Imagine a time when knights rode horseback through County Kildare, stopping at medieval castles to feast before heading out to battle. Built in the 13th century, Barberstown Castle has withstood the test of time and allows guests the opportunity to step back in history and explore life as it once was along Ireland’s Ancient East. Located 30 minutes outside of Dublin, this heritage site is one of many landmark destinations in Ireland. Situated between Straffan and Maynooth, Barberstown Castle sits on land with a storied past. While Tower houses are sprinkled through the Irish countryside, Barberstown Castle is a unique landmark offering Irish hospitality.
The four star castle and country house hotel offers a convenient getaway from downtown Dublin or the Dublin Airport. If you’ve just landed in Dublin, you’ll appreciate the short distance to the castle – an easy way to adjust to driving on the opposite side of the road. While dogs are not allowed inside the hotel, the owners pets, Freud and Joy, will greet you, along with Hotel Manager Gretchen Ridgeway. Pets are welcome to stay onsite but not in the bedrooms / hotel buildings. This “Land of Stories” location, along Ireland’s Ancient East, serves as a launching point for exploring the quaint area and Castletown House, a Palladian country house built in 1722 in nearby Celbridge.
With 55 bedrooms in the castle, no two rooms are alike. Each of the rooms is decorated with original antiques and a different color scheme. We stayed in room 35, a junior suite with a lovely four poster bed and generous sitting area with sofa, desk and wardrobe. All rooms feature LCD televisions, bathrobes, complimentary still and sparkling water, hairdryer, iron and free WiFi throughout the castle.
While there is plenty to do on the 20 acre property, we found it nice to grab a glass of beer and relax in Clapton’s Lounge. That’s right, Eric Clapton used to own this castle in the 1970’s. Since then, local owner Ken Healy of Clandalkin, Dublin ( and Black Lion Pub) has brought the property back to its glory. Healy considers himself to be the guardian of history; keeping everything as authentic and original as possible.
Enjoy open log fires, overlooking the outdoor terrace and rose gardens. Dine in a medieval banquet hall or sample the 8 course tasting menu from Chef Bertrand Malabat featuring local Irish specialties.
Need to know:
Bed and Breakfast rates range from €180 – €195 per night (based on a maximum of 2 guests sharing 1 bedroom.) For those wishing to use Barberstown Castle as a base from which to visit Ireland’s Ancient East, and over 5,000 years of history, they offer three, four and five night special rates. The three night mini-holiday includes three nights bed & breakfast for two, including admission for two to Castletown House and a 10% off voucher for shopping at Kildare Village. Barberstown Castle is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book and Historic Hotels of Europe.
Breakfast is served from 7:00am – 10:00am each morning and includes freshly cooked to order full Irish Breakfast in addition to a continental buffet.
A quirky bit of castle history, it’s said that a dead body is in the walls of the castle. In a unique twist of fate: In order to avoid an increase in rent, the clever wife buried the body of her recently deceased husband in the stone walls of the Castle because the lease would “expire” when his body was buried beneath the ground (i.e. his death).
“The body’s mysterious fate can be explained by reading the lease on the Castle at the time, in which was written that the lease would expire when he was buried underground (i.e. His death). The ending of a lease normally resulted in an increase in rent so after the man’s death he was buried in the tower above the earth which ensured the family continued to hold the lease to the Castle.”
Check in: 3:00 p.m.
Check out: 12 p.m.
In the restaurant or at Clapton’s Lounge, order the housemade Barberstown ale, pale ale, red ale or IPA. For more information on Ireland’s Ancient East click here. For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown and @Barberstown on Twitter.
If You Go:
Barberstown Castle 00 353 1 6288157
Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Barberstown Castle review, YouTube video and all photography, except top photo, by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Barberstown Castle while visiting Ireland.