- Atop a hill outside Doolin, overlooking the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands
- Charming rooms with elegant country decor; some have working fireplaces
- Acclaimed restaurant popular among locals and visitors alike
- Cozy pub serving beer and wine
- Free guided tours of on-site 15th-century castle
- Free breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking
- Some rooms are a little worn
- Not within walking distance of Doolin
- Closed during the winter months
Set on the grounds of a 15th-century castle outside Doolin, the family-run Ballinalacken Castle Country House is an upper-middle-range bed-and-breakfast with lots of charm. Its 16 rooms feature lovely antiques, fine linens, and large windows offering serene views, though some guests complain rooms are worn and a bit dated. An acclaimed on-site restaurant is popular among locals and guests alike, and there's also a cozy bar, plus the hotel offers freebies like Wi-Fi, parking, breakfast, and guided tours of the castle. Guests here are mostly couples looking to enjoy a few quiet days, and the atmosphere is tranquil and friendly. Travelers seeking something in the area might also want to consider Hotel Doolin.
This Hotel Also Featured In
Bed and breakfast — such a simple formula can help travelers feel at home in big, unfamiliar cities. Though B&Bs might conjure images of New England hideaways or stately Southern mansions with rocking chairs set up on screened-in porches, Europe, too, is filled with these quaint, intimate retreats. So, if your idea of a special…
From its vibrant green pastures to its ravishing rugged coastline, Ireland is not lacking in eye-candy. Even better, this photogenic fodder is not limited to sightseeing while out and about. Whether it’s a majestic castle atop a lush hill or a homey bed-and-breakfast tucked away in a picturesque alley, the Emerald Isle’s hotels are a…
We’ve all dreamed about where we’d vacation if money was no object. Would we opt for a luxurious Aspen ski break? How about a private Caribbean island? Or perhaps we’d splurge on rustic European glamour? For some, this dream is a reality. When it comes to traveling, billionaires can live out their wildest vacation fantasies.…
Okay, so you might not be a royal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bed down like one — at least for a night or two or three. And that’s especially true if you happen to be vacationing in Ireland. Dotted with regal castles-turned-hotels, the Emerald Isle has the type of majestic lodgings that can…
Some of us prefer vacations spent lying on the beach. But others don’t consider travel a treat unless adventure is involved. For this latter group, we’ve come up with plenty of lists of destinations and activities that will get your heart racing. But we haven’t yet covered ones that will make your heart stop —…
Oyster Hotel Review
Ballinalacken Castle Country House
A charming, historic bed-and-breakfast with cozy interiors and lovely grounds
Located atop a hill outside of Doolin, Ballinalacken Castle Country House is housed in a single-story building dating back to 1840. The property was built by the famous O’Brien Clan and purchased in 1939 by Daniel O’Callaghan, whose grandson Declan and wife Cecilia still run the hotel today. Stately, cozy interiors have lovely wallpaper with delicate patterns in golden or pale pink hues, period furniture, elegant wooden floors, antiques, and rich fabrics. Working fireplaces keep spaces warm, and plush chairs placed by large windows invite guests to unwind while enjoying serene views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. Some areas are starting to show some wear (especially the carpeting), but the property has a lot of Irish country charm and the overall feel is elegant and quaint.
The hotel’s most special feature are the ruins of a 15th-century castle located on-site and from which it takes its name. While time and western Ireland’s temperamental weather have damaged the imposing building, it is still possible to visit most of it, and the owner offers free guided tours almost daily.
In a secluded spot outside Doolin
Ballinalacken Castle is located atop a hill off the road that runs parallel to Ireland’s western coast. This location is remote and serene, and the only attraction that can be found within walking distance is the on-site 15th-century castle. Doolin’s renowned pubs are a five-minute drive away and the ferries to Aran Islands depart from Doolin’s dock during the warmer months. Also within an easy driving distance are the famous Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and Doolin’s Cave, known for being home to the longest known free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. Dublin is a three-hour drive away.
Charming, cozy rooms with elegant, if dated, decor and period furniture
The hotel has 16 charming rooms, all featuring cute wallpaper, elegant wooden furniture, and large windows overlooking either the serene grounds or the Cliffs or Moher and the Aran Islands beyond. All have been individually decorated and have unique details such as a working fireplace, a plush four-poster bed, antiques, or a seating area with comfy armchairs. Standard in-room amenities include flat-screen TVs, electric kettles with free tea and coffee, hairdryers, and generic toiletries. Some guests complain that rooms are dated and in need of a refresh, however; carpets are starting to look tired and bathrooms are a tad basic, with plastic shower curtains and sinks with two taps instead of a single one. Still, rooms ooze charm and feel cozy and inviting. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
An acclaimed restaurant, a cozy bar, and lots of freebies, including guided castle tours
Owner Declan O’Callaghan offers free guided tours of the imposing 15th-century castle that is adjacent to the bed-and-breakfast. During the visit he allows visitors to explore it at their own pace while explaining the history of the building and answering questions. A fabulous free breakfast is served every morning in a charming room with large windows offering serene views. Other freebies, such as Wi-Fi and outdoor parking are also included for all guests. The restaurant serves an acclaimed menu made with fresh produce and is popular among locals and visitors alike. Afternoon and evening drinks are served at the tiny, rustic bar decorated with lots of wood and exposed stone walls, and a single function room can be rented for small events and intimate weddings of up to 50 guests.
Separate Bedroom / Living Room Space
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.