Castle HotelsCo. Waterford

Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort

Waterford_Castle_Ireland

An historic 16th Century castle on its own private island. What more could you ask for?

The History of Waterford Castle

The Island on which Waterford Castle is situated was first settled by monks in the 6th Century before being taken over by the Vikings between the 9th and 11th Centuries. Due to its location, the island has always been strategically important.

The Norman Invasion & The Fitzgerald Family

After the Norman Invasion in 1170, Maurice Fitzgerald was the first in what was to become a lineage at the castle that spanned 800 years. The Fitzgerald’s were the Kings of Ireland in all but name during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The castle itself began life as a Norman Keep – a stone tower with thick, virtually inpenetrable walls, narrow slit windows and a lead roof – designed for defence. In the 14th Century a tower, which is the centre part of the present castle, was constructed on the site of the old Keep.

Over the years it was enlarged and in the late 1800’s the East and West wings were added. However, up until the present century it retained its fortress-like exterior with the original arrow slit windows. Roof top gargoyles were brought from Castle Irwell in Manchester.

High Society, the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám and an Italian Prince

In the 18th Century, Mary Frances Fitzgerald, a formidable socialite of the day, made the Castle a centre for high society. She was, at one stage, engaged to the Duke of Wellington (who defeated his foe Napoleon at Waterloo) but she broke off the engagement to marry her first cousin.

Her son Edward gained fame for his translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám with some critics suggesting the poetic quality of his work exceeded that of the original author. Edward’s great, great niece Mary Augusta de Lisle Purcell Fitzgerald, who married an Italian Prince, was the last in the line of Fitzgerald ownership, ending an 800 year legacy.

The End of a Legacy and New Beginnings

In 1958 the Igoe family from County Mayo became the new owners of the Castle and set about building a five-acre complex of glasshouses to produce flowers and fruit.

The next owners were the Farren Brothers who farmed tomatoes and in 1978 the property was rented to a Waterford Pedigree dairy farmer who eventually bought the Island outright. In 1987 the Island was sold again, this time to Eddie Kearns who developed it into a luxurious hotel and country club. This was eventually sold to a business consortium in 1997.

In 2015 the estate passed into the hands of the current owner, Seamus Walsh, a Waterford-born businessman. Seamus and his family have reinvigorated the property while also preserving the Castle and the Island’s rich history. They have completed restoration work on the Castle as well as redecorating the self-catering lodges and the King’s Channel Clubhouse. They’ve also restored priceless antiques and procured new period décor. The 1870 farm buildings and stable yards are slated for restoration and a new spa will be opening soon.

Curious Fact

The ghost of Mary, the last of the Fitzgerald family to own the Castle is said to haunt the Munster dining room and attached conservatory

What’s it Rated?

5 star Luxury. With a capital ‘L’.

Get Me There Now!

The Island
Co. Waterford
Ireland

1 hour 30 minutes from Dublin Airport

You’ll take a small car ferry across to the Island.

In the Conde Nast 2016 People’s Choice Awards, Waterford Castle Resort was named No. 7 Best Hotel In The World.

Rooms at Waterford Castle

Waterford Castle is small and intimate with only 19 rooms. Each room is unique and they all exude a luxurious old world charm. You’ll never forget you’re in a castle because all the rooms feature the original cast iron windows set in granite stone, from which you can enjoy views of the Island’s parklands, forest and wildlife.

And if you really want to feel like royalty….you can’t go past the sumptuous Presidential Suite!

All rooms offer the modern conveniences you’d expect in an upscale hotel as well as:

  • Luxury Irish Handmade Soap Company toiletries
  • Heated towel rail
  • Bathrobes & Slippers
  • Daily newspaper
  • In-room complimentary Nespresso coffee & Irish Breakfast Tea
  • Handmade Irish chocolates (how awesome is that?)
  • Bathrooms that feature hand-painted ceramics and claw-footed baths (hello bubble bath!)

Standard Room

  • Elegantly decorated rooms that feature luxurious furnishings and antiques
  • Size – approximately 300 square feet


Deluxe Rooms

  • Grandeur and style within the walls of a 16th Century castle
  • Size – approximately 485 square feet
  • Complimentary bottled Irish Spring water

Deluxe Suites

  • Individually decorated with opulent furnishings and period décor – rich in history and style
  • All suites have numerous windows and spectacular views
  • Size – approximately 900 square feet
  • Separate living room area
  • Complimentary bottled Irish Spring water

Presidential Suite

  • Old-world style on a grand scale
  • Lavish decorations that include antique furnishings, presidential paintings, Waterford Crystal chandeliers and lamps and spectacular four poster bed
  • Size – approximately 1400 square feet
  • Entrance hall & separate living area
  • Double basins in the bathroom
  • Complimentary bottled Irish Spring water

 

 

Island Lodges

The Island Resort also offers 45 family-friendly, self-catering lodges.

  • Three double bedrooms each with private verandah overlooking the golf course
  • Open plan living, kitchen dining, laundry, four bathrooms and patio

Dining at Waterford Castle

  • Chef Michael Thomas heads up the team at the award winning Muster Room Restaurant. Here you’ll enjoy a fine dining experience with seasonal menus created with local produce and an extensive wine cellar. Considered one of the finest in Ireland, the restaurant provides a warm ambience with oak paneled walls and a lovely ornate ceiling.

  • For a more informal meal head to the King’s Channel Clubhouse. Overlooking the first tee of the 18-hole golf course it offers everything from light snacks to delicious evening meals.
  • Like all good castles, Waterford offers a decadent afternoon tea. You can choose to have yours in the elegant surroundings of the Fitzgerald Room, The Leinster Room or The Conservatory.

What else can I do here?

Golf

The Island is home to an 18-hole par 72 Des Smyth designed course that is ranked in the Top 30 parkland courses in Ireland by Golf Ireland. The course covers an area of over 200 acres with parkland and woodland areas that offer a scenic and strategically challenging game.

Clay Pigeon Shooting

One of the Resort’s most popular activities for both novices and more advanced shooters. Tuition is available.

Falconry

The sport of kings….and you’ll feel like one as you fly, handle feed and interact with these beautiful birds of prey.

Other Activities

  • Archery
  • Croquet
  • Tennis
  • Island Trails
  • Picnic in the grounds – have the kitchen prepare you a basket of delectable delights
  • Visit all the attractions of nearby Waterford

What About the Kids?

Small guests are well-catered for at the Resort.

  • Kid’s playground including a flying fox
  • Kid’s Island Fiesta Club (July & August) for drama, dance, arts & crafts and games
  • Find Eliza the Fairy’s front door

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

  • Literally loved it. People work a lot during the year for then priceless time of their vacation and what ca nr Be nicer than a weekend or a couple of day to treat yourself and your family like royalties. Description of the history and then the smooth transition to the description of facilities and services of the property were amazing and to be honest you got me interested, very interested in a escape from modern and noisy day to day life to opt for some picefull place, full of history and great relaxation for body and mind.
    Great review though.

    • Thanks so much for your visit and comment. I agree with you that our precious vacation time is well-spent indulging in a bit of luxury!

  • I have always wanted to visit Ireland and the idea of staying in hotel with such historic significance sounds amazing. Castles have always interested me and in fact just yesterday I visited the Downton Abbey Exhibition in NYC and it was amazing. highly recommend for you if you ever come to New York. The rooms at the Waterford look lovely but I was wondering about the food. Are all of the guest expected to eat on site and if so what type of cuisine is served?

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for your visit and comment – and for the tip about the Downton Abbey Exhibition in NYC – I hadn’t heard about that.

      Waterford Castle offers both traditional and contemporary Irish cuisine. Dishes like Wild Mushroom Pie, Seafood Chowder and a perennial favourite – Cod and Chips can all be found on the menu. Ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced. Guests have the option to eat at the resort, or elsewhere in the area. Although the hotel is on an island in the River Suir, the ferry to the mainland is only a 2 minute journey and from there its a short drive into Waterford where you’ll find a wide selection of restaurants. The private resort ferry operates 24/7.

      Cheers, Margaret

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