DUBLIN -- Five centuries of history and culture come together at
Luttrellstown Castle, a 560-acre estate just outside Dublin that is
available for charter to corporate and incentive groups, and others
looking for a bit of peace and quiet.
Irish history buffs might know that the Luttrells were an
English family who came to own the estate back in the 15th
The epitome of the landed gentry, the Luttrells were a
formidable family with an apparent knack for swearing allegiance to
the right people at the right time.
Early in the 20th century, the Guinness family (of Guinness beer
fame) bought the property and held it until 1982.
Today, the estate and its 14-room castle, now owned by the
French company Primwest Group, is looking to attract more corporate
and leisure business from the U.S.
"About 36% of our guests are American, and they consist of
corporate meetings, top-level incentive groups and some leisure,"
Adrienne Clarke, sales and marketing director of the property
The remainder of its business comes mostly from Ireland and
Great Britain, with a small amount -- about 10% -from the rest of
Europe. Clarke said the goal is to book fully 50% of its guests
from the U.S.
The castle recently hosted a group of American trade and
consumer press, including Travel Weekly.
Luttrellstown's business is very high-end, attracting boards of
directors on retreat, top-producing incentive groups from Fortune
500 companies and celebrities looking for an exclusive
Rooms at the castle cannot be booked individually. The entire
castle must be chartered, and groups can pick and choose from a
wide selection of add-ons, like lunches and dinners, special wines,
sporting events and custom-designed happenings.
The per-night rate for the 14 rooms is about $7,000, and that
includes breakfast for everyone. Total accommodation is for 28
people, if all rooms are shared.
Lunches are priced at $35 per person, dinner at $58, and wine
and other alcoholic beverages are billed on an as-consumed
Travel agents are paid 10% commission if they handle the entire
booking, said Clarke.
"If an agent simply refers a client who eventually books, but we
handle all the details, we pay 5% to the agent as a referral fee,"
A full commission on a booking for 14 rooms for a one-week stay
can fall in the $5,000 range.
John Flavin, the castle's general manager, said the property is
not in the hotel business.
"We are in the experience business. Corporate clients choose us
because of our size and our ability to customize visits.
Luttrellstown is a private refuge offering an unrivaled location
for discreet meetings, conferences, product launches and incentive
travel programs," he said, adding that Primwest considers the U.S.
market to be "our major growth area for the future."
The castle's staff has customized unique events, such as setting
up a full circus on the grounds, developing challenge sports for
incentive groups and organizing falconry, clay pigeon shooting and
horseback riding programs. Local entertainment often is brought
There also is an 18-hole golf course, plus fishing and boating
on the estate's 20-acre lake.
A clubhouse on the golf course can seat up to 200 for meals, and
its second floor has three meeting rooms.
Groups can rent the castle just for a dinner event. A gala
dinner at the castle for 100 would run about $5,800. A dinner
gathering alone is not eligible for agency commission.
The interior of Luttrellstown Castle is elegant, and loaded with
authentic antiques -- there are few reproductions here.
Service by the castle staff is first rate; they seem to only
appear when you need them, and they are a friendly and
In addition to the castle's 14 bedrooms, which are decorated in
period furniture, mostly Victorian, the property has a dining room,
called the Kentian Room, which can seat up to 60 people for formal
The Van Stry Room is the main reception room and often functions
as a living room, with couches, chairs, a grand piano and a
fireplace. It can seat 100, theater-style.
The Grisaille Room frequently is used as a board/conference room
for corporate groups and can seat 35 for lunch or dinner. At other
times it's set up like a game room, with chess and backgammon.
Tall windows in the cozy library offer views of the expansive
grounds, having originally been the castle entrance hall.
There's a game room on the basement level, containing a pool
table. A large breakfast room with fireplace also is at basement
level, along with the kitchens and wine cellars.
The castle grounds are home to a small herd of cattle. Near the
stables are three two-bedroom self-catering cottages. Guests who
book them cannot take their meals at the castle. The apartments run
about $140 per night.
Agents and meeting planners can get more information by
contacting the castle direct via e-mail to [email protected]. A Web site for the
property is under construction.