The Castlemartyr Resort is located in east Cork on vast grounds containing ruins from a castle built in 1210. The historic resort once served as a private boarding school for boys and now consists of three dining options, a modern spa, and opulent guest rooms.
Situated around a 40 minute drive east of Cork, Ballymaloe House sits amid an expansive farm estate, which also contains its prestigious and internationally acclaimed cookery school. It is a family business, with three generations involved in either the farm, the hotel, cookery school, shop or café. The hotel is a wisteria-clad country manor, built around the remnants of a 14th-century Norman castle. Within, rooms are elegant and warmly decorated, with fireplaces, portraits, tall windows and several hidden seating areas.
The restaurant is spread across seven adjoining rooms, from the light and leafy conservatory overlooking the lake, to the deep blue Yeats room. Dining here is a highlight, and menus showcase locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Guest rooms are located in both the main house and the adjoining courtyard, and although each is individually decorated, all have a traditional, elegant style and high quality furnishings.
None of the rooms has a television. Superior rooms have their own private terrace, and most courtyard rooms have exposed stone walls. The hotel also has an outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts for the warmer summer months, and several walking trails interlace the grounds. Next door to the hotel is the Ballymaloe shop and café, while the cookery school is just a short drive away.
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Each of the 29 rooms at Ballymaloe is individually decorated, but all have classic, inviting decor in keeping with the style of the manor house. Rooms are divided between the main house and an adjacent courtyard building. Room categories are standard, large and superior, with large rooms providing more space and a kingsize bed. Superior rooms have a private terrace and access to the garden, and have both a bath and a separate walk-in shower. Courtyard rooms match these categories but are more spacious than their main house counterparts, and those situated upstairs have exposed stone walls or wooden beams.
Ballymaloe is situated in a small village called Shanagarry, 40 minutes’ drive east of Cork city. It is around 20 minutes south of the Old Midleton Jameson Distillery, and half an hour’s drive from the port town of Cobh, famed for its Titanic history. The hotel is set with its own large estate grounds, including woods and fields.
Food and drink
Dining at Ballymaloe is a particular highlight. Ingredients are either grown onsite or sourced locally, as provenance is important to the chefs here. Lunch is a set three-course menu, while dinner has five courses. Adjacent to the hotel is the Ballymaloe shop and café, which serves cakes all day and light lunches between noon and 4pm.
Facilities and activities
The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts which are available for use during summer. A short drive away is the Ballymaloe Cookery School, which hosts in-depth classes as well as afternoon demonstrations. Several walking trails weave through the grounds of the estate, and there is a shop and cafe next door to the main manor house.
This small, family-owned hotel has a warm and friendly atmosphere, and we loved curling up with a book downstairs, looking out onto the grounds outside.
Places & hotels on the map
Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
This boutique hotel on Ireland’s south coast offers a high level of service and sophistication along with a warm and friendly atmosphere. Highlights include the Michelin-starred House Restaurant, an indoor pool and sweeping views of the sea from all rooms.
Hayfield Manor exquisitely blends old world charm with contemporary conveniences. Tucked away in its own grounds, this sophisticated hotel is only a short walk from the heart of Cork and offers exceptional service and award-winning cuisine.
The welcoming Imperial Hotel offers modern guest rooms with touches of historic charm, fine dining and a luxurious spa in the heart of Cork. Its history is evident throughout, from the grand staircase to the photo wall of past guests.
Perfectly situated close to the heart of Cork, The River Lee hotel elegantly blends bright, cheery communal spaces with simple, contemporary guest rooms. Facilities include a lively outdoor terrace bar that overlooks the water and a huge state-of-the-art fitness studio.
Experiences while staying here
The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.
Explore Cork's history on a walking tour of the city, learning about its links with ancient saints and fleeing French Protestants. You'll also learn how it came to be an international maritime hub and the impact all these influences had on the city.
In use for over 150 years and full of character, the Old Jameson Distillery is an ideal place to learn about the history of whiskey distilling in Ireland. This engaging tour gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the whole process.