If you are planning a trip to Ireland, we recommend a wonderful place for you to stay for a few days or a week, to relax and recover from jet-lag and your long flight(s) from Florida to Dublin. If you think that staying in a historic Irish castle is affordable only for the rich and famous, you are pleasantly mistaken.
Smarmore Castle, located near Ardee, County Louth, is one of Ireland’s oldest surviving buildings, dating from 1320. Smarmore Castle also has the distinction of being one of the longest continuously inhabited castles in Ireland. For over 650 years, Smarmore Castle was the ancestral home of the aristocratic Taaffe family. Records show that William Taaffe had his family seat at the Castle as early as 1320. The Taaffe’s were one of the most famous families in Ireland. They held a variety of different titles, and one of them, Eduard Franz Josef Taaffe, even served as the Prime Minister of Austria between 1881 and 1895. Successive generations of Taaffe’s made Smarmore Castle their main residence in Ireland until the mid 1980s, when the property was sold. The current owners and proprietors are the very hospitable Mullen Family, who operate the Castle as a boutique B&B-style hotel.
Smarmore Castle is a very striking building. It is divided into three distinct sections, comprised of an early 14th century castle keep, with extensions on either side, built around 1720 and 1760 respectively. The Castle is built of local stone, and its walls are eight feet thick. The 18th century courtyard behind the Castle served as the main stables for the estate in bygone days. The Castle has just five guest rooms, so you won’t feel crowded. The guest rooms are spacious and distinctive. Each room is different, and presents a different aspect of the Castle’s history. The names on the doors, such as the "Knight’s Room", the "Count’s Room" and the "Viscount’s Room," reflect the Castle’s illustrious former residents.
The Viscount’s Room, (shown above) is located in the Castle’s tower and has a four poster bed, while some of the other rooms are ideally arranged for families with children. All rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, an en-suite shower bathroom, and are centrally heated. The Castle maintains its sense of history while offering the comfort and conveniences of the most contemporary boutique hotel. Smarmore Castle offers stylish accommodations at a value price. Their modest rates, starting at only 55€ per adult and 15€ per child (per night), include accommodation, full Irish breakfast, and free use of their well-equipped leisure club, with its 22-meter indoor pool with toddler’s pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and fully-equiped fitness center.
The Smarmore Sports Injury Clinic, operated by Brian Keenan (BSc. & BASRaT.), is located in the courtyard behind the castle, and offers relaxing aromatherapy massage, sports massage, hydrotherapy and injury prevention treatments.
There is no bar inside the castle itself, so you are welcome to bring your own beverages. There is an excellent Italian restaurant, called La Cucina, located with a separate entrance in the castle courtyard, and it is licensed to serve wine, beer and other beverages with meals. The restaurant offers a wide range of delicious meals based upon authentic Italian recipes.
Smarmore Castle is an easy one-hour drive north from Dublin Airport, and provides the perfect base from which to explore the world famous heritage sites at Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne), Knowth, Hill of Tara, Monasterboice, Mellifont Abbey, Battle of the Boyne, Trim Castle, Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula. If you are still feeling energetic after all that sightseeing, you can also enjoy nearby recreational activities, including golf, horseback riding, walking tours, clay pigeon shooting and even ice-skating.
Smarmore Castle Website: http://www.smarmorecastle.com
Smarmore Castle Blog: http://www.smarmorecastle.blogspot.com
"This is not a paid advertisement. It is an enthusiastic personal testimonial, based upon my own family’s wonderful stay at historic Smarmore Castle. I can’t think of enough nice things to say about the Castle, it’s facilities, or our hosts, the Mullen Family." Tim Lunney, Executive Director – Florida Irish Heritage Center