Offering a rich sense of history, the joy of getting back to nature, and a central location making it an ideal base to explore further afield, the four-star luxury Killeavy Castle Estate would make the perfect spring getaway.
Just an hour's drive from Dublin and nestled in the foothills of Slieve Gullion, it's little wonder that Killeavy Castle Estate has gone a long way towards filling its trophy cabinet with accolades since reopening post-pandemic.
First opened in April 2019, it didn't even get to experience a full year's trading before Covid-19 forced it to close during the lockdowns, but since, it has gone from strength to strength, bringing new tourists to County Armagh.
Located on 350 acres of unspoiled woodland and an onsite working farm, one huge draw of the property is the refurbished castle which dates from 1836 - a Grade A listed building that lay derelict for years before benefitting from an investment of £12 million to restore it to its former glory.
Continuing the theme of old meets new, also onsite - where the mill and coach house once stood - is an award-winning 45-guestroom boutique-style hotel, with a stunning spa and farm-to-fork restaurant. There's a secluded self-catering gatelodge property too, that accommodates up to six guests, while the castle itself (which has a charming cellar bar) often plays host to weddings and other events.
A Balanced Base
Stay at Killeavy Castle Estate and you can guarantee you won't be bored. The estate is home to miles of scenic walking and cycling trails, with foraging, forest bathing, mindfulness experiences and e-bike hire also available.
Culture-buffs can explore the Cathedral City of Armagh, visit the Game of Thrones Studio tour in Banbridge, where fans get to immerse themselves in the series, or daytrip a little more north to the world-leading Titanic Belfast Museum.
For the more adventurous, a short drive east takes you to County Down, where you can climb the Mountains of Mourne and master Slieve Donard or visit St. Patrick’s grave and Visitor Centre in Downpatrick.
After guests have worked up an almighty hunger, they can return to eat at the estate's contemporary fine-dining restaurant overlooking the castle, which offers a seven-course tasting menu, or the bistro bar serving less formal dining and casual lunches.
Reflecting the pride the team at Killeavy Castle Estate take in their provenance and heritage, menus change seasonally and 90 per cent of the food served across the estate comes from their own working farms and walled gardens.
A new farm store and estate garden will open this month giving guests the opportunity to experience first-hand how the food for the estate is produced. Guests can visit the farm animals, walk the walled gardens and see how expert artisans cure, smoke and preserve the meat that features on the menus.
Not only does Killeavy Castle Estate pride itself on giving guests a first-class experience, it is also leading the way in sustainable tourism.
With a plan in place built around the UN Sustainable Development goals, it has made a number of pledges to enhance the local area and minimise its impact on the environment. The Estate is working towards achieving net-zero by 2027 and has embarked upon a restoration of the 19th-century water wheel for renewable energy production.
On the estate, you won't encounter any single-use plastic; no takeaway coffee cups, no plastic straws, no one-use bathroom items, no plastic water bottles in rooms or restaurants - even their pens are made from recycled cardboard.
The hotel spa pool area at Killeavy Castle Estate.
The ideal place to escape, retreat, relax and unwind, find out more about Killeavy Castle Estate and make a reservation, visit killeavycastle.com