Old world charm meets modern glam at Lough Eske Castle

by Jessica Maile

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life doesn’t mean you have to book flights, get to the airport at crazy o’clock in the morning and venture to some far-flung destination.

Sometimes, packing up the car, putting on your favourite music and driving off into the wild Irish countryside can be a great adventure.

That’s what I did and headed north to Donegal.

But not just anywhere in Donegal. Our compass was set to the idyllic haven of Lough Eske Castle, a true getaway destination with a rich history dating back to the 15th century.

When you drive around the bend and the castle comes into view, it immediately relaxes you and let’s you know you will be well taken care of.

Lough Eske Castle is just 8km from Donegal town and sits proudly on a 43 acre forest estate that hugs the shore of Lough Eske, close to the Bluestack mountains. Everywhere you turn there are spectacular views.

The castle seemlessly blends Old World charm with the conveniences of a modern world-class hotel and I had the chance to experience all it has to offer. It also has the most magnificent smell of burning turf, no matter where you are in the main part of the castle. Pure heaven…

Guests have access to golf, fishing, lakeside treks and horseback riding. and a history tour of the castle itself, which I highly recommend.

My room, to my delight, was the Lady Francis Suite in the main part of the castle. The suite was well-appointed with a huge canopy bed and a master-bathroom suite that I treated like my own mini spa. The best thing about the room was how quiet it was. and quiet means proper rest.

There are plenty of options for food and drink including contemporary cuisine at Cedars restaurant, the relaxed atmosphere of the Gallery Bar and Lobby Lounge where you can get a hearty lunch and a quiet drink. Another highlight for foodies is the Traditional Afternoon Tea with an amazing selection of teas to sip with savoury sandwiches and sweet pastries and cakes.

My favourite hang-out, however, was the Father Browne Bar. It’s part bar and part picture gallery with over 200 photos from the legendary Father Browne. It is definitely worth ordering a drink and immersing yourself in these pictures of Ireland’s past.

If I wasn’t already spoiled enough, the Thermal Suite at the Cara Organic Beauty spa just melted the stress away.

This spa is a five-star resort experience that has eight treatment rooms and a welcoming skillful staff.

I found the pool was an ideal way to get refreshed to start the day and the large hot tub, sauna, steam room were the perfect way to end it.

Lough Eske Castle has a lot to offer but where it really shines is their service and attention to detail.

In all my travels, I have never met a more welcoming and friendly staff.

They are why this hotel deserves every single one of its five stars.

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