There are many ways to explore Ireland and one of our favorites is to head North. North and Northwestern Ireland have beautiful and dramatic scenery, excellent food, a variety of outdoor activities and beautiful hotels. Now is the time to explore this special part of Ireland before the secret is out! While there are many unique ways to discover this destination, below are three Celebrated Hotels that must be added to any travelers list. These properties are perfect for those wanting to experience Ireland’s diversity while avoiding the crowds.
Culloden Estate is a perfect base to start an Ireland trip. Minutes from Belfast International and City Airports, it is also less than two hours from Dublin! The Hastings family, who own Culloden Estate, have invested heavily here in recent years to make an already fabulous hotel even better. The high-end property is located minutes from the heart of Belfast, one of Europe’s hottest destinations. Culloden Estate has great views as rooms overlook gardens and Belfast Lough. This really is more of an urban resort, featuring connecting rooms for families, a swimming pool and spa. They even have their own pub that is a favorite of locals.
From the estate you can easily access the highlights of Belfast and the surrounding area. You can spend time exploring the famous murals that tell the story of “The Troubles” that sadly dominated the political landscape here for decades. The most popular site in the city is Titanic Belfast, an incredible museum experience at the location where Titanic was built. Other easy day trips include: Giant’s Causeway; many of the sites used in the filming of Game of Thrones such as the Dark Hedges and Winterfell; Bushmills Distillery; and ruined Dunluce Castle which hangs on the edge of a cliff. Celebrated guests will receive complimentary tickets to the Titanic Belfast Experience for up to 2 guests per room.
Lough Eske Castle
Upon leaving Belfast, visitors can take the scenic drive west toward Donegal, perhaps stopping in the historic walled city of Derry before arriving at Lough Eske Castle. Located on a beautiful lake in the shadows of the Blue Stack Mountains, this castle hotel has history which dates back to the 15th century. Lough Eske Castle is one of the finest hotels on the island and the perfect base for exploring County Donegal.
The saying around here is that “Donegal Has It All,” and it is easy to see why considering everything that is available in this rugged and stunning part of Ireland. One can easily access the Wild Atlantic Way for scenic coastal drives along the unspoiled coastline. In many ways, Donegal has majestic scenery similar to Ireland’s southwest (but with very little bus tour traffic and fewer crowds). Donegal Bay is perfect for those who want to explore the water. One of the most beautiful sites in this region is Slieve League, massive sea cliffs with stunning views of the Atlantic (and even taller than the Cliffs of Moher!!). Glenveagh National Park is a must visit as well. Back on property, guests can enjoy the lovely blend of new and old style. There are great activities nearby such as fishing, horseback riding and hiking. Celebrated guests can enjoy a comparative tasting of 3 Irish whiskeys from Cooley Distillery
Castle Leslie Estate
Our final stop on our off the beaten path adventure is Castle Leslie Estate, situated in the picturesque village of Glaslough in County Monaghan. Castle Leslie Estate is notable for many things but mostly for being one of the last remaining great Castle estates of Ireland that is still in the hands of the original family. It is also notable for having one of the top equestrian experiences in the world. They welcome riders of all levels over the age of 7 and have over 1,000 acres on property to explore on horseback. In addition, they offer a host of other activities including fishing, boating, carriage rides, picnics, exceptional walking trails and a fabulous spa.
There are several exciting adventures to find just outside of Castle Leslie Estate. Rally School Ireland is located just minutes from the hotel, and visitors have the opportunity to drive specialized sports cars and super cars on a closed track. The village of Glaslough has been voted as one of the most beautiful villages in Ireland and is one of the most magical, quintessential villages in the entire country. After a stay at Castle Leslie Estate, it is only 90 minutes back to Dublin Airport so the property is an ideal finish (or start) to an Ireland trip.