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Waterford Castle

Waterford Castle

Worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Waterford Castle sits on a private island in the River Barrow just east of Waterford. The tranquil retreat of Little Island is only accessible by ferry and is home to a 16th-century castle that was rebuilt in Gothic style in 1895.

Home to the Fitzgerald family for hundreds of years, the castle has been restored to its former glory and contains just 19 intimate bedrooms that combine a rich, heritage style with modern conveniences. These spacious rooms are all individually decorated with traditional fabrics, antique furniture, hand-painted tiles and claw-footed bathtubs.

Along with lavish rooms, Waterford Castle offers fine dining and numerous on-site activities. Dining choices range from cooked-to-order breakfasts served in the castle conservatory to afternoon tea in the Fitzgerald Bar and fine dining in the award-winning Munster Room Restaurant.

There is an even wider range of outdoor activity choices, including the 18-hole golf course, archery, falconry and clay pigeon shooting. Those interested in a more leisurely experience may prefer searching for wildlife while taking a stroll along the island’s extensive woodland trails.

Our rating: Deluxe

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Rooms

The 19 spacious rooms in the castle are all elegantly and individually decorated in period style. Expect cast-iron window frames and open fireplaces, heavy brocades and patterned wallpaper, antique furniture, and in many rooms, four-poster beds. The large bathrooms have claw-footed bathtubs and hand-painted ceramics along with fluffy bathrobes and plush slippers. Additionally, complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout but service can be a bit patchy at times due to the thick, granite walls.

Location

Waterford Castle is located on a secluded, private island in the River Barrow just east of Waterford city. There is no bridge and the island is only accessible via a short, two-minute ferry ride. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the castle from the city. The island is a tranquil retreat dotted with woodland trails and rich in native wildlife.

Food and drink

A hot breakfast is available daily in the castle’s conservatory, while an informal lunch and dinner are served in the King's Channel Clubhouse, which overlooks the golf course. The award-winning Munster Room Restaurant offers a fine dining experience in a stately room with large, gilt-framed oil paintings and oak panels lining the walls. The modern Irish menu has a local and seasonal focus and offers well-chosen wine pairings. Afternoon tea and evening drinks are available in the Fitzgerald Bar which has an extensive whiskey collection.

Families

During July, August and school breaks, the hotel also offers a kid’s club for children aged 5 to12 years old. Other family facilities include an outdoor playground that features a zip wire and a fairy trail that leads through the resort grounds. Pre-arranged family picnic baskets are also available if ordered in advance.

Facilities and activities

The hotel has plenty of space for outdoor activities which include tennis and croquet, clay pigeon shooting and golf on the 18-hole, Des Smyth designed course. Archery lessons and falconry experiences can also be arranged and the island’s extensive walking trails offer ample opportunity for quiet walks, picnics or wildlife spotting.

Our opinion

We love the grandeur of Waterford Castle and believe that this is a truly spectacular property; however, we feel that the room standards don’t quite match up to the magnificence of the public areas.

Nearby places

Places & hotels on the map

    Alternative places to stay nearby

    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.

    • Granville Hotel, Waterford

      Granville Hotel

      Medium

      Set in a historic, 18th-century townhouse, the Granville Hotel excels due to its faultless service and finely-crafted cuisine. Its period-styled rooms and old world charm give it a stately but intimate atmosphere.

    Experiences while staying here

    The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.

    • Dungarvan Castle

      Lismore Castle gardens and Dungarven Castle tour

      Waterford

      Explore Ireland’s southeast on this private full-day guided tour, which takes in the formal gardens at Lismore Castle, the 12th-century Dungarvan Castle and the beaches, coves and bays of the Copper Coast with its unusual geological history.

    • Viking statue in Waterford

      Viking walking tour

      Waterford

      Explore the Viking roots, Norman fortifications and medieval streets of Waterford on a private 90-minute walking tour that takes in the city’s cultural and heritage quarters and offers a deeper insight into the history of this ancient city.

    • Waterford Crystal

      Waterford Crystal Experience

      Waterford

      Touring the Waterford Crystal factory, you’ll learn about the history of this prestigious glassware company, see master craftspeople blowing, cutting, engraving and sculpting the glass, and get an insight into the inspiration behind the distinctive designs.