Here are a few worth the climb.
Helen’s Tower, Ireland
William Burn designed this castle in the Scottish style and completed it in October 1861. Lord Dufferin built it as an idyllic retreat in memory of his mother. It’s now a holiday getaway with commanding views across Ulster to the Scottish shores.
Built in 1781, this lighthouse stopped operating in the early 1800s. Its lantern was replaced with a dome in 1866 as a conservation effort. In the 1990s it was converted into holiday accommodations by Shaffrey Architects on behalf of The Irish Landmark Trust. Six octagonal rooms were constructed within the tower void, linked by new cast iron stairs.
Because of the tight floor plan, the architects decorated the tower with muted colors that increase the feeling of lightness and space.
Stay here: Sleeps four; about $675 per weekend. | More Info
This house sits atop a water tower in Thorpeness, Suffolk. It was built in 1923 and designed to improve the looks of the water tower, disguising its tank with a building more in keeping with the local mock-Tudor and Jacobean styles. It contains 68 steps from top to bottom and is around 70 feet high.
Stay here: The building has five bedrooms and three bathrooms; about $800 to $1,300 per night. | More info
This tower house dates back to the 15th or 16th century. It sits majestically on a limestone outcrop overlooking west County Clare. On the left side, the privy (a latrine) can be seen protruding from the side wall, a simple long-drop solution for the disposal of unwanted waste. Also a way to deter an approaching enemy.
Stay here: The castle is pretty much a ruin, but the nearby historic Ballinalacken Castle Country House Hotel has rooms for $88 to $135. | More info
This 16th-century tower house in Doolin, County Clare, was inhabited by the powerful O’Briens clan. Back in 1688 it was a less-than-welcoming place to 170 unfortunate survivors of a shipwrecked Spanish Armada vessel who were captured and hanged here.
It’s one of more than 3,000 tower houses in Ireland, and was bought and restored as a holiday home in the 1970s by John Gorman, an Irish American.
While you can’t stay inside the castle, the Sea View House offers rooms with views of the tower.
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