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Hotel Review: Cashel Palace Hotel, Tipperary in Ireland

Rosie Davis enjoys a luxury stay at this historic mansion hotel.

By LLM Reporters  |  July 30, 2022

Words by Rosie Davis

Renowned for over 5,000 years of fascinating history, Ireland’s Ancient East is the birthplace of Irish culture, and the home of millennia-old myths and mysteries. Set amongst a background of lush landscapes and charming towns, framed by the River Shannon and the Irish Sea, these counties are some of the most picturesque on the map.

For an idyllic refuge that combines beauty and hidden history, exploring Tipperary is not to be missed. In the heart of this county lies the Rock of Cashel, one of the most famous sites that forms part of the country’s revered Historic Heartland. Cashel Palace sits on its doorstep and is the perfect place to leave you refreshed and inspired by the region’s rich history and unspoiled charm.

Hotel

cashel hotel drawing room
The Drawing Room combines traditional country chic with a modern twist

Built in 1728 by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce, one of the most renowned architects of his time, this red-bricked Palladian masterpiece served as the home for a distinguished line of archbishops for decades. It was converted into a hotel 60 years ago by English millionaire businessman Lord Brockett and became a firm favourite amongst the Hollywood elite, with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy known to visit.

Unable to stand the test of time, its doors eventually closed in 2014. Fast-forward to March of this year when Cashel Palace officially welcomed guests once more, thanks to a multi-million-euro makeover courtesy of billionaire Irish racehorse breeders and former shareholders in Manchester United Football Club, John and Susan Magnier.

cashel hotel bar
This historic hotel has been lovingly restored throughout

Set back off a quaint Irish high street, the hotel’s beautifully symmetrical exterior invites you in as you wander down the lengthy driveway, lined with perfectly manicured yew trees.

Stepping inside the ornate colonnaded entrance hall, you’re met with hearty fires smouldering in the grates of two fireplaces, both flanked by sumptuous sofas, oversized ottomans, and a selection of books and the morning papers, encouraging guests to truly make themselves at home.

Beyond the hallway, the early Georgian winding staircase takes centre stage, featuring hundreds of intricately hand-turned banisters. There are nods to the hotel’s equestrian heritage throughout, as London-based designer Emma Pearson combines traditional country chic with a modern twist in the carefully curated interiors.

Room

cashel hotel suite
Individually designed rooms and suites are stylish and luxurious

42 rooms make up this lovingly refurbished Relais and Chateaux property, leaving guests with the choice between staying in the main house or the new sleek extension, just off the main building.

Each bedroom retains an incredible sense of character and historic charm, but the most luxurious suites can be found in the original main house and the new garden wing. The main house suites contain lofty ceilings and original features like carefully restored wood panelling and fireplaces, whilst the garden wing suites adopt an elegant, neo-classical style.

We stayed in the garden wing garden suite; a room big enough to rival many London apartments. The bedroom features a grand six ft super king bed while the conjoining sitting room comes with a dining table, kitchen area and plush sink-in sofa. A large, private patio is accessed by two sets of double doors, with the hotel’s extensive gardens that have been beautifully redesigned by landscape architects, del Buono Gazerwitz, just steps away.

Muted tones of pastel pinks and sage greens keep the colour palette modern and fresh, whilst the bathroom is awash with luxurious walls of white marble. The wide selection of Memo Paris toiletries, the complimentary mini bar that is regularly restocked throughout the day and the free overnight shoe cleaning service are just some of the thoughtful amenities that make up your stay.

Food

cashel hotel restaurant
Vaulted ceilings in the Bishop´s Buttery showcase the buildings fascinating history

When it comes to dining, Cashel Palace offers a masterclass in contemporary Irish cuisine. Working closely with local farmers and artisan producers to source as much of the produce as possible locally, their restaurants are designed to offer guests an authentic taste of Tipperary.

Executive chef Stephen Hayes heads up their formal dining offering, The Bishop’s Buttery. Located underground, the original vaulted ceilings showcase the building’s fascinating history, as guests sit down by the roaring fire to enjoy three and four-course Table d’Hote lunch and dinner menus.

Cured foie gras, tender beef fillet and lamb rump, alongside a selection of local seafood that includes black sole, wild turbot and bluefin tuna, make up the varied and exquisitely designed menu. There’s also private dining options available for guests looking to accommodate up to 14 people for an intimate celebration.

cashel hotel cakes
Guests can enjoy an afternoon tea full of decadent treats

Guests keen on a more casual dining alternative should pay a visit to the distinctly Irish gastropub, Mikey Ryan’s Bar and Kitchen. Located in adjacent grounds to the hotel, guests can enjoy al fresco summer dining in this extended bar, restaurant, and garden. After reopening in 2017 before the hotel itself, Mikey Ryan’s has cemented itself as a firm favourite among the locals.

West Cork scallops, 28-day dry aged beef with a potato terrine and a sumptuously light chocolate panna cotta are some of the menu’s most popular choices. There’s also a refurbished Horse Box Bar serving pints of the finest Guinness to visitors in the garden grounds.

Breakfast and afternoon tea are served in the Queen Anne Drawing Room, which boasts far-reaching views of the hotel’s well-kept grounds and the famous Rock of Cashel. Served traditionally with tea of your choice or with champagne, guests are given a selection of sandwiches and sweet treats, with the homemade fruit scones and Tipperary lemon curd roll some of the most delicious choices.

Spa

cashel hotel pool
The luxurious spa is the perfect space for guests to unwind

Overlooking the hotel’s beautiful gardens, the state-of-the-art spa is the perfect place to unwind during the day. With floor to ceiling windows, the light-filled luxurious spa includes a 17-metre pool (five metres of which sits outside), al fresco seaweed baths, a relaxing jacuzzi and steam rooms. Treatments are available from a team of talented practitioners, with expert facials from leading skin specialist, Olga Kochlewska, as well as hair appointments from Mary Quinlan Hair.

Next to the spa is the gym which maintains the hotel’s commitment to sustainability with eco-friendly machines and workout equipment. Freshly prepared fruit pots and chilled recyclable water bottles are on hand to keep you refreshed during your workout.

To do

tipperary ponies
Private treks and lessons are available at Tipperary Mountain Trekking Centre

Given the hotel’s roots, it’s only natural to find a dedicated programme of equestrian experiences at your fingertips thanks to the hotel’s knowledgeable Equine Concierge. The Magnier family have been at the heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred racing for generations, and offer guests a glimpse into their passion and legacy with a trip to their renowned Coolmore Stud Farm mere miles away.

There’s also a range of horse-riding experiences for all ages and levels on offer, with private treks and lessons available to guests at Tipperary Mountain Trekking Centre. Clare Leon, the centre’s owner, is a wealth of knowledge as she leads the horseback tours from her stables in Tipperary across the ancient and beautiful Irish foothills. As much a history lesson as it is a riding one, prepare to sit back in wonder at the incredible stories set to be unearthed as you explore the countryside’s magnificently wild terrain together.

The hotel might be grand and ornate, but the staff’s down-to-earth and friendly attitude is anything but; staff are more than happy to arrange private transfers so you can embrace these experiences at your leisure.

Cashel Palace sits proudly in the shadow of one of Ireland’s most iconic medieval sites, the Rock of Cashel. The original ‘Bishop’s Walk’ continues to serve as the private pathway through the hotel’s grounds, giving guests direct access to one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions within a matter of minutes. Set on a dramatic outcrop of limestone with sweeping countryside views, the cluster of buildings include a Romanesque chapel, Gothic cathedral, an abbey and a fifteenth-century Tower House.

In a nutshell

Irish hospitality is renowned around the world, and with a stay at Cashel Palace, it’s clear to see why. No request is too much for the hotel’s staff, who greet everyone with the same warmth and affection usually reserved for family.

Contrary to what the famous John McCormack lyrics suggest, it isn’t such a long way to Tipperary and for the ultimate countryside retreat in this beautiful and charming Palladian mansion, it’s a journey that’s well worth making.

Factbox

Address: Main St, St. Dominick’s Abbey, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, E25 EF61, Ireland
Phone: +353 62 62002
Email: info@cashelpalacehotel.ie
Website: cashelpalacehotel.ie