Any trip to Ireland is a magical experience, but it’s far more magical when you’re sleeping in a castle rather than a damp tent in a windblown field.
In the past, I’ve opted for budget accommodation to ensure I have more money available to explore the country. Still, when I discovered the castles available on Airbnb, I realized that scrimping on accommodation isn’t always necessary.
These castles offer luxury accommodations at affordable prices, so they aren’t just fit for kings, even if staying in one makes you feel like royalty.
While a night in a castle costs a lot more than a night spent wild camping, the sense that you’ve traveled back in time is well worth the extra expense.
Spiral staircases, stone fireplaces, stained glass windows, and four-poster beds create a magical atmosphere consistent with Ireland’s links to a world of giants and superhuman beings.
Although you can book a private room in some castles on Airbnb, many of them are rented out as an entire unit, so you’ll have more options if you’re traveling in a group.
This quirky castle may not offer five-star accommodation, but it’s got so much character and charm that it more than makes up for it.
Built sometime in the late 1400s, this five-story medieval tower is full of winding staircases and curious parapets. The master bedroom has access to the castle’s turret, and the views from the upper stories stretch out over green pastures to the coastline beyond.
The castle has been extensively restored and renovated in recent years and now has modern conveniences, like solar water heating. There are a few oddities, however, like a bath in the living room, but that all just adds to the appeal.
A spiral staircase is the only way to access the upper stories, so you need to be fairly fit and mobile if you’re going to enjoy your stay.
The castle sleeps four people in two bedrooms and, according to the owners, has a pet dragon who provides the underfloor heating!
There are very few modern conveniences in this 500-year-old castle, so you can step back in time and experience life as it was when the castle was built.
There may not be any Wi-Fi or central heating, but there are books and games, including a Celtic chess set, an open fireplace, and plenty of hot water bottles.
Guests sleep in a luxurious king-size bed in the Great Hall, where the only light comes from the fire and the numerous candles dotted around the room.
The only room with electricity is the small kitchenette downstairs, which also boasts a Smeg electric kettle, a DeLonghi coffee machine, and both hot and cold water.
As the restoration of the castle is still ongoing, guests staying at the Black Castle become a part of the building’s history, providing funding for the work to continue.
The Black Castle sleeps just two guests and has no bathroom or shower, so a short stay is advisable!
Turin Castle combines ancient history with modern-day luxury, creating some of the only authentic castle accommodations with en suite bathrooms. Unfortunately, you have to book out the whole castle, so it’s not really viable if you’re traveling solo!
The castle sleeps ten guests in 5 bedrooms, each of which is accessed by a spiral stone staircase. Stone floors are softened with sheepskin rugs, and the rough white walls are decorated with wall hangings, creating an almost cozy atmosphere.
Many of the castle’s original features remain intact, and in the sitting room at the top, curious guests will find a secret room hidden behind a bookcase. Once used as a stronghold, former residents used this secret chamber to hide their valuables and their unfortunate prisoners.
Set in 16 hectares of pastureland, the castle stands in the shadow of the Partry Mountains, where guests can stretch their legs and enjoy views of Killary Harbour. Alternatively, you could spend the day strolling through the castle grounds, fishing, or horse-riding.
Another medieval tower dating back to the 1400s, Grantstown Castle retains many of its original features, although it has plenty of modern comforts.
Standing six stories high, Grantstwn Castle enjoys views of the surrounding countryside, from the Galtee mountain range in the south to the Silvermine mountains in the north.
Heavy wooden furniture lends an air of authenticity to the castle, along with the stone walls and floors, wooden beamed ceilings, and stained glass windows.
The Great Room is full of comfortable sofas and a wood-burning stove and has access to one of the prisons, or oubliettes, in the castle’s walls. While you can’t enter the prison, you can peek in through the reinforced glass.
The castle has three double bedrooms and a small single room, making it suitable for seven guests. Getting around the castle is quite challenging as it has narrow, winding stairs and low doorways, so be prepared for some contortions as you explore.
This small castle is over 500 years old and stands on the border between County Kilkenny and County Tipperary. It’s situated on a working dairy farm and is steeped in history as old as the hills that surround it.
Credit to Tybroughney Castle website
Windows illuminate the spiral staircase that winds up to the upper floors from where the view stretches out to include the River Suir and the Comeragh Mountains. The green fields that surround the castle are dotted with cows and sheep, creating a peaceful setting for a magical experience.
The main bedroom is situated on the second floor and comfortably sleeps a family of four. Below this is the original banquet hall where you can enjoy your complimentary self-service breakfast. There’s also a shared kitchen, a fire pit, and BBQ facilities outside.
Tubbrid Castle might have been standing since the 15th century, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice any modern conveniences or luxuries when staying there. Relax in a hot bubble bath in the evening, or curl up on a velvet cushion in one of the window seats. Whatever you do here, you’ll feel like royalty.
Credit to Tubbrid Castle Facebook
Each room is named after someone who’s played a vital role in the castle’s history, starting with the second-floor bedroom, Rí Ailig, which is named after the King of Ulster, Muirchertach, whose army set up camp in Tubbrid in 942 AD.
Above Rí Ailig is another bedroom known as Leapa Mhaighread, which is named after Margaret Butler, 8th Countess of Ormonde, who is said to have slept at the highest point in the tower to avoid a potential attack.
Tubbrid Castle sleeps up to eight people in three bedrooms, with the third being the easiest to access as it’s on the ground floor.
Kilkenny is a 20-minute drive away and a great place for a spot of sightseeing, especially if you like cobbled streets, ancient castles, and quirky eateries.
Steeped in history and surrounded by nature, CastleHacket House is a great place to relax or head into the nearby Knockma Woods in search of the elusive fairies.
Guests can choose between two fully equipped apartments, a selection of double rooms, and a dormitory room that once accommodated Kind Edward and Mrs. Simpson.
Credit to CastleHacket House website
The dormitory option makes CastleHacket one of the more affordable Irish castles on Airbnb and makes it suitable for solo travelers, as well as groups.
There is plenty to do nearby, including the Connemara Loop that forms part of the Wild Atlantic Way. Galway is also nearby if you’re craving a bit of city life, and the nearby town of Tuam has everything you need, from cathedrals to pubs and wood-fired pizzas.
Guests preferring to relax at the castle can enjoy a quiet yoga class or fish in one of the well-stocked lakes nearby. The castle park and gardens are so idyllic when the sun’s shining that you won’t want to travel further afield.
This three-story castle is quite modern, having been built in 1801. It’s thought that a medieval tower house stood on the same site prior to the castle’s erection, but its architecture is in keeping with the Gothic Revival movement of the 1800s.
Overlooking Galway Bay, Kilcolgan Castle is ideal for travelers looking to explore the Aran Islands or try their hand at deep-sea fishing. If you prefer to stay closer to home, you can stroll around the grounds, meet the horses, and get introduced to the owner’s champion greyhounds.
Despite its considerable size, Kilcolgan Castle is cozy and exclusive, accommodating just five people at a time. Guests have access to all rooms except those reserved for private use and can relax in one of the three reception rooms, prepare meals in the spacious kitchen, or stretch out in front of the castle’s many fireplaces.
Nearby attractions include the city of Galway, which is a 30-minute drive away, the Burren, and the Cliffs of Moher.
This 15th-century castle has been renovated to incorporate modern-day luxuries while maintaining many of its original features.
The stone walls are nearly a meter thick, insulating you against the elements, but also disrupting cellphone reception enough to make sure every guest takes a break from the digital world!
Although the castle has been upgraded, its stone walls and spiral staircases transport you back in time and provide you with a bit of a challenge come bedtime!
Large stone fireplaces help to create a cozy atmosphere, so if the weather’s keeping you inside, you can curl up on one of the window seats and peer out as the rain hammers down on the ancient architecture.
Also known as Ballynagowan Castle, Smithstown Castle sleeps up to eight people in four double rooms, each with its own bathroom.
The Cliffs of Moher are a short 15-minute drive away, while the coastal town of Doolan is even closer, making this a great location for exploring the Aran Islands. You can also visit the windswept landscape of the Burren, where you’ll find an abundance of ring forts and other ancient monuments.
Lisheen Castle looks like something out of a fairy tale, with its towers and turrets, but its appearance belies its tumultuous history. The castle was burned down in 1921 by the IRA during the Irish War of Independence and remained derelict for many years before restoration began in 1996.
Now restored, it offers luxury accommodation for up to 14 guests. Although the restoration has retained much of the building’s original charm, the owners have introduced many modern conveniences, and guests will enjoy the state-of-the-art bathrooms and well-furbished kitchen.
Surrounded by countryside, the castle is situated just 10 minutes from the town of Thurles, where you can while away the hours swimming, horse-riding, or languishing in a local pub.
Lisheen Castle has nine bedrooms and can accommodate groups of up to 14 people.
Before You Go
We all deserve to be treated like royalty from time to time, and these affordable castles are ideal for those who want to live like a king but lack the budget to spend like one!
Some castles offer five-star accommodation complete with four-poster beds and en suite bathrooms, while others offer a more rustic experience that transports their guests back in time, giving them a chance to discover the quirks of castle living.
Wherever you want to go in Ireland, you can probably find a nearby castle to stay in, so your choice of accommodation doesn’t have to disrupt your carefully planned itinerary.
Even if your budget only stretches to one night in a castle, it’s worth it just for the experience of traveling back in time and living as our more opulent ancestors once did.
"Like many so-called Brits, I have a bit of Irish and a bit of Scottish in my blood, which is possibly where the red hair comes from. I’ve been fascinated by the history of Ireland for years, since I discovered the story of the Irish Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley.