Dromoland Castle Celebrates 50 Years

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Dromoland Castle Exterior
Dromoland Castle Exterior

Situated in Country Clair, Dromoland Castle is a 450-acre estate located only eight miles from Shannon International Airport. The 99-room palace is an impressive and distinguished property, providing groups with a traditional gothic venue for a royal meeting. The 5-star property is everything you'd imagine when planning a castle-themed meeting, with tassel drapes, suits of armor and ancestral portraits of the O'Brien family, the original owners who lived there until 1962. A year later, the hotel opened as a luxury hotel with revived woodcarvings, stone statuaries, hand-carved panelling and fine antique furnishings.

To celebrate 50 years as a hotel, the inn debuted Dromoland Pale Ale, an artisan lager by The Dungarvan Brewing Company in County Waterford. Celebrate with a pint of the signature ale and pair it with menu choices by Executive Chef David McCann or customize an a la carte menu from the 50th anniversary cookbook.

Host a royal-themed event in the 300-seat ballroom, where attendees are fitted and sized for period costumes and accessories. The space has high ceilings and domed mahogany doorways, perfect for thematic dinners. Upon arrival, groups are greeted by traditional characters, including the Lord and Lady of the house. End the evening with a themed performance by a traditional court jester.

A $2 million renovation is scheduled in 2014, updating the 70-seat Terrace room and the Earl of Thomaond restaurant for 120-pax, although the 90-year-old wallpaper and other original accents will remain intact.

During our visit, we dined in the 26-seat Drawing room, a popular space for groups to gather for tea in between sessions. The walls are lined around gold plasterwork and splashed with shades of red, pink and ivory. Above the warm fireplace is a large portrait of Lady O'Brien, an original piece from the late 1850s.

“Every year, we try to invest money into the property to make it fresh, but also to maintain the history that lives within our walls,” says John Hehir, sales manager. Hehir says the hotel is known as the greenest castle on the Emerald Isle. The property has been awarded gold and silver Green Failte awards for their efforts to protect and enhance the environment. The resort is one of Ireland's first carbon neutral hotels with a wood chip boiler and energy saving fixtures and appliances.

The hotel includes an 18-hole championship golf course by Irish golfer J.B. Carr. Other recreational features include fishing, pony rides, onsite nature trials, cycling, archery, clay shooting and equestrian activities. Schedule a group spa session at the in-house spa, where groups can go from station to station with fully branded treatments based on the company name and logo. Total meeting space is 10,000-sf.