by Wendy O'Dea for USA TODAY 10Best

These majestic castle hotels in Ireland let you live out your fairytale dreams

While there’s a lot to be said for the character and appeal of Ireland’s charming B&Bs, nothing quite compares to staying in a restored castle hotel or traditional country house. Allow these stunning properties to transport you back in time.

Ashford Castle - County Mayo

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Perhaps more spectacular than any other property in western Ireland, Ashford Castle is an enchanting 83-room castle and estate that sits on the shores of Lough Corrib.

Ballynahinch Castle - County Galway

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This property, with views of the meandering Owenmore River surrounded by lush woodlands, has a fascinating history. Once a quaint fishing retreat, it’s now a luxurious escape for travelers and locals alike.

Adare Manor - County Limerick

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Adare Manor feels like a mix of a Gothic European cathedral – complete with gargoyles and heraldry – and a French chateau. It includes four towers, 52 chimneys and 365 leaded windows.

Belleek Castle - County Mayo

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Belleek Castle is more rustic than most Irish castle hotels. The neo-Gothic structure on the River Moy opened as a hotel in 1970 by the late Marshall Doran, a swashbuckling, self-confessed smuggler-turned-collector and hotelier.

Glenlo Abbey - Galway

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Though not technically a castle, this grand estate just outside of Galway’s city center is as luxurious and indulgent as a castle hotel. Not to be missed is dinner inside The Pullman Restaurant, which consists of two Pullman cars.

Kilkea Castle - County Kildare

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One of the oldest inhabited castles on the island, this property dates back to 1180. The resort features 140 rooms with 11 located in the main castle.

Lough Eske Castle - County Donegal

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Lough Eske Castle Hotel sits in a county that boasts some of the most beautiful and untamed coastal vistas along the Wild Atlantic Way. The only five-star hotel in County Donegal, it is surrounded by natural beauty.

Cabra Castle - County Cavan

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Set amidst 100 acres of parkland and manicured gardens, with the magnificent backdrop of Dún a Rí Forest Park, the property oozes old-world charm and features a scenic nine-hole golf course on castle grounds.

Dromoland Castle - County Clare

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At Dromoland, acres of rolling hills are home to a golf course, riding trails, shooting ranges and trails for hiking and cycling. Take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the estate or book the falconry experience.

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