Hotel Review: Ballyfin Demesne, Ireland
This magnificent Regency building, an Irish country house, offers supreme calm in grand, stately surroundings in the remote grounds of Ballyfin.
Ballyfin is a grand neo-classical stately home located in County Laois around 90 miles from Dublin. This Relais & Chateaux property stands proud in the middle of 600 acres of of lush, green land.
When you arrive in front of its sandstone facade, you are greeted by a team of uniformed staff who open the car doors, greet you by name and take your luggage. It's very posh.
There's a lot to see on the grounds including a parish church, several follies such as a viewing tower (built to give employment during the potato famine), a temple, a couple of lakes and a grotto.
There are bikes and golf buggies parked by the lake, but the best way to see it all is by pony and trap driven by Lionel who points out the rockery garden, a cave once used as a fridge, the huge vegetable and herb gardens and the bird house (which has little doors for the likes of peacocks to enter).
It's sensational but the house itself is more so. It was once the home of Sir Charles Coote, ninth baronet of Mountrath, who lived in it in the 19th Century. During World War II, the family fell on hard times and sold it to the Patrician Brothers who turned it into a Roman Catholic school. But during this time the house fell into disrepair and was eventually bought by an American millionaire, Fred Krehbiel, who restored it over a period of nine years.
To get a real sense of its provenance you can take an hour long tour of the house by Declan who was a former pupill. This includes an explanation that the floor you stand on in the entrance is a 2,000 year old Roman mosaic and a visit to the extensive wine cellar.
There are six rooms in which to repose such as the Whispering Room, The Salon and the Gold Drawing Room (real gold leaf) and each is crammed with antiques and works of art including Thomas Chippendale mirrors and art by Louis Le Broquy and most have roaring fireplaces. The 80 foot library is particularly interesting, filled as it is with 5,000 ancient books a fireplace at either end and a bow window that overlooks a grand Italian marble fountain. The original fountain was not dead centre to the view and so they moved it two feet for a more pleasing visual effect.
Incidentally, Kim Kardashian celebrated her honeymoon here.
Sporty guests can use the tennis courts or go boating or fishing on the 28 acre lake or even try their hand at clay pigeon shooting, falconry and archery. Equestrians can go horse riding and beginners can learn to do so in the paddock.
Uniquely, there is also a costume room filled with 40 period costumes for guests to wear. It brings a whole new dimension to the phrase "dress for dinner" and makes for some fantastic photographs and a fabulously fun evening.
Food and Drink:
Lunch is taken on the conservatory (Organgerie) and dinner in the dining room.
Value for money:
How to get there:
Be the first to leave a comment
Add Your Comment
Related ItemsTen Luxury Hostels
Travels in Wicklow, West Kerry and Connemara
Bargain Breaks for Savvy Travellers
Where would fathers prefer to be whisked away this Father's Day?
HOTELS! 72 Hour Sale Now on
KLM Special Offers
Festival fun by ferry
Hotel offers in Ireland
Why flying to the US via Dublin makes sense for Brits
Romantic Hotels To Stay
Top Tips About Tipping
Guide to celebrating St. Patrick's Day around the world
Last Minute festival escapes in UK and Ireland
Ryanair to cut flights from Dublin
Six Halloween destinations in Europe