Set at the foot of the Twelve Bens, Ballynahinch Castle has a history as colourful as its riverside setting is stunning. Surrounded by 700 acres of rugged Connemara landscape, it’s a hotel with a big heart that captivates its many returning guests. It enchanted Seamus Heaney, who wrote his fine poem Ballynahinch Lake while staying here, and it captivated delightful General Manager Patrick O’Flaherty, who has been at the helm for 20 years and lives with his family on the estate. Don’t worry – no spa or heliport here, just superb salmon fishing (the atmospheric, wood-panelled pub is full of memorabilia and has a famous set of weighing scales), spacious bedrooms, good food, comfort and kindness. In the elegantly redecorated restaurant, hung with superb 20th-century Irish art, you will kill for a table overlooking the Owenmore River. Stewarding the kitchen is head chef Pete Durkan, under whose watch Ballynahinch has earned two AA rosettes. He ensures that dining is a highlight of your stay, one that you will only want to repeat. Doubles from £155.
Name to Know: Des has been at the hotel for over 30 years and is passionate about the hotel’s history and its literary and art connections.
See: Take a guided sea trip departing from the pretty fishing village of Roundstone.
Eat: At the castle restaurant – it’s a foodie heaven with a hint of nostalgia.
Buy: Something from Joyce’s Craft Shop a quaint little gem filled with antiques, homemade gifts and rare books.
Want to find out more? Visit the hotel's website.
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