Barberstown Castle Ireland – it has always been a dream of ours to stay in Irish castle hotels. When the opportunity arose with Blue Book Ireland to stay in some of their magnificent castle hotels in Ireland, we jumped at the chance, this was one excited team, our dream had come true.
Barberstown Castle was one of our first castles in stay in Ireland. For a castle near Dublin Barberstown ticks all the boxes. Just a short distance from Dublin Airport and so full of history, it is a must stay!
There are over 30,000 castles and castle ruins scattered throughout Ireland. Some have been lovingly restored like Barberstown and some are ‘just ruins’ too costly to be restored.
Castle Hotels in Ireland are unique places to stay and we highly recommend that you do so. Not only are you experiencing the Castle Hotel itself but you will enjoy the history, the tales and the legends that abound.
Location of Barberstown Castle Ireland
The beauty of Barberstown Castle is its history, architecture and its location. You can fly into Dublin Airport and spend 24 hours in Dublin exploring this amazing capital before visiting Barberstown Castle which is just a 25-minute drive away in the village of Straffan in County Kildare.
This area of Ireland is called the Ancient East which covers 17 counties from the River Shannon to the Irish Sea. By positioning yourself at Barberstown Castle it will give you a great base to explore the surrounding countryside and all that the Ancient East has to offer the traveller.
History of Barberstown Castle Ireland
Barberstown Castle was built by Nicholas Barby in 1288 on lands owned by the Norman Fitzgerald Family. During the 13th Century, Barberstown Castle was used as a fortress to protect the local village and the people of Barberstown from the Irish rebel Ui Faelain who went on a rampage burning towns and villages in the area. The walls of the Castle Keep were designed to slope inwards as a way of preventing the enemy from getting ‘out of range’.
The world-famous guitarist Eric Clapton has been one of its recent owners, the Castle having 37 owners since its construction. Fortunately, all owners have been passionate enough to care about the upkeep of the Castle which now sits in stunningly manicured lawns and gardens spread over 20 acres. Some of the other owners included:
- William Sutton 1630 – one of the most important families in the district
- Lord Kingstown 1689. When James II of England ascended the throne, the Earl of Tyrconnell confiscated the Castle from Lord Kingstown and it fell into the hands of the Commissioner of Revenue who rented it out annually for 102 pounds to Roger Kelly.
- The Lord Mayor of Dublin – Bartholomew Van Homreigh purchased the Castle in 1703 which was then sitting on 335 acres for 1,033 pounds.
- Wine Merchant Mr Hugh Barton purchased the hotel in 1830 from the Henry family who purchased it from the Lord Mayor. The Henrys apparently were great spenders and in the end, had no option but to sell the Castle. Mr Barton also constructed the K Club (originally the Straffan House) which is located nearby to the Castle, famous 5-star luxury golf and spa hotel. Mr Barton added the last wing in the 1830s giving the castle its design that you see today.
- The Huddleston family, who purchased the castle from Hugh Barton found the Castle too expensive to upkeep in the 1900s and sold it to Nora Devlin.
- Nora Devlin converted the Castle into a hotel in 1971. It became one of Ireland’s first great country houses to present itself to the public.
- Eric Clapton 1979
- Ken Healy 1987
In 1987 Ken Healy purchased Barberstown from Eric Clapton. At that time the hotel was a 10-bedroom guest house with 3 bathrooms, after renovation, it is now a 4-star 59 bedrooms Failte approved hotel. Barberstown Castle is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book group of exquisite Castles and Country Homes as well as a member of the Historic Hotels of Europe.
During the renovation in 1996, a tunnel was discovered that linked the castle to the local church in Straffan. Do we wonder what it was used for? It is said that ‘it is thought to have been used during penal times’. A Priest’s Hole, originally constructed to protect the priests of the town in penal times has also been located in the Castle.
We love legends and stories and none better than the one relating to Barberstown Castle. One of the owners who were desperate to retain ownership of the castle is reputedly buried in the original part of the Castle – the Tower of the Castle Keep. Apparently, at that time the lease of the Castle stated ‘that the lease would expire when the last male member of the family was underground’ meaning on his death. The women of the family cleverly had him buried in the Tower of the Castle Keep ensuring that the family continued to hold the lease.
Our Experience at Barberstown Castle Ireland
It was an easy 25-minute drive from Dublin Airport in our rental car to Barberstown Castle, even in the pouring rain. Barberstown Castle has plenty of car parking spaces for guests and visitors on the grounds. Barberstown Castle was our first stop on our 3-week self-drive itinerary around Ireland.
Checking in to our room was an enjoyable experience. The staff were very welcoming and informative explaining the local points of interest, dinner options and breakfast timings for the morning.
Now the exciting part – the first glimpse of our bedroom. Watch our video as we open the door.
We slowly opened the door and both said ‘wow’ at the same time. Our room was large, with a beautiful wooden hand-carved four-poster bed as well as a sitting room and desk area overlooking the garden outside. We were staying in the room named Hugh Cairncross 1780.
Other facilities in the room:
- complimentary wifi
- sparkling and still water
- fluffy dressing gowns
- original antiques in the room
- large bathroom with designer toiletries
- LCD Screen TV
- Trouser press
- Room service is available from 13.00 to 22.00 from the Clapton’s Menu
It is worth checking out the information books that hotels provide in your room. Barberstown Castle is the first one that we have seen that gives you “101 Things To Occupy Yourself Whilst You Enjoy the Ambience that is Barberstown Castle”. That is 101 things to visit and see, this confirms that using Barberstown Castle as a base is a great way to experience Ireland and especially the Ancient East.
Breakfast is between 07.00 and 10.00.
On offer at the buffett were cereals, fruit, yogurts, pastries and cooked items from the Breakfast Menu were also on offer including of course the full Irish Breakfast which includes eggs, bacon, tomato, sausage, black and white pudding and mushrooms.
Dining Options Barberstown Castle
Bartons Room Restaurant
Irish Country House Dining with a French Influence by Chef Bertrand Malabat who uses where possible local organic produce.
Friday and Saturday nights 19.30 to 21.30
Sunday to Thursday 18.00 to 20.00
Open log fires overlooking the terrace and the Rose Gardens.
Medieval Banquets are available for guests. Depending on the number of guests they include musicians, singers, dancers and storytellers.
Weddings are popular at Barberstown Castle in such an idyllic setting.
Barberstown Castle is also available for conferences and meetings.
Closed 24th – 26th December and the months of January and February.
GPS Codes for Barberstown Castle Ireland
To assist in navigation:
Taken directly from the website of Barberstown the directions on how to get there:
Directions to Barberstown Castle Ireland:
FROM DUBLIN AIRPORT:
From Dublin airport follow signs for the M50 Southbound. Join the M50 Motorway and continue through the Toll, over the bridge and take your first Exit for the N4 (Junction 7). Please note that the N4 becomes the M4.
Travelling west on the N4/M4, take the Straffan/ Maynooth exit at (Junction 7). At the roundabout take your second exit onto the R406 (signposted Naas/ Clane) and follow signs for Barberstown Castle. Go straight through the Barberstown Roundabout and take your first right turn into Barberstown Castle.
FROM DUBLIN CITY CENTRE:
Follow signs for the M50/N7/N4 Motorways from the Quays on the River Liffey in Dublin City Centre. Please note that the N4 becomes the M4. Travelling west on the N4 from Dublin City Centre, take the Straffan/ Maynooth exit at (Junction 7), then at the roundabout at the 2nd exit onto the R406 (signposted Naas/ Clane) and follow the signs for Barberstown Castle. Go straight through the Barberstown Roundabout and take your first right turn into Barberstown Castle.
From Galway follow the signs to M6. From the M6 exit for the M4/N4 motorway. Exit the M4 motorway at Junction 7 for Maynooth/ Straffan. At the roundabout take the second exit signposted for R406 (signposted Naas/ Clane) follow the signs for Barberstown Castle. Go straight through the Barberstown Roundabout and take your first right turn into Barberstown Castle.
Travelling North on the N7 from Limerick, take exit 7 for Straffan/Kill. Continue straight on the road following signs the signs for Straffan. Go Straight through Straffan Village and Barberstown Castle is the last Driveway on the Left before you reach a large Roundabout (Barberstown Roundabout).
Our helicopter landing pad is available, please contact the Castle in advance of your arrival at 01 628 8157.
Check-In and Check-Out Times
Check-in time from 15.00 hours
Check out time 11.30 hours
A 5-day Suggested Itinerary (recommended by Barberstown Castle)
Visit the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens in the morning
Visit the Kildare Town Heritage Centre
After lunch visit St Brigid Round Tower
Bus Eirann #120 30 mins from outside the entrance to Barberstown Castle takes you to Dublin City Centre
Day trip to the Garden of Ireland with a visit to Russborough House and Glendalough
Roundwood Inn for lunch
Powerscourt House Waterfall and Gardens
Visit the 5000-year-old site of Newgrange (Irelands Stone Henge)
Hill of Tara (home of Irelands High Kings)
Straffan, County Kildare Ireland.
To book Barberstown one of the Luxury Hotels in Ireland click here:
Have you stayed in a Castle Hotel? If you have only 4 days in Ireland or more we would highly recommend spending some time out of Dublin in Barberstown and the surrounding area.
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We thank Barberstown Castle and their employees for looking after us during our stay.
We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance when you book and pay for your flights, tours and cruises.
If you enjoyed this article on Barberstown Castle you may enjoy reading more of our adventures in Ireland:
The Mustard Seed in Ballingarry
Carrig Country House Killorglin
Dunbrody House Hotel Arthurstown
DISCLOSURE: We enjoyed a media rate for bed and breakfast as guests of Barberstown Castle but received no further remuneration to write this post. We were not expected to write a positive review – all views are our own and we retain full editorial control.
Disclosure: Certain links in this post are affiliate links. This means that should you make a purchase via our link, we will receive a commission which will not affect the price you pay.
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