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Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Stay in a Castle

One of the coolest, most unique places we've ever stayed. John Carignan, a former pilot from Tulsa, Oklahoma, became a certified stone mason so that he could buy a castle and restore it himself. He found this 15th-century tower house outside of Cashel, married Margaret, a local woman, moved in, and now rents out the top floors through AirBnB. We stayed on the top floor, and it was beautiful. High ceilings, a big canopy bed, a library full of books about castles and the region, and a huge tub, where I took perhaps the most relaxing candlelit soak of my life. And, of course, views of the surrounding countryside for miles in every direction. John took us up to the battlements and told us tales of the work he's done and of his family history. The man knows his castles. As they suggest, you'll want to leave your big bags down in the car. It's a long, very narrow stairway to the top, but it's worth it. Oh, and Margaret's breakfasts are hearty and delicious. Note: There was scaffolding on the castle, as you can see in the photo, and we didn't find out that would be the case until after we booked. It didn't really detract from our stay, but it did detract from the photo-ops.