Can anyone suggest some "affordable" castles to stay at in Irleand - specifically in the southwest region of the country? I'd love to stay in an authentic castle and not one that's been converted into a high-end resort.
I'm not sure what "affordable" is to you, but here is what I have. I have not stayed at any of them, but their web sites should give you an idea if it fits what you are lookiing for.
Kilkea Castle south of Kildare is € 230 double: http://www.kilkeacastle.ie/index.htm
Kinnitty Castle starts at € 140/person is in the center of Ireland :http://www.kinnittycastle.com/index.htm
Ballynahinch Castle in the northwest (Co. Galway) starts at € 125/person.
We're staying in Castletownsend in September... very reasonable, not huge castle but then you kinda get what you pay for.
Check out the Waterford Castle. Built on an island, you take a small ferry ride across to get there. It is also located neart the Waterford Crystal factory and the free tour is quite interesting.