, Shanagarry, Co Cork.
Ballymaloe House is a family run country house hotel and restaurant set on a 300 acre farm located in beautiful East Cork countryside. Internationally recognised as the birthplace of modern Irish cuisine, Ballymaloe House offers you the very best of Irish hospitality and award-winning food.
Ballymaloe House, the walled garden and surrounding parklands and woodlands are unique, and along with its many outbuildings Ballymaloe House is a hugely diverse location. There are spaces galore within the garden to walk, talk, relax or do nothing. Or for a slightly more active day, there is a swimming pool, tennis court and free use of bikes. The drawing room is an elegant place to relax indoors with a blazing fire in winter and a conservatory filled with scented geraniums for summer, looking out onto the gardens and river.
Myrtle and Ivan Allen bought Ballymaloe House in 1948 and in 1964 Myrtle ventured into the restaurant business at Ballymaloe. Basing her menus on their own farm produce and the best tradition of Irish country house cookery, she went from strength to strength. Over 50 years later the hotel and restaurant remain in the Allen family and the awards have been pouring in. The chefs draw up the lunch and dinner menu every day depending on what comes in from the garden and the boats at Ballycotton. Fruit and vegetables are sent up each morning from the gardens. Fish arrives fresh from Ballycotton every afternoon and it is not until then that the dinner menu is finally decided upon.
Breakfast includes a comprehensive buffet, full Irish, eggs any way you like, crepes, kippers and more. Lunch and dinner are filled with choices, far more than we can mention here. There is also an extensive wine list at Ballymaloe House and the sommelier is happy to give guests a tour of the wine cellars.
The accommodation at Ballymaloe is simple and elegant. There is a range of rooms in the main house, some large and airy with beautiful views over the fields as well as cosier rooms at the top of the house in the eaves. The newer, light filled garden rooms are at the back of the house and look on to the river and oak and horse chestnut trees beyond. It all has a calm and relaxing feel. The beds are comfortable, and fresh flowers are brought in from the garden every day. There are paintings and drawings by modern Irish artists throughout the house, as well as examples of Irish studio pottery.
The hotel is a 40 minute drive from Cork. The internationally renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School, run by Darina Allen, is located two miles from Ballymaloe House. Enjoy the fresh Ballycotton sea air and be mesmerised by the natural beauty and stunning views that Ballycotton Island has to offer. Ballycotton Island Lighthouse Tours offers a truly magical memory-making excursion. There are lots of lovely coves and beaches within a 15 minute drive of Ballymaloe, these vary from small rocky inlets that are perfect for a picnic and splashing in the rock pools to larger sandy beaches ideal for walking, sun-bathing and building sandcastles.