Far from the grim stone fortress conjured by the name, Gregans Castle turns out to be something quite a bit more refined and urbane: not a castle at all, it’s a 250-year-old manor house, lovingly maintained, thoroughly renovated, and reopened as a charming and elegant country house hotel, the sort of place that’s far too high-class to boast about the famous names in the guest book.
But they’re there, if you look, and it’s easy to see why — this place is a classic, surrounded by gardens and paths, overlooking Galway Bay and the unique rocky landscape of the Burren. The house itself comprises some 21 bedrooms, as well as seemingly endless drawing rooms, lounges, libraries. The guest rooms are all different, ranging widely in size, from petite bedrooms to sprawling suites, and more subtly in style, from the absolutely traditional oldest rooms to the faintly contemporary newer suites.
Hotel amenities stick to the essentials; this is a classic country house hotel, not an all-inclusive resort. The dining room serves modern Irish & European food, made from local and regional ingredients, including organic Burren beef and lamb, and local Atlantic seafood. There’s plenty to see in the surrounding rugged and rocky countryside, and even options for golfers, but in the evenings, guests may find themselves forced to socialize in the Corkscrew Bar or the drawing room — the sort of old-fashioned country life we’ve all at least seen at the movies, if not in our daily lives.
How to get there:
Gregans Castle Hotel is approximately a 1 hour drive from Shannon International Airport, 45 minutes from Galway City and 2 1/2 hours from Dublin.
Gregans Castle Hotel is a seasonal property that is open from mid-February through December 1.