An affordable castle hotel in Ireland – Ballyseede Castle Hotel

One of the top things to do in Ireland is to spend a day (or more, if you like) as a royal and stay in a castle hotel. Although you can find castles and forts in many other parts of Europe, Ireland is one of those few countries that lets you enjoy the luxury and glory of the monarchical lifestyle by actually staying in a castle-turned-hotel. However, it can be an expensive affair and it took me a while to find a place that did not burn my pockets and fit into my 10-day road trip in Ireland. So if you're looking for an affordable castle hotel in Ireland - Ballyseede Castle Hotel in Tralee is the perfect choice.

Located hardly 45-minutes away from Dingle, and offering an authentic, regal and typically Irish experience, Ballyseede Castle Hotel is set in thirty acres of woodland in the heart of Kerry. The castle is not huge, which is a good thing because it feels opulent but also cosy, grand but also personal, and stellar service coupled with excellent interiors make the experience unparalleled.

The castle dates back to the 15th century but is now owned by the O'Sullivan family. It is located about 5 min away from the city centre of Tralee. Although it looks old from the outside, the interiors are a blend of classic Victorian styled furniture into a modern living environment with portraits hanging on the walls, large windows allowing the sunlight to pour into the otherwise dark interiors, magnificent chandeliers, elegant staircases, and wall-papered bedrooms, truly representative of aristocracy. Not only does Ballyseede Castle Hotel qualify as an affordable castle hotel in Ireland, it does not disappoint when it comes to the quality of service, facilities available and its interiors.

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

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The reception

As you enter into the castle's driveway, under the shadows of the looming trees, he 3-storied stone building, partially covered by creepers, stands out. Don't be afraid if you're greeted by the pet Wolfhounds - they're harmless and friendly! Mr Higgins and Einstein were probably the best part of the welcome, second only to the warm smiles of the staff. A flight of stone steps, stone-carved lions at the door and ambient lighting reveal very aesthetic interiors. The fireplace, parquet flooring, soft and subdued tones and portraits of royalty on the walls are significant in creating a fancy yet intimate reception for discerning guests looking for an affordable castle hotel.

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

If you have heavy luggage, do ask the help of the staff to take it up to your room if you're not on the ground floor (there are no elevators in the buildings).

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The facilities

Although Ballyseede Castle Hotel maybe classified as an affordable castle hotel, there are facilities on site that will not let you feel the need to leave the castle grounds to look for entertainment or food outside. The gardens are a great place to enjoy a leisurely walk, read a book in a tranquil setting or simply watch the donkeys and ponies grazing in the fenced-off pastures.

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

Located near the entrance of the hotel is the O'Connell Restaurant. A formal setting with flamboyant green walls and a bright red & gold carpet, the restaurant offers a pleasant environment offering Irish cuisine made with the finest locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. The restaurant is open for dinner but only with prior reservations.

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

My favourite part of this affordable castle hotel is the Tea Room. Delicate and soft blue carpet, wall-paper & curtains set the tone for a quaint relaxation room in one part with button-backed couches, oak tables, marble lamps, an artistic fireplace and mantelpiece. The other part of the tea room is more well lit, with tables and chairs next to the exquisite windows half-covered with drapes, looking into the gardens outside. Fine China tea sets and period artefacts lace the room. This part of the restaurant is open 24 hours, serving hot tea and cookies throughout the day.

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

Right across from the tea room is Pappy's Bar. A very snug and dimly-lit bar, one can enjoy all-day dining here, with the option to take their food and drinks into the tea room. The bar is open until late hours of the night, making it the perfect place to enjoy post-dinner drinks and intimate conversations.

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

Although usually reserved for private events, the Stone Room Restaurant also serves a buffet breakfast every morning for the in-house guests. As the name suggests, the restaurant has stone walls with small windows, thus making it imperative for the chandeliers to be lit even during the day. The food as well the service here is excellent, as is true for any other restaurant in this affordable castle hotel.

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

The rooms

About 40 tastefully decorated and spacious rooms are available in this affordable castle hotel, from the basement to the top (3rd) floor. Although the room in the main castle building will cost you about €130 per night, cheaper options are available in a building called The Lodge, which is about 2 min away from the main castle building.

The carved oak wardrobes in the room, plush carpet, soft-colour drapes on the windows contrasting with the bright pattern of the wallpaper, four-poster bed and a spacious bathroom added to the magic of the place. Our room had a beautiful view of the castle's grounds, directly overlooking the pastures with the donkeys and ponies.

The Resident Ghost (s)

This affordable castle hotel is apparently home to a few (friendly) ghosts, one of which is Hilda, a World War I nurse and the last of Blennerhassett family, the last owners of the castle before it was turned into a hotel by the present owners. Some former hotel guests claim to have seen her peering out of the window of the Crosby Room, her previous bedroom.  Sometimes, she leaves behind a scent of red roses.

I tried searching for her during my stay, but without success! A walk through the narrow and quiet corridors late at night can be very eerie, nevertheless.

The verdict

Although it is cheaper to stay at The Lodge, I would advise you to take a room in the main castle building and since Ballyseede Castle Hotel is an affordable castle hotel, it will not cost you an arm and leg to get a decent room. Also, the rooms in the basement do not have a view, so if you want a brightly-lit room, then ask for one on the ground, first or second floor.

Affordable castle hotel in Ireland

The castle is a 4-star hotel and although it may not seem as grand in terms of the size, the small spaces only make it more homely and comfortable. The interiors are stylish, ornate but classy, and nothing less than royal.

Book your stay at Ballyseede Castle here.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I paid for staying at the Ballyseede Castle Hotel and all the opinions expressed in the post are my own genuine views. 

Read about What to do on a day trip to Connemara from Galway

87 thoughts on “An affordable castle hotel in Ireland – Ballyseede Castle Hotel”

  1. Wow! Never really thought of staying in a castle hotel! How was your experience staying in a castle hotel versus a boutique or large chain hotels?

    Also, for the price of staying there, this sounds like a great deal!

  2. Ireland is synonymous with castles! No wonder, some of them have been converted to hotels.
    Oh my! It looks fascinating. I’ve been to several castles in England, and the very thought of being able to eat and sleep in that premises is just wow!
    Friendly ghost? That’s very very interesting. Btw, I’m writing this comment in the middle of the night………

  3. Loved this place. Definitely would have felt like a Queen if I had stayed here. Love the way they have used the interiors for the hotel while preserving their vintage charm. Pity that you did not meet the friendly ghost 😉

  4. This is a wonderful option for a castle stay. In fact, I am pinning your post for when we plan a trip to Ireland. The breakfast room with the luxurious curtains and that elegant staircase would make us feel like royals ourselves.

  5. Oh my gosh, I love the idea of staying in a castle. I really need to make it happen and Ballyseede seems like a great castle to give it a go. Great tip to go ahead and get a room in the castle, that it’s so much better.

  6. A castle stay in Ireland sounds like a dream. Always thought that such kind of experiences were very expensive. But you have blown that myth away. The castle and the rooms look absolutely vintage with their elegance and charm intact. Would be nice to take an afternoon stroll in the gardens and then head to the tearoom, And of course no castle can be complete without a resident ghost!

  7. I have never been to a castle and I would love to visit this! I would probably try to act calm and normal while in the dining room and the other public areas but would probably play dress up and take lots of photos in gowns while in the rooms! hahaha

  8. Wow, living in a castle sounds like a fairytale or dream. Also, it is affordable then I am surely going for it. I loved the interiors of Ballyseede Castle hotel, especially the Tea room with blue carpets and cozy interiors. Also, the stone carved flight of stairs look great and photogenic too. I would prefer to have high floor stay as you said they are well lit up.

  9. What a neat experience staying in a castle. I’ve not spent enough time in Ireland and would love to visit for the beautiful landscapes. Adding in a stay at an affordable castle would be a dream. Great review and recommendation. Definitively keeping Balleyseed castle in mind for my next visit to Ireland!!

  10. I have not spent much time in Ireland and keep meaning to do so. AND spending the night in a castle is on my bucket list so I’m in! I would not go searching for the resident ghost at night and prefer to not think about it. I love the walkway up to do front door and the Stone Room Restaurant.

  11. I love castles with ghosts! Ha Ha. You may say it is inexpensive but it certainly does not looks so. For a 500 year old castle, this seems to be in good condition. Maybe some day I will reach Ireland and stay here and who knows, I will get to meet Hilda.

    1. It’s inexpensive compared to how much it usually costs to stay in castles. This one was less than 200 Euros whereas most others I came across were as high as 600 Euros!

  12. Staying in a castle totally fulfills my lifelong dream of being an actual princess. Especially one with access to a breakfast buffet. The interiors are stunningly gorgeous and I love that there is a pub inside the castle. Too bad you didn’t get to meet the resident ghost, but that’s a good excuse to go back! Thanks for sharing.

  13. This place is just absolutely amazing! I love everything about it…and it’s even better that it is so affordable compared with other similar properties. The hotel looks so impressive both inside and out. The decor is fabulous and the ambience would surely be so unique and wonderful. The authenticity of the history behind a castle turned hotel is just so alluring (although the idea of ghosts, not so much!). Would have to stay here when in Ireland.

  14. I’ve stayed in many amazing fort hotels, but I didn’t know there are castle hotels as well. This sounds like an amazing experience. Ballyseede Castle Hotel looks luxurious. The decor and the architecture seems like a step-back in time. I love that restaurant with stone walls and small windows – extremely fascinating. I would not want to meet the ghosts though, no matter how friendly they are. 😉

  15. Absolutely gorgeous Castle hotel. I checked the prices for 1 year in advance after reading your post and it wasn’t “castle-kinda-costly” at all. Good that you didn’t meet the ghost, although that could have made it way more special..;)

  16. Ireland’s castles are just incredible! I didn’t expect to enjoy visiting them so much as when I did last year. Such a cool experience to stay in one, there’s just so much history! Although I’m sure a little creepy in some areas at night perhaps…! Beautiful interior, they’ve done a great job. It feels very eloquent.

  17. I am glad the ghostly former resident didn’t appear or I will never consider this affordable castle! But my daughter is like you and booked the entire Guthrie Castle in Scotland for her wedding. Smaller than Ballyseede in Ireland, it has 12 room, 3 f&b outlets, a Victorian parlor, plush gardens and a small lake!

  18. As soon as I organize a trip to Ireland, I make sure to put this hotel on my list – it looks so beautiful, each and every detail. You must have felt like some royalty there. I can imagine visiting Ireland just to stay at a historic place like this 😉

  19. I absolutely love it when old buildings are renovated and given their former glory back! This is an extraordinary example! I have bookmarked this post, as I simply love this castle hotel. It looks indeed like you have entered a royal family’s home and you almost expect for some royal to walk through the door ?? wonderful review. You really captured and transmitted the beauty of this place.

  20. It is an experience to stay in a castle even though they tend to have some ghost stories associated with it. The rooms and restaurant are so full of character and charm. I like that part of the tea room is open 24/7 so that you can have hot tea and cookies at all time!

  21. I have to admit the inside of this castle looks like a posh manor or statley home in the UK/ Looks very quaint and to be honest, I never stayed in a castle so would love to check this place out and get some sleep.

  22. I’ve always dreamed to stay in the castle so this post is great! I love how charming and stunning the design of the hotel is. €130 per night sounds pretty good indeed, with the beautiful room and nice facility.

  23. To stay in a castle would be a dream. I love the grand but homely decor and the four poster bedroom with the rich red Regency colours looks beautiful. That tea room is amazing as well! Definitely somewhere I would stay.

  24. I went to Tralee this February for my friend birthday but I stayed in airbnb. I must have miss that castle as I don’t remember seeing it but it looks great! It must have been a fabulous experience to sleep there! It looks so beautiful inside! Hopefully ill be back that way one day so I can stay in that castle for a night 🙂

  25. It might not be huge as you say, but given the fact that it dates back to the 15th century it’s definitely a jaw dropping place. Don’t you just love how those old castles have such enormous windows! Would love to gaze at the garden from one of those.
    And I love the fact that it’s oh so modern inside with all the facilities, but still very traditional. Such charming tea room. And the bedroom looks even more authentic. Love it! 🙂

  26. That looks just grand – Irish hotels are so hospitable I think! I love the stone room restaurant and Pappy’s bar.
    There are great castle hotels in Spain and Portugal too…

    1. I didn’t know that. Would love to stay in one on my visit to Spain & Portugal 🙂

  27. I love staying in historic buildings, particularly monasteries and castles. love the look of the stone room restaurant, the fact that it’s not too big and drafty and also that you have everything you need on site so you don’t have to venture out for a day and a night if you don’t want to. Also the dogs names are adorable Mr Higgins and Einstein LOL

  28. I’ve only stayed in a castle once – in France. I love the fact that this is affordable. Great tip on asking for location of the room – if I’m staying in a castle I don’t want to be in the basement either.

  29. What an awesome castle to stay in. So affordable. Adding it to my Ireland itinerary list 😀

  30. I have never stayed in a castle hotel before and I’d definitely love to one day! Not sure about being greeted by wolfhounds though! And you’re right, the prices are very affordable for something so unique and definitely worth that little extra to stay in the main castle. Glad you enjoyed your stay!

  31. I’m a flashpacker, so this castle hotel definitely fits the bill! I love the names of the dogs, I’d probably spend some time playing with them if they’re that friendly. The room is gorgeous, and I love the red colour scheme too, it’s quite dramatic. For the type of hotel, and that it’s a castle, I think the price is worth it. I don’t want to see or hear any ghosts though!

    1. Haha, if it helps, I didn’t see or hear any ghosts either, even though I particularly went looking for them 😉

  32. Oh wow how beautiful is this castle! I love that there’s an affordable castle hotel in Ireland. I’ve never been but I would love to stay in one when I visit Ireland in the future. The interiors are just so gorgeous and regal! Thanks for sharing!

  33. When I went to Ireland many moons ago I didn’t do my research and didn’t know staying in a castle was something you could do. I would love to do this and live out all my princess dreams from a childhood. The grounds and rooms look very lovely.

    1. You can do that in the UK and Scotland as well, if you ever go there 🙂 Germany has lovely castles but I don’t think you can stay in one, Romania does too, again, none of them allow you to stay in them. I guess castle-hotels are a thing in the UK and Ireland only.

  34. I can definitely see the appeal of staying here — but yikes, 130 euro a night is still way out of my price range! Were the food options affordable? It would be nice to have the dining experience even if I had to stay at a hostel or campground elsewhere 🙂

    1. It’s expensive but then staying in a castle always is. Once in a while, it’s okay to splurge, isn’t it 😉

  35. Who wouldn’t want to stay in a castle?! Ballyseede looks too incredible to be someplace that people can stay in as a hotel. Gorgeous! The Stone Room Restaurant looks so quaint and authentic.

  36. What a great way to feel like a princess! Will definitely try to stay here if and when I get a chance to visit Ireland.

  37. This looks amazing – and with a ghost, too! I love staying in castles, and this one seems exceptional. The restaurants look full of character.

  38. That’s quite lovely! I’d feel like a royal and probably take my dinners into the Tea Room each night. Nice to hear and see that the grounds have been maintained as well. The wolfhounds sound a bit daunting though!

  39. I love the look of Ballyseede Castle Hotel. The restaurants, in particular, look so regal and inviting. For a four-star hotel, this looks amazing. Pity you didn’t see the ghost! Now, that would have made a good story.

  40. This looks great, and it would be a dream come true to stay in a proper castle like this one! I will definitely keep it in mind the next time that I’m in Ireland!

    Along with the obligatory ghost :p

  41. I was all ready for my stay until I heard about the ghost! Now I’m not so sure. But staying in a castle is on my 40 before 40 list. So maybe I should give it a go.

    1. Most castles are older than -7 centuries. It’s imperative to find a ghost in one, from the good old days. As long as they’re friendly, you’ve nothing to worry about 😉

  42. I’ve never stayed at a castle hotel and didn’t even know they existed! I would love to stay here and would definitely check out the tea room. Sounds like there is quite a bit to do in and around the castle that you don’t have to travel elsewhere when staying here.

    1. It’s not too far away from Tralee town centre. If you stay here for more than a night, you can visit the town in the evening and enjoy some live music and dancing as well!

  43. What a lovely alternative to a boring hotel! I definitely plan a trip to Ireland and will mark the Ballyseede Castle Hotel on my list. I never knew about these castle hotels in Ireland and simply have to stay in one of them.

    1. There are quite a few of them but Ballyseede Castle was one of the affordable ones I could find!

  44. Oooh I don’t think I would wander the halls at night, I wouldn’t want to risk meeting any ghosts, friendly or not! But any ‘proper’ castle should have a ghost, it only seems right! The castle is beautiful, and I would love to meet Mr Higgins and Einstein! 🙂

    1. Hilda (the ghost), Mr. Higgins and Einstein were all integral part of the castle-stay experience 😉

  45. It looks so luxurious, I am surprised it can work when you’re on a budget! Staying in a castle in Ireland would be my dream!

  46. I would feel like royalty staying in this castle. I would love to do high tea here and just enjoy feeling like I was meeting royalty.

    I could sit in a window and read a book all day long.

    1. Those chairs by the windows are really appealing to just sit there, read a book and look out, isn’t it?

  47. What an amazing place it is. We would love staying in the Ballyseede Castle. My favorite corner too would be Tea room and the windows of the room. Although USD 130 sounds much for a night, but it looks worth spending too. Great recommendation.

    1. It’s one of the least expensive castle-stays in Ireland, some of them were even USD 500 for a night! This one was totally worth it, though. It really did feel so ‘royal’ staying there.

  48. I’d really love to stay in a castle-turned-hotel one day! 🙂 I love the fact that the interiors are classical yet modern. The Stone Room in particular looks pretty cozy despite the small windows! Interesting to know about the Resident Ghosts. Glad to know they are friendly otherwise, it would’ve been spooky. 😉 Lovely accommodation over-all!

    1. Haha, it’s just a theory 😉 I didn’t see one! The experience of staying in a castle-turned-hotel was pretty awesome.

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