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 and has arguably the finest hotel setting in Ireland. 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.


  • genuine Irish country-house experience
  • one of the best breakfasts in Ireland
  • stunning surroundings


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




Phones: 095-31006


45 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

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