By Charlene & Richard Mixa
The Charm of Old World Elegance with Contemporary Luxuries
With visions of a fairytale visit, we follow the meandering drive as it passes lush magnificent lawns and a glistening lake to a 5th Century mystical castle. Approaching Dromoland Castle, we are transported to a time when Lords and Ladies graciously welcome and entertain guests at their massive estates. It’s a real castle! Dromoland was originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. Today, it is a 5 Star Castle Hotel where guests have a “royal and regal” experience. Beautifully updated the castle still retains its old-world charm and crisp service.
A Tower Room! Climbing the carpeted stairway to the third floor, we arrive at our spacious Tower Room where careful attention to detail provides luxury castle accommodations.Peeking out the windows we have fabulous views of the golf course and the estate grounds. Ahh! We open the windows to breath in the fresh clean Irish air. Blending contemporary luxuries with old-world elegance, our room features king-size bed with lush linens and a cozy sitting area with a large TV. Complimentary chocolates are a welcome treat on the small dining table. Free Wi-Fi and “Western” outlets for our computer and iPhone are terrific conveniences. Our wonderful room is perfect for sitting back and relaxing in this fairytale castle.
Playing our fairytale roles, Lord Richard and Lady Charlene are off to explore this magnificent estate. Exiting by the reception area onto the elegant central courtyard with box hedges and blooming flowers, we admire The Castle, the 18th Century Queen Anne Court, and the Moriarity Wing which house all the guest bedrooms. As we walk along the drive we have scenic views of Dromoland’s golf course and Dromoland Lough. Plenty of activities are offered to entertain guests with Tennis Courts, a School of Falconry, A Fishing Jetty and Boat Stand, Archery, a Clay Shooting area and much more. In the Dromoland Shop, we find a wide range of Dromoland products, gift items, and golf apparel. Our exploration ends at the Golf and Country Club in time for a dinner of wonderful Irish sandwiches in the Fig Tree Restaurant. An informal dining setting, we delight in the camaraderie of golfers and guests in this bustling restaurant. It’s been a long and tedious day driving the winding Irish roads, so M’ Lord and M’ Lady are seeking an evening of relaxation.
Wishing for the “luck of the Irish” in our golf game we have an early tee time at the Dromoland Golf Course. A breakfast buffet starts our morning at the Earl of Thomond Restaurant. The breakfast is delicious! Plenty of healthy choices from the buffet of pastries, cereals, and smoothies, plus hearty Irish and made to order breakfast items from the menu. With gray skies and a slight mist, we start our round of golf and are glad to have a buggy with the very hilly terrain. A parkland course that winds around the Castle, the front nine has some elevation changes. While the weather changes to beautiful sunny skies on the back nine, the course brings significant changes in terrain and difficulty.
A dramatic par-3, No. 7 the tees sit high above a green practically straight down hill making it difficult to pick the proper club. Shots over marshes add a new dimension. Guess our Irish luck isn’t with us on No. 11 a par-5 that requires a long drive over a mash. Drats! Neither of us clear the marsh! Greens are in excellent condition but very demanding with lots of undulation. Marshes, bunkers, and woods all add extra challenge to this excellently maintained course. Expect plenty of lost balls! Looks like the perfect swing and the perfect shot. Wrong – the ball is never found. Must be playful leprechauns snatching them. M’ Lady finally has some luck with a birdie on No. 15, a short par-4. The 18th hole is testy par-5 around Dromoland Laugh with plenty of marsh and woods to add character. It offers fantastic views of The Castle and our Tower Room.
Now to delve into relaxation and rejuvenation at the Leisure Center with its indoor pool, whirlpool, workout room, steam, sauna, plunge shower, and relaxation room. After taking full advantage of the Leisure Center, we stroll the elegant Walled Garden.
A brick archway and the Leamaneh Castle Gates provide a majestic entrance and fairytale setting to the Walled Gardens in full bloom with flowering plants and shrubs. Ponds, bridges, an arbor and patio create a relaxing respite to wander, admire or just sit in a chaise lounge while enjoying the charm and elegance of being a guest at this magical Castle.
Taking a short excursion we check out one of Ireland’s most famous pubs that dates back to 1620, Durty Nelly’s. Definitely a unique pub with plenty of character and history. After snapping some shots of the intriguing Bunratty Castle, across from Durty Nelly’s, we stroll down to the Folk Center as well as do some shopping in the Irish shop nearby. We especially enjoyed drinks at the Creamery Bar before returning to Dromoland. Living up to its name is was previously a creamery and is now a great Irish pub.
Delectable dining in the award winning Earl of Thomond Restaurant is on our royal agenda this evening. With efficiency and attention to detail, the staff consistently provides superb service as we savor the rich selection of culinary delights. Combining a wealth of fresh locally sourced produce with an extensive selection of dining options the Earl of Thomond Restaurant meets and exceeds its 5 Star Restaurant rating. Offering an a la carte, daily table d’hôte menus, or A Six-Course Dinner there is something for everyone. Our dinners are amazing gastronomic specialties of a Black Sole and the John Dory. The John Dory is sometimes referred to as St Peters Fish which is thought to be one of the fish in the bible’s the miracle of the loaves and fish. Our scrumptious dessert is the Rhubarb Crumble. Impeccable service in a beautifully decorated dining room along with gourmet fine dining create a wonderful finale to our fairytale visit to the fabulous Dromoland Castle.
If you go: Dromoland has so many activities for guests plus it is close to both Limerick and Galway. Be sure to plan a day excursion to the Cliffs of Moher. We took the Paddywagon Tour from Limerick and had a fantastic day of sightseeing both along the way to the Cliffs of Moher and at the Cliffs. Our driver made numerous stops at special sites that we would have missed on a self tour. The drive is a winding and very narrow Irish road. We definitely recommend visitors leave the driving to someone. We were glad we did!
DROMOLAND CASTLE & COUNTRY ESTATE, Newmarket – On – Fergus, Co. Clare, Ireland Tel: +353 61 368144, USA: 1800 346 7007