Gregans Castle Hotel

Base of Corkscrew Hill, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, Ireland

One of Ireland's best-loved country-house hotels, this quiet, low-key retreat is a romantic, creeper-covered Georgian house, set amid pretty gardens with a splendid view of the rocky Burren hills and Galway Bay beyond. A row of purple Wellington boots in ascending sizes in the entrance porch is there to spare guests' footwear in the perennially damp garden—a detail typical of Simon Haden and his interior-designer wife, Freddie. The whiff of open turf fires pervades the air, while a charming and stylish mix of fine antiques, luxurious furnishings (including hand-tufted Connemara wool carpets and a Waterford crystal chandelier), and a collection of modern Irish art create an atmosphere of effortless, sophisticated elegance. Guest rooms are bright, airy, and uncluttered; choose either a magical view of stony hills and sparkling sea or a ground-floor room with private patio garden. The Corkscrew Bar (after the approach road, the aptly named Corkscrew Hill, N67) is a peaceful haven for a predinner drink, and the restaurant is renowned. Little wonder this is the hideout of choice for many discerning celebrities.


  • perfectly judged decor
  • birdsong morning and evening
  • excellent restaurant


  • 5 km (3 miles) from nearest village
  • almost a TV-free zone, only one in-house
  • no elevator


Phones: 065-707–7005


15 rooms, 6 suites
Rate Includes: Closed Nov.–mid-Feb. Breakfast