As you drive though the trees and see the water on your left, you then pick up the 6 towers with their crenellations rising high above this wonderful Irish castle. The discreet and beautiful Lough Cutra Castle sits on the edge of its own 1000 acre lake. Until recently it was one of the West of Ireland's best kept secrets, but was put on the world stage when HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, chose to stay there for their highly successful 'reconciliation' state visit to Ireland in 2015. They stayed at the castle over a three day period and hosted an informal state dinner for 18 guests in the castle dining room, with the Irish president and his wife in attendance.
Lough Cutra Castle and its demesne (a piece of land attached to the castle and retained by the owner for their own use) is a privately-owned family-run estate of some 700 acres. The lough, larger than the demesne, at 1000 acres with its six islands, is Europe's largest privately owned lake. Lough Cutra Castle, valued for both its beauty and discretion, can sleep up to 40 guests across the castle itself, the recently restored tower and four courtyard estate houses. The castle, designed by Nash and built by the Wyatt brothers in 1810, has only had three family owners in its 215 years of history.
Lough Cutra Castle is the only castle in Ireland to host the international castle triathlon series. On 24 May 2015, 1,300 competitors and over 500 spectators filled the grounds for this event and 200 children between 8-16 years of age also successfully competed the triathlon. It's expected, with numbers growing, that the event will be held over two days in 2016. Run or Dye, a highly family orientated 5k walk, run, rainbow run, returns for the second year in September 2015, with as many as 3,000 participants. What a wonderful backdrop for these events!
Although when you arrive at the castle you will not want to leave the estate, close by is the world famous Burren, recently visited by HRH Prince Charles; this is the world's largest outcrop of limestone. It is a world heritage Unesco site, renowned for its bleak beauty, its unique flora and fauna and its organic farming.
Heading West, The Cliffs of Moher, standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point, stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast of County Clare. Did you know that from the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk mountains in Connemara, Loop Head to the south and the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry? O’Brien’s Tower stands near the highest point and has served as a viewing point for visitors for hundreds of years. This is Ireland's most visited tourist attraction.
Other areas of interest are the 11th century monastic ruins at Kilamacduagh, the artist and seaside harbour town of Kinvara and, of course, the cities of Galway and Limerick close by. You might also want to sample a bit of Irish hospitality in a traditional Irish village pub!
The castle has easy access, located on the County Clare and County Galway borders, just 25 minutes from Shannon International Airport and two and a half hours from Dublin International Airport.