Irish pub with a professionally poured pint of Guinness? Or perhaps you’ve always dreamed of taking the journey over to discover more about your Irish heritage? Have you always wanted to do all of this, but didn’t want to sacrifice luxury? Well, fear no more. Amongst Ireland’s green vales are some of the most beautiful Irish Manors you will ever have the privilege of seeing.
The history behind these Manor’s existence are just as interesting as the manors themselves. Thousands of years ago, while the rest of Europe was taken under the wing of the Roman Empire, Ireland remained untouched as the Roman Empire didn’t deem it a threat, nor valuable enough to conquer. Thus, Ireland developed its own very unique and very strong tradition and culture of Celtic tribes under Celtic Kings.
Fast forward a thousand years, and the British Empire slowly becomes interested in controlling Ireland for its own devices. So in order to bring the “barbaric” Ireland under British rule, the British paid English families to live in Ireland and create a feudal system. Years later, after this feudal system had been established, manor’s began to be erected. These manor houses were the center for the administration of the manor and would be where legal trials were held, usually in the Great halls.
Afterwards, manor houses began to acquire amenities and luxuries to accommodate gentry families, and often the term manor house began to be applied to country houses that were owned and occupied by gentry families, but may never have been used for administrative purposes. Therefore, once the feudal system broke down, Ireland’s countryside was left speckled with these beautiful manor houses, many of which were restored to become museums or hotels.
Manor’s offer all the luxuries of castles, but without the extreme expense. Unlike castles, manor houses were not built for the purposes of defense, but still the terms are often used interchangeably. For the purposes of this article, we will be looking at houses that were built around the 17th/18th century and housed the British gentry at that time.
10. Castle Grove Country House Hotel, County Donegal: $179 – $247
Located in the beautifully scenic North-West of Ireland is the Castle Grove Country House Hotel. This four star Georgian house was built in 1695 by the Grove family. It has only 14 rooms, thus giving its guests the feeling of seclusion and peace during their stay. The hotel overlooks the beautiful Lough Swilly, where visitors can enjoy fishing. The hotel is also situated close to some of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches.
9. Carrig Country House, County Kerry: $240 – $268
This beautiful Victorian country manor lies within the heart of the Ring of Kerry. Surrounded by lush gardens that contain 950 different species of plant, Carrig Country House’s gardens that offer its guests a fantastic experience by allowing its lichen to grow freely and thus provide its visitors with some of the freshest and cleanest air in Europe. At night you can dine in their lakeside restaurant and enjoy the views of Caragh Lake.
Built in 1850 as a hunting lodge for British gentry, Carrig Country House swapped hands several times before finally being bought by its first Irish owners, Frank and Mary Slattery (the current owners) in 1996.
8. Castle Durrow, County Laois: $289 – $344
Castle Darrow was built in the 1712-1716 by Colonel William Flower (later to become Baron Castle Darrow). The Flower family kept hold of its ownership until 1922 when Mr Maher of Freshford, Co Kilkenny purchased it for its timber reserves. Later it was transformed into a school (St. Fintan’s College and convent) and then was transformed into a hotel by peter and Shelley Stokes.
7. Longueville House, County Cork: $151- $467
Longueville house is located in mallow, in the heart of Blackwater valley, where there’s brown trout and salmon fishing seasonally. The Georgian beauty, which was built in 1720, sits in the midst of 500 acres of woodland. The hotel maintains a beautiful garden where they produce many of their own vegetables and herbs, and also have a 25 acre apple orchard from which they produce their own craft apple cider, known simply as Longueville House Cider and also an apple brandy, known as Longueville House Apple Brandy, made in the calvados style. Longueville will truly give you a taste of Ireland.
6. Tinakilly House, County Wicklow: $154 – $474
A perfect venue for a romantic wedding, Tinakilly House takes its name from the Irish words “Tí na coill” or “House of the Woods” in English. Set in seven acres of gardens, this manor was built by Robert Charles Halpin, the designer of the Brunel designed leviathan SS Great Eastern, which laid down transoceanic telegraph cables in the 19th century that effectively created the Victorian age’s communication network. Rumoured to have received a blank cheque from the British government for his work, Halpin took ten years to build Tinakilly which was finally completed in 1883. Tinakilly cost Halpin $66,500 to build, which is approximately $6.67 million to us today.
5. Dunbrody Country House, County Wexford: $302 – $577
Described as “cosy” and “luxurious” by its guests, Dunbrody Country House is located in Ireland’s south coast in County Wexford located on the dramatic Hook Peninsula. The beautiful Georgian house maintains all the old style charm that one would expect from a manor, without sacrificing any of our beloved modern conveniences. Former guests include Seamus Heaney, Pink and Mary McLeese (former Irish president), so you’ll be in good company!
4. Mount Juliet, County Kilkenny: $260 – $680
20 minutes away from the bustling world of Kilkenny city, Mount Juliet lies awaiting its guests. This five star luxurious manor hotel, like many manor hotels that boast acres upon acres of land, is also a golf club.
Originally two separate estates, Walton’s Grove and Ballylinch, each with their own fascinating histories that hail all the way back to the plantation era.
With an equestrian centre, leisure centre, shooting & archery, trout & salmon fishing and award winning spa, you’ll never get bored at Mount Juliet.
3. Adare Manor Hotel, County Limerick: $467 – $1,306
Situated in the West of Ireland in County Limerick is the beautiful 19th century Adare Manor. The former seat of the Earl of Dunraven and Mount Earl, Adare Manor now opens its doors as a luxury five star resort hotel.
A popular choice for golf enthusiasts who like to sport in style, Adare golf club has been named Ireland’s No 1 Parkland Course for the past seven years by Golf Digest Ireland.
Adare Manor hotel offers its guests anything from a room to your very own villa or townhouse. Adare’s absolutely beautiful decor and grounds is in keeping with the hotels historical feel, without feeling in the least bit dated.
2. Hayfield Manor, County Cork: $315 – $1,416
Situated in Ireland’s largest county, Cork, is the picturesque Hayfield Manor that has a beauty spa, indoor heated pool, steam room, outdoor jacuzzi and a fully equipped gym. On top of this, Hayfield has two award winning restaurants, bringing everything you dreamed of in luxury and indulgence right to your doorstep.
Close to Blarney, Kinsale and Cobh, Hayfield offers a unique choice for visitors wanting to take in the popular sights that Ireland has to offer.
1. Ballyfin Demesne, County Laois: $825 – $2,611
Built in the 1820’s by the Coote family, the stunning Ballyfin manor was in need of serious repair, and after eight years of careful restoration, Ballyfin was reopened in May 2011.
Set in the center of Ireland, at the bottom of the Slieve mountains in County Laois, this five star luxury hotel has long been considered Ireland’s most lavish mansion. The Manor house has only fifteen rooms and sits on 600 acres of land, that provides occupants with the seclusion and peace from the modern world that is always most welcome. With its luxurious interior design and beautiful park lands, you’ll feel like you’ve just walked on to the set of Downton Abbey itself.