Only five and a half hours by plane, and ten minutes by taxi from Shannon airport, lies County Galway’s Dromoland Castle, where even those not born in a palace can be lord of all they survey – at least for a few days. After being greeted by Eamonn, the concierge who has worked at the imposing turreted seventeenth-century castle for 50 years – you’ll have your choice of aristocratic activities: from fishing on the private Lough Dromoland, to golf, horseback riding, or wing shooting on the 375-acre estate (originally the ancestral home of the O’Brien clan, the Barons of Inchiquin). The castle has individually decorated bedrooms (but ask for the original part of the building) and serves a gargantuan Irish breakfast of sausage, bacon, tomato, field mushrooms, and eggs, compliments of Irish-born chef David McCann. At dinner, sample McCann’s signature dish of pan-seared foie gras with homemade black pudding, but leave room for his brown-bread souffle.
DETAILS Dromoland Castle, 800-346-7007 (rooms from $250 in October, $180 in November and December; golf, shooting, etc., are extra and should be booked in advance).