Ireland’s Blue Book Autumn Breaks to Laois and Kildare

Now that County Laois has been taken off the recent lockdown there are two spectacular properties that are worth visiting this autumn for a special treat. Castle Durrow is home to the Stokes family and I’d the pleasure of catching up with Tessa Stokes last week and asked her what to expect during a stay at the castle.

Castle Durrow, Co. Laois

Built by Capt William Flower in 1716, on the banks of the river Erkina in the Irish midlands, Castle Durrow has been lovingly restored by Shelly and Peter Stokes and is now open as one of Ireland’s most popular luxury four-star hotels, conveniently located about 1 hour from Dublin and 90 minutes from Cork.
Walk the estate and surrounding woodlands and forests or stroll along the miles of river pathways. Visit the cafés, bars, restaurants and shops of Durrow and the nearby heritage town of Abbeyleix.
Explore the walled gardens where lots of organic produce is grown for Castle Durrow’s restaurant. The formal grounds are a gardener’s paradise and instructive tours are given by Castle Durrow’s head gardener daily.

Castle Durrow is proudly one of Ireland’s most popular Castle wedding venues and has numerous commendations from past couples.

Offer: Escape for One Night Bed, Breakfast and Dinner.
Includes: One night accommodation in a individually styled bedroom
Full Irish Breakfast
4-course evening meal in the Coopers Restaurant
From: €360 total stay
To Book: Contact 057 873 6559 or

Ballyfin Demesne, Co. Laois

At the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, just over an hour from Dublin, Ballyfin has long been admired as one of the most lavish regency mansions in Ireland. Decorated with Irish art and antiques from around the world, the interiors offer the same spirit of refined elegance that the early house reflected in the 1820s.
With just 20 bedrooms, Ballyfin has the flavour of a grand private house with the facilities of a five-star resort. Enjoy 614 acres of private parkland, a 28-acre lake, ancient woods and follies, an indoor swimming pool, gym and treatment rooms. A range of experiences and activities are available, such as coarse fishing, clay shooting, horse riding, falconry and wine and whiskey tasting.
From: €470 B&B per person per night.
To Book: Contact 057 875 5866 or

Barberstown Castle, Co. Kildare

Barberstown Castle is the former home of Eric Clapton and has been welcoming guests for over 700 years. Visitors to the castle will experience a very relaxing and welcoming experience while enjoying great food, excellent wines, open log fires and exceptional personal service.
Use this unique and historic 13th-century Irish castle as your base from which to visit Dublin and explore Ireland’s Ancient East, as Barberstown is just 25 minutes from Dublin Airport and Dublin City Centre.
Essential day trips include a visit to the Irish National Stud in Kildare town; the 5000-year-old Megalithic site of Newgrange; or the Rock of Cashel. Enjoy a short drive through the Wicklow Mountains to explore Glendalough, Russborough House and Parklands and Powerscourt in County Wicklow – the Garden Of Ireland.
Offer: Stay and Gourmet Dine
Includes: One Night Luxury Accommodation
Full Irish Breakfast
Dinner in the Barton Rooms Restaurant
From: €320 total stay
To Book: Contact 01 628 8157 or
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