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Ballymaloe House

Ballymaloe House

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.

Our rating: First Class

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Rooms

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. 

Location

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.

Our opinion

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.

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    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.

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    • Jameson Old Midleton Distillery

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      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.