Fodor's Expert Review Ballinalacken Castle Hotel

Coast Rd., Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

Not actually a castle, Ballinalacken is rather a mustard-color Victorian lodge in the shadow of medieval tower-house ruins, a few miles from Doolin Village. Its hilly setting, back from the road in a 100-acre wildflower meadow, offers panoramic coastal views and enough distance from Doolin's busy nightlife to guarantee a peaceful night's sleep. Large bow-shaped windows draw in light and lift the darker shades inside the public areas, which are decorated with natural oak and drapes. Guest rooms in the older house have massive four-poster beds, marble fireplaces, and high ceilings. Some large, sunny rooms have bay windows to frame that stunning view; nice but plainer rooms in the new wing, with antique-style decor, are equally sought after. The restaurant has an imaginative and sophisticated continental menu with the best of locally sourced food, from Lisdoonvarna's smokehouse to St. Tola's cheese.

PROS

  • beautiful grounds for walking
  • peaceful setting
  • warm, old-fashioned welcome from the O'Callaghan family

CONS

  • not in fact a castle
  • remote
  • limited amenities

QUICK FACTS

B&B/Inn
Views, Romantic, Service
Casual
Countryside
Local Flavor
$$

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 065-707--4025

HOTEL DETAILS

10 rooms, 2 suites
Rate Includes: Closed Nov.–mid-Apr. No dinner Tues., Free Breakfast

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