Castle Hotels hold a very special place in our hearts. There is something deeply relaxing about escaping the fast paced modern world and sinking into a cosy armchair in front of a blazing open fire in an ornate castle reception room. Having seen lots of gorgeous images of Cabra Castle Hotel, it was high on our list of places to visit this year. Excitedly setting off on our journey to Cavan we were giddy with anticipation and wow, we were not disappointed.
Nestled on over 100 acres of manicured gardens and lush green parklands, the splendiferous Cabra Castle Hotel really is a vision of beauty. A picturesque Tudor revival style castle, exquisite architecture with intricate detail indicative of its medieval heritage.
A member of the Romantic Castles of Ireland and Original Irish Hotels groups this really is a hotel that oozes charm and elegance at every turn. The magnificent Dún a Rí Forest Park provides a magical backdrop and ample opportunity for outdoor adventures.
Entering through the vast wooden doors, we were instantly transported to times of yore. Adjacent to the reception desk, a blazing open fire welcomed us in and added a sense of warmth to this quaint space with its exposed stone walls and floor.
All Covid safety measures are in place from the moment you reach the front door, sanitiser stations are present throughout. Checkin was a swift affair with very friendly, mask clad reception staff. All staff are wearing masks at all times. With directions in hand we were on our way to find our Courtyard Room.
The Courtyard Rooms are located in the West Wing of the Castle. We were advised to park right outside our idyllic ivy clad home for the night which was very convenient indeed.
We were absolutely smitten with this charming haven from the moment we stepped inside. A beautiful mahogany, plushly dressed four poster bed. Antique victorian walnut sofa and chairs with ornate hand carving detail enrich the overall luxury and stunning style of the room.
A gorgeous, freestanding slipper bath occupied what was soon to become our favourite corner of the room. The indulgence of a bath, for many of us really only happens when we are enjoying a hotel break so finding this absolute beauty in our room was a real treat.
Eager to get outside and explore the spectacular grounds, runners were pulled on, camera and drone in hand we wanted to snap as much as possible. Mitzie’s Garden is laden with butterflies and bumble bees all indulging in the delights that this thoughtfully planted garden has to offer.
You could easily spend many happy hours exploring the glorious gardens and grounds of Cabra Castle. With Oscar the loveable Irish Wolfhound on hand for company we were in our element.
The idea of getting dressed up and going for dinner in a beautiful restaurant has always appealed to us, but now, more than ever we value these experiences so much. All masked up and with some where beautiful to go, we rambled from our courtyard residence to The Courtroom Restaurant.
On our way to the restaurant we moseyed through the long winding corridors and popped in and out of some of the stunning reception rooms. Each one is plushly decorated and so inviting.
Our first starter of the evening was Crumbled Goats Cheese, baby leaves, roast beetroot, roasted salted hazelnuts and citrus dressing. Tart, earthy flavours emanating from the goats cheese and roast beetroot all lifted by the citrus dressing. Roasted, salted hazelnuts added that all important layer of texture.
Across the table, Rose of Melon with Fresh Strawberries arrived looking like the pretty little retro classic that it is. Wide ribbons of Cantaloupe Melon swathed to form a rose like appearance on the plate. A fresh and fruity start to the evening.
The Overnight Braised Lamb Shank came highly recommended and it is easy to see why. Landing on the table resembling something that would not be out of place at a medieval banquet. Tender, falling off the bone. Soft, velvety gelatine, coating the threads of succulent meat, flavoured by the crisp melting exterior fat. Perched on top of a bed of Champ and accompanied by some really delicious roast root vegetables with a rich lamb gravy. Superb dish.
Our second main course was an explosion of autumnal flavours. Twice Cooked Spiced Duck Breast, Cherry Sauce and Red Cabbage. The gamey goodness of this plump duck breast accentuated beautifully by the addition of a pleasantly piquant cherry sauce. A bed of earthy red cabbage proved the ideal playmate.
We selected a bottle of Domaine de Robert Fleurie. Extremely aromatic displaying flavours of tart black fruit and red berries. A very affordable and enjoyable wine that paired particularly well with our meaty main courses.
If there is any form of chocolate on a menu it will more than likely end up on our table. With one self confessed chocoholic among us, the sight of this Chocolate Mousse Quenelle with Raspberry Coulis landing on the table brought audible joy. There wasn’t a word between us as we were sequentially sinking our spoons into this fluffy chocolate cloud. Absolutely delicious.
Always fans of cheesecake but not often venturing to opt for the baked variety as they can sometimes be a little too heavy. The Vanilla & Raspberry Baked Cheesecake on offer was a dream. Spiked with tart raspberries, this was the Yin to the the chocolate desserts Yang. Utterly delectable.
We left The Courtroom Restaurant sublimely satiated. Navigating through the Castle we made our way outside for a final few steps around the glorious grounds before returning to our Courtyard Room for a long bath and an even longer sleep.
Cabra Castle Hotel offers an intimate, romantic setting for a great break away from everyday life. From the picturesque Castle itself to the luxurious interiors, fantastic staff and delicious food. This really is an essential hotel to have on your bucket list to inject some fairytale magic into your life.
Cabra Castle Hotel
Tel:+353 42 966 7030
WRITTEN BY KEITH MAHON & OLIVIA BYRNE