Yep you read that right we stayed at a castle. When we were planning our trip I decided I wanted to spend one night in an actual castle vice a B&B on the grounds of one. You tend to find those more commonly. I gave Dromoland to the travel provider as an example and she was like good news you’re booked at Dromoland and then gave us the difference in price. It was not insignificant. That’s because Dromoland is a 5 star hotel. As a travel agent I would say it’s a 4 star facility with a 5 star staff. But hey it’s a castle so….
The drive up to the castle is nothing short of impressive. The grounds are extensive complete with a golf course and lake. You can take a boat out on the lake if you want. They also have a pool house and walled garden on the grounds. They have a spa and salon in the main part of the castle. They offer falconry, archery, trap and pony and just a lot of activities you won’t find elsewhere.
The check in area is in the back courtyard area and the check in process was smooth as you would expect it to be. We were staying in the oldest portion of the castle and it seemed like there was something new to look at around every corner. The porter took care of the luggage and car which was nice because we were still wet from our trip to the Cliffs of Moher. All I really wanted was a shower at that point. We settled into to our room. I got my shower thankfully and I sat down to relax with an espresso.
We got ready and headed to dinner. We chose to eat at the formal dining restaurant the Earl of Thomond. They require a jacket for gentlemen but they have them at the front desk for loan if you don’t have one. You’ll see a lot of the same jackets in the dining room. We ended up opting to do the 9 course tasting menu which was something we hadn’t done before. As into food as Cory is, there was really no question that we would be doing the tasting menu. Our waiter, Gary and the sommelier were superb. The restaurant runs a traditional French brigade which is an experience unto itself. A tasting menu takes more time than a normal meal so we ended up closing the dining room that evening. Cory’s blog has the food pictures but here’s what we had.
The courses were:
- Amuse Bouche
- Malbay Crab & Cucumber Salad, Citrus and Dill Dressing
- Foie Gras & Wild Rabbit Roulade
- Peach Chutney, Pickled Carrot Pure, Multi-Seed Melba
- Wild Atlantic Sea Scallop Wrapped in Bacon
- Bramley Apple Gel, Black Olive Oil, Tomato Confit
- Guinea Fowl Consomme
- With Black Truffle & Gnocchi
- Roast Monkfish with Vadovan
- Pak-Choi, Spiced Ginger Emulsion
- Filet of Irish Beef
- Creamed Spinach & Puy Lentils, Polenta, Wild Mushroom Jus
- Dromoland ‘Brown Bread’ & Bailey’s Souffle
- Raspberry Compote, Vanilla Pod Ice Cream
- Durrus Og
- Bramley Chutney & Salt Flute
- Selection of Petits Fours
- With Tea, Coffee
Now I don’t eat several things on the list but I ate everything. It was amazing. Everything was perfect.
After dinner we explored the inside of the castle a bit to get a better look. We were going everywhere, turning on lights that were out, and just trying to see everything. Even though the castle is full you don’t really see people except in the common areas. We walked around to get an appreciation for the castle and grounds at night and in the morning mostly so I could photograph the castle.
We headed back and repacked and got ready to go for our trip the next day. We flew out of Shannon at 10 the next morning. Breakfast was in the Earl of Thomond dining room again and again the wait staff was exceptional. We will definitely go back but probably at the beginning of our trip instead of the end so we can take more advantage of the castle.