Fodor's Expert Review Ballymaloe Cookery School and Gardens
While the late, lamented Myrtle Allen reigned supreme at Ballymaloe House, her daughter-in-law Darina, Ireland's most famous celebrity chef and slow-food advocate, rules at the Ballymaloe Cookery School, 3 km (2 miles) east. The school offers 12-week residential courses for aspiring professional chefs, and day and half-day courses with famous visiting chefs (including Darina's daughter-in-law, Rachel Allen). The extensive organic gardens here provide herbs and vegetables for the school and the restaurant, and visitors can ramble through wildflower meadows and admire herbaceous borders leading to an ornately crafted shell house, the potager vegetable garden, rustic tree house, and a Celtic maze. A farm walk visits cows in their clover field, rare-breed pigs, and some 400 hens. Conclude your visit in the Farm Shop, open the same hours as the garden.