County Clare, a Castle, and a Room Fit for a Queen
Leah Walker September 6, 2012

When I started planning my trip to Ireland, there were two things that I knew I had to do:  Cut crystal at Waterford and stay in a castle.

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Enter Dromoland Castle in the County Clare.

After having spent the better part of the afternoon driving the Dingle Peninsula, I was happy to arrive to the sprawling, 410 acre estate just outside of Shannon. Down the winding road leading to Dromoland, past the 18-hole championship golf course and the trout-filled Dromoland Lough, I finally saw what I’d been eagerly anticipating. The sun was setting and the side of the castle looked as if it was aglow. I was instantly smitten.

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It looked just as I’d imagined. Now a five-star resort, Dromoland Castle dates back the 5th century and was once the Gaelic ancestral home of the direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. With gardens based on those at Versailles, deer and other wild creatures roaming the grounds, and the River Rine flowing through the property, I couldn’t help but feel a little regal myself.

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I adjusted my invisible crown as Tom, the bellman, took my bags and the valet left with my car. Tom escorted me up the stone steps of Dromoland, which caused me to stand a little straighter. Katherine at the front desk greeted me with a warm smile and welcomed me to the estate. After a thorough run-down of the amenities, she handed me the key to the Queen Anne Suite.

What? That’s certainly not what I reserved. It was much more! UPGRADE!

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Down the long, red carpeted hall and up the grand staircase was the Queen Anne Suite. Tom had his work cut out for him carrying my giant bag up the stairs, but he did so without complaint. When the door was opened to reveal my room, I gasped. The first thing I noticed wasn’t the floral paper enveloping the walls; it was the enormity of the suite. The ceilings must have been at least 20 feet high, which added to the never-ending feeling of the room.

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Gigantic windows measured the length of the room and provided a framed view of both the golf course and Dromoland Lough. The view changed depending on which room I stood in. All this place was missing was a full kitchen, which it could have accommodated with room to spare. Parisians and New Yorkers would be jealous of the space in the Queen Anne Suite. A comfy, full-sized couch, chase lounge, occasional chairs, antique armoires, and a larger-than-life TV made up part of the living room, while a desk and table for four stood in the other. A grand crystal chandelier served as a beautiful exclamation point to the room.

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While still keeping with tradition, the Queen Anne Suite also offered modern amenities and…chocolate! A black box with a gold bow siting on the dining table caught my eye. What a lovely and delicious gift, I thought.

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The king-sized, ornately-carved bed dominated the bedroom. With matching bed-side tables and lamps and the most divine linens, I couldn’t wait to crawl in. Yet another TV, as well as a dressing table, complete with an iPod docking station, gave me everything I needed for the night…except for food. I could have easily ordered room service, but I wanted to explore more of the castle.

After a quick shower in the huge, marble and granite-covered bathroom {complete with yet another TV!?!}, I wandered down to the Earl of Thomond Restaurant. Not exactly dressed for a place so nice, I decided to grab a drink and some food in the bar. It was getting late, but I’d been in Ireland nearly five days and had yet to indulge in Galway oysters. It was time to rectify that situation.

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There’s only one word to describe the taste of these famous oysters: Perfection. I could have eaten dozens upon dozens of them. Dromoland certainly gets bonus points for having Tabasco on hand. Despite the lovely singer in the bar and the tasty wine in my glass, I was ready to crawl into my bed and relax. This queen’s time was limited in her castle.

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Back to the Queen Anne Suite I went. With free Wi-Fi, I took the time to catch up on Twitter and Facebook, things that had been neglected {or forgotten} while exploring the Irish countryside. My eyelids became heavy and I couldn’t stave off my fatigue much longer.

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I pulled the heavy, floral drapes, but not before watching the sun go down on my Irish fantasy. I gently set my crown on the bedside table and quickly drifted off to sleep. I had another full Irish day ahead.

Thank you to Ginger at Time Travel Tours for introducing me to the wonderful people at Dromoland Castle.

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Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.

28 Comments

  1. Awesome place to stay! I really like the sunset picture of the castle. And, I think I recently read that the suite had been renamed Queen Leah!

    1. Oh, Raul, you have no idea. I only regret that I didn’t stay longer and meet some of the ghosts that are said to roam around. The sunset pic was taken as I was driving up. It was too beautiful not to stop and capture. And right on with the renaming of the suite. I hope there was a ceremony for the replacement of the brass placard on the door.

  2. What a place fit for Princess Leah 🙂 I love getting upgraded 🙂

    Glad they had the tabasco – I actually called in advance to let them know you were coming. Do not forget to bring a bottle next time you are over. I love Oysters.. and I shall have some in honour of Princess Leah when I’m in Dublin next week for my anniversary.. and Lady Gaga 😉

    1. You’re always thinking of me, Mrs. O. Thank you for contacting them regarding the Tabasco. I’ll have my Tabasco in my carryon for Europe…Lauren’s already reminded me. Please do have some of the Galway oysters. I mean, they are beyond tasty. And Dublin, Lady Gaga, and #iamsimon? Lucky girl!

  3. Hi Leah,
    Wish I could also wear that crown and be royal. An Irish castle! Now that’s an idea for my bucket list.

    I love the room! I’ve always preferred blue but I’m starting to like yellow and its many different shades.

    Can I also have a gold TV with that room? 🙂

    1. I’m surprised there wasn’t a gold TV in the room. 🙂 Alas, I was only royal for a night as my crown tarnished rather quickly. I’d certainly add it to my bucket list if I were you. Fantastic experience!

    1. Yes, Tawny, I freely admit that I was spoiled this night. Actually, all of my accommodations in Ireland were swoon-worthy. I had some great help from my friend, Ginger. And I agree, the bed was simply divine (and the chocolates weren’t so bad either). 😉

    1. I wish I had more and better photos of the castle. There were so many interesting touches full of history that I just wanted to explore. I certainly have more than one reason to return. It’s such a lovely place.

  4. Wow, this place is magnificent! When staying someplace so nice, I have a hard time leaving the property to explore; I want to stay and take it all in. Seems you did just that at Dromoland.

    1. I don’t think I even scratched the surface of what Dromoland has to offer. I’d be willing to go back and find out though. 🙂

    1. Thank you Mr. Peach. I would let down my long hair, ala Rapunzel, for you. Or, I guess you could just use the front door. 😉

  5. So glad you got to experience Dromoland Leah and you’ve shared such a lovely review with the rest of the world. We’re lucky to have such beautiful heritage estates in Ireland and it’s reviews like this one that will hopefully safeguard their future:)

    1. Yes, Fiona, Dromoland is so special. You’re so fortunate to have such easy access to such historical places. The oldest thing I see in Houston dates back to the 1800s. That really puts in into perspective.

  6. What an amazing castle and an amazing experience, Leah! I’ve only ever explored the larger castles that are basically museums now – I’d love to spend the night in one sometime. What an adventure.

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