At the start of the year I was very lucky to be given a luxury weekend break with Chill.ie and Irish Country Hotels. We chose the stunning 4* Cabra Castle Hotel in Kingscourt, Co Cavan for our break. Seeing as we have 5 children we never get any offers to babysit which is understandable really. We decided to split the children between their two Grannies so we could have our first child free break in years to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.
We didn’t get off to a good start as Storm Barney paid Ireland a visit so it rained nonstop all the way from Kildare to Dublin & traffic was chaotic, we were halfway up the M7 when I realised I’d left the baby’s nappy bag at home. As there are no convenient shops en route it was going to waste precious time to purchase what we needed but Sue came to my rescue with one of her #randomactsofhappy. She saved us a shed load of time, thanks Sue!
We safely deposited half our children in Glasnevin & half of them in Blanchardstown and left Dublin for the hour long drive to Cavan, still in the lashings of rain. From the second we arrived at Cabra castle I was in love with the place and every minute of panic was forgotten in an instant. They had their Christmas decorations up outside complete with tiny twinkling white lights, the castle looked stunning. Check in was efficient and friendly we also booked a table for dinner for later that night. Our room was located around the back of the Castle in the courtyard; we hopped in the car and drove around. (yes the castle is that big!)
We were in room 67 which is one of the top floor courtyard suites. The decor of the room was in perfect keeping with the Castle, expensive carpets and curtains with bare stone walls and varnished wooden ceiling beams. The bathroom was tiled floor to ceiling; in one corner was a gorgeous replica antique bathing stand in the other there was large Jacuzzi bath. Having read reviews on TripAdvisor I believe the courtyard rooms are better than the rooms in the Castle, many people advise asking for a courtyard room.
Every member of staff we encountered was so warm and friendly, which to be honest really makes a hotel stand out for me. Dinner is served in the Courtroom Restaurant on the first floor and books out fast so booking is advised. I could easily see how they book out as the prices are amazing for an award winning restaurant. A four course dinner starts at just €35.50 per person. The fact that the Castle and restaurant are always full is a testament to the owners; by keeping it affordable they are ensuring the Castle will remain open for years to come, employing local people.
The atmosphere in the restaurant was fabulous; a really relaxing and welcoming environment. We asked for a table down the back as it’s a smaller area making it more romantic. We couldn’t fault any one of the dishes served to us, all were made with local fresh ingredients cooked to perfection. If you do go I’d highly recommend the Caesar salad, it’s the best I’ve tasted in years.
They make their own dressing which has won a gold medal and it’s divine. The wines were also surprisingly affordable; we opted for a delicious Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon priced at just €25 a bottle. We loved everything about the meal so much so that before we left we booked a table for the following night.
Truly the only niggle I had with the restaurant was that when requesting (my fave) Eggs Benedict for breakfast, they didn't serve it. Now, I'm not mentioning this to be picky but it's not that they just didn't serve it, the waitress had never heard of it! I'm guessing she was new and what with the entirety of our stay being sensational, I'm not going to hold it against them.
On Saturday we took a short drive into Carrickmacross for a spot of shopping and then on to Drogheda for lunch. It didn’t stop raining all day so we returned to the Castle early so I could have a Jaccuzzi to warm my bones before dinner. If they had a pool at the castle we would have spent the day at the hotel rather than braving the Irish weather. There were weddings on the Friday and on the Saturday at the castle so it was very busy but that didn’t impact us at all as there was always a friendly staff member available.
They currently have a fantastic special offer on their website starting at €220 for 2 people for 2 night’s bed and breakfast. The only weekend date available is 1st & 2nd January it’d be a perfect Christmas gift for that someone special and yourself of course!
Trying to squeeze every last moment out of our weekend we spent Sunday morning sitting reading the Sunday papers at a large open fire just off the reception area, it was while here that we noticed the Proclamation framed and hanging on the wall. Also on the first floor there is one of the original Tricolours on display, I loved that they have an appreciation of our history and heritage.
It’s easy to see Cabra Castle is a family run hotel as everything is impeccable and the staff really seem to enjoy working there. The Corscadden family also own Ballyseede Castle in Co Kerry, which is now on our list of places to stay and Bellingham Castle in Co Louth which is a 19 bedroom Castle available for private hire for weddings, parties and corporate events. I recently learned that the family also bought Markree Castle in Co Sligo which is currently undergoing renovations, scheduled for opening in spring 2017; having stayed there a few years ago I can’t wait to return when it’s complete to see the Corscadden touch.
Have you ever stayed in Cabra Castle? How did you get on? Are there any other Castle hotels in Ireland we should visit?
As mentioned our break
was courtesy of Chill.ie
but not on condition of review.
We weren't paid or sponsored
for this feature and, as ever, it
wouldn't sway our opinion even
if we were.