Markree, Collooney, County Sligo, Ireland
The Enchanted Castle
For something really special , you could stay a night or two at Markree Castle in Collooney. This is the castle where Oliver Cromwell's 'hanging tree'still stands in the garden.
Today it is quite a lovely hotel which still exudes the old castle charm. Location wise, however, it probably isn't very practical unless you have a car of course, and then it is only a short drive to so many villages and to Sligo Town itself. You'll love Sligo, it is a glorious part of Ireland. Loch Gill and Benbulben will blow you away.
Unique Quality: The peace and tranquil beauty of the Irish countryside abounds at Markree Castle. A walk in the garden here is reminiscent of a romantic Irish story. In the late afternoon all is perfectly still and very quiet and hauntingly beautiful.
Treat yourself and stay some where a bit different. About 5 miles on the outskirts of Sligo is the small village Colooney. There you will mind the faded splendor of Markree castle. Set in its own grounds the magnificent, imposing building is the genuine article. Owned by Charles Cooper, who is still lives there, the castle has been in his family for centuries. A warm welcome is assured in wonderful surroundings. The bath water may be brown, the carpets my have been better days but the abundance of character will ensure you will remember your stay for years to come.
More about Markree Castle
Can I get a drink please?
My husband and I stayed at Markree Castle in May. The castle was as I was expecting, tired but elegan, a great setting for a wedding. The standard room was reasonable and clean.
Our only gripe was that we had trouble finding any staff in the lounge or bar area both in the afternoon for a light lunch and at dinner. When we eventually found someone they were most helpful. Neither did we think much of the food, reputed to be very good. Maybe this was because it was midweek, but I don't think that it much of an excuse.
I wouldn't stay there again.
Great Value for Money
I've recently returned from a trip to Ireland and had a great time in general. One of our favourite places to stay was Markree Castle. We were running on a budget but I found a great deal on Markree's website that I couldn't resist. I spent more on a night in a mediocre Dublin B$B that on a night in a beautiful, antique room in the Markree! We were there for two nights in total and we ate in the restaurant one of those nights. Although the food was beyond our budget (and justifiably so!), the staff were happy to to give us some soup and fries instead at a very resonable price and we still had the expericence of sitting in the fantastic dining room, treated just the same as the rest of the diners.
The staff were really helpful and pleasant and the atmosphere was really relaxing. We had initially booked a small double (the cheapest!) but we were upgraded (free of charge and without asking) to a bigger room as the hotel wasn't busy. The room we got was newly renovated and supposedly haunted, though sadly no ghosts were seen.
I was surprised on my return to see some negative reviews on tripadvisor.com. It is probably not as plush as people might expect, but when I looked at my bill I couldn't complain. I would have stayed another night but they had a wedding on there the next day. The staff were friendly and pleasant and the room warm and comfortable. Wonderful!
Not shabby chic, just dirty
We spent one night at Markree castle over Easter and it was a truly dreadful experience. I do not believe that you can apply exacting standards to many old castle hotels, but dirty, stained bedlinen is never acceptable even in the cheapest B&B!
We arrived at the hotel at 2pm, too late for lunch but could be served arternoon tea after 3pm. After many requests (and a 4hour journey) we were offered some re-heated soup at 4pm but were told that there was no food left after lunch for a sandwich. The public rooms were dirty, with stained and tattered furniture. Do not be mistaken, this is not the genuine wear of original antique pieces, the furniture would not look out of place in a down at heel, 1970's suburban semi. The drawing rooms were freezing and there was no welcoming smell of wood fires as they had all gone out (untended) in the early afternoon.
We had dinner in the hotel and whilst the accomodation is relatively cheap dinner (at 40 Euro per person) is very expensive for the region. The food was inedible, what appeared on the plate bore absolutely no relation to what appeared on the menu. Starters of egg mayonaise?? and cooked salmon in mayonaise (listed as salmon tartare)???! On the plus side, they have an excellent and very competetively priced wine list.
What is most annoying about this hotel is it's wasted potential. The grounds and building outside are beautiful. The staff are very pleasant, but completely mismanaged and ineffectual. We saw waiting staff pass dirty tea-cups and trays in the public areas for the entire afternoon without removing them. Yes, this hotel is less than half the price of Asford or Dromoland castles but it still does not represent good value. Cold, uncomfortable and dirty rooms are never "charming" and true hospitality is about more than an impressive facade and apologetic staff. We will not be back and would encourage others to stay away until standards are drastically improved.
most relaxing, will definitely go back
myself and my husband are just back from a 2 night break in Markree and we enjoyed it thoroughly. We stayed in Room 20 The Charles Kingsley Room and it was very clean, warm and comfortable with a lovely view over the gardens. Dinner was delicious and served by friendly staff in the remarkable ornate dining room. Yes the place is a bit on the shabby side - its 350 years old for God`s sake!! The fireplace in the grand hall is huge with logs burning all day and the whole place is so atmospheric. We found the reception staff to be friendly and competent and are already looking forward to going back.
Not as expected
After reading other reviews on this castle I was very surprised and happy to prove them wrong by my visit. The hotel and the grounds are a magnificent site on coming up the long drive, you feel as if you are stepping back in time. Inside the castle it is old wordly with the smell of burning logs and an amazing staircase with a stained glass window to look at. The rooms were comfortable with period furniture, and the water was hot and clear unlike previous reviews I had read. Dinner and breakfast were delicious and the gardens were beautiful even in November. A real enjoyable stay and we will certainly be returning.
surly service and substandard facilities
Common areas were acceptable, but rooms were dirty and in need of renovation. Priced far above what it's worth and what is available for the same prices elsewhere in Ireland.
If you like the appeal of hostoric structures then you will love this castle! The common areas were never crowded and the rooms I felt were well appointed. The food was fabulous and I was treated like royalty while I was there. I will suggest that when you are parking your car, find a place away from the rest as in the evening, people who are not renting there come to the bar and my rental car was seriously damaged by someone sideswiping it but management would not step up. There are signs there that state they are not responsible so I quess there have been problems in the past!!
Haunted and quirky at best
Having read the reviews of previous guests, I find it quite humourous that anyone could complain about this quirky castle. Ireland is about atmosphere and here you get a full dose. Ashford is clinical and false. The Hilton of castles! However, this is a special place. You sense a past. The smell of the log fire in the great hall wafts into every space. One feels as if the place is empty and you are all alone to confront ghosts of the ages. Confront you do! Markree is a place for lovers, for dreamers and for those in need of quite contemplation. A very gentle place for gentle and unassuming people.
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