Dominating the village of Durrow in County Laois is its castle, now elegantly renovated as a hotel by owners Peter and Shelly Stokes. Inside, the stone staircases and marble fireplaces are complemented by antique furnishings and bold wallpapers. Touches such as the "Lords" and Ladies" lavatories add to a slightly eccentric atmosphere.

The bedroom

Big and tall: our large four-poster bed was almost swallowed up in the cavernous space. The bathrooms are also on the generous side, with toiletries from Molton Brown.

The food and drink

The bar is the most castle-like element, with dark walls and leather sofas. A set four-course dinner, served in the dining room overlooking the vast garden, is ¿50. The hotel is a popular wedding venue though, and the food tastes a bit mass-catered.

The access

The hotel welcomes children but no pets. It has wheelchair access, bedrooms on the ground floor and seats for the bath.

The bill

Doubles start at ¿100 per night, including breakfast.

The address

Castle Durrow, Co Laois, Ireland (00 353 502 36555; A member of Ireland's Blue Book (