Royal retreat: A medieval-inspired stay in Dublin


Clodagh Dooley writes about her recent visit to the luxurious Clontarf Castle Hotel

Since the pandemic, I’ve continued to work from my home in Offaly, but part of my work often takes me to Dublin. 

While I usually travel to Dublin for business , there is always a bit of pleasure mixed in too! And what I like about Dublin is that each time I visit, I always discover something new, whether it’s a restaurant, cafe or hotel.

On my latest adventure to Dublin, I travelled for the Irish Travel Industry Awards, which took place in the Mansion House last Thursday. While there, I was kindly invited to stay overnight at the 4-Star Clontarf Castle Hotel for the first time. And let me tell you, this hotel is a real gem in the heart of Dublin!

Clontarf Castle Hotel is located in the tranquil neighbourhood of Clontarf, right by Dublin Bay – so I was treated to gorgeous sea views as I made my way to the hotel. The hotel itself is a magnificent, centuries-old castle, which has a rich history. While the current castle dates back to 1837, there was a previous castle on the site in 1172. The location, in fact, was the site for the famous Battle of Clontarf in 1014, involving Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland.

Main lobby

On entering the castle hotel, I was taken aback by the exquisite interior and its blend of contemporary and ancient-like touches. Human-sized knight figures line the walls of the entrance to the main lobby, which also consists of intricate wall tapestries, stone walls, polished floors, a sparkling chandelier and a piano.

While the hotel is very modern and stylish, it also exudes the sense that you’ve stepped back in time.

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Great ‘knight’s’ sleep

After checking in with the friendly staff, I took the elevator to the fourth floor, which has a balcony overlooking the lobby, and made my way to my bedroom. I was in awe when I opened the door! I was staying in a luxury suite, and it really was fit for a queen!

Luxury suite

The extravagant suite had a very comfy four-poster bed, a lounge area, two televisions, a beautiful, large gold mirror, and even a majestic lion sculpture. All set against the striking plush jacquard fabrics and floral prints in jewel tones. The bathroom was modern, with a gorgeous bathtub, rainfall shower, and toiletries by the Irish Handmade Soap Company. 

In the room, there were also four windows overlooking the front of the hotel, providing panoramic views across Clontarf. And the suite had all the other handy amenities including tea/coffee-making facilities, a safe, mini-fridge, hairdryer, and iron. 

On top of all this, I received a lovely, warm welcome to the room in the form of a dessert platter, which was dropped up to my door by one of the staff, along with a box of chocolates. True VIP treatment!

Wine and dine

After dropping my bag into the suite, and long attempts of trying to move from the comfortable bed, I ventured back downstairs for lunch.

Clontarf Castle Hotel has three main dining/bar options, the Fahrenheit Restaurant, Indigo Lounge and Knights Bar. But as I would be getting dinner later that night at the Awards event, I opted to have lunch at the Knights Bar, a cosy area with warm leather banquettes, classic upholstered booths, open fireplaces and an ornate pitched ceiling. 

Knights Bar Caesar Salad

Lunch dishes here range from Classic Seafood Chowder to Knight’s Caesar Salad, and Castle Glazed Ham & Dubliner Cheddar Cheese Croque Monsieur to Chargrilled 10oz Hereford Striploin Steak. I went for the Caesar Salad. It was extremely tasty and had a very generous portion size. Dinner options are also available at Knights Bar and there’s an extensive cocktail menu. 

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If you’re looking for a Table d’hôte evening menu and sophisticated atmosphere, then visit the Fahrenheit Restaurant. The restaurant, which has striking stained glass windows and panelled walls, serves dishes such as Roasted Monkfish and New Season Lamb. Breakfast is also served in the Fahrenheit Restaurant and there was a range of options to choose from at the buffet, including fry options, cereals, pastries, fruits, and even ready-made mini smoothies.

The Indigo Lounge offers a wholesome and traditional Craft Carvery, providing that ‘taste of home’. Perfect for a relaxed Sunday.

Stay in style

Clontarf Castle Hotel truly is a crown jewel in Dublin city and is set in a perfect location, with lots to do. 

There are beautiful walkways along the Clontarf seafront, and cute cafes to stop by for a coffee such as the Bold & Brass coffee truck. You can go for a swim at the famous Clontarf Baths nearby, and visit the Baths at Clontarf cafe/restaurant for a refreshment. St Anne’s Park is also just a short stroll from the hotel, while Dollymount Strand is a short drive away. 

For shopping lovers, the 130 bus stops near the castle and takes you right into Abbey Street, which is located near the main shopping streets, O’Connell Street and Henry Street. These are just a 15-minute drive away on the bus.

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Clontarf Castle Hotel even has its own art trail, with paintings, photography and sculptures that await you around every corner. I’d give my stay at Clontarf Castle Hotel a 10/10, because I can’t fault it –  fabulous interiors, delicious food, a warm welcome and a great location.

I even bumped into my neighbours from Offaly while staying overnight, who told me that they had stayed in the hotel before and were returning. Always a good sign! 

If you’re inspired to stay at Clontarf Castle Hotel too, they have a ‘Spring Knights Package’.  

Spring into a ‘Knight’ away with a luxurious stay in Clontarf Castle. Relax and indulge this season with a one night getaway package, which includes:

– One Night Bed and Artisan Breakfast
– A Bottle of Wine and Box of Chocolates in your room on arrival
– 3-Course Gourmet Evening Meal

From €229 per night, based on two people sharing. 

To book or for more information, visit




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