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A whopping 190 castles can be found across County Clare, in the midwest of Ireland. But only a handful of Gaelic castles from the late Middle Ages remain as intact as this one, and you can stay the night. Known as Ballyportry Castle, it lies in the Burren, an area where flowering plants bloom through cracked limestone, and prehistoric tombs and stone walls dot the landscape.
Several lakes and the Clare hills are visible from the top of the six-story structure, one of several castles built by the Gaelic aristocratic O'Brien clan in the 15th century. And the thick limestone walls, late-medieval spiral staircase, and traces of hazel branches in the ceilings serve as reminders of that intriguing era.
Furnishings and fabrics were chosen with the 15th-century in mind, but modern touches, including heated Liscannor stone floors, keep the castle warm and cozy. On a gray, rainy day in Ireland, the fluffy sheepskin rugs, wool blankets from Tipperary, well-stocked wooden bookshelves, and open fireplaces would be perfect.
And you might want to bring a group. The castle accommodates between four and eight people, and features two modern kitchens, six bedrooms, and three bathrooms. Also worth noting, you can jump in the car and arrive at Burren National Park in 10 minutes, while Lahinch beaches and golf courses, as well as ferries to the Aran Islands, are about 40 minutes away.
If this sounds like your ideal Ireland getaway, find out more on OliversTravels.com.