Why not be a real King and Queen on your wedding day?

There are so many things that contribute to a great wedding.

Everything from your choice of wedding entertainment to the colour scheme of your bridesmaids.

But without doubt, one of the most important elements is your wedding venue.

In this first of three blogs about choosing wedding venues, I’m going to talk about castles.

This is purely based on my own personal experience over the past two decades. Please don’t regard it as an exhaustive guide as to the choices that are open to you.

In no particular order, my personal faves are:

Clontarf Castle – Capacity 360

Strangely, for a castle that’s right in the heart of Dublin 3, there are a surprising number of people out there who’ve never paid it a visit.

And that’s a real shame, because this beautifully maintained 12th century castle offers the perfect blend of historical romance and thoroughly modern facilities.

I’ve performed at many weddings or corporate events here over the years, and I’m always impressed at how flexible a venue it is.

It can be configured for a lot of different styles of weddings, from small intimate gatherings to lavish celebrations with a max capacity of 360 guests.

You can check out their range of wedding options at https://www.clontarfcastle.ie/castle-weddings/wedding-venues

Bellingham Castle – Capacity 200

A lot of Dublin-based couples like the idea of taking their wedding out of the capital.– but don’t want to inconvenience their guests too much.

If that’s the case, Bellingham Castle in County Louth could be just the ticket.

It’s got a really rich history and a sense of old-world luxury that really transports you to a different era.

What I also like about it is that it’s got a choice of beautifully elegant and cosy drawing rooms.

These are just perfect for entertaining your guests as they arrive – and lets them mingle while you’re off having your photos taken.

And as for the photo location, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

There’s a stunning riverside setting, and the manicured gardens seem to have some visual interest pretty much every month of the year.

There are also some gorgeous footbridges that are just perfect for getting some off-beat pics.

You can find out more at https://www.bellinghamcastle.ie/weddings

Castle Durrow – Capacity 200

Slightly further afield – but still within easy striking distance of Dublin, Castle Durrow in Laois.

It’s a perfect halfway house if you’ve got guest coming from the southwest of the country – a great choice for a Cork/Dublin wedding, for example.

In terms of appearances, it’s a 17th century building, and it’s very much an eclectic mix of spaces, set in 50 acres of lush Irish countryside.

A big plus is that your guests can party on for as long as they like.

There’s no curfew as they’re surrounded solely by sheep – who don’t have much of a track record of complaining about the noise!

I’ve performed here many times as a wedding entertainer and I have to say that I was impressed every single time.

To find out more about Castle Durrow visit https://www.castledurrow.com/wedding.html

Cabra Castle – Capacity 290

Another venue that has always impressed me when I’ve performed there is Cabra Castle in County Cavan.

It’s surrounded by 100 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and parkland, and it’s a truly magical setting for your wedding day.

A big plus factor is that it only hosts one wedding per day, which means that you get all the personal attention that you require.

If the weather smiles on you, Cabra Castle offers some breath-taking views for the photos.

It’s also a genuinely romantic setting that will appeal as much to your guests as to the bride and groom.

More information about Cabra Castle at https://www.cabracastle.com/weddings

Kilkea Castle – Capacity 270

Kilkea Castle is located in Castledermot, County Kildare.

It’s one of the oldest inhabited Castles in Ireland, with history dating back to 1180.

Apart from being a smashing venue in its own right, it also boasts a spa and golf course.

So, if you’re planning a longer than average wedding weekend, your guests will be spoiled for things to do.

You can find out more here https://www.kilkeacastle.ie/weddings/

Luttrelstown Castle – Capacity 180

If you cast your mind back to July of 1999, the uber-couple of the day – Posh and Becks – decided to tie the knot in the glorious setting of the 15th century Luttrelstown Castle.

Just two miles from the heart of Castleknock Village, the castle is nestled in the heart of a tranquil, sprawling, 567-acre private estate.

And if you want a fairy-tale wedding day, the magnificent Van Stry ballroom is the perfect backdrop.

More info at https://www.luttrellstowncastle.com/

Castle Leslie – Capacity 260

And staying with the topic of celebrity weddings, when Paul McCartney and Heather Mills got hitched back in 2002, they choose the beautiful Castle Leslie in Monaghan as their venue.

They were wed in a small church within the castle grounds, and then their celebrity guests enjoyed the 1,000 acres of  Irish countryside, dotted with ancient woodlands and glittering lakes, that make up the estate.

While the marriage may not have lasted very long, I can confirm that this had nothing to do with their choice of wedding venue. You heard it here first!

Find out more at https://www.castleleslie.com/castle-weddings-ireland/

Kilronan Castle – Capacity 320

Kilronan Castle may be a tad out of the way for Dubliners, but I promise you it’s worth the trip.

It’s located on the shores of Lough Meelough, Ballyfarnon, Co Roscommon, and is one of Ireland’s hidden gems.

The 200 year-old Castle is steeped in history, and full to the brim with character and old world charm.

On a fine day, there’s simply not a better setting in Ireland.

You can find out more here https://www.kilronancastle.ie/weddings/

So there you have it – some of my favourite castle venues in the country that can really make your big day go off with a bang.

Shane Black
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