Tropical beaches and luxurious spa resorts are one thing but when it comes to sheer romance, there’s little to challenge the evocative landscapes of Ireland.
For a honeymoon to treasure, smart couples don’t follow the crowds to the beach. Where better to celebrate togetherness worthy of a fairytale, than one of Ireland’s steeped-in-heritage grand castles and manor houses?
Forget the ‘honeymoon suite’ and become lady of the manor with these picture-perfect retreats.
For heritage and glamour: Adare Manor, Adare
Image source: theadaremanor/Instagram
Adare is known as Ireland’s prettiest village, with three idyllic hotels to choose from. Building work began on Adare Manor in 1832, for the second Earl of Dunraven. His wife, Lady Caroline, spread the rumour that her husband had designed it himself but it’s now believed the architect was, in fact, James Pain, who was a close contemporary of A W Pugin.
Today a five star hotel, Adare Manor retains many original features, though its most intriguing design aspect is that it’s a ‘calendar house’ with 365 stained glass windows, 52 chimneys, seven pillars in the lobby and four towers.
Ancient trees, acres of lawns and falconry displays abound, setting a storybook backdrop.
For your very own private island: Waterford Castle, Waterford
It doesn’t get any more exclusive than a castle on your own private island. Close to the heart of our very own Waterford city, the 500-year-old castle can be reached via a short ferry trip. With antiques, period décor and roaring open fires, the 16th century castle combines the gracious living of an elegant past with modern comfort.
The island itself offers an 18-hole championship golf course and clay pigeon shooting to try your hand at – or newlyweds can simply take a romantic stroll around the 310 acres of woodland and parkland.
For country house romance: Coopershill, Sligo
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With only eight luxury bedrooms in this quaint 18th century mansion, Coopershill is the perfect location for a tranquil honeymoon. Owners the O’Hara family take a very personal approach to welcoming visitors to their home, which is surrounded by a 500 acre private estate of mature hardwoods and deer pastures.
Much of the furniture is made up of original Georgian pieces that have been at Coopershill since the day they were made – and the fine dining menu is firmly focused on local produce.
Guests are encouraged to feel that they’re visiting friends, so make yourself at home.
For rejuvenation and wild deer: Solis Lough Eske Castle, Donegal
Image source: solislougheske/Instagram
From the award-winning spa to the lavishly-furnished guestrooms, this Tudor-baronial castle is robustly magnificent. Slip into a luxury robe and curl up together on a four poster bed, or soak up some culture in the quaint towns and villages of Donegal. Very much the country house hotel, the staff will advise on the best spots to see salmon swimming up river, red deer crossing your path or even the odd golden eagle.
For Gaelic luxury: Ballyportry Castle, Corofin
Image source: masterpaulocoolo/Irishgram
And now for something a little different: a six-floored Gaelic tower house built in the 15th century. It’s been restored to full medieval majesty, with all its rustic original features: stone coffee table, well-stocked bookshelves and vast peat fires flickering against walls of naked limestone.
All furnishings are reminiscent of late medieval Ireland, including linen and local wool bedding and sheepskin throws. The tower house sleeps eight comfortably but imagine having it all to yourselves…
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Take that regal honeymoon-feeling home with you and feel like a baronial queen 24/7 with this dramatic John Rocha Black Cut Collection.