Castlehill near Crossmolina, Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland
Magnificent and magical, this square Georgian mansion is dramatically sited on the shores of Lough Conn under towering Mt. Nephin, about 20 km (12½ miles) west of Ballina. However, there's nothing intimidating about its interior, even though its well-worn grandeur is steeped in history. Susan Kellett and her son DJ are descendants of the original family who arrived here in the 1660s and tell the story behind the many ancestral portraits staring at you from the calico-flocked library walls. Your jaw may drop at the sight of the magisterial main salon—a vast room done in stately house ivories and beiges, swathed in period wallpapers and draperies, and set with enough gilt-frame paintings and cozy corners to please even the most fastidious guest. A maze of quirky corridors leads to the guest rooms, which are charming and characterful, with candy-stripe wallpapers, floral drapes on tall sash windows, and massive four-posters. All paths lead to the 5 acres of Victorian gardens (admission €6); historic farm buildings here now house a Mayo heritage center, an antiques shop, and a tearoom (admission is €6 to the complex, open April–October, weekdays 9–6, weekends 2–6). Meals (reservations essential) include fruits and vegetables grown in the organic garden.
- period accents
- on-site heritage center
- warm hosts
- far from town
Rate Includes: Closed Nov.–Mar. Breakfast
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