A small handful of comments and reviews from past guests at Hidden Ireland’s Historic Houses.
Glenlohane House - Irish hospitality at its most gracious
Just returned from 12 extraordinary days at Glenlohane and we were thoroughly charmed. This isn’t a hotel or even a B&B in the ordinary sense. Instead, one feels like a very pampered guest in this gracious family home. The house itself is a stunner–a proper Georgian estate, lovingly maintained and comfortably furnished with the chintzes, porcelains, and family heirlooms collected over centuries. All warmth without pretense. Our large ensuite included a very comfortable tester bed and the largest bathtub in Ireland.
The grounds around the house include a wonderful walled garden with espaliers, a sheep meadow, and even a terraced croquet lawn. If invited to play, take them up on it. Cake and tea will follow. Desmond, Melanie and Gordon are perfect hosts–happy to help with suggestions on things to do. Put your guidebooks aside and take their advice. They know this corner of the world and will give you access to the “real Ireland” that isn’t on the tourist routes.
We’ve stayed in lots of hotels and guest houses all over the world, and Glenlohane is among the most gracious we’ve encountered. They made our two weeks in Cork something we will remember always.
Clonganny House - A Countyside Haven
I visited Clonganny House on Saturday May 13th as part of a group of 4 working our way through the Hidden Ireland book. It’s obvious on arrival that Clonganny House is immaculately kept by the gardens and exterior. Inside the fine sized bedrooms/suites which are in converted stables are even more immaculate. The attention to detail is superb and I can honestly say it was the cleanest and most comfy bedroom I have ever stayed in. Next the food - Chef and Owner Philippe excels in his kitchen. His 4 course dinner at €50 per head is excellent value for money and simply delicious. His experience and love of French cooking is evident throughout. My favourite was my starter of asparagus in puff pastry with an egg and smoked salmon on the side with butter sauce. This dinner menu is French food with a quirky twist at its best. It’s also nice that Philippe mingles with the guests as does Brona his wife without being too intrusive. Their young local student waitress is a great addition to the their little team and very friendly and knowledgeable too.
Breakfast the following morning was as good as the night befores dining. Philippe cooked us hot breakfasts to order and fuelled us up for the day with plenty of requested extra eggs even duck ones All in all I would have absolutely no problem in recommending Clonganny House and it’s owners Philippe and Brona to anybody that would like a relaxing break in the picturesque countryside in Ballygarrett, Co Wexford .
Thank you both for your kindnesses and hospitality in your wonderful home. Clonganny House open since 2015 has an exciting and bright future ahead of it.— TripAdvisor review
5* Superb, relaxing stay in a stunning setting. Brona & Philippe were the perfect hosts, & Philippe cooked a superb dinner served in the beautiful intimate dining room. The rooms were beautifully decorated and comfy. I think we just found our “return to”, get away break destination. Thank you so much.— Facebook review
From the minute the house breaks gently into view from the trees as you wind your way up the driveway, you feel your breath exhale and a tingle of excitement build from within as if you’ve stumbled on a secret. You soon discover that Roundwood House is place that rekindles the lost arts. The lost arts of connection and conversation, of warmth and true hospitality where people take pride in making you feel welcome like an old friend. The warm smell of freshly baked brown bread wafts from the kitchen and fills the house as fresh coffee is served in delicate china with baked goods in the drawing room. It invites laughter and an easiness that modern day has forgotten. I could probably write an essay on every detail, awe and surprise that Roundwood House afforded our family celebration, however I will simply convey ours and our families deepest gratitude to Hannah, Paddy and their manager Chris who went above and beyond and always with a smile (even when the questionable taste in music came out in the early hours of the morning). In truth, there are not enough words, and no amount of thanks that can do justice to the experience we had. We’ve already booked a return stay.— Aoife and Stephen, TripAdvisor, November 2016
Vicki, thank you so much for all that you did in the planning of our wedding day. You were a pleasure to work with and made the process so much fun and stress free. We really enjoyed planning our wedding with you at Ballyvolane House. Thank you to all the staff at Ballyvolane House for their excellent service and hospitality. All our guests commented on how fantastic the food and drink service was. Everyone thought the food was amazing, thank you to Tina and everyone in the kitchen. Thank you to Ewan for making our wedding weekend at Ballyvolane House so seamless, everything was perfect and we had the best two days. The Friday supper was so special and intimate with all of our family. Thank you to Bernie for making my morning so much fun and so relaxed. She kept us well fed and watered and created a great atmosphere. She couldn’t have done more for me and the girls. Thank you to Allister for all of his help, the ceremony set up was beautiful. It blew us away. Finally but definitely not least a huge thank you to Jenny and Justin for giving us our dream wedding. We can’t even describe how amazing it was. Ballyvolane exceeded every vision and expectation, it was the most perfect day and we enjoyed every minute of it. The care, service, delivery and very hard work that they have put into Ballyvolane House is evident in every aspect.— Wedding: Rachel Flynn & Kevin Stack
We took over Ballyvolane for a family birthday celebration recently. From the moment all the guests arrived everyone felt so welcome. It exceeded our expectations of what it was going to be like. The atmosphere, the food and the team at Ballyvolane couldn’t have done more for us. Everyone is still talking about how amazing it was. The Ballyvolane experience catered for our young kids as well as our guests in their eighties. It has a great mix of being relaxed (not stuffy) but also still very special. We are going to go back in the summer for sure!— Trip Advisor: helenW4837IV
Ballyvolane House - Undoubted pleasure reflecting a bye gone age
This remarkable establishment produces an ambience of country house living which is relaxed, stylish and informal. We loved the sound of family children and dogs in the background, giving a truly authentic atmosphere. The gardens and surrounding wooded areas including lakes, almost magical, especially with an autumnal sun creating such colour. Do explore these beautiful walks, well worth a ramble or two, apart from dispelling a few calories before dinner. The house has been furnished to early 20th century splendour. We stayed in the yellow bedroom which was roomy and furbished with the same care and quality as the rest of the house. Most guests sit around a single table for dinner, an elaborate and sumptuous feast spread over four courses or so. Divine as the Irish would say. We were the only overseas guests, I would remind other visitors, the craic is delightful, beware though- the Irish are extremely well informed about matters European. The esteemed Euan was on hand throughout most of our stay, and the capable Bernie was a fount of local knowledge during breakfast. Many thanks to Tina for producing such wonderful meals and Jenny for our wonderful duck on our last evening.For those who wish to get away from Muzak, fast food, trans fat and plastic menus, Ballyvolane House is for you. We will return next year, God willing as the Irish say.— Trip Advisor: JohnOB-12
Mount Vernon, Better than Best— Seamus Heaney, poet & Nobel Prize Winner, September 2010