The impressive Huntington Castle is a historic gem in County Carlow. With turrets, flags, sweeping lawns and bedrooms complete with four poster beds and oak panelling, this really is a picture-perfect place.
Stay in the castle itself or in one of the beautiful self-catering properties that adorn the estate. A stroll through the gardens, featuring formal plantings, lakes and champion trees, makes for a truly delightful mid-afternoon stroll.
Sitting beneath Mount Leinster in the peaceful valley of the River Barrow, Lorum Old Rectory was built from locally cut Carlow granite. Renowned for delicious home cooking and beautiful furnishings, Lorum in Bagnelstown has beautiful gardens for relaxing in nature or a game of family croquet on the immaculate lawn.
It's also home to Celtic Cycling, which runs bespoke cycling tours for couples and small groups throughout the South East. Medieval Kilkenny and picturesque New Ross are within easy reach for action packed day trips.
The magnificent Roundwood House in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, the oldest mountain range in Europe, is a landmark country house dating back to the 18th century.
Fine food, crackling log fires and antique furniture create a cosy atmosphere, and you'll feel like a character in a Jane Austen novel as you select a book from the overflowing shelves in the library. There's cycling, walking, golfing and fishing available for some outdoor adventures.
Relax in your own marble bathroom, enjoy indulgent treatments in Ballyfin’s spa, or even take a family boating trip on the lake. The mile-long landscaped driveway and enormous porticoed entrance create a sense of Downton Abbey-style drama, the perfect start to a very special weekend stay.
There’s a lot of history packed into Barberstown Castle. As well as the 13th-century fortress itself, there are also Elizabethan and Victorian additions, making this country pile a fascinating architectural spot. There’s also a bit of rock and roll history thrown in for good measure. Home to Eric Clapton from 1979 to 1987, Barberstown has witnessed many jam sessions with notable musical guests including Bob Dylan and Ronnie Wood. If these walls could talk. Nowadays, the castle is a swish country hotel with four-poster beds, lavish dining rooms and landscaped gardens.
In the evening, enjoy a pre-dinner drink by a roaring log fire in the main bar. Moroccan inspired with comfy colourful sofas, it's the perfect place to relax before a meal in The Barton Rooms, the hotel's fine-dining restaurant. Or why not drop into The Haggard, the on-site pub for a stout or two.
At this sprawling country estate, accommodation is split between the 18th century manor house and a courtyard of cottage suites, all filled with character. Wherever you sleep at Tankardstown House, you’ll find heritage features alongside modern touches like Nespresso machines. The house itself dates back to 1710 and was a private family residence for many years.
Mealtimes here are a real treat, with much of the produce coming from the estate’s walled garden and polytunnels.
Built as a family home in 1734, today you can enjoy a stately break with authentic country house food in Monaghan's Hilton Park. Experience antique four-poster beds and claw-footed, free-standing baths or look out over the garden for sweeping views of the estate.
With 600 acres of woodlands, gardens and lakes you can play croquet, go fishing and even swim in a lake.
Still in the hands of its founding family, the 1,000-acre estate at Castle Leslie in Monaghan is one of the finest castle hotels in Ireland. Each of its heritage bedrooms are decorated with antiques and heirlooms and the drawing rooms in the Castle are full of reminders and stories of the estate’s colourful past.
With its sprawling woodlands, vast lakes, Victorian Treatment Rooms and outdoor hot tub, this luxury hotel is a magical setting for a family holiday or romantic retreat.
West of Enniscorthy, Woodbrook House lies at the base of the Blackstairs Mountains. Recline in the period drawing room, admire the spectacular flying staircase and enjoy delicious, seasonal meals. Dating from the 1770s, Woodbrook House is a favourite base for attendees of Wexford Festival Opera.
Built in 1794, Kilmokea House in Wexford was originally a late Georgian Church of Ireland rectory. Musical guests can enjoy the magnificent grand piano or relax with a range of rejuvenating aromatherapy treatments in the spa.
Get competitive on the croquet lawn or visit the famous bird sanctuary on nearby Great Saltee Island. Kilmokea is at the meeting point of the Three Sister Rivers (the Suir, Nore and Barrow) and boasts an unusual collection of plants from all around the world.
Run by celebrity chef Kevin Dundon and his wife Catherine, Dunbrody House is a beautiful Georgian estate where fine dining comes as standard. Dating back to the 1830s, this country house is set on 300 acres of greenery on the Hook Peninsula, making it perfect for walks through the countryside.
Inside, the rooms retain a Georgian feel, with features like ornate antique armchairs and glossy mahogany desks. As well as the renowned Harvest Room Restaurant, there’s a champagne and seafood bar, where you can have a glass of bubbly alongside local crab and mussels.
Steeped in history, Collon House in Louth is the perfect destination for some regal relaxation. Antiques and paintings are everywhere, and it's easy to feel like you’ve stepped back in time to Georgian Ireland.
Stunning rooms like the Oriel Suite are built for luxury, featuring brocades and embroidery rich enough for royalty. Enjoy home cooked meals in the opulent dining room after an outing to the nearby Brú na Bóinne prehistoric megalithic sites of Newgrange.
Ballyvolane House in Castlelyons in the historic region of the Munster Blackwater Valley in East Cork, was originally a classical Georgian home, built in 1728 for Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Sir Richard Pyne.
Stay overnight in one of the six large and luxurious bedrooms, complete with views of the gardens and trout lakes, or choose an adventurous 'glamping' experience in charming bell tents from May to September. Ballyvolane has an estate of idyllic landscaped gardens and magnificent parkland.
Live a life of grandeur, if only for a weekend, in one of these incredible castles and country homes. Head over to our Ireland's Ancient East page for even more things to do in this magical part of Ireland.