Gregans Castle Hotel
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Gregans Castle Hotel

On the N67, Gragan East, Ballyvaughan H91 CF60 Ireland
Traveller (497)
Superior Room
Room & Suite (113)
Our breakfast with kippers and pancakes
Dining (81)
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#1 of 2 hotels in Ballyvaughan
4.7 of 5 bubbles
4.8 of 5 bubbles
4.6 of 5 bubbles
4.1 of 5 bubbles
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
With breathtaking views across Galway Bay and idyllically situated overlooking the unique Burren landscape, this is the ultimate luxury and gourmet hideaway. Simon and Frederieke together with their staff manage this oasis of comfort and offer genuine Irish hospitality, award winning innovative cooking and elegant bedrooms free from the intrusion of televisions. Antiques, an eclectic art collection, open fires, candles, jugs of flowers and Shelley the cat add to the indulgently relaxing atmosphere. The hotel while strictly not a "castle" in the usual sense of the word has been named "Gregans Castle" since it was built in 1750 as a more comfortable residence for the O'Loughlen and Martyn families from the nearby 16th century towerhouse. Located on the Wild Atlantic Way and the Burren Food Trail. The ideal location from which to enjoy the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Walking, Cycling, the Aran Islands, Horse Riding, Surfing, Sea Angling, Golf. Members of The Burren Ecotourism Network.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Free breakfast
Baggage storage
Dry cleaning
Bar / lounge
Breakfast available
Breakfast buffet
Breakfast in the room
Board games / puzzles
Non-smoking hotel
Laundry service
Room features
Room service
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Complimentary toiletries
Hair dryer
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
4.0 of 5 stars
Historic Hotel
Languages Spoken
725Reviews11Q+A100Room tips

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Detailed Reviews
PGBarry wrote a review Aug 2020
Dublin, Ireland
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I will keep this one simple and avoid flowery pretentious language.

This is a beautiful property - small, extremely comfortable and relaxing. The rooms are what you would expect from a high quality Country House Hotel but they add lovely little details.

I travelled with 8 year old daughter and she delighted in the food and in the collection of board games.

Food is excellent, breakfast in my opinion is second only to Ashford Castle.

Staff are friendly and extremely helpful.

The location is ideal for touring Clare , close to Cliffs of Moher, The Burren Perfumery and Ailwee Caves among so many others.

Try it, you will love it.
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Date of stay: August 2020
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Charlie wrote a review Apr 2024
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The hotel is located in a beautiful location and has an eclectic mixture of artwork and decor. The team were very professional and provided genuine hospitality.
We had three unexpected charges upon our departure, one for afternoon tea and the other for three bottles of house-purified water at dinner and a 4% gratuity on the overall stay.
All other hotels of this calibre along our journey did not charge for tea, and when we were offered a scone or a piece of cake, we thought it was an offer, not a purchase. The other charge was for water; upon checkout, an automatic gratuity was added; we would have preferred to top per meal based on the service.
The hotel does not offer turndown service, which differs from all other hotels in this price range and category.
The overall property and team members were fantastic, and the hotel has a unique charm.
The General Manager was actively involved in all areas, which shows leadership and pride in their environment.
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Date of stay: April 2024Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Brendan K wrote a review Aug 2020
Dublin, Ireland
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Managed to get a room at short notice we stayed one night and immediately regret the brevity if our stay. This is one of those wonderful gems of Irish hospitality with excellent food and service. Sited with magnificent views of the karst Burren rocky surrounds with Galway bay and the twinkling Atlantic on the horizon. The welcome and decor is warm and inviting. We stayed in Fuschia and loved it. Not the best views from
The room but you can’t complain for a last minute booking.

The restaurant has a range of dining options from al la carte to full tasing menu. We opted for a la carte and had numerous little pre this and pre that’s. All were superb - see photos.

The location is also perfect for outings to Galway, and the many attractions of the Burren

Alex and all the staff couldn’t do enough for us. Finally I really can’t figure out how the recent poor reviews arise. We couldn’t have been happier and we are seriously seasoned travellers.

Definitely very highly recommend and we will be returning
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Date of stay: August 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Caroline B wrote a review Feb 2020
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed here at the weekend for the first time, and while we did enjoy our two night stay in the hotel, there were some aspects we found disappointing.

We had booked a Classic room, and I hadn't realized there would be no bath in the room, only a shower. First world problems I know, but as we don't have a bath in our house, I was really looking forward to relaxing in one so I would recommend checking this before you book if this is important for you.

The girls on reception did try to move us on the second night but unfortunately there were no other rooms available.

On the Sunday afternoon we came back to the hotel after some sightseeing, and when I went to the room to have a shower at 5pm, housekeeping hadn't made up our room. I met one of the staff in the hallway and they were just about to start on it and to be fair they were done in half an hour. Again, it was the first weekend of the season so there may have been some teething issues so this might just be a once off.

We ate in the restaurant for breakfast and dinner one of the nights. The breakfast was delicious, all freshly cooked to order and in a nice relaxing dining room with very friendly, attentive staff. The dinner however was a bit of a letdown. We had heard a lot about how good the food was here, and as we eat out quite a lot, were very excited to try it.

Our starters were nice enough. I got scallops, and although the artichokes overpowered the dish somewhat, it was pleasant enough. The mains were a disappointment though. I got the beef, which I found under-seasoned, the accompanying sauce was oily and didn't really add to the dish, nor did the wilted baby gem lettuce. My husband got the duck, which was seasoned quite heavily with fennel. The dessert of rhubarb and ginger (I'm not sure what you would even call it) was just not nice at all. So all in all, while we couldn't fault the service, the food was just not that great and the flavor combinations didn't work for us.

On the whole, we did have a relaxing few days here but for the money we spent, we have stayed in places of a similar price bracket that are way better value for money.
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Date of stay: February 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tom435 wrote a review Sept 2020
3.0 of 5 bubbles
This is a wonderful location in the heart of the Burren and has clearly been lovingly developed by its owners. The Castle reference is a bit of a misnomer - it’s really a small boutique hotel in a spectacular location and while our stay was pleasant it lacked the warmth and atmosphere that we had enjoyed in other places we have stayed on the west coast. If you want a base to tour the beautiful Burren it’s worth a try but if you are also looking for fine dining and the best of Irish hospitality then you will find better value elsewhere.
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Date of stay: September 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Banksy wrote a review Mar 2024
Scotland, United Kingdom
3.0 of 5 bubbles
The place itself is gorgeous, the location & the peacefulness.
The decor and interiors are really lovely, they have a great sense of style and mix and match works really well. Love the fact that no room is the same and the quirky items of furniture and boldness is really classy.
The room was great, we stayed here due to the fact the place is advertised as ‘pet friendly’ I’ll come to that later.

The room itself was lovely. Really comfortable & clean.
Bath over shower is slightly annoying, but I can cope with that due to the room being so nice.
I personally don’t like that the bedding is a sheet, then 2 woollen blankets, followed by another sheet, but like I said, that’s my personal preference and not a negative comment, I simply prefer a duvet.

I loved how we had doors out to a small back garden space for Grace to have her morning pee pee!
There’s bird feed in the room for you to feed the birds which a great touch and the birds appreciate it!
I would personally prefer tea and coffee making facilities in the room, this is a real must for me and is a negative for us, however the fact there was no tv didn’t bother us.

We checked in, the check in was ok, we were told that Grace wasn’t allowed anywhere in any of the public areas, not even the bar, I wouldn’t ever expect to take her into the restaurant but yes I would expect to take her into the bar, and especially due to the fact there are 2 resident cats who go in the bar, on the furniture, and in the lounge.
So it’s not a health and safety issue, it’s a choice the owner is making, but they are still making a choice to charge dogs to stay…. I’m a little disgruntled by this, when you say your pet friendly and you are charging (for cleaning more than likely, although the policy is no dogs over 10kg so it’s not like having retrievers shaking mud all over) then there should be at least one public room where you can go and not feel like your actually being penalised for taking your dog on holiday.
We did take her in the lounge where there was no-one and no food, as I wasn’t prepared to pay the good part of £400 and stay in our room. I’d rather have left!
Don’t charge dog owners & even more so, don’t advertise as pet friendly, that would be far better and gives a far clearer guideline!!

We had dinner in the restaurant and the young lad who served us, Daniel is a real credit to the hotel. He was personal and professional and really didn’t leave us wanting for anything. Our wine was topped up, water, plates cleared efficiently & the food was lovely. Had so much flavour to it and the bread was great too!

We felt breakfast was a bit of a let down, compared to the dinner, I noted the produce is all local which is fab, but the quality wasn’t there for us. A different experience to the night before for sure.

All in all our stay was average.
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Date of stay: March 2024Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Simon Haden, Owner at Gregans Castle Hotel
Responded 17 Apr 2024
Dear Banksy, Thank you so much for taking the time to write your review. While we greatly appreciate the positive comments that you have made regarding the hotel, that you liked the decor, the rooms, the area and your dinner etc. We also read the critical comments that you made and take everything which you have said very seriously. In reading your review, we note that the wording you have used is extremely fair and we appreciate your honesty and the time you have given to give your feedback about your stay. Obviously nobody likes to read negative things about themselves and in general we are more used to positive comments however, at times we do not fulfil the expectations of our customers and especially having received such an honest and fair appraisal of your stay we felt that we needed to address the issues seriously and take the time to respond to your comments. I would like to reply therefore to each comment individually. The first comments you made were regarding your room. We realise that not everybody finds a shower over a bath ideal. However, given the specific layout of these rooms, they were originally the stables, the possible configuration only allowed this permutation or to remove the bath altogether. We kept this option and thus far in general people are happy with the result. With regards the bedding, we have always had top quality blankets and sheets and many people actually really like this. However again, we fully understand that there are people who prefer duvets. We understand that you state that this is just your preference and not a serious complaint. We have never had tea and coffee making facilities as a facility in the bedrooms. This is a deliberate decision on our behalf pretty much because on several occasions when people have requested such this has resulted in accidents, spillages and on a few occasions burnt into the antique furniture. We devote a lot of time and attention into the room furnishings and this has been very upsetting. However, we will happily bring a tray with tea or coffee to the room or leave a small one in should somebody specifically request one in advance. Similarly televisions, we have never had televisions in the rooms and we don’t want them. We don’t see any correlation between having televisions and luxury of any kind and over the years we have had vastly more guests thanking us for not having them and appreciating the lack of noise and distraction from them. In any case nowadays if people really need to watch something they usually have their own sources of online entertainment over which we have no control. So far this hasn’t proven to be an inconvenience to guests in adjacent rooms thankfully. Regarding your main issue concerning your dog Grace, you mentioned this with us when you were staying with us and on your departure and since then we have actually spent quite a bit of time pondering the question. In Ireland prior to 2017 you weren’t actually legally allowed to have an animal in any hospitality setting where food of any kind might be served. So it simply wasn’t an issue. Before and after 2017 we have welcomed dogs in the dog friendly bedrooms with the same regulations and rules that you encountered. However, since 2017 on one or two occasions guests have expressed disappointment about not being able to bring their pet into another public room. While this never became a major issue before now the manner in which you presented your comments to us made us think a little bit more seriously about it. We fully acknowledge that despite your expectations of the property you weren’t able to enjoy the property with Grace as you had thought you might. The rules we currently impose have resulted from a few very early instances where people checked in and then abandoned their animals in the rooms or let them run riot in the halls, using us as an animal minding service. Unfortunately, the negative consequence was for us to be more strict with our animal policy than we might personally prefer. As you said, lady our cat has access to the Drawing Room and the Bar. She arrived in 2017 so her presence was never a legal question and because we know her behaviour and habits we know that she’s quiet, occupies a corner of a sofa and easy to move or control. I guess in some ways over time we have feared a possible dog or maybe two dogs going into the bar and guests not being happy or lady getting annoyed and reacting. It’s just something I suppose that we have avoided by not changing the policy however having said that we are open to amending it. Your comments have certainly made us think more about it and we are now thinking we will at least experiment with allowing smaller dogs into the bar. We do say that we can’t accommodate dogs over 10 kg however, this is quite regularly ignored and the idea of a great dane sitting in the bar is one that we are anxious to not have to deal with so we need to plan this properly. Similarly, there are guests who don’t like any animals including a previous Tainiste (Deputy Prime Minister) who more or less ran screaming from the hotel because she met lady so we realise we will always encounter people for whom any animal is a problem and we know that we have to create a policy whereby the majority of our guests are happy. Therefore we wanted you to know that we are drawing up changes to the rules so that at least dogs are welcomed in one area public area. We know this can’t change your past experience with us but we hope that it might someway please you to think that we have taken your comments on board and to know that were you to return in the future you would have an experience that more meets what you had hoped for this year. As animal lovers ourselves we understand the pleasure of relaxing with a pet close by and hope this can be enjoyed by future guests of the hotel now. Finally we very much appreciate your comments regarding your dining experience, and of Daniel. Dining is obviously a major component of any stay at Gregans Castle Hotel. We believe the food offering is for Ireland quite unique in that we are offering a modern, creative dining experience in a somewhat classical country house property. A few larger properties are doing this but in a small property like ourselves this is quite unusual and we are very grateful when guests appreciate any effort and consideration that has gone into providing this. Your comments about breakfast did however concern us and we would greatly appreciate if you could contact us directly and tell us if there was something specifically negative or if it was the general breakfast experience you had issue with. Maybe there is something we need to address or something maybe we can easily change. Maybe not. We asked the breakfast staff on duty during your stay if you said anything to them and they didn’t recall anything or know what you might have been referring to, so we would greatly greatly appreciate knowing what you did not enjoy or like about it. We seldom get negative breakfast feedback. Maybe it was a personal opinion, but if there is anything at all we can improve on we would prefer to know or maybe there is something generally that we need to address. A guest previously commented on the fact that we don’t offer omelettes at breakfast. Obviously we can’t offer every possible option for guests, but if there’s something small that we simply haven’t thought about you could bring to our attention. In conclusion we sincerely hope this reply has in some way answered or addressed some of your issues. As I said at the beginning, it’s never nice to read negative comments, but when they are as constructively presented as yours, we felt that it is our duty to closely examine, try to address and if possible improve. Sometimes changes are not possible but constructive feedback is something we appreciate and take seriously and try our hardest to respond to. Thanking you for bringing all of this to our attention and challenging our thought processes. With very kind regards and wishing you the very best.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
PILAR101 wrote a review Jul 2020
Cork, Ireland
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Booked this place two weeks in advance for an special birthday. Day before the booking we found we have no babisitter e mail them and they accommodate us for an early booking which was fine. Same day of booking they call me to say they don’t have this place available for us which they had grated they previous day. We have traveled half of the country this days with our 5 year old that is well behaved and didn’t have issues anywhere we went. Too bad customer experience, too risky booking places like this who know nothing about customer experience. Solutions should be provided instead of obstacles.
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Date of stay: July 2020Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Simon Haden, Owner at Gregans Castle Hotel
Responded 22 Jul 2020
Dear PILAR101, Like many other businesses in these challenging and ever changing times we find ourselves on occasion having to suddenly alter existing decisions to meet the new Covid-19 Health and Safety regulations. It was unfortunately under these conditions that we had to contact you and explain that we could not in fact at the last minute add your child to your dinner booking that you had made 2 weeks prior. Your dinner booking was for a Saturday night and the restaurant was fully booked and after you emailed late on Friday evening and we replied back we realised that the addition of your child to your table would be in breach of Covid-19 social distancing regulations. It would have brought one of your party too close to 2 adjacent tables. The health and safety of our guests and our staff is paramount. I’m sure had you arrived and found one of your party sitting too close to others you yourself would have been unhappy. We were and are most apologetic. We did our best to think up an alternative but could not. We are not exactly sure what solution you expected us to come up with but your instantaneous threat on the phone to write a bad Tripadvisor review was not particularly helpful and did not elicit any desire in us to help you further. Maybe if you read this you might think again before using threats and intimidation to obtain your preferred results and try understanding that there are sometimes difficult situations in life as we are all experiencing at the present time.
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Sarah wrote a review Jul 2020
Cork, Ireland
1.0 of 5 bubbles
No room service available, no tables available in the restaurant either. Regardless of Covid, I have stayed in hotels over the course of the month (particularly 4 and 5 star hotels) where it does not matter whether you have a table booked or not, you will always have the option of room service. We had to go to Spar for food for our dinner. Absolutely nothing was done to accommodate us.
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Date of stay: July 2020
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
2.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Simon Haden, Owner at Gregans Castle Hotel
Responded 29 Jul 2020
Gregans Castle Hotel like many other hotels thankfully reopened for business on July 1st after the tension filled months of lockdown. Happy to return to do what we know best and are here to do. Or so we thought, because despite the hundreds of happy customers who have been thought the door since that date we are still somehow deserving of some pretty damning complaints. Where did we go wrong we wonder? Of course we are as capable as the next business of making mistakes, we are after all comprised of human beings and none of us is infallible. However, on closer examination the common denominator in all these complaints suddenly jumped out at us - we had the audacity to say NO!!! We didn’t forget to clean a room, we didn’t make someone ill by serving bad food, we didn’t offer a twin bed when a double was booked, no, we simply said no to requests that we were unable to agree to. That’s not to say we didn't want to agree to them, we purely couldn’t do so. How is this such a travesty one would wonder? In this day and age of “because you’re worth it”, “the customer is always right”, “I’ll write to Tripadvisor” or the heart attack inducing “I'll phone Joe Duffy” a certain type of person has come to believe that a fit of pique, a subtle threat and a hefty dose of abuse will get them just about anything they want from hospitality providers. Because, after all, we are considered for many as just an extension of a vocational social service to enjoy as they see fit, with magic wands aplenty enabling us to execute all and every special demand or request no matter that we might be too small or not even set up to do so. Most of all these people truly believe that we are so desperately in need of their custom and endless pleasure that without their graced presence we would have no other customers. It seems to escape their understanding that many people stay with us because we do what we do, the way we do it. They even like it. And in some cases they return. Shocking! We normally don’t even bother to reply to Tripadvisor complaints because in the main they are so few and also because we accept that some people just like to vent their peeves and preferences. Readers can usually read between the lines of such reviews and accept that things do sometimes go wrong and not everywhere is suitable for or liked by all people. However, these recent attempts to damage our business and falsely malign our staff are just unacceptable. It is especially sad after all these months where the best of human nature has come to the fore and everyone now speaks of having gained new perspective on life and what truly matters and respect for others. When we are to a man/woman working endless hours to try to offer as normal and enjoyable an experience as we can in these utterly changed times with so many new and challenging regulations. Yes we can be tired, yes we are a little more stressed than usual and we are still learning to include new practices in what we have done for years but we really are doing our best to be helpful, kind, attentive, caring, understanding and efficient all while wearing masks, washing hands, donning and doffing gloves, observing social distancing and watching that our guests do likewise. It’s nothing more than anyone else in our business is doing but it can be difficult sometimes and in many ways still feels very unnatural. We don’t believe and never have believed in trying to be all things for all people as it generally leads to mediocrity. It’s just not possible for a 21 bedroom hotel in the countryside to do and be everything for everyone and so we honestly and clearly state on our website, our literature and any communication what we both do and what we don’t do so as not to disappoint. We are in a price category that many people coming to stay with us or to dine with us are enjoying special occasions and treats and we treat everyone with the same care and courtesy. We want every guest to experience the same high standards that we are known for and to leave feeling they came to the right place and spent their money wisely. However, we do not live in a nanny state and the initial and main responsibility is that of the customer to choose the place that they go to, to research the facilities that they might want/need and to check that they like what they read or see. It is beyond laughable to abnegate responsibility for bad choices and blame the hotel or restaurant for them. Hospitality providers certainly have a duty to provide what we say we will and to do it the best we can but the customer does not decide what that will be. We as a business after years of service and evolving in response to our specific customer needs and feedback and our own particular desires have created the unique product that is Gregans Castle Hotel. There is no one size fits all hotel or restaurant, it is nonsense and frankly disingenuous to think that by virtue of being a 4 or 5 star hotel that it should de facto offer what other 4 or 5 star places might. Size, location, busyness, quietness, customer catchment area all play roles in what a hotel or restaurant does or does not offer not to mention what the business itself sees as necessary or beneficial. Upon booking at Gregans Castle Hotel all guests receive confirmation emails with highlighted facts of importance so that in case they haven’t read these things on our website or don’t already know that they aren’t suddenly surprised. Dinner times and availability being one of the most emphasised and highlighted. In the case of one recent Tripadvisor review that has prompted this reply, we even sent a follow up email to ask if a dinner reservation was required since time slots were already filling up. But no, they didn’t want to book anything and we are in this business long enough to accept that sometimes people want to stay with us but eat elsewhere and this is totally acceptable. However, upon check in by these guests and realising that they hadn’t in fact booked another place and were upset at our not having a table we took it upon ourselves to ring around the other local restaurants to try to get them something. We didn’t even know it was an anniversary, we normally assume that if an event is important that the guest will make appropriate arrangements. We can’t decide that for them and everyone has different way to celebrate. Like us the local restaurants are all trying to operate while complying with the covid regulations and the nearest place we could find with availability only had a slot at 9pm. We took this and contacted the guests to tell them we had got them a table for dinner locally. But no, they were still not happy. We offered to call another place a little farther away but again, no, it was a table with us or nothing. Well. Nothing it was then as we were totally full, would have breached the social distancing limits to add another table and were not about to demand a guest already seated finish a meal fast so as to turn over a table. We don’t do that. Neither could we at short notice serve our elaborate dinner to the bedroom. Our dinner menus are elaborate, carefully timed, with lots of little side dishes, plates, jugs etc and require the constant coordinated attention of the small team in the dining room. Irrespective of the fact that due to covid we don’t enter the bedroom after the guest has checked in except to clean it (and only then with full PPE in compliance with regulations), we simply could not have arranged a relay of staff with all the constituent dishes of an average meal to go up and down the stairs to the other end of the building thereby affecting and interrupting the dining experiences of the other guests. Even a cursory look at the menu on our website would have shown the impracticality of such an idea. But, somehow, we are still wrong, we are to blame for a ruined anniversary and we did nothing to help. It would be funny if it wasn’t a downright lie. We did everything in our power to help but we were not about to risk the health of our staff or our other guests experiences and that simply wasn’t good enough for these people. Should we have gone to their home after twice reminding them to book and held their hands to phone us to make a reservation? Should we have crocheted an extension to the dining room? Where was our wand that night? What did they expect????? As with other complaints it is 99% of the time as a result of something we don’t or won’t or can’t do that we get these nasty complaints. For some reason some people assume that they are the exception to the rule, the once ever one off request, the one time only extraordinary personal circumstance. Each and every time. And each and every one of these times we are again to assume the mantle of vocational service provider, to be the dispenser of free last minute cancellations, endless extra staff attention, extended dinner and breakfast times, bountiful menu changes and alterations and on demand room upgrades. At no cost. But at no cost to whom? As a business we have to pay for everything, food, water, electricity, wages, gas, insurance you name it. Like everyone else. But in our case because of the social nature of hospitality it is assumed that that cancelled booking and empty room, the no show table, the dietary preferences, the desired upgrade, missed flight or changed mind should not cost the customer. They don’t ever seem to understand that if they hadn’t booked and blocked that room or table that someone else might have turned up and enjoyed the place as it is and paid for the experience. That people were rostered to work on the basis of numbers of people booked to stay and supplies bought similarly. That extra services need to be paid for in extra hours worked or supplies bought. Somehow we are not meant to be concerned about money, it’s almost rude to mention it. Rather we should shoulder the cost and they should be free from the responsibly of paying for what they contractually agreed to pay and extra expenses simply made disappear. I shudder to think what would happen if someone ordered a new suit, had it made and then decided they wanted to buy one somewhere else or wanted velvet when they had paid for polyester. Would they argue that someone else should/could buy the suit, that they had no need for it anymore, that their circumstances meant they couldn’t afford two, that the makers were sewing anyway and therefore it shouldn’t be an inconvenience??? Yet, it is precisely this sort of nonsense we deal with regularly when people try to cancel last minute, make big changes suddenly or sometimes just don’t show up and then get most annoyed when you charge them and vent fury at the word NO!. Me?, me? , they shriek, I was sick, had to work, couldn't get a babysitter ,my father/child/uncle/friend was sick. What do you mean I have to pay, but it’s sooooo unfair and nasty of you! These are strangers, prospective guests, but strangers. Family members and friends wouldn't dream of asking not to pay funnily enough because they understand the cost to us of an empty room or table. They can only be sold once ever. What makes this money less valuable to us and us more duty bound to tear up the €100/250/500 due? Imagine I sometimes think if I called into the place of work of one of these people and asked for €250 because I needed to see a doctor. Just because. I mean, you can sincerely sympathise with someone, you can understand a dilemma, you can try and adjust a booking, you can see if the room or table might be sold last minute but why do we as hospitality providers need to lose money because of someone else’s personal circumstance. If they showed up and we didn’t still have their room or table you can be damn sure we would have to and rightly so, pay for an alternative. Life happens, we offer more flexible rates as well as cheaper less flexible ones for those that might need to make changes, we are often lenient when we can be(even when someone has booked one of the less flexible rates), we are as generous as we can be and we go above and beyond to find solutions and offer little extras where we can but we are not a government funded charity or fantasy land where we have the option to pay our bills or not. Accusing us of not caring or not understanding is just idiotic, would you say the same to the theatre, the suit maker, the airline or the doctor? When we sell a voucher it has a validity of 5 years, that’s the law. If we are full what can we do, voucher or not? Crochet that extension like I suggested before, push out an already booked guest? We have no way of knowing when we will be full, when someone might want to use their voucher and when something like covid might strike. Obviously we will have to refuse to accommodate a booking if we are already full, and if we are full on other dates suggested that’s also regrettable but not our fault. Why not book earlier, plan, come later?? Is that asking too much? As previously stated covid has made pushing flexibility in the dining room impossible. If we are full we are full. But, given that the voucher holder has 5 years to redeem it we assume that at some date at some time in the future it will suit. To resort to verbal abuse and loaded remarks (especially the current “Don’t you know I’m a frontline worker” statement) as though somehow that will have a magic desired effect is futile. We don’t not want to accommodate people, it’s not in our remit to turn guests away needlessly. We just cant always take that extra reservation. For your sake as well as ours. Our staff do not need to accept this sort of abuse, they deserve respect and to be safe and we do not expect them to just take it. We all work hard, have gone through the stresses of the last months and have no idea what the near future holds. If honesty and directness constitutes rudeness, so be it. We know people don’t like being told no to, that’s natural, but such spoilt and petulant reactions are truly exhausting to deal with and for which I sometimes think no amount of money or compliments make up for. Life is just too short to have to deal with such unreasonableness. Were we to just cram in everyone everytime particularly now with Covid, the result would be dreadful and dangerous for the guests, the staff and the business. Gregans Castle Hotel is what it is, it offers and tries to provide what it says it will and it seems to do a fairly good job of this judging by the awards, great reviews and success it has achieved over many years of consistent hard work. It might not be for everyone, that’s ok and doesn’t make anything about us wrong, just wrong for some people. So please, please do your homework, make sure we offer what you think you might like, contact us if you aren’t sure about something and want to know more, express displeasure if we fail to meet your expectations based on your research and we will readily take constructive criticism on board and make every attempt to remedy or rectify it if we have done wrong or disappointed you. But please, keep your spleen for genuine faults, for bad treatment and horrible experiences. Don’t lie to enhance your complaint and don’t twist the truth to cover your lack of understanding. Its unedifying. We are not magicians, we own a small hotel and we are employers and we are bill payers and taxpayers and we do not hide anything about our methods and what we offer. You just need to ask or look. We are not out to offend or insult but we will continue to make decisions for the best of our business, our staff and our other guests. You are not justified to abuse just because you are annoyed, because you feel we are not cooperating, Not all things in life are your decision and will go your way. We are a business like any other, it almost seems like a dirty secret to say that. We can only do what we do. We try to give people the benefit of being stressed, tense, or tired when they go out of their way to complain in these unfair ways but maybe it’s just a sense of entitlement or meanness…...
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Hollye Hudson wrote a review Aug 2020
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This is a review to thank Gregans for the excellent customer service I have experienced with them so far. My husband and daughter and I were going to visit Ireland for the first time this summer and we were so excited about our trip. Sadly with COVID we realized back in March that we probably wouldn’t be traveling internationally anytime soon (we are in Los Angeles). I reached out to the hotel and asked if we could change our trip to next summer. I received a prompt, kind email in response, and assurance that we would be able to have the same room we had booked and that they would be happy to see us next year.

The hospitality industry is especially hurting during this time. Hotels, restaurants, and their staff are either barely making ends meet, or are having to shut their doors. I am so thankful Gregans Castle has been able to figure out a system that keeps their doors open and keeps everyone as safe as possible. We should all be kind and patient with each other during these times.

We are so excited about our trip next year. Thank you for the wonderful customer service so far Gregans!
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Date of stay: August 2020Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Cary L wrote a review Sept 2020
Ennis, Ireland
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mary and I had a chance to go for afternoon tea at Gregan's Castle just at the bottom of the famed Corkscrew road that leads into Ballyvaughan in Co. Clare. I've lived here 27 years and for whatever reason never had the chance to come in for a visit let alone afternoon tea.

What a treat!!! The presentation was fantastic. The sandwiches were superb and the pastries were divine. We were served in the bar/sitting room. Cozy, comfortable and the bar is fully stocked. So, in addition to our tea Mary was able to order a gin and tonic. The service was fantastic and folks looked after you to make sure you had a very nice experience. Like I said, I didn't even realize that this was a hotel with a full restaurant. The house is exquisite and definitely worth a few nights if you are on the road during a "staycation" in Ireland.

Any back to the food...I would have only a couple of small observations. First, I would offer at least a second round of sandwiches especially for those folks who may not be big pastry eaters. I like sweet things on occasions but I prefer sandwiches. Again, the pastries were divine but given a choice I would go for sandwiches...they were gorgeous.

The second observation was that only one kind of tea was offered. This was Mary's observation. Me..I am your basic black tea kind of guy and would actually prefer iced tea but given that this is Ireland where everyone is hooked in intravenously to a drip line of black tea it would have been nice to have a few choices. I thought it was perfect and they gave you plenty of tea which I was quite happy with but, for those folks who want a a variety you will have to do with black tea.

The grounds are incredible. They have walks around the grounds, croquet and of course you are just a mile or two into Ballyvaughan. This is a little paradise in the heart of the Burren. I would highly recommend it for a weekend getaway.

The folks who run it are true professionals and make you feel like you are a part of the furniture. You fit right in. They are fantastic people.

Have a great trip.
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Date of stay: August 2020
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
James H asked a question Sept 2023
Dublin, Ireland
The number of rooms
Answer from 151kp
Limerick, Ireland369 contributions78 helpful votes
About 20 bedrooms
Answer from Diana P
Cincinnati, Ohio30 contributions6 helpful votes
Unfortunately I don’t think that air conditioned rooms are available.
Answer from PGBarry
Dublin, Ireland54 contributions27 helpful votes
Yes they can arrange or my recommendation would be to download the FreeNow taxi app and you can hail a taxi when you need it.
BuntzB asked a question Feb 2020
West Chester, Pennsylvania121 contributions77 helpful votes
Do you need a car to reach the hotel or is there service from a train station or Shannon airport?
Answer from harryhenna
Rochester, Minnesota60 contributions5 helpful votes
We always have our own rental car. You might be able to hire a driver from the airport. You should research that.
nanod155012 asked a question Jan 2019
Sault Ste. Marie, Canada6 contributions3 helpful votes
So disapointed! My daughter has cat I need to be concerned?
Answer from Ian F
Portlaoise, Ireland5 contributions7 helpful votes
I believe the property has always had cats allowed in the hotel.
Dubtraveler wrote a tip May 2024
Dublin, Ireland106 contributions35 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Take time to relax in the bar & lounges of this beautiful house. Try and dine early so you've time to enjoy the various food courses. Dinner is a truly unique experience. "
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ski4food wrote a tip May 2024
New York City, New York35 contributions52 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"A bit out of the way but worth it!"
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Lesley B wrote a tip Mar 2024
Alpine, Arkansas10 contributions4 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Plan on eating dinner there--there isn't anything else close and even if there were, it's an amazing experience."
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Ann G wrote a tip Feb 2024
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Check out one of the many hikes through the Burren , you won’t be disappointed."
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Frank L wrote a tip Nov 2023
Ennis, Ireland62 contributions25 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Make plenty time around hotel...not just to overnight in!!!"
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€354 - €703 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
gregans castle ballyvaughan, hotel gregans castle
IrelandProvince of MunsterCounty ClareThe BurrenBallyvaughan
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GREGANS CASTLE HOTEL - UPDATED 2024 Reviews & Price Comparison (Ballyvaughan, The Burren, County Clare) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Gregans Castle Hotel
Which popular attractions are close to Gregans Castle Hotel?
Nearby attractions include Caherconnell Stone Fort & Sheepdog Demonstrations (5.0 km), Burren Birds of Prey Centre (5.2 km), and Burren way (7.0 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Gregans Castle Hotel?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free breakfast, and an on-site restaurant.
What food & drink options are available at Gregans Castle Hotel?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Gregans Castle Hotel?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Gregans Castle Hotel?
Conveniently located restaurants include Monks Ballyvaughan, O'Donohue's Pub, and The Wild Atlantic Lodge.
Are any cleaning services offered at Gregans Castle Hotel?
Yes, dry cleaning and laundry service are offered to guests.
Are there any historical sites close to Gregans Castle Hotel?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Caherconnell Stone Fort & Sheepdog Demonstrations (5.0 km), Poulnabrone Dolmen (4.3 km), and Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb (4.8 km).
Does Gregans Castle Hotel have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the mountain view available here.
Is Gregans Castle Hotel accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.
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