Ballintotis Castle, Ireland: Be Queen (or King) of your very own castle for under $150 per night!
Updated: Apr 21
Are kings, queens, knights and dragons the stuff your dreams are made of? At Ballintotis Castle in Castlemartyr Ireland, you can step back in time and play king or queen for a day in your very own (if only for a short while) castle. If that doesn’t get you excited enough, what if I were to tell you that you can have this authentic, magically rustic old 16th-century castle all to yourself...for only $126 per night!!!!
For two nights, I got to be co-queen of this cozy castle, and it was wonderfully FANTASTIC. Ballintotis Castle can be booked here on airbnb. My husband, sister-in-law, and I split costs. Our cost per person was just $42 per night. (airbnb allowed us to split the bill on their website, making it easy to travel with friends.)
On the first floor you'll find a dining table and an area to store your luggage. The second floor has a master-bedroom, which my sister-in-law was gracious enough allow my husband and I to have, with a bathtub and tiny bathroom. The third level of the castle has a common area with a kitchenette, another bathroom, and a bed. Head up one more flight of stairs to the top of the castle, and there you'll find an open sitting area where you'll be treated to views of miles of the lush green Irish landscape surrounding the castle.
A bedroom fit for a King…or Queen!
There's a gorgeous old four-poster bed in the master-bedroom, a tub for soaking, plenty of candles for creating a cozy atmosphere, and a heater you'll be able to set to your comfort level. Be careful not to fill that tub too full! My husband did, water sloshed out around the tub encasement, leaked through the floor, soaked everything in my suitcase down below, as well as the electrical box! yikes! (Maureen and her husband, the castle caretakers who live across the road, are very helpful. If you need anything at all they'll be there to assist)
The third floor has a living area with a skylight, a slab type bed and another tiny bathroom:
attention to detail:
The charming little details in the castle really add to the effect. Everything seems so old!
….and let’s not forget those stairs.
Those wonderful, crooked, ancient looking…please don’t break your neck, stairs. WARNING: as you can see in the photos, the stairs in this castle are treacherous. The first set of steps are not bad, but the flights get progressively worse as you go up.
My husband and his sister seemed particularly fond of the view from the top.
Ballintotas waking trail does a loop around the castle.
THIS is the Ireland I came for! Fresh air, nature, and the astonishing beauty of the Emerald Isle....the green, so much green!
how I spent my time as queen of the castle
On day two, the husband and his sister headed to Cork. I was determined to soak in every last minute of this once in a lifetime experience, so I chose to stay at the castle. I walked the trail again, and explored the country roads in the area. I had a mini spa-day...took a long bubble bath, deep conditioned my hair, lit all of the candles, and headed to the four-poster bed with a book. I read, I napped, read some more, napped...you get the picture. It was a blissful day.
Check out a video of the inside as well as the outside of this fantastic rustic castle at the link to Ballintotis Castle video on my youtube channel.
(Thank you to Angela Marie Kunze for sharing this video with us.)
What to eat:
We picked up some pretty good Chinese food in Midleton. The Farmgate Restaurant and Country Store, also in Midleton, is a good place for picnic items to take back to the castle; sandwiches, soups, baked goods. One evening, we had dinner at the Hunted Hog traditional Irish Pub in Castlemartyr. They serve up decent pub food in a lively atmosphere. It was full of locals watching the soccer game. Does it get anymore Irish than that?
Ballintotis Castle is located 17 miles from Cork, and 15 miles from Cobh. You will definitely want a car. I found out that Ireland isn’t necessarily pedestrian friendly. I had planned to walk to Castlemartyr for lunch one day, but there was no way to get there other than walking the shoulder of a busy highway. (Backroads that lead there go through private property, and are not accessible to the public.)
We dropped our dirty laundry off at the Laundry Locker in Midleton for full laundry service (3.5 miles from the castle), and picked it up the next day washed, dried, and folded! And for only 12 euros per person! This allowed us to pack lighter, and we didn't have to spend our precious vacation time doing laundry, win/win.
Of interest in the area:
The Jameson Distillery, located in Midleton, offers tours and whiskey tasting.
My husband enjoyed Golfing at Fota Island Golf Course, just 10 miles from the castle.
Cork, just 17 miles from the castle, is the 2nd largest city in Ireland.
The Blarney Castle and Rock are just 22 miles from the castle.
Cobh (pronounced Cove), the 2nd largest natural harbor in the world, is just 14 miles from the castle. Formerly known as Queenstown, the Titanic made its final fateful stop here. Check out the Cobh Heritage Centre- The Queenstown Story (the story of Irish Immigration) and the Titanic Experience Museum a fun interactive experience. See Cobh's travel site for various boating excursion options, and much more! and look at the view! For more information check out XYUandbeyond's guide to Cobh: Things to do in Cobh
Want more castle stay options?
There are castles for rent all over Ireland, from luxury to rustic. You can find rental options at places like these. All have map views so you can easily find something if you already have your itinerary set, like we did.
Airbnb is my favorite option for the most castle stay choices and best prices on castle stays for small parties. They have a castle filter option under "unique stays."
Celtic Castles, has options for groups of 7-250!
Castlerental.net is another option for booking a castle stay.