County Tipperary, Ireland

The Cashel Palace

Price per night from$434.51

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR399.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Hot-to-trot hideaway

Setting

Tipperary’s rock icon

Since Cashel Palace was built in 1732 by big-deal-back-then architect Edward Lovett Pearce, it’s lived many lives. Set at the foot of sanctified ecclesiastical seat the Rock of Cashel, it was home to high-ranking clergy for over 200 years – and played a part in founding Guinness – before British millionaire Lord Brockett turned it into a luxury hotel in 1959, hosting the likes of Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy. At the reigns today are thoroughbred champion-breeders the Magniers, who’ve restored it with Palladian grace. It’s gilded, swagged, hung with opulent artworks and chandeliers, and champions not just equine excellence (horse-lovers and race enthusiasts will be all aflutter), but Tipperary-top dining from Golden Vale to plate, serious spa spoiling and the county’s rich culture.  

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Facilities

Photos The Cashel Palace facilities

Need to know

Rooms

42, including six suites.

Check–Out

12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £336.08 (€399), including tax at 13.5 per cent.

More details

Rates include a two-course breakfast: the first a selection of fruit, scones, pastries, cereals and cheeses; the second a choice of warm à la carte dishes.

Also

There are especially adapted accessible rooms in the Carriage House and Garden Wing, with grab bars, a shower seat and an emergency cord in the bathroom. And there’s a lift to all floors in these buildings. Accessible parking is available too.

At the hotel

Spa with thermal suite and yoga room, gym, hair salon, three acres of sweeping gardens, lounge with a fireplace, drawing room, ballroom, concierge, charged laundry service, free WiFi. In rooms: TV with casting capabilities, mini larder, Melitta pour-over coffee system with local Ponaire coffee, tea-making kit, desk, bathrobes and slippers, air-conditioning, Memo Paris bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Honeymooners, sequester yourselves away in the Gate Lodge, which is decorated in shades of pink, has a private patio and sits away from the main house to give that little extra privacy. Or, if you’d like to be among the action, the blush-hued Main House Avenue Suite is rather swoonsome, with high ceilings and original cornicing, evocative artworks and a canopied bed. Families staying should book the School House (not quite as scholastic as the name suggests).

Poolside

In the spa there’s a peaceful space with a 17-metre heated indoor-outdoor pool (with five alfresco metres). Large windows let you glimpse the garden and the iconic Rock as you run laps.

Spa

Take a cue from Ireland’s remarkably well-preserved bog bodies and submerge yourself in a peat mud bath, or one filled with hand-harvested Atlantic seaweed, or aromatic salts – they’ll all leave you looking refreshed. But the hotel spa has many ways to soothe, buff and beautify: perhaps a spiced mud wrap or sugar scrub, a gua sha facial, massage with basalt river stones? In three treatment rooms (plus one for couples), each with their own steam room, therapists apply luxurious products from Bamford, Voya and Skin by Olga; practice global knot-untying techniques (Japanese shiatsu, Swedish, Indian head massage); and scrub and smoothe. Or get steamy on a spin through the thermal suite of sauna, pool, Jacuzzi and experience showers.

Packing tips

As you might guess from the many grand pieces of equine artwork and statues of stallions, there’s a lot of horsing about to be had here, so bring your boots and breeches.

Also

The Magniers also have a fine eye for art – copies of pieces from their collection (Lowrys, Laverys, Orpens, Jack Butler Yeats…) and some originals hang in heavy frames throughout.

Children

Little ones are welcome here – don’t worry, most of the antiques and original artwork are above the reach of little grasping hands. Rooms fit at least a baby cot, and babysitting can be arranged on request.

Sustainability efforts

Cashel Palace’s owners, the Magnier family, have done some fine necromancy in keeping this 18th-century residence near mint. Working with a local architect and craftspeople, and referencing vintage photos from the Laurence Collection, they pieced together how the house once looked and set about re-tiling the roof in traditional Bangor Blue slate, rebuilding four chimneys and rescuing pitch-pine timbers to reuse as beams in rooms. Its brick and limestone façades were both repointed, the basement’s flagstone floor was salvaged, wood panelling was repaired, and throughout original cornicing, fireplaces, windows and doors were gently restored. But, in reviving the past, they’re also safeguarding the future: all new builds have been designed to NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Building) specs and are powered using renewable sources. Lighting is LED or photosensitive, heating is underfloor, and air-con is room-key controlled. An antique well discovered during refurbishment provides some of the water supply and the hotel has a Garbage Guzzler to compost waste. This is used to keep the kitchen gardens (part of the All Ireland Pollinator Programme) flourishing, and the hotel’s food sources (nearly all within the county borders) are a part of Origin Green, a sustainability initiative from Ireland’s food and horticulture agency. Greenhouse produce comes from the owners’ Coolmore Stud farm, and herbs and greens are grown in a hyper local, pesticide-free vertical farm in Ballyporeen, while an onsite hops garden nods to the hotel’s links with Guinness.

Food and Drink

Photos The Cashel Palace food and drink

Top Table

Cosy up by the crackling hearth in the Bishop’s Buttery, or take in the views of the mighty Rock of Cashel (and the 300-year-old mulberry trees) from the Queen Anne Room. When sunny, hit the garden terrace.

Dress Code

Elegant dress(age).

Hotel restaurant

The hotel’s set in Ireland’s Golden Vale, which – aside from being as magical as it sounds – keeps the kitchen flush with the best of Irish produce. And Cashel Palace staff speak so glowingly about their local farms and growers that they might be reeling off a list of old friends. Some produce is grown onsite too, but provenance is a source of pride, so dishes such as Shepherd’s Store agnolotti with truffle, celeriac and hen of the woods; wild turbot with mussels and violet artichokes in a beurre blanc; and financiers filled with organic lemon curd and raspberries showcase the pick of the pastures. And, with vaulted ceilings, a flagstone floor and a huge fire-lit brick hearth, the dining room makes each meal feel like atmospheric occasion dining. For those who could eat a horse come morning (but don’t, the stallion-raising owners might be affronted), a two-tier breakfast (a cold spread of pastries breads, cheeses and more, followed by hearty choices of local meats, eggs and more) is served in the Queen Anne Room – a space of equine art, maroon-leather banquettes and swagged curtains with views of the garden’s twin 300-year-old mulberry trees and the Rock of Cashel. You can also take a genteel afternoon tea here, with silver teapots and finger sandwiches, scones and patisseries (Opera gateau, white-chocolate and pistachio sponge, carrot cake) served on fine bone china.

Hotel bar

The Guinness Bar is no pandering nod to Ireland’s signature stout. The hotel played a vital role in the drink’s inception: Richard Guinness, land agent for the Archbishop Arthur Price (resident here from 1744 to 1752) used hops from the garden and water from the well to brew ale for Price and his guests; and using a bequest of £100 from the archbishop, his son Arthur went on to establish a very successful Dublin brewery… The rest is history, one embodied in this convivial bar, where you can order a pint of the black stuff with an air of authenticity. There’s more on tap too, plus local spirits (try a dram of the whiskey or a G&T from the Tipperary Boutique Distillery) to enjoy in a comfy armchair by the fire. And, for guests only, there’s an intimate cocktail bar where the barkeep will dream up something bespoke or you can sip fine wines, champagnes and more whiskey still. 

Last orders

At the Bishop’s Buttery, lunch is served from 12.30pm to 2.30pm (Thursday to Saturday) and dinner 6.30pm to 9.30pm (Tuesday to Saturday). Afternoon tea is served from 1pm to 3pm.

Room service

From 12 noon to 9pm, you can order salads, soda bread and sourdough sandwiches, local cheeses and decadent desserts.

Location

Photos The Cashel Palace location
Address
The Cashel Palace
Main St, St. Dominick's Abbey
Cashel
E25 EF61
Ireland

Cashel Palace sits at the foot of Tipperary’s iconic Rock of Cashel, a landmark-swarmed seat of mediaeval religious power amid the Golden Vale (the county’s larder).

Planes

The closest airport to the hotel is in Cork, an hour’s drive away, which has good direct links across Europe. Shannon Airport is a 90-minute drive away but has more connections in Europe and direct routes to Boston and New York. And, Dublin, with its many international connections, is around a two-hour drive away.

Trains

Thurles train station (on the Dublin to Cork main line) is about a 20-minute drive from the hotel. From Dublin the journey’s just over an hour, so it’s not really that long a way to Tipperary.

Automobiles

A patchwork of pastures, Tipperary is largely country, and while the hotel is just off Cashel’s main street, you’ll want to explore more of the county, and a car’s the easiest way to get about. At the hotel, the Carriage House, Gate Lodge and School House each have a dedicated parking space, and guests staying in the Main House or Garden Wing can use the adjacent Buckley car park. Valet parking is offered to all guests, and if you drive up to the entrance on arrival staff will help with unloading luggage.

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel might have a heavenly location in County Tipperary’s Golden Vale, but if you believe the legends, there’s some devilry at play. The hotel sits in prime position at the foot of Cashel Rock, an immensely impressive collection of mediaeval buildings set atop a soaring limestone outcrop. It was the high seat of Christianity in Ireland for six centuries, but was believed to have been formed when Satan took a bite out of aptly named northerly peak Devil’s Bit and spat it out to form Cashel Rock. Intriguing for sure, but it’s certainly a pious place with a Gothic cathedral, Romanesque chapel, Hall of the Vicars Choral, high cross and towers to explore. Luckily, the holy former residents of the palace had a private ‘Bishop’s Walk’ direct to the Rock, so guests can get on the fast track. Spend some time wandering the palace grounds too – the gardens, laid out by Edward Lovett Pearce a few centuries ago, are enchanting, with fountains and trim topiaries, wisteria-threaded pergolas, flowering parterres, lilac bushes and a copper-beech hedge that marks where the old city wall used to run. Hotel owners the Magniers made their fortune rearing thoroughbred horses, so equine pursuits are a serious business here. There’s even a dedicated equine concierge who can arrange Tipperary mountain trekking for riders of all abilities and lessons at the Crossogue Equestrian Centre; private tours of Fethard Horse Country Museum, to better understand horses’ cultural importance in Ireland, and the Magniers’ own Coolmore Stud Farm; or the Royal Racing package, where you’ll go behind the scenes at Ballydoyle Racing to visit the equine therapy centre and watch a trainer put the champions through their paces, stop for a picnic lunch, visit the Fethard Horse Country Museum, and then get up close with the stallions at Coolmore Stud before a visit to the restricted access Legacy Museum, filled with iconic memorabilia. But, you needn’t saddle up to experience Tipperary’s wealth of natural beauty and Celtic history – you could hike through the Glen of Aherlow; kayak, canoe, bike or hike the Suir Blueway; or take advantage of the hotel’s private six kilometres of river for fishing along the Suir and Aherlow waterways. Tour the grand residences of important families (Castlegarde Castle and Grenane and Lismacue houses), swing by Cahir and Ormonde castles and Holycross Abbey, then take a traditional pottery class at Rossa Pottery, one of Ireland’s oldest purveyors. And, get a true taste of Tipperary and its agricultural prowess on a range of food tours. Taste Cashel Blue cheeses at the creamery in Fethard, wildflower honey (and try your hand at beeswax candle-making) at Brookfield Farm, juicy windfalls and hedgerow berries at the Apple Farm, and whiskeys and gins at the Tipperary Boutique Distillery.

Local restaurants

The fertile soil of County Tipperary has grown more than abundant crops and fed more than dairy cows – the region’s on-the-up restaurant scene lays the fat of the land on your table in restaurants that range from the cosy and traditional to Michelin courting. Mikey Ryan’s leans towards the former. Owned by Cashel Palace, it's so close it’s also serviced by the same antique well (which you can see in their ‘glass well’ private dining space). A century-old gastropub with sustainable sensibilities, it serves cranked-up comfort food: burgers oozing Derg cheddar, crispy chicken with chipotle beans, Cashel Blue and poached pear millefeuille. In a converted Victorian Gothic church just outside of town Chez Hans is a Michelin-recognised eatery where the menu maps out top produce – try steamed Kerry mussels in a sweet potato and coconut curry, Ballycotton monkfish with pine-nut purée, olive caramel and parmesan, and aged T-bone with deep-fried parsnips and onions cooked in malt extract with port sauce. And in Clonmel, Mani’s seasonal menu keeps your tastebuds on their toes, serving up scallops in a ginger, coconut and lemongrass broth; barbecued chicken with candied walnuts and orange in a yoghurt dressing; and a tiramisu-stuffed choux with rum-and-raisin ice-cream, coffee gel and chocolate sauce.

Local cafés

Over in Fethard, Dooks Fine Food is a café and deli, beautifully stocked with local artisan brands, where you can build a very gourmet picnic. Lunch on fat sausage rolls with a slick of mustard sour cream, imaginative salads and chicken and chilli focaccias; then stock up on chutneys, jams, hummus pots, cheese, Gubbeen charcuterie, breads and scones. Cookery classes are often held here too.

 

Local bars

First established in the 17th century, welcoming boozer TJ Ryan’s is older than Cashel Palace and so has plenty of stories to tell – the locals will happily regale you as you sip away on a local whiskey in its trad scarlet-hued bar. 

Reviews

Photos The Cashel Palace reviews
Samuel Hunt

Anonymous review

By Samuel Hunt, Finger-on-the-pulse filmmaker

Staying somewhere with the word 'palace' in the name can set expectations unreasonably high, even if it was originally built for an archbishop rather than royalty. So as we pull up in the driveway of Cashel Palace in County Tipperary, our hopes are lofty. As it turns out, the building is Palladian rather than palatial. Its red-brick frontage was built in 1732 by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce, the most fashionable architect of his day. But any formality is well in its past. From arrival to check-out, the staff at Cashel Palace are some of the warmest and most accommodating hospitality people you will ever encounter. We chat amicably with John, the doorman, who lives locally and has the countenance of a friendly soul you'd happily chat with in one of Cashel's many pubs. 
 
As you enter the building, the place feels grand, but not intimidating. Ornate Turkish rugs, well-appointed furnishings and deep fireplaces in the reception rooms promise two days of supreme, luxurious cosiness. As we make our way to check-in, I'm taken by a painting of an eccentric man in clothing from the Isle of Arran hanging above a fireplace. Art or photography hangs on every wall, and researching the pieces we like becomes a feature of our stay. The man above the fireplace is a self-portrait of the Irish painter Sir William Orpen, renowned for his work during the First World War. The painting somehow embodies Cashel Palace, unapologetic in its traditional attire, but with a hint of swagger and modern sensibility. 
 
Our appreciation of the staff at Cashel Palace continues its upward trajectory when we realise our room has been upgraded to the Main House Avenue View Suite. The vast suite has regal high ceilings, an original fireplace and a marble bathroom that’s bigger and potentially more comfortable than our bedroom in London. After admiring the room and the view of the town, we decide to head out and explore. Cashel is a small but historically significant town. It's the ancient seat of the Kings of Munster and an important site of early Irish Christianity, where St Patrick is said to have carried out baptisms. We wander the streets, before settling in at TJ Ryan's pub for a perfect pint of Guinness. 
 
The town’s most iconic landmark is the Rock of Cashel, set on a limestone outcrop behind the hotel, where the ruins of the 13th-century cathedral still stand. That afternoon we found ourselves admiring it from the hotel's spa, where the staff are friendly and funny, and remind me of the hospitality displayed by my Irish relatives whenever I visit them. Spas can sometimes feel like uptight sanctuaries of wellness, but the views and informality here make for a far more relaxing experience. The glass-fronted pool frames the stunning garden, with the cathedral ruins looming above the copper beech trees. The pool also has a connected outdoor area where we take in the view en plein air. If St Patrick were around today, we reckon he'd convert plenty of pagans were he to perform his baptisms here. We read our books and use the sauna for the next few hours, with a plan hatched to visit the cocktail bar before dinner. 
 
Cashel Palace is well set up for refined drinking. You could even say that it is in the DNA of the place – during the 18th century, Richard Guinness brewed ale for the resident archbishop from a well in the garden of the sister pub next door, Mikey Ryan's. Richard's son, Arthur Guinness, who was also the archbishop's godson, was left £100 in his godfather's will, which he used for the lease on the site of the St James's Gate brewery in Dublin. The downstairs bar is appropriately named the Guinness Bar, but we decided to base ourselves in the Residents’ Cocktail Bar that evening. The deep blue furnishings and art deco bar feel glamorous; replica Lowrys hang from the wall with the originals, like most of the art in the hotel, residing with the owners. As well as the classics, the mixologists have created some signature cocktails. I have a whiskey-based cocktail made by Kaylin called Dancing through the Barley Fields, and it is probably the best whiskey sour I've ever had. After another drink, we leave for dinner at Mikey Ryan's, commenting that former guests Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor would feel very at home in this cocktail bar.  
 
After an excellent night's sleep and Cashel's fantastic breakfast, we walk through the hotel's garden to the Rock of Cashel for a tour. Our guide had the sardonic humour of someone who had given the tour hundreds of times, but was no less informative or entertaining. The ruins are fascinating, and so are the anecdotes, particularly the one told at the tomb of Miler Mcgrath, a 16th-century scoundrel and favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, somehow both a Catholic and Protestant archbishop who lived to 101. After the tour, we predictably returned to the hotel to use the spa again.  
 
That evening, we ate at the hotel's restaurant, the Bishop's Buttery. The food and service were exceptional, but the Irish soda bread should have come with a warning. The homely smell rekindled childhood memories of trips to Ireland quicker than a Proustian madeleine. The bread was paired with a rich truffle butter, so I came out of the dinner starting gates very quickly. Elegant hors d'oeuvres of fresh pea tartlet and truffle cheese puff followed, and I was worried at how full I was. The violet artichoke salad that came next was acidic, clean and a welcome reprieve from the bready overindulgence. Our mains of wild sea-bass and hen of the woods agnolotti were perfect, and the desserts were as picturesque as some of the hotel's artwork. The following day, we are too busy chatting with the lovely staff and are late leaving for our drive to West Cork. As with all the best places, you never tend to leave on time.
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Price per night from $434.51