The luxury summer holidays are in full swing, and even though most of the food is filled with the light of diamonds in the Mediterranean waters, Ireland’s green beaches continue to delight travelers from all over the world. With its beauty, unique culture, and old world charm, Ireland is becoming a bucket list item time and time again.
“Ireland’s greenery shines in the summer sun and on clear days the coastal path is a real success,” says Michelle Maguire, CEO of Ireland’s Blue Book, an organization founded in 1974 by 11 members who started to ensure the economic development of some of Ireland’s historic sites.
“Ireland’s great history inspires me every day,” says Maguire. “You can walk anywhere and stumble across a 12th-century castle or a three-thousand-year-old village like Brú na Bóinne.”
Even if this summer season doesn’t bring you to the shores of the Emerald Isle, Maguire touts it falls just the same.
“Ireland transforms in the fall, into a place of magic and mystery. Because of the cold weather and the fog of autumn, the landscape of Ireland becomes very impressive,” he says. “Standing on top of a cliff with strong winds and strong waves, you can see how writers of all ages have been inspired. He also adds that festivals such as the Bram Stoker Festival play with the weather, just like the warm fires that heat Irish pubs.
If Ireland is on your travel list, consider these places that have been selected for their beauty treatments. Whether it’s thoughtful interior design or iconic architecture, they’re sure to give you an Irish flair every time.
Spread over 450 acres and just 15 minutes from Shannon Airport, Dromoland Castle is Ireland’s answer to Versailles. Indeed, the design of its gardens is based on the royal art of Louis XIV, but the place has a history that dates back to the 6th century when it was home to the control of the descendants of one of the last kings of Ireland, Brian Boru.
While it has architectural beauty and is surrounded by beautiful scenery, Dromoland Castle is at the center of many activities both inside and outside the castle. From golf, horseback riding, and falconry (all of which are available), I am a stone’s throw from the wonders of Ireland such as the spectacular 1,553-kilometer path along the Irish coast called the Wild Atlantic Way, small fishing villages to enjoy the local fish, two UNESCO World Heritage sites (Cliffs of Moher-scape), and the National Park of the mountains of Moher, and 3 million years ago, and the Burren National Park. Bunratty Castle, built in 1425 and the oldest and most reliable old fortress in Ireland.
It goes without saying that the hotel, which has suites and staterooms, also has all the spoils one can imagine from the world-class spa with Dr. Barbara Sturm’s products and services range from high teas, to beachside picnics, and, of course, fine dining at her Earl of Thurmond restaurant.
It was in 2017 that the palace was completely renovated into what is now one of the most luxurious buildings in the world, bringing the Neo-Gothic architecture to life.
The renovation brought the property to a higher standard while retaining much of its original heritage. It is an example of his ‘Calendar House’ design which consists of 365 leaded windows, 52 decorated shutters, 7 stone pillars, and 4 towers that represent the days, weeks, number of days in a week, and the number of seasons found in a calendar year. It also embodies the spirit of the old churches that are most visible in the building’s arched windows which are painted with amazing designs while the exterior is decorated with gargoyles.
Set on 842 acres, this restoration made the place what it is today – the best indicator of which is the presence of its Michelin Star restaurant, the first in County Limerick, which sets the stage for the development of the gastronomic scene in the area.
Adare Manor is a collection of 104 guest rooms that honors the vision of the manor’s founder, the 2nd Earl of Dunraven, who built the manor over 30 years and employed skilled and talented local craftsmen to build it to its highest standard. Therefore, each room is decorated with details such as mahogany furniture, large fireplaces, rich wardrobes, and original oil paintings and stickers from the 19th century.
With easy access to all of Ireland’s West Coast and the beautiful Adare Village where the house sits, the resort also has Ireland’s only 111SKIN spa, archery, clay pigeon shooting, a cinema, and a Padel Club gym to help guests focus on their health if they so desire.
The Ballyfin Hotel is described as Ireland’s finest Regency building, although there are many who would go further and call it the country’s most luxurious hotel.
Built in the 1820s for a gentleman named Sir Charles Coote, two famous Irish architects of the time, Sir Richard and William Morrison, were appointed to oversee its design. Between the time it was built and when it opened as a hotel in 2011, Ballyfin took many different turns; it was the first country house of the Cootes family for 100 years before they sold it to the Patrician Brothers who ran it as a school.
For all the beauty of this place, which is spread over 614 acres, it is a very stable place as it has only 20 rooms and one one bedroom cottage. As such, it offers its guests the opportunity to have privacy and relax in the fast-paced world outside its borders.
After a 9-year restoration during which every part of the building was restored to its original beauty, from the floor to the ceiling with precious stones and precious stones, the interior design was achieved by mixing both local and international elements under the guidance of Colin Orchard of London. Wallpaper and rich fabrics set the backdrop while the walls are decorated with noble Irish paintings. Chandeliers were brought in from France, antiques were collected from all over the world, and glasses made by Thomas Chippendale gave the place a final look, allowing this to be recreated in different styles.
Dublin’s The Westbury Hotel is home to Ireland’s finest international hotel, The Doyle Collection, and is therefore a gem. A family-run brand that spans 70 years, the well-known personal touch can be felt in every inch of the space because it is the daughter of the founder, Bernie Gallagher, who designs every inch of every interior.
Westbury is no different and the property is a reflection of the Doyle family’s high standards of hospitality and design. Located in the heart of Dublin’s Creative Quarter, where museums, galleries and design centers are located, The Westbury exists as a reflection of its location and has been recognized as one of the most artistically rich hotels in Ireland with works by Sir John Lavery and Louis le Brocquy.
The hotel is within easy reach of the city’s best shops and restaurants, including Grafton Street, Trinity College Dublin, the National Gallery, the Abbey Theatre, and the National Museum as well as restaurants such as Sheridan’s Cheese and Cocoa Atelier. Although the Westbury is in the middle of a lot of action, this hotel prides itself on offering a quiet respite from city life through a home-like experience.
Gallagher achieves this by using creams and lotions to set the mood in The Westbury’s 178 rooms and 27 suites which are finished with materials from brands such as George Smith and Blanc d’Ivoire.
To experience the luxury of The Westbury, choose to step into the newly renovated Presidential Suite which has been the place where Heads of State and Hollywood elite think, Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, David Bowie, and Pavarotti–have chosen to stay in Dublin. Featuring a large bedroom, living room, and dining area, it also has its own strong and comfortable lounge with dedicated butler and concierge service. As you might expect, art is a big part of the collection and includes paintings by the famous Irish artist of the 20th century, Louis Le Brocquy. Sol Y Sombra, and fragments Nano Reid, Tim Goulding, Patrick Scott, Michael Kane, and Le Brocquy’s widow, Anne Madden.