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“A memorable stay in rural Ireland with great food, surroundings and company.”
Review of Cullintra House

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Cullintra House
Ranked #3 of 5 Inistioge B&B and Inns
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A memorable stay in rural Ireland with great food, surroundings and company.”
Reviewed 23 November 2011

We stayed here for a weekend and absolutely loved everything about Cullintra House, from the moment we drove up the long driveway till the morning we left after a delicious breakfast. The location is very rural and is several miles from Thomastown, one of Ireland's prettier villages. Cullintra House is a delightful piece of architecture and is similar to the size of most rectories. The interior is traditionally furnished with period pieces and some more recent additions. The setting is spectacular with mature trees and fields to the rear of the house sloping upwards.

We arrived early and a key was in the front door so we entered. A decorator was in the sitting room and he said the owner would be back shortly. It was wonderfull informal and felt like a second home. Patricia Cantlon then arrived and made us most welcome. She combines glamour with friendliness. She was most charming and also great fun. Just before dinner, she suggested a drive up the hill to see a viewing platform she has had built overlooking various counties. Clad in a long evening dress, she put heel to the steel and drove up at some speed while rabbits scarpered out of the way.

Dinner was spectacular - fresh produce including haddock, vegetables and potatoes from the locality accompanied with a side of her homebaked wheaten bread. Our fellow guests were a German professor and her husband who enjoyed their visit so much they had extended it to a week. Patricia served the meal efficiently and unobtrusively before joining us for coffee afterwards.

She brought us outside to meet her pet fox. By evening time the grounds were completely black with no lights from any neighbouring dwellings - there are none. Cullintra is an incredible experience. If you want a typical hotel, it's not for you. But if you are after an authentic Irish country home experience then this is the place to stay. It is a world away from the hustle and bustle of life. We are hoping to go back before too long.

Room Tip: Opt for a room in the main house overlooking the gardens to the front.
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
13 Thank Stuart_Blakley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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61 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Europe
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 November 2011

Having read the reviews below just before I left home, to say that I was dismayed is an understatement. With some horrid review comments churning in my mind, it is with great apprehension that I turned up the drive of Cullintra House.

Thankfully, I was overcome with relief when I realised that this is a very lovely and atmospheric 200-year-old family-run farmhouse set in beautiful countryside.

The Châtelaine, Patricia Cantlon, was born in this house and now runs the cattle farm. She is an elegant bohemian, naïve artist, and excellent chef. Her home naturally reflects her passions.

It turns out that Patricia is well known for being a free spirit but she is also appreciated for being cultured and intelligent. Personally, I enjoyed meeting her and being shown around her lovely rambling home.

Considering the mouth wateringly delicious and hearty five course dinners and breakfasts, it did not take me long to decide that our weekend away was very good value.

Other guests have complained about flies, cobwebs and cat hairs. For that reason, I feel that I should point out to potential future guests that Cullintra House is a working farmhouse with a farmyard and barns behind. Spiders are inevitable and cats are a necessity. Patricia adores her exclusive feline house companion, Oswald, who has full access around the home.

The numerous awards date back to the mid 1980s at least and the pace has not changed since then. Check-in is late, dinner is served late, ends late, and breakfast is served late. Relaxation and soporific contemplation are key.

Patricia is an experienced and distinguished hostess. I found her neither forward nor neglectful, but just right. I glanced through piles of guest books with endless messages thanking her for the delicious meals, her everlasting attention to detail, and simply getting to know her. Numerous guests referred to repeat visits over the years and how they look forward to returning. Most of these were French, Italian, German and English. By the end of my stay, I too understood felt relaxed, happy and had a desire to return.

Alas, there are few Irish character country houses serving excellent food, especially in such undisturbed surroundings. Nearby Butler House and Ballymaloe House, Cork come to mind but they are fully staffed and therefore much more expensive.

Perhaps Patricia Cantlon and her family will eventually decide to take on staff and subsequently raise standards and rates. For now, however, this is a perfect place for lovers of food and leisurely dining experiences. Although there is a long history of guests befriending each other at this house, I should think that it would also be fun for family gatherings, groups of friends having get-togethers, and club weekends away.

Locals have dinner parties here and, despite the potency of modern medicines, continue to visit Patricia for her family remedy of persistent skin infections.

Room Tip: This is a working farmhouse so most likely not suitable for honeymooners seeking pampering and/or ex...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank AirgeadEurope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 September 2011

I wish I'd read the reviews before staying here. I could have saved a lot of time and trouble.

If you like cold, damp rooms, this is the place for you. If you like spiders, this is the place for you (After I had mentioned that one had run through our bed tonight before, I was informed that "we don't kill spiders"). If you like your meals late in the evening and late in the morning, this is the place for you. If you like having most of your visit monopolized, this place is for you. If you like a slightly more than eccentric host, this is the place for you. If you like cat hair on everything, this is the place for you.

On the other hand, if you prefer your meals at a reasonable hour, fresh sheets and clean rooms, then this is not the place for you. Great cooking aside, this is a hard place to take.

Room Tip: Short people could use the upper rooms, while anyone 6" or taller will need to watch the doorwa...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank Mary S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
James C, Public Relations Manager at Cullintra House, responded to this review, 1 October 2011
Oh dear! Well, I am glad you liked the cooking. But you really could hardly call the rooms cold and damp - not only did we have a bit of an Indian Summer but also in view of the fact that you had come from New Mexico we put the heating on for you. And I really do not think that it fair to say that there were cat hairs everywhere - All 6 bedrooms are vacuumed every day and Oswald is the only cat. And finally all the sheets are laundered here everyday. This is a family farmhouse, offering delicious dinners and breakfasts and a chance to stay in the real, hidden Ireland. In Ireland threre are about 50,000 characterless modern hotel rooms and bland bungalow B&Bs that offer cookie cutter accommodation. Cullintra is a comfortable farmhouse with character.
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Travellers are raving about these Inistioge hotels

New York
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2011

I booked this trip via a B&B network for our honeymoon that listed the rooms priced at 75 euro per night per person including dinner.  I had Made a reservation for one night, but also kept the possibility of a second night open.  The proprietor really wanted us to book two nights, but we had other traveling to do.  Did not read any reviews prior to booking.  She asked us to show up at 5:00, and also informed us that this is a country house, not a hotel.

We made good time getting down to Inistioge, and ended up arriving to Cullantra at 2:30.  Big mistake.  When she says that the place doesn't open til 5, she MEANS it.  Anyway, after less than a warm welcome, we were shown to our room, but told not to lie down in the beds in case someone else wants to book before 5....quite a dingy room with an uncomfortable bed, and NO HEAT.  Not to mention cob webs were hanging from every corner.  

We went for a very nice walk on the ground with extraordinary views, but the grounds were unkept.

Dinner was served at 8:30. It was excellent food served in five courses.  However, you will be dining with other guests.  Not a big problem for us, because our fellow travelers were very personable.  This really was the highlight.  Spectacular cook.  She charged 16 euro for a bottle of wine, OR a 12 euro corking fee if you were inclined to bring your own bottle...

The host is very eccentric, and I guess famous for her nuttiness.  She has several cats, which are not pets, but rather family members, who speak with the host directly.  She fell asleep at the table during conversation between guests after dinner.  You have to literally wake her up when you would like breakfast (and don't even think about asking for breakfast before 9am.) She will not turn the heat on regardless of how many times I asked. 

Upon checkout, I felt quite swindled.  We had agreed upon a price over the phone,( already very high priced for a b&b) and then was charged an extra 20 euro for not staying a second night.  It was also explained to us at check out that because we had shown up early, that she didn't have time to make up the room that was quoted at 75 per person per night.  (but didn't feel the need to tell us of a price increase.  As much as I wanted to pay what we were quoted and leave the premises, I paid her the requested extra money and wanted to share the full details with other potential guests with as much accuracy and fairness as possible.

Room Tip: Show up after 5.
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Sean W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Patriciacantlon, Owner at Cullintra House, responded to this review, 28 February 2013
Sorry for seeming to be so bored with your company but had a very busy day with the farm, hosting, cooking and your early arrival didn’t help.
The price on the site that you saw was a minimum, based on two nights stay and does not apply to one night. Check-in is strictly after 5pm.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin, Ireland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 August 2011

This hotel is beyond bizarre. The setting is beautiful, the house is pure shabby antiquity (could do with a good clean but all beautiful period pieces). There are lovely walks. However - you better like cats!!! The proprieter of this place is mad for her cats, and woe betide if you dont like them because every guest room has a cat flap so they can come and go as they please. I personally found the owner to be overbearing, an interesting lady but quite rude, an amazing cook, but not sympathic to any special dietary needs. Dinner was a weird group experience where at one point we were forcibly kicked out of the place and insisted that we go for a walk in the woods - in the dark, in inappropriate footwear (quite enjoyable nonetheless!!). The rooms are absolutely amazing in terms of arty/unusual decor - but the bed was quite uncomfortable and cat hair everywhere. The owner also conversed with one of the cats at dinner as though he was a real person. Lot of rats around the place - no doubt because the owner leaves out leftovers for local wildlife - she is very much an animal lover. Bit of a song and dance about the boiler being broken so no hot water, only discovered afterwards when I read reviews here that this is a common occurance - I suspect she is saving on the heating bills!! Definitely the most weird place I ever stayed, has been a conversation piece ever since - I strangely enjoyed the experience but would not wish to repeat it. You can bring your own wine to dinner and pay outrageous corkage or pay inflated prices for wine. We didnt know so ended up paying for her wine - wasnt even a nice wine but needed every drop to get through the entire strange experience. Between catching flies in her bare hands, talking to the cats, talking about cats as though they are people - lots of convoluted stories and name dropping of cats dead and gone, overbearing manner, rudeness when not centre of attention, complete disinterest in guests except as an audience to weirdness, late dinner, getting thrown out mid dinner for a walk in the woods, cats all over the place, no hot water, cat hair all over everything, lumpy bed, rooms in need of a good clean......and yet, the food was beautiful - this woman can cook!!! Id never go again but the experience was unforgetable!!!

Room Tip: ask for one without a cat flap!!!
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  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank username0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Derbyshire, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2011

We had lots of fun, the food was delicious and we really enjoyed our stay - didn't stop giggling the whole time we were there. The rooms could have been cleaner (with more pillows please!) Patricia was very welcoming and warm, she catered for all our disliikes in food and was very chatty/helpful. She is an absolute cat-lover (in every sense!) so if your'e not a cat-lover then this isn't the place to go! The area was beautiful. If youre in a rush to eat at a certain time it is propably not the place for you. There is a very relaxed atmosphere - but this means waiting a while for food, and BEWARE there is no TV

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank chester00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cotswolds, England
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2011

For us this was a 2 night stay at the end of a 2 week tour around a wonderful, hospitable country and to top it all the weather was great. We had read all the reviews on this site and decided to read between the lines and trust our instincts; we were hoping for a very different but relaxing experience with great food and I can assure you we were not disappointed.
Upon arrival mid afternoon we found Patricia in the front garden cutting the lawn, she was extremely inviting, stopped what she was doing and gave us a tour of farm and house, all was clean and tidy except for the conservatory where one can sit and have coffee, but as she explained it would rejuvinated by the next morning as she was behind with her chores (and it was) however we never used it as the creepers are not to our taste.
As Patricia was not ready we were sort of sent (with a guide produced by herself) on a walk around her woods/nature reserve? and amost beautiful hill walk, spectacular views not to be missed, laughing uncontrollably as we left for our adventure like a couple of children being sent out of mums way while she cooks and cleans so as not to get under her feet.
Upon arrival back we were told a gong would go for diner about 9.00pm, we retired to our room to relax and freshen up, no drinks in room but that was OK as we always have our own little drinks cabinet with us when on holiday. After such along walk we were ravenous, 9.15pm the 9.30pm then 9.40pm at last the gong went and we rushed downstairs like a couple of schoolkids to the dining hall.
We had read a lot about the dining experience and we were not disappointed, ambiance great, food fantastic and Patricia is great hostess although expect her to chat away and maybe join you for pudding and even ask if you have finished with potatoes as she was eating hers in the kitchen. I must note that I am allergic to fowl and my wife does not like fish and Patricia catered well for these requirements (I did forworn her in email previous week to our arrival) Retired to bed at about 1.00am
Its true what people say you have to knock Patricai up for breakfast, suited us as we were relaxing after a busy tour and to amble down about 10.30am was a delight, anything you want, her soda bread is exceptional. Good quality wine available at very reasonable prices too.
To cap it all this is not a place for people to stay if you want ordinary, this is for those who want and appreciate something different, Patricia treats all as guests to her amazing house and expects you to reciprocate in turn. Eccentric yes but a wonderful hostess ,most definitely.
Steve/Laurel a couple of young 50 somethings from the Cotswolds, England
PS have cash to pay your bill, much easier for Patricia

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank SteveLaurel8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cullintra House

Property: Cullintra House
Address: The Rower, Inistioge, Ireland
Region: Ireland > Province of Leinster > County Kilkenny > Inistioge
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Inistioge
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
NOT a hotel, but a working farm serving delicious dinners and offering charming country house accommodation in a family farmhouse. ... more   less 
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