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This Ireland Castle Hotel Made Us Smile and Laugh

Castle hotels in Ireland

The beautiful lobby of our Ireland castle hotel was so full of character.

Researching Castle Hotels in Ireland?

I have never stayed anywhere that has as much character as Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in County Galway, Ireland. What a hoot that hotel is! It was a highlight of our Ireland road trip, and its colors and cast of characters would fit perfectly into a Wes Anderson movie.

Canopy bed in Ireland castle hotel

Neat canopy bed in our room, eh?

Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is Fun, Quirky Luxury

Want an illustration of how well the hotel pairs luxury with quirk? As the well-dressed porter ushered us into the lobby, what should we see but… the bartender chasing a parrot, yelling “Get back into your cage!”

It turns out the parrot is named Gilbert, and is the “Duty Manager.” From the start, the hotel made us smile.

Castle hotels in Ireland

The view out the window of our hotel room: Helipad, castle turret, and rolling green hills.

What Is the Castle Hotel Like Inside?

Our hotel room was gorgeous: Canopy bed, fireplace, claw-footed bathtub, and a view out over emerald green hills replete with the hotel’s own helipad. Too bad we didn’t bring our helicopter!

I loved looking at the castle’s turrets and thinking, “We’re in a castle! We are doing Ireland to the fullest, my traveling toddler.”

Hotels in Ireland castle

The view of our hotel room in Clifden, Ireland from the canopy bed.

A Champagne Welcome to the Castle

Just then, the room phone rang. “You are invited to the champagne welcome,” the receptionist sang when I answered. Ten minutes later, the phone jangled again. “We don’t want you to miss the welcome!” the receptionist urged. “Do come down.”

All guests are given a welcoming champagne toast and piano serenade!

All guests are given a welcoming champagne toast and piano serenade.

A Delightful Irish Hotel Staff

Once downstairs, I realized what the fuss was all about. It was a full-out party! A man I later learned to be the co-owner, Paul, was banging at the piano and singing as guests caroused and raised champagne and brie in the air. Baby Devi loved the buzz, and ate his weight in cheese and grapes.

Ireland castle hotel

It was a wet and windy day, but I had to run out to admire the turrets.

Dinner in the Castle Hotel

Our family shifted over to the dining room, as we’ve embraced the 5:30pm dinner to accommodate Devi’s 7pm bed time. What a dining room the hotel has! Chandeliers winked at us, and candles flickered.

I was reminded of the grand central banquet hall of Bunratty Castle, our first stop on our Ireland road trip.

Ireland castle hotel dining room.

Such a romantic dining room.

A Kid-Friendly Castle Hotel and Loyal Guests

While waiting for the restaurant’s famous food to arrive. Devi explored the carpet, crawling hither and thither and flirting with the waitstaff. As more diners trotted in, I began to notice something remarkable: there were more repeat customers than I’ve ever observed in one place!

Baby Devi was entranced by the patterned carpet.

Baby Devi was entranced by the patterned carpet.

Happy Repeat Customers to Abbeyglen

“I recognize you,” the waitress was saying to a couple behind us.

“That’s right,” the man smiled happily. “We come here every wedding anniversary. This is our special place! We saw the sale this week for dinner and a room and snagged it for one more visit this year.”

“Well, welcome back!” replied the waitress. I heard version after version of this same conversation. Locals and tourists alike love the hotel, and come back with a passion.

Our flower-flavored ice cream, lit beautifully in the candlelight.

Our flower-flavored ice cream, lit artistically in the candlelight.

Entertainment at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

As our yummy dinner drew to a close, we heard a commotion. A live band burst in, and with it, a leprechaun! It was the receptionist we had met earlier, clad in a beard and shiny green outfit. That job description must have been classic: “Seeking professional hotel staff for lobby and leprechaun duties.”

Leprechaun at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

A leprechaun visit during dinner? Why not!

Wi-Fi and Celebrities at the Hotel

That night, I found out there wasn’t WiFi internet in the rooms — just public areas — and had a mini-meltdown. Happily, there turned out to be a positive benefit to this situation. Since I needed to sit in the hall to get online, I was able to observe the delightful energy of the hotel until 1am when I finally finished and published my last Cuba article.

What joyful, loyal guests the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel has! You should have heard the laughing and music! It made me smile, and also helped me realize how isolating in-room WiFi can be, as convenient as it is. I also got a chance to see the photos on the wall depicting the numerous A-List celebrities who’ve stayed at the hotel… including Bill Clinton!

Ireland castle hotel

I love the unique way the hotel’s decor works together.

Personality and Charm at Abbeyglen

The next morning, the hotel’s owner, Paul, sat with us at breakfast, calling me a “famous journalist” — flattery will get you everywhere, sir! — and ceremoniously bestowing a medal and American flag on our baby. Devi was honored… and also tried to eat the medal. I wish I’d had a medal to give to Paul for “Most Fun Hotel Owner!”

The owner gave our baby a medal and flag! Hah!

The owner gave our baby a medal and flag. Hah!

Moving on in the Ireland Road Trip

All too soon, we had to pack and head to our next Ireland road trip destination (stately Kylemore Abbey, which followed the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren), so we didn’t get to experience Abbeyglen Castle Hotel’s excursions, spa treatments, tennis and golf facilities… but I suppose that just means we’ll need to return!

Hotel in a castle in Ireland

Taking a break from road trip map planning in the hotel lobby by the fireplace.

So what do YOU think? Does this seem like a place you’d like to visit? Which hotel that you’ve stayed at has had the most character and quirky charm? Do share!

Enjoy this article and still planning your trip? Click here to book Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, here for an easy link to all Ireland hotel deals, and here for cheap flights to Ireland, and here for deals on Ireland rental cars, as it will give a small commission to help support this site at no cost to you. Happy travels!

We were guests of Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, but all leprechaun-receptionist jokes and opinions are my own.

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Cheryl

Saturday 13th of March 2021

Hope to see it one day

Lillie Marshall

Sunday 14th of March 2021

Sending positive vibes for traveling soon into the universe!

Ann

Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Stayed there in 2015...loved it!

Lillie Marshall

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

I’m thrilled to hear you also had a great experience!

Gale

Sunday 18th of August 2019

We stayed here and this is not a “ancient” castle. If you’re looking for a true Irish castle where an Irish clan lived, look elsewhere. Look up the history before you book this place, it was a boarding school

Lillie Marshall

Sunday 18th of August 2019

Great point. Thanks for highlighting this important context!

Alanna

Sunday 3rd of January 2016

Visited Ireland for 3 months in 2013 and met a fine Irish lad while there. On one of our weekends away together we stayed in Clifden and stopped at the Abbeyglen for a drink. They actually invited us to stay for the champagne toast but we felt out of place since we weren't actually guests!! It seems I really need to get back there and stay over. Loved this review, thanks for sharing!

Lillie

Sunday 3rd of January 2016

What a fun story! You'll definitely have to go back, but I'm sure it would have been fine to stay. They are a welcoming bunch!

Suzann

Wednesday 21st of October 2015

Myhusband and I and longtime friends just recently returned from a 25th Anniversay trip to Ireland and stayed here two nights. Definitely a highlight of our trip, but the parrot is now Froda. Everything you wrote is true. If I ever get back to Ireland, I hope to stay here again.

Lillie

Thursday 22nd of October 2015

Ah! Thanks for the parrot update and for sharing your experience. So glad it was good!

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