Ballyfin Demesne is a five star luxury country house hotel in the heart of Ireland, at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains. It represents the chance to step back into the past, with rooms designed to mirror the magical style of the original house. Guests can relax in their very own marble bathrooms, enjoy indulgent treatments in Ballyfin’s spa, or even take a family boating trip on the lake. The demesne’s mile-long landscaped driveway and enormous porticoed entrance create a sense of Downton Abbey-style drama, the perfect start to a very special weekend stay.
Lorum Old Rectory
Sitting beneath Mount Leinster in the peaceful valley of the River Barrow, Lorum Old Rectory was built from locally-cut Carlow granite, giving the estate a feeling of warmth. Renowned for delicious home cooking and beautiful furnishings, Lorum (located in Bagnelstown) gives guests the opportunity to get away from modern life with an amble in the gardens or a genteel family croquet game on the lawn. It's also home to Celtic Cycling, which runs bespoke cycling tours for couples and small groups throughout the South East. Medieval Kilkenny and picturesque New Ross are within easy reach for action-packed day trips.
Another estate in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains (the oldest mountain range in Europe), Roundwood House
is a landmark country house dating back to the 18th
century. Fine food, crackling log fires and antique furniture create a cosy atmosphere, and you'll feel like a Jane Austen heroine (or hero!) as you select a book from the overflowing shelves of the library. There's cycling, walking, golfing and fishing on offer for the more outdoorsy sort.
Kinnitty Castle Hotel
lies outside the picturesque village of Kinnitty in Offaly. Boasting original features and heritage colours, the regal atmosphere is unforgettable — as you recline in your luxurious room, you'll feel the history of the castle brought to life through the high ceilings, opulent fabrics and period furniture. Situated on 650 acres of parkland and rolling lawns, there's no shortage of activities on offer at this 13th century estate, including live music, horse-riding and the opportunity to relax in regal style beside one of the majestic open fires.
Nestled within 1,000 acres of scenic Irish countryside in Monaghan, Castle Leslie is regarded as one of the finest castle hotels in Ireland, still in the hands of its founding family. Each of its heritage bedrooms has been designed and restored with utter relaxation in mind, and are scattered with antiques and heirlooms, collected throughout the centuries. With its sprawling woodlands, vast lakes, Victorian Treatment Rooms and outdoor hot tub, this luxury hotel makes for a magical setting for a family holiday or romantic retreat in Ireland.
Hidden in a tranquil corner of Westmeath, historic Mornington House
sits on a charming landscape of rolling hills, ancient forests and waterways. There has been a manor house at Mornington since the 17th century, and today the historic estate offers an escape from city life, with delicious home cooking and charming bedrooms that act as portals into a distant, glamourous past. Nestled on the estate are ancient churches, castles and abbeys, for those in search of historical adventures. Tee times can be pre-booked for golfers and boats arranged for maritime adventures.
Built as a family home in 1734, today Monaghan's Hilton Park
offers luxury accommodation and authentic country house food (sourced from the estate itself) — the perfect ingredients for a romantic retreat. Antique four-poster beds and claw-footed, free-standing baths (complete with high quality oils and salts) are there to delight and indulge, while many of the rooms also have floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of the estate. Nestled into 600 acres of woodlands, gardens and lakes, the estate offers happy guests the chance to play croquet, go fishing and even try wild swimming.
Located in Carlow, Huntington Castle is an historic gem in the landscape of Ireland. Turrets, flags, and lush sweeping lawns greet visitors, who stay in bedrooms complete with four poster beds and oak panelling — each one has a story to tell. You'll have the choice of staying in the castle itself or in one of the beautiful self-catering properties that adorn the estate. A stroll through the gardens (featuring formal plantings, lakes and champion trees) makes for a truly delightful mid-afternoon stroll.
Ballyvolane House was originally a classical Georgian home, built in 1728 for Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Sir Richard Pyne. While you can stay overnight in one of the six large and luxurious bedrooms (with views of the gardens and trout lakes), guests can also choose an adventurous 'glamping' experience in charming bell tents (available from May to September). Located in Castlelyons in the historic region of the Munster Blackwater Valley in East Cork, Ballyvolane boasts an estate of idyllic landscaped gardens and magnificent parkland.
Kilmokea House in Wexford was originally a late Georgian Church of Ireland rectory, built in 1794. For those with musical aspirations, a magnificent grand piano awaits, while those looking for relaxation will find a range of rejuvenating aromatherapy treatments on offer. Holiday-makers can immerse themselves in the spa, get competitive on the croquet lawn or visit the famous bird sanctuary on Great Saltee Island. Kilmokea is situated at the meeting point of the Three Sister Rivers (the Suir, Nore and Barrow) and boasts an unusual collection of plants from all around the world.
Built in 1740 and steeped in history, Collon House in Louth is the perfect destination for some regal relaxation. Antiques and paintings are everywhere, and it's easy to feel as if you'd stepped back in time to Georgian Ireland. Stunning rooms like the Oriel Suite are built for luxury, featuring brocades and embroidery rich enough for royalty. Enjoy home-cooked meals in the opulent dining room after an outing to the nearby Brú na Bóinne prehistoric megalithic sites of Newgrange.
West of Enniscorthy, Woodbrook House lies in the shadow of the Blackstairs Mountains. Guests can recline in the period drawing room, admire the spectacular flying staircase and enjoy delicious, seasonal meals. A visitor from England writing in 1920 remembered it as "a large, square house, very comfortable, very solid, very unpretentious, with an undulating park, covered with fine old trees; beside it rise up the mountains as if in protection". Dating from the 1770s, Woodbrook House is traditionally a favourite base for attendees of Wexford Festival Opera.
The 17th century Viewmount House in Longford simply bursts with character, an oasis of atmospheric wood fires, antique furniture and books on Irish literature. Today the manor retains a stately, historic charm that seamlessly combines with modern design, making it the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway. Delicate touches of luxury like fresh flowers and handmade Irish toiletries are everywhere, while the surrounding countryside offers traditional pursuits like coarse and game fishing, and even the chance to fly light aircraft at nearby Abbeyshrule.