5 charming Irish castles for afternoon tea

Whispers of Ireland's much-storied past seep from the very stones of its castles. Inside these walls, however, luxury prevails as you indulge in delicious afternoon tea. Here are 5 we love…

Ashford Castle, County Mayo

Back in 1951, John Ford filmed his iconic classic, The Quiet Man, in Cong, County Mayo. Ashford Castle is where many of the stars stayed including the beautiful Maureen O’Hara. Afternoon tea is served in the Connaught Room, overlooking the magnificent gardens and the shores of Lough Corrib. Delectable delights include refined tea blends, Connemara-smoked salmon with cream cheese and apple bakewell with Connemara whiskey custard. Delicious!

Belfast Castle, County Antrim

Set on the slopes of Cave Hill Country Park in County Antrim, a day spent at Belfast Castle promises outstanding views of Belfast city and Belfast Lough from its ornamental gardens. Afternoon tea is taken in the Cellar Restaurant, offering a range of specialty tea and coffee, dainty sandwiches and delicious desserts, such as lemon drizzle cake and freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream.

Waterford Castle Hotel, County Waterford

Founded and governed by the powerful Fitzgerald family for over 800 years, Waterford Castle Hotel maintains its Gothic-style charm just outside Ireland’s oldest Viking metropolis – Waterford city. The legacy of its former family is proudly displayed in the form of the Fitzgerald family crest above the fireplace in the Great Hall, while afternoon tea is best enjoyed in the castle’s conservatory overlooking its formal gardens. Make sure to try the local speciality, the Waterford blaa (floury bread roll), accompanied by ham hock terrine and piccalilli.

Clontarf Castle Hotel, County Dublin

Listed in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers' Choice of top hotels in Ireland in 2017, Clontarf Castle Hotel has welcomed many famous faces over the years, including composer George Frideric Handel and author Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. Here you can indulge in 'Fusion Tea' in front of a cosy open fire within the opulent atrium. Contemporary and classic foods are combined to create tasty treats, such as a chicken breast sandwich infused with truffle oil in a soft maize roll, and panna cotta coupled with orange oil and candied ginger.

Castle Leslie, County Monaghan

The warmth of the welcome at Castle Leslie in County Monaghan cannot be understated, neither can the beauty of its setting. Within 1,000 acres of woodlands and lakes, the estate is still in the hands of its original family and its richly decorated and lavish interior offers the perfect spot for afternoon tea. Served in the elegant drawing room, the menu includes classics such as Victoria sponge cake, crumpets and an aromatic variety of teas and coffees.

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