A taste of local luxury at Ireland’s five-star hotels

In honor of Patrick’s Day, Ciara McDonnel showcases Ireland’s finest, once-in-a-lifetime five-star hotel experiences

ballyfin

When the rich and famous come to Ireland, they stay in Ballyfin, and it’s easy to see why. Richard E Grant loved it so much he volunteered to be their PR manager after staying with them – and he’s not the only one. Celebrities aside, Ballyfin gets booked up months in advance, with people coming from all over the world to experience its hospitality. Suites are individually decorated with names like The Butler and The Sir Christopher Coote, and feature bathrooms larger than most living rooms, marble fireplaces, and the deepest carpets. Staying here is the whole experience; free in-room bars are replenished daily, and there’s free laundry service for those who think there’s nothing worse than leaving a hotel with dirty clothes. Bathrooms are stocked with Voya seaweed products and handmade soaps from the West Cork-based Sally Miller Collection. The food is excellent and locally sourced, with much of the menu sourced from the vegetable garden, all served with nothing less than glamour, by staff who make it their mission to feel like royalty for the duration of your stay. .

ballyfin.com

brilliant falls

Sheen Falls staff want to know your name. The whole ethos of this luxury Kenmare hotel is that by the end of your stay, you’ll feel like part of the Sheen Falls family, and even the most weary and cynical among us will fall for it.

Despite its extremely luxurious surroundings, this hotel really comes into its own when hosting families.

With a huge amount of things to do on site, from cycling around the grounds on the hotel’s free bikes to tennis, croquet and even falconry, kids will be thoroughly entertained during their stay.

Kids can dine from the regular menu or one that’s been created just for kids, and includes thoughtful options like roast chicken and spaghetti bolognese as well as melon and Serrano ham, if your little ones have a craving. gastronomic taste, and during school holidays, the hotel offers supervised movies and board games for children from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every evening.

www.sheenfallslodge.ie

Ashford Castle

If you love your dog a little more than anything else in the world, consider pet boarding at Ashford Castle, where your pets are cared for in true VIP style. The hotel is supremely chic, with wood-panelled walls and plush beds, not to mention an on-site “movie theatre”, showing movies every night and on-site activities like falconry and horseback riding, but here we are to talk about your dog, right?

Before you arrive, you’ll complete a ‘pet preference’ form, which will alert Ashford Castle staff to your dog’s likes, dislikes and general behavior. Then, for €40 per night, your dog will receive their own comfortable bed, fluffy towel, food and water bowl.

For the duration of your stay, the dog can benefit from sitting and walking services while its owner takes advantage of all the hotel’s catering facilities. Lest he feel left out, a treat will be left in the pet’s bed. nightfall.

www.ashfordcastle.com

Ard Na Sidhe

As the little sister of the ultra gorgeous The Europe, Ard Na Sidhe strives to live up to her family reputation. Built in 1913, this Elizabethan country house has 18 luxury bedrooms in a secluded and peaceful location on the shores of Lake Caragh in Killorglin, County Kerry. Expect old school attention to detail in everything from the heavy draperies to the ubiquitous grass fire in the living room.

The food here is fabulous, focusing on traditional dishes with a modern twist, and their afternoon tea is renowned as one of the best in the business.

Anglers will love the added touch of free fishing rods near the house, but if you prefer to relax by the fire we can highly recommend that too.

www.ardnasidhe.com

Inis Meain Hotels & Suites

If you’ve had enough of the daily grind and hustle and bustle of city life and fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of a city base, consider a trip to Inis Meain Hotel & Suites . Opened in 2007 by husband-and-wife team Marie-Thérèse and Ruairí de Blacam, a visit here offers a supremely intimate experience, facilitated by a small but expert team.

The restaurant serves a four-course meal to up to 16 people each evening at 8 p.m., its menu changing depending on the food available each day.

There are five private suites, each with an expanse of glass revealing panoramic island and sea views.

Each morning, a breakfast hamper of fresh coffee, eggs, and pastries is delivered to each suite, and each afternoon a hotpot lunch is delivered, designed to be taken while exploring the island.

www.inismemain.com

Dromoland Castle

Surrounded by 330 acres of lush hillsides, Dromoland Castle recently received a 20 million euro renovation and is at the top of its game when it comes to fantasy stakes.

The rooms are uniquely decorated with specially ordered fabrics and upholstery, as well as extremely soft slippers and bathrobes and the now indispensable Nespresso machine in the room.

Restaurant food is served under cloches with aplomb, and on-site archery lessons are a must. The renovation took place over four years, and was done with taste, upgrading anything that looked a little tired and likely to tarnish the hotel’s five-star reputation. Consider it a special occasion and be sure to indulge in the spa – it’s worth every penny.

www.dromoland.ie

The Shelbourne

There’s nothing quite like checking into the Shelbourne in Dublin. Overlooking St Stephen’s Green in the heart of the city centre, its marble clad lobby acts as a hub for the big and the glamorous taking a break from shopping or negotiating deals and provides a fantastic opportunity to watch the people.

The rooms are spacious and beautiful, with super comfortable beds and great bathrooms. Book into the on-site hair salon for a blow-dry before a day exploring the city and be sure to grab a cocktail at the Horseshow Bar before dinner – it’s one of Dublin’s classiest institutions.

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