To lovers of history, Ireland is a land of castles and battlefields, and there are many of both in the Emerald Isle, given its contentious past. The Clontarf Castle Hotel brings the history-minded both, given its location in a renovated castle, close by the site of the important victory over the Danes by the army of High King Brian Boru in 1014. Ireland is observing the millennium of the Battle of Clontarf, fought on a beach outside Dublin, which prevented a Viking conquest of the country.
Today’s visitors, however, especially the business-minded, may find the four-star Clontarf Castle Hotel’s convenience to modern establishments, notably Dublin Airport and Convention Centre Dublin, more important. They can be reached by car without having to maneuver through Dublin’s Centre City traffic.
Though a castle has been in the site since the 12th century, Clontarf Castle Hotel is by no means a medieval Irish stronghold. The hotel itself is a complete renovation, with new additions, of a castle building built in the 1830s. In their decorating,, however, the owners did try to give a “Game of Thrones” feel to the public areas. Teenagers in our party enjoyed sitting in the regal-like chairs in the lobby, perhaps day-dreaming of the days when knights were bold.
The hotel rooms, while not palatial, are modern and comfortable, and the staff is quite good at making guests feel like royalty. The hotel, too, is more reasonably priced than like-level accommodations in the middle of town. One of the problems, however, is that, the venue is popular for wedding receptions, which may tend to be boisterous. If you value your sleep, it’s best to ask for a room on the upper floors, and away from the reception areas, at least on the weekends.
While away from the congestion of Dublin traffic, the hotel is still convenient for visitors who want to go sightseeing and shopping in the city. Just a half a block walk from the entrance is a stop for a double-decker bus which will take you right to O’Connell Street in about ten minutes, even during the morning rush. Since we left early, the youngsters in our party got to chat with Dublin students on their way to high school.
For us, the Clontarf Castle Hotel was a great way to top off a two-week vacation that started in Shannon. We got to Dublin Airport refreshed and unfrazzled after our whirlwind tour of Ireland.