A Luxurious Weekend at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
In 2011 Brandon and I took a wonderful vacation on the Emerald Isle. We spent 12 days circling the island, beginning in Dublin and ending in the rugged Connemara region of western Ireland. The last 3 nights of our trip were spent at the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel and I can say without a doubt that it was one of the highlights of our journey.
Ballynahinch is pronounced exactly as it’s written: “Ball-ee-NA-hinch”. It took me a few tries to get it right. The hotel is located in County Galway near the village of Recess. It’s tucked away in the rolling hills of the Connemara on 450 acres of pristine forest. A river running through the estate is perfect for fly-fishing and the estate has many trails for walking and hiking.
You won’t find large flat-screen TV’s at this hotel! Instead you can enjoy roaring fires in every room with plush cushioned chairs for reading and small end tables for setting a cup of tea. Other activities on the hotel grounds include clay shooting and a guided boat trip of Roundstone Bay.
Dining at the Ballynahinch Castle could not be more superb. The hotel has a formal restaurant but if you’re not in the mood for dressing up you have the option to dine in the pub as well. You can even request to order from the restaurant’s menu if that’s your desire.
My lunch favorite was the seafood chowder with roast beef sandwiches. My dinner favorites were the Irish beef and Connemara pork. Their homemade ice cream is also worth sampling during your stay.
The accommodations at the Ballynahinch Castle Hotel were beyond luxurious. We splurged and booked the Superior Double Room which boasted floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views of the river. It had three telephones (one right next to the toilet!), a king sized canopy bed and a large relaxing tub in the bathroom.
Good To Know: If you sign up for the hotel’s newsletter you can take advantage of some really great deals. A few weeks before our trip the hotel offered a free third night for booking a two-night stay. We had originally booked a 2-night stay so I called the hotel and they booked us for the third night for free. Win!
We spent hours walking the castle grounds and reading by the fireplace. The butlers would come around every hour or so to stoke the wood and coal fires and would offer us complimentary hot tea served on a silver platter. The quality of service and friendliness of the staff was exceptional.
The Verdict: We were treated with the utmost care and everything we experienced from the ambiance to the food to the accommodations was excellent. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone seeking luxury accommodations in Ireland.
What to Do: If you’re looking to spend some time outside the castle grounds there are many attractions in the area that are worth visiting. Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is located near the Connemara Loop, 50 miles of breathtaking scenery and tiny towns. Or opt for a smaller loop and drive around the N59 through Letterfrack and Clifden. One of the must-see places in this area is the Kylemore Abbey & Gardens (read my post on that here). For the John Wayne fans, keep an eye out on the N59 near Oughterard for a tiny sign that points out The Quiet Man Bridge. If you blink you’ll miss it!
When to Go: I recommend the springtime, though fall would be nice as well. In May the lambs are running around the fields and while it’s still a bit rainy it’s also before the peak tourist season so the roads and attractions are less crowded. Dress in layers and always bring a rain jacket or umbrella with you even if the skies are sunny.
Child Friendly? Children of all ages are welcome and those under 2 stay free but I wouldn’t call Ballynahinch child friendly. There aren’t many activities for children at the hotel unless they’re interested in fly fishing. The televisions in the rooms are dated and we never even used ours during our stay. For this reason I would only recommend stay at Ballynahinch with older kids. If you’re traveling with little ones I would recommend staying in lively Galway.
Pet Friendly? No
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