Ireland’s dreamiest manor and country house wedding venues
Many historic manor houses have been reborn as exclusive wedding venues and hotels, and you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to the Irish countryside.
Dotted throughout Ireland’s landscape are country houses, mansions and estate houses, once belonging to the Anglo-Irish aristocracy. Notable for their impressive and often Italian-inspired architecture, they became colloquially known as ‘The Big House’, and with their ballrooms, drawing rooms, parlours and extensive grounds, they were built for entertaining.
Today, many of these exquisite homes have been reimagined as magnificent wedding destinations, for couples seeking a little Downtown Abbey-inspired glamour – with the silver service to match. Truth to be told, they make my job as a photographer that bit easier as stunning backdrops abound, but there are a number of other perks when your wedding venue is an Irish manor house.
Adare Manor is truly breath taking. The sweeping driveway sets the scene for a wedding of epic proportions. With its neo-gothic architecture meticulously restored, inside, Adare Manor is all sweeping arches, grand proportions, tapestries, stained glass windows and crystal chandeliers. Outside, the estate stretches for 800 acres, with neatly landscaped gardens, a romantic walled garden and hidden ruins within the estate boundaries.
This is an exclusive five-star hotel and wedding venue, within close proximity to both Shannon and Cork airports. It is especially popular for destination weddings, and for golfers too – it’s set to host the Ryder Cup in 2027.
Wedding vows can be exchanged on the front lawn with the Manor as backdrop, or in the more intimate setting of the walled garden. There are plenty of options for group photos such as the dramatic entrance foyer, central staircase or opulence of the banquet areas. And for those who dream of a church wedding, Adare village has a number of churches steeped in ancient history to add solemnity to the occasion.
From a more in-depth feature take a look at my guide to Adare Manor weddings.
Ballyfin is in a class of it’s own when it comes to understated elegance. Romance is part of the scenery and the grace of the house is matched by the tranquility and natural beauty of the estate.
There is something instantly calming about the Ballyfin experience. Arriving at the portico, your bags are taken, and you immediately feel like you have time travelled to a bygone age. Both the service and the interiors are impeccable, each room is unique and somehow this country house manages to feel at once stately and intimate.
Weddings at Ballyfin are intimate affairs. Depending on your preference, up to 130 guests can join you in the most romantic of settings. With its church on the estate, it’s lake, the fountains and century-old trees, Ballyfin provides a unique setting for a wedding and a remarkable backdrop for your wedding photography.
The giant conservatory is a work of art in itself. With an understated glamour of a bygone age, Ballyfin was built for entertaining.
There is a magical romanticism to the faded elegance of Killruddery House. Situated on Dublin’s doorstep, Killruddery House and Gardens is a Tudor Revival mansion and family home, reimagined as a sustainable bio diverse farm and truly memorable wedding venue.
And it’s this unique combination of ancient heritage brought to life by it’s creative owners that makes Killruddery one of the most popular wedding destinations.
Set in Wicklow, the garden of Ireland, the rugged beauty of the wicklow mountains dramatically frame the landscaped gardens and flowering woods. The maze, walled garden and water features are all a draw, yet it is light-filled Orangery that is the star of the show.
It is serene and calming, and so beautiful that you never even have to consider what the weather will be like outside. There are plenty of churches to choose from in the neighbouring towns of Bray and Greystones or alternatively you can stay on site and exchange vows on the lawn or the magnificent Orangery.
The heritage horse yard provides an on trend reception area and given some good fortune you can experience some of the most beautiful sunsets. At Killruddery photography is made easy. Cliff top romance for your photography is a stones throw away. The many intimate, surprising venues around the 800 acre estate provide a great backdrop. The informal elegance of Killruddery sets the scene for a truly unforgettable party.
We’ve enjoyed many wonderful days shooting in Killruddery – take a look at Laura and Tim’s Killruddery wedding to see why it is so special.
A wedding booking at Clonwilliam House is like gold dust! Hosting only a handful of weddings a year, the setting of Wicklow’s Clonwilliam House, overlooking the Vale of Avoca, is breathtakingly romantic. Weddings here have a secluded, and very personal atmosphere.
The driveway and incredible gateway sets the scene for something special. The main house is utterly beautiful with truly elegant furnishings and fine upholstery. The Wedding banquet hall is set in a barn conversion and the cascading foliage and fairy lights bring a rustic glamour to the celebration.
Ceremonies can be held on the front lawn or inside the main house and the beautiful villages of Avoca and Rathdrum offer a number of church options.
The quiet elegance and simplicity of this manor means your celebration can take on many guises, depending on your wedding theme. And the exclusive indoor swimming pool is perfect for chilling out between the festivities. The epic views from the main house are the perfect backdrop for spectacular wedding photos.
A wedding here is something special and Sarah and William’s wedding was no different.
Gloster House & Gardens is a paired back light filled gem. A completely private venue, on your wedding day you can make Gloster House your own.
Outside, nestled at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains, the Italianate terraces, fountains, lakes and woodlands cut a dramatic landscape, while inside there are a number of elegant reception rooms, accessed from a spectacular double-height entrance hall and first-floor gallery.
The tastefully converted barn serves as a banqueting hall, and seats up to 180 guests. Exchanging wedding vows on the lawn on a fine day is fairytale itself or there is even a white chapel onsite, so you don’t need to leave the estate.
The setting is truly romantic with the beautiful walled gardens, walkways and hidden lakeside area, you have the perfect backdrop for fairytale photography.
An opulent location, Carton House is a Palladian mansion in County Kildare that offers a luxurious setting for your wedding celebrations. Following extensive renovations, completed spring 2021, there are two locations to choose from, depending on your party size.
For large gatherings of up to 300 guests, the magnificent FitzGerald Suite overlooks the estate, while more intimate celebrations are catered for in the drawing rooms, decorated in the regal Baroque style with spectacular plasterwork and fine interiors.
The original House forms a dramatic and elegant backdrop for group shots taken either from a distance or close up. The gardens are elegant and regal and you will be spoilt for choice for photography inside the meticulously renovated house and bridal suite. For romance the hidden shell cottage with its impressive bridge area can’t be beaten.
Trump Doonbeg is all about location. Nestled beyond the grassy windswept dunes of the County Clare shoreline the sense of drama mounts as you sweep up the shore-lined driveway. Doonbeg itself is a surfers paradise, outside waves crash and the rugged landscape of the famed links golf course stretches out in every direction.
Inside the 5 star Manor House hotel is an oasis of calm. The old world luxury and refinement of the beautifully appointed rooms contrasts with the wild and rugged surroundings and the bridal suite is breathtakingly beautiful.
Its signature pavilion is draped in gossamer ivory fabric, with ribboned high-backed chairs for up to 250 guests, and if a beach side ceremony outside doesn’t appeal, there are five local churches nearby to choose from for the ceremony.
Doonbeg will wow you, that’s for sure, take a look at Laura and Chris’s Doonbeg wedding to see why it is so unique.
The regency grandeur of Borris House is what strikes you as you approach the house from the driveway. A castle-like country pile, Borris House has an earthy feel that really sings of relaxed elegance. Its charm and character mean it really does feel like a home from home.
Summer weddings enjoy croquet and Champagne on the lawn, while cooler seasons see roaring fires lit throughout the house – accompanied by a 12 foot home-grown Christmas tree in December.
The impressive entrance hall sets the scene and for bridal couples the staircase is truly epic. The ballroom wing sits up to 160 guests on a choice of round or long tables, where guests can mingle and relax in the sunlight from spectacular Georgian windows with sweeping views and French doors that lead out to the beautifully romantic gardens.
There are some unique locations for exchanging your wedding vows. The beautifully restored 18th century Chapel of St Moling is nestled in the gardens for church ceremonies or the rustic stone walls, wooden beams and candlelight of the Granary, creates a magical space for blessings, humanist and civil ceremonies.
If Downtown Abbey is the look you’re after, Borris House should fit the bill.
This 18th-century manor house is just a stone’s throw from Dublin but really is a world away. During your wedding day, Tankardstown will be exclusively yours and its warm and welcoming staff will ensure you and your guests will instantly relax.
The understated elegance catches you as you approach along the beautiful driveway. Carefully manicured, the main house looks exceptional and the walled garden brings a romantic intimacy. It is famous for its food, with an impressive array of vegetables grown on site or locally sourced.
Welcome pre dinner drinks are hosted in the beautiful reception rooms, following which guests sweep down a magnificent staircase to the show-stopping Orangery, which comfortably seats up to 230 guests.
Ceremonies can be held on the lawn outside and the calm and beauty of the surroundings enhance any wedding photos.
Enjoy some photography from a Tankardstown wedding we enjoyed shooting recently for Lauren and Eugene.
A spacious Regency house built in 1822, Kilshane House presents as classic and timeless but there are some unique twists to this wedding venue in County Tipperary. Under the glass canopy of the fern-filled conservatory, built in 1860, you can be wed to the delicate sounds of exotic birds chirping in the hidden aviary overhead.
Inside is so spectacular, you never have to worry about rain or spending all your time indoors, and this is one of the few truly dog-friendly venues in the country to boot.
The long driveway up to the main house through a working farm adds romance with a capital R. The lake in front of the house provides a natural frame for your photos and the epic staircase is perfect for a Scarlett O’Hara moment.
We love shooting here, be sure to check out Catherine and Michael’s Kilshane wedding, a gorgeous couple and a wonderful place to shoot.
Set amidst the rolling country side of County Kilkenny is the magnificent Georgian house and estate grounds of Mount Juliet. At heart a love story, this country manor was built on a ridge overlooking the River Nore, by the first Earl of Carrick who named it after his beloved wife Lady Julianna Butler.
The venue in total accommodates up to 200 guests. For smaller weddings – those under 96 guests – there is the sophisticated, Michelin-starred Lady Helen Dining Room in the manor house itself. Larger groups love the more relaxed banquet hall in Hunter’s Yard, with its’ beautiful ballroom and space for up to 200 guests.
When it comes to photography, think romantic escapism. The Manor House is stunning from every angle. The walled garden embodies timeless elegence and hidden romantic nooks in the forest provide the perfect backdrop. You can choose from any number of romantic settings to exchange your vows, both the front lawn and the pond are exquisite.
For a peak at some recent photography and a much more detailed look at the venue take a look at my indepth guide to getting married at Mount Juliet.
Approaching along the beautiful driveway, you will be enraptured by the beauty of this ivy clad charming 17th century house. Covered in fiery or green foliage, depending on the season, Lyrath Estate offers a charming and magical setting for wedding parties. A luxury five-star hotel, this venue is also in my hometown of Kilkenny, so weddings here are particularly close to my heart.
Photography is easy here. The original house with it’s elegant reception rooms are the perfect foil for your romantic wedding shots. And in the grounds of the estate, you will be spoilt for choice with the beautiful gardens, hidden lake and romantic waterfall.
From its draped ballroom to the formal gardens and its warm and welcoming staff, celebrations here are always an absolute joy here.
You will always feel a frisson of excitement as you approach Powerscourt House and and Gardens along the magnificent tree-lined driveway. A Palladian, copper roofed mansion in picturesque Enniskerry the house is offered to couples for exclusive use on their wedding day. Surrounded by some of the prettiest gardens in Ireland, their elegance is offset by the dramatic backdrop of the sugarloaf mountain.
The house itself has a romantic elegance both inside and out. The double-height ballroom has been restored to its former glory while the rest of house retains a pared-back rustic charm that reveals its 800 year history. The marble entrance hall is licensed to hold civil ceremonies and there a number of pretty churches nearby for your ceremony.
From the magnificence of the formal gardens, with its giant fountain and hidden Japanese garden, the backdrop of the sugarloaf mountain adds drama to the occasion. Secret romantic spots by the castle tower and forest area add intimacy within the grandeur.
In any season, the truly spectacular gardens and grounds offer countless opportunities for truly unique wedding photographs.
Laid back luxury in the heart of the kingdom of Kerry, Parknasilla is all about the scenery. Hugging the craggy coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way, and a stones throw from some of the most famous Kerry beaches, your wedding photography will capture the romance of the Atlantic Ocean. The surreal beauty of the surroundings and the relaxed ambiance will make your wedding truly memorable.
An 18th-century manor house, Parknasilla has been transformed to a luxurious resort and spa, with airy interiors that feel contemporary and light. In 2020, this waterside manor house celebrated 125 years, and is a premium choice for wedding celebrations.
With sea views stretching as far as the eye can see, immaculate formal gardens, and many accommodation options, it’s ideal for larger weddings, and is famed for its impeccable service and attention to detail.
What more magnificent location to start the rest of your life – have a look at Genevieve and Liam’s Parknasilla wedding – the views alone make it one of the most dramatic and most enjoyable places to shoot in the country.