Described by both my taxi driver and a honeymoon couple from USA, who I chatted to over dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, as “the obvious place for romance”, Clontarf Castle is a great Dublin hotel for weddings or honeymoons.
Situated 15 minutes from the city centre, close to Dublin Bay and with views of the mountains, the castle is nestled within an affluent residential area. Prices are sensible, and with the wonderful historic artifacts, paintings, mounted stags heads, coats of arms and stone dogs sitting guard throughout the public areas, and the modern yet sympathetically decorated guest bedrooms, you can really see the castle’s huge appeal.
The castle’s history
First built in 1172 as part of Dublin’s coastal defense from marauding Vikings, the castle has had numerous roles in Dublin’s history, most recently as one of Ireland’s top cabaret venues until 1997. It opened as a fabulous 4 star hotel in 1998 and had a 10 million euro refurbishment in 2007 to turn it into the hotel it is today.
Bars and restaurants
The Knight’s Bar was a bustling hub of Irish hospitality on the night I visited, packed with hotel residents and locals enjoying a meal and a drink. I enjoyed dinner in the quieter Fahrenheit Grill on the second floor where the fish comes straight from the boats on Dublin Bay and the meats are sourced locally from skilled butchers. the prices are sensible and the atmosphere intimate and romantic, lit by chandeliers and candles.
Rooms and suites
The hotel’s bedrooms are in a more modern part of the hotel and the architect’s clever design ensures a seamless switch from castle to modern annex. The rooms are sympathetically designed with modern luxury mixed with gorgeous heavy fabrics, dark wood and huge carved mirrors. My room had a four poster bed, a free standing bath as well as a powerful shower, separate dining area with table and chairs, sofas, mini bar and a second TV.
Guest room at Clontarf Castle
Weddings at Clontarf Castle
For smaller weddings the Fahrenheit Grill is both stunning and intimate.
For larger groups the Grand Hall, just off the hotel’s atmospheric lobby, is just as its name suggests; a grand banqueting suite. It has a separate lobby area for a drinks reception, all with oak paneled walls and beautiful traditional wall lights and is a very popular Dublin reception venue.
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