Gregans Castle Hotel

Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare

There isn’t a castle, but there is a 15th-century tower house, built for the ‘Prince of the Burren’, the unearthly glaciokarst landscape said to have inspired J R R Tolkien. More

Good Hotel Guide Review

There isn’t a castle, but there is a 15th-century tower house, built for the ‘Prince of the Burren’, the unearthly glaciokarst landscape said to have inspired J R R Tolkien. The author stayed in the 18th-century manor house opposite the tower, which is now run as a hotel in an ‘idyllic setting’, with a ‘warm welcome’ from owners Simon Haden and Frederieke McMurray. Everything is beautifully styled, with antiques, modern artwork and quirky ornaments; the hotel retains its historic charm yet feels completely of the moment. Rooms are ‘ample and comfortable’; some have a sea view where you can watch the sun go down on Galway Bay, others have a private garden. Robbie McCauley’s menus combine modern cooking with artisan and foraged ingredients in dishes such as East Clare rabbit, celeriac, cèpe, pear, tarragon. ‘The five-course dinner was outstanding.’ At breakfast there are pancakes with organic apple syrup, smoked haddock with hollandaise. You can wander lovely grounds, have a drink by the drawing-room fire, and lunch on Flaggy Shore oysters in the Corkscrew bar, named after the scenic winding road from Lisdoonvarna. (RP)

Hotel details

Address

Gragan East
Ballyvaughan
Co. Clare
H91C F60
Ireland

Telephone

00 353 65 707 700

Bedrooms

21. 7 on ground floor, 1 suitable for disabled.

Open

mid-Feb–early Dec, restaurant closed Mon, Thurs.

Facilities

drawing room, bar, dining room, 15-acre grounds, wedding facilities, EV charging, public areas wheelchair accessible, no adapted toilet.

Background music

in bar and dining room.

Children

all ages welcomed, extra bed €25–€50.

Dogs

allowed in some ground-floor bedrooms (€25 per stay), not in public rooms.

Credit cards

Amex, MC, Visa.

Prices

B&B doubles from €279. Set menu and à la carte €80, tasting menu €100. 1-night bookings sometimes refused Sat, bank holidays.

Comments about Gregans Castle Hotel

The epitome of understated country house luxury. The rooms are big and individually decorated. The house is delightful. The region is dramatic. The cooking is first rare, imaginative without being pretentious. When the dining room was closed I ate in the bar - a relatively simple meal but one that would have graced a good many fine restaurants. - Richard Parish - September 2017

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Last updated: November 22, 2019