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Image / Editorial

5 fairytale Irish castles you can buy right now

by Lauren Heskin
25th May 2020

Fancy a 13-foot, floor-to-ceiling fireplace? Or a soaring vaulted gallery? What about a dungeon that doubles as dining room? You’ll find all these and more amongst the Irish castles for sale right now.

A drawbridge, moat, turrets, battlements and castellations. Are these on your dream home wish list? If so, you have a surprising amount of options here in Ireland.

Ireland does not boast the same number of castles as Scotland or Wales but we have more than you think, with an estimated 30,000 scattered across the countryside, in varying degrees of condition. Some are merely grassy ruins, but others have been well maintained and are now functional family homes.

Here are just a few.

Knockdrin Castle, Co Westmeath, €5,000,000

This 18th-century Gothic Revival castle sits on 500 acres of rolling parkland just outside of Mullingar. With twelve bedrooms, five bathrooms, a reception hall, drawing room, dining room, ballroom, gallery and library spread over 1,800 square metres (yes, metres!).

A magnificent carved oak staircase is lit by a glass ceiling from above, just one of many period features of the castle, which also includes an ornate vaulted ceiling in the upstairs gallery. Priced at €5 million, the castle is linked with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who stayed in Knockdrin Castle during the War of Independence.


Gregan Castle, Clare

Not to be confused with the nearby Gregans Castle Hotel, this late 16th-century castle replaced a 13th-century castle on the same site in the heart of the Burren.

It’s been extensively renovated and now makes for a comfortable two-bedroom home, surrounded by 20 acres of woodlands. The Great Hall, now a sitting area, has the double-height ceiling and lime-washed stone walls you might expect of a castle, but with all the modern comforts, including a stove and squishy armchairs.

The kitchen is also double-height and full of the quirks and the unique design that gives an old building so much character.


Portlick Castle, Athlone

This 12th-century castle has been inhabited by just two families in its eight centuries. On the banks of Lough Ree, the four-storey tower house was likely a 15th-century addition, containing ten spacious bedrooms, a minstrel gallery with a 13th-century floor-to-ceiling fireplace, and a 12th-century dungeon that’s used as a dining space.

The reception rooms are a mix of Edwardian and Victorian-era interiors and Portlick Castle is currently used as a guesthouse and private venue for weddings and events, with a commercial kitchen capable of serving 300 people.


An Culu, Kerry

Not everyone’s cup of tea (as evidenced by the 13 years it has spent on the market) auctioneers Savills terms An Culu a “contemporary castle”. It’s a relatively new build, constructed in the 1990s, but includes all the castellations, turrets, moat and drawbridge typical of a traditional castle.

First on the market in 2007 for €15 million, it’s now up at €4.5 million. An Culu has all of the modern amenities along with its Gothic revival interiors, including an underground pool and ornate marble bathrooms. Right on the edge of Kenmare Bay, it’s got some magnificent views too, with an elevated terrace and steps down to the shore.

It looks like An Culu might get its fairytale ending, with the property going sale agreed in January 2020, with the Irish Times reporting a final agreed price of €3.5 million.


Black Castle, Tipperary, €95,000

Fancy a fixer-upper? This historic castle is located right in the heart of Thurles town. Dating from the 16th century, it’s in need of a significant amount of work, and the winding stone staircase, ornate windows and domed ceiling offer lots to work with.

Feature image: Knockdrin Castle

Read more: Wish you had better self-isolation surroundings? This Westmeath castle is on sale for €5 million

Read more: Look inside: Victoria and David Beckham’s Dublin wedding venue just got an upgrade

Read more: Irish sculptor Orla de Brí on her latest installation atop a 14th-century castle

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