St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most significant celebrations of Irish heritage all around the world, with parades and whole cities and towns coming together.
However, if one would rather celebrate it by immersing itself in the culture rather than the crowds, a luxurious and relaxing retreat in the heart of Ireland might be the better choice.
These resorts, all surrounded by greenery and stunning vistas, are among the best Irish hotels to visit for St. Paddy’s Day.
Ashford Castle, County Mayo
When looking for the ultimate in luxury hotels the medieval setting of Ashford Castle is a hard one to compete with. As a member of the leading Hotels of the World organization and winner of several hotel-of-the-year awards, this Irish retreat has the credentials to match its lavish setting overlooking Lough Corrib.
The Castle was originally the stronghold for the House of Burke and passed through many families, including the Guinness family before being transformed into a first-class hotel. The county Mayo hotel has hosted royalty, dignitaries and celebrities including King George V, Ronald Reagan, Oscar Wilde John Lennon and Brad Pitt. It boasts 83 luxurious rooms and suites and a romantic lakeside cottage, which was converted from the castle’s old boatshed.
With 350 acres of surrounding garden and woodland, the hotel is dedicated to the country pursuits Falconry, Horse Riding, Archery, Shooting, Salmon Fishing, Tennis or Golfing – there really is an endless list of things to do. On the other hand, if relaxation is your priority, the spa provides the perfect curative for weary travellers.
[See also: What to do in Dublin during the day]
Ballyfin Demesne, County Laois
This five-star hotel, located at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains in central Ireland, was converted from a Regency mansion. The renovation project was completed in 2011 and returned the country house to its former grandeur. Neither the size of the rooms nor the architectural splendour of the building was sacrificed in the restoration process. With only 20 rooms available this truly feels like a home away from home.
The redevelopment retained many of the quirky original features whilst adapting it to meet the standards a modern guest demands. The entrance to the conservatory lies hidden behind a false bookcase and the pictures in the reception rooms celebrate the history of Irish art.
Ballyfin is also celebrated for its excellent standard of service combined with the traditional Irish charm. The concierge will seek to make your stay as stress-free as possible. A picnic can be delivered to you whilst you’re on a stroll in the hotel’s 600-acre grounds or chauffeurs can give you a guided tour of the surrounding countryside – no request is too much.
Aghadoe Heights Hotel, County Kerry
The premier hotel in Killarney offers breathtaking views across the Kerry Mountains and the Loughs of Killarney. It should be the first choice for those wishing to experience the rugged Irish landscape. Experience the green rolling hills, craggy cliffs and the wild Atlantic sea, which is only a short drive away.
The two AA Rosette Lake Room Restaurant uses the finest in Irish ingredients and has a lengthy wine list to match. The spa offers a refuge from the temperamental Irish weather. Taking inspiration from the natural environment it’s surrounded by, treatments use seaweed and saltwater from the County Kerry coastline and the pool even features a waterfall.
Maryborough Hotel, County Cork
Located 5km south of Ireland’s second city, the Maryborough Hotel and Spa is in a prime location for St. Patrick’s day celebrations. The city of Cork goes all out for the patron saint day complete with a parade and traditional Irish music that will bring the party spirit to the cosmopolitan city.
The hotel itself has plenty to keep you occupied during your stay. Their concierge recommends teeing off at one of the country’s top golf courses – the nation’s favourite pastime. With Douglas Golf Club, Cork Golfclub and The Old Head all on your doorstep, there is no excuse not to enjoy a round. Alternatively, Gluckman and Crawford art galleries offer a more cultured way to spend an afternoon.
The five-star hotel features two master suites and a unique spa suite, with its own Jacuzzi and treatment options. The 18th-century building retains the original Georgian features whilst the décor is modern and elegant. The Maryborough offers cosmopolitan comfort for those that want the convenience of a city location whilst also being close to the Irish countryside and coast.
Castlemartyr Resort, County Cork
The 800-year-old manor house was chosen by Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for their honeymoon and has earned a name for itself as one of Ireland’s most exclusive retreats. The Presidential suite was voted Ireland’s leading hotel suite at the 2017 World Travel Awards and features a reception room, dining room and personal elevator to bring dishes straight from the hotel kitchens.
The pool and spa feature floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the ornate gardens and Castlemartyr’s 220 acres of grounds. The hotel staff pay exquisite attention to your every need and ensures you are constantly looked after. Dine in elegance in Chef Crepel’s Terre restaurant or have a sophisticated afternoon tea in the bell Tower.
Castlemartyr has its own unique place in Irish history, having been constructed by the Knights Templar in 1210. The Christian military force was led by Richard de Clare who was more commonly known by the nickname Strongbow.