Fodor's Expert Review Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland Fodor's Choice

More like a rambling country house than a castle, this magnificent crenellated mansion sits beside a river amid 700 wooded acres with a rugged mountain backdrop. Built in the 18th century, Ballynahinch Castle has had several colorful owners, from the legendary O'Flaherty chieftains and Grace O'Malley (the Pirate Queen of Connemara) to a maharajah and Richard Martin (the founder of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and, most recently, a media tycoon. While the property has retained its baronial, rustic charm, recent renovations to the 20 bedrooms in the original house, a soft makeover in public areas, a full reconstruction of the walled garden, and the addition of a Victorian glasshouse bring the property elegantly into the 21st century. The bedrooms in the two discreet ground-floor wings are huge, with four-poster beds and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the river. Rooms in the original house are equally comfortable and quiet but not as big. Outdoor activities are a big draw here. Join a 2½-hour guided walk, which will introduce you to the history, archaeology, and ecology of the 700-acre estate, or book a half-day boat trip from Roundstone and haul a lobster pot en route to an uninhabited island. Clay shooting and cycling are also available, and the estate's fishing manager can advise you on the 5 km (3 miles) of private fly-fishing. Choose between fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere in the Owenmore restaurant (the best for miles around), with enchanting river views, and bar food in the characterful Fisherman's Pub, popular with locals.

PROS

  • genuine Irish country-house experience
  • lived-in luxury
  • stunning surroundings

CONS

  • authentic doesn't come cheap
  • car needed to explore the greater area
  • some rooms do not have river views

QUICK FACTS

Hotel
Quiet
Countryside
$$$$

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 095-31006

HOTEL DETAILS

45 rooms

What’s Nearby