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“Wonderful place”

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Ballinalacken Castle Country House
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Doolin
Certificate of Excellence
Davis, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Wonderful place”
Reviewed 28 July 2007

My husband and I stayed at Ballinalacken Castle Country House for 2 nights as the last leg of our 2-week visit to Ireland in July 2007. It was a fantastic way to end our trip!

The host, Declan, is the nicest guy. He is so helpful, offering suggestions of things to do and see in the area. He runs the restaurant, the front desk and is always available (except upon our arrival in mid-afternoon the first day, which meant we had to carry our own luggage all the way back to our room, which is the farthest. But thankfully, there are vey few steps so you can roll most of the way). Declan clearly loves where he lives and it shows. His wife, Cecelia, is lovely and checked us out the morning we left. They are both very responsive to email before and after the trip.

The hotel (which is more of a lovely intimate inn) is a family run business. Declan grew up there. His father owns the hotel, and was our bartender the night we had a drink at the little pub before a fanastic dinner in the restaurant (which is open to non-guests but is small enough to not feel crowded). His father was lively and we had such a good time chatting with him over a pint of Guinness. Declan's son is also around - a very young boy - and his nephew (his brother's son) who proudly displayed the plaque he was awarded for football.

We booked Room 16, which is referred to as a half suite. It was wonderful. A very large room with amazing views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. There is a glass enclosed gazebo that juts out of the room with unbelievable views.

The common rooms are very pretty with lots of large comfy chairs placed in front of windows with more to-die for views. The location of the inn is great - it is a 5 minute drive from the little strip of a village called Doolin, up on a hill. It is very quiet and located next to the ruins of the castle tower of Lord O'Brien. Declan provides private tours of the castle ruins for guests which is a real treat. The views from the top of the castle tower are heavenly. But it is not for the faint of heart - steep, winding stairs to get to the top. Declan's brother' has a Connemara pony that lives up near the castle ruins, and she seems to really like visitors. But do not go up without Declan - it is not always the safest inside the ruins and he knows just where to step...

All in all, we loved our stay at the Ballinalacken and already miss the views and sunsets (great sunsets over the Aran Islands). Treat yourself. You will not be disappointed.

  • Liked — The hosts
  • Disliked — No one to help with luggage upon check in but probably depends what time check in
  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LisaMH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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523 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (112)
Date | Rating
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English first
Dublin, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2007

We enjoyed our stay at the Ballinalacken Castle Country House. It was truly a unique experience!! The grounds were beautiful, and the view of the surrounding area spectacular! We dined at the restaurant at the hotel because we arrived later than we'd expected and didn't have time to venture out to find food in one of the nearby towns. But it worked out well -- the food was great! After dinner, the proprietor took us on a guided tour of the castle ruins which was fascinating. He was very hospitable and seemed to truly enjoy hosting guests at his property. The room was charming and quaint, and the bathrooms had been recently re-done and were well-equipped. We stayed in the room nearest the guest lounge at the front of the hotel, and my only complaint is that the noise from the lounge and hallway travelled easily to our room. The good news is that we only were bothered by it a couple of times. Overall--great stay!! Would definitely recommend.

  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank travelpal79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
39 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2007

On a ten day trek through Ireland, we made it to Doolin and stayed in this castle. You don't stay in the "castle" exactly...instead it is a hotel built next to the remains of a castle. Maybe we were tired or maybe we were beaten down by the lumpy B & B beds we had been sleeping on, but we found this hotel to be an absolute dream! The room had a four poster bed with a great view of the Atlantic just over a lush green hillside. It was the view you see on postcards from Ireland! The service was good, but we were told the pub at the hotel remained open until 1, but was closed when we returned from the town at 11. No big deal though...we got a great night sleep and had a delicious breakfast (included in your rate) the next morning. It's more than your average B & B or hotel, but you will not regret spending a few extra dollars (or euros) to stay at this hotel.

  • Liked — The view of the countryside and ocean (with the Arans in the distance) is second to none
  • Disliked — We could nto go into the castle b/c it was raining and too slippery
  • Stayed July 2006, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KJR0711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grand Rapids Mi
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2007

We just returned from a trip to Ireland on July 14, my wife and I and two other couples, Ballinalacken Castle was our first stop. Just a short drive from Shannon airport Ballinalacken is located near Doolin in County Clare. The house is situated high on a hill with a view of the cliffs of Mohr to the south and the Aran isles to the west. Clarming rooms all with views of the Irish coast four poster beds attached bathroom with shower. The staff is professional, helpful and friendly but the best part of our stay at Ballinalacken was the food! We stayed in more expensive hotels and paid much more for meals during our two week vacation but the six of us all agreed our dinner at Ballinalacken was the best of the trip! When our travel plans once again take us to County Clare a stay at Ballinalacken will be at the top of our list.

  • Stayed July 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank PJGGrandRapidsMi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 July 2007

Thank you so much to Cecilia and the staff at the Ballinalacken Castle. My boyfriend and I went to Ireland for the first time and I suprised him with our stay here. The staff helped me for months prior to make this a special experience. From every detail, the view was spiritual, the food more than I could have expected. I love the way you handle the dinner service, not rushed just simply relaxed. I am in the hospitality field in Florida and I have never had a server come tell me during dinner that I should step outside and catch the beautiful sunset. How wonderful, the entire restaurant stepped out and enjoyed a beautiful sunset together before returning for dessert. In my opinion the rooms and decor of the property created the feel I would have imagined of Ireland. I would highly recommend this property for a couple who just wants to relax and enjoy the beauty God created, Ireland!!

Thank you Ballinalacken for making our time there perfect!!

Jim & Holly

  • Stayed April 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank hragazzo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 June 2007

Although you're not actually staying in a castle, the Ballinalacken is a really great place to stay. The location is convenient, just a few km from either Doolin or Lisdoonvarna, and near the sites of interest in that area. The rooms are spacious, all with nice views and amenities. The staff was very accomodating to our needs and very friendly. This was the most expensive place we stayed on our trip (140 euro for each room) but it was our one big splurge and we didn't feel cheated. I would recommend staying here if you're in the area - or even if you have to go out of your way to get here!

  • Liked — The ambience and the views
  • Disliked — The shower was a bit difficult - no way to avoid a small flood the way the door closes.
  • Stayed June 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Miamitraveler_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, MA
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 June 2007

I have not actually stayed or eaten at Ballinlacken Castle Country House. The castle itself was marked on our tourist map so we drove by to see it from the road. Noticing that there was a restaurant next to the castle we went in thinking that if we ate there we would get to see the castle up close. Sadly the restaurant was closed but they were putting together a tour of the castle for their guests and invited us along.

The castle is exceptional. It is a ruin, not a tourist site with explanatory posters, gravel walks and plastic windows. However it is an very well preserved ruin with exceptional views. It is, I think, the best castle we visited in Ireland.

Witnessing the owners interacting with their guests, on the tour and elsewhere on the grounds I have confidence in their ability to cater to every need and their ability to make everyone feel welcome.

As a final note I will mention that, should the Irish skies be clear enough to provide a sunset, Ballinlaken Castle Country House would be a strikingly beautiful place from which to watch it.

  • Liked — The Castle
  • Disliked — The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays
  • Stayed June 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ShaneFK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ballinalacken Castle Country House

Property: Ballinalacken Castle Country House
Address: Coast Road R-477, Doolin R477, Ireland
Phone Number:
Region: Ireland > Province of Munster > County Clare > The Burren > Doolin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Doolin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Ballinalacken Castle Country House 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ballinalacken Castle Hotel Doolin is one of the leading Castle Hotels Ireland with views of Cliffs of Moher. This Clare Hotel has an award winning restaurant and is the best place to eat in Doolin. It would be difficult to find a more beautiful place on the West Coast of Ireland in which to wake up. The Ballinalacken has been described in the press as one of the finest located houses in Europe. Our guest rooms offer spectacular panoramic views of the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher and Galway Bay. A 15th Century Castle ruin of the O'Brien Clan stands imposingly beside the Ballinalacken Hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ballinalacken Castle Country House Hotel Doolin
Ballinalacken Castle Country Hotel
Ballinalacken Castle Country Doolin

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