Our visit to Ballinkeele House felt like an all too brief passport to gracious living. The beautiful antique furnishings soothed our spirits while the family photographs lining the walls upstairs added depth to the experience, providing, by turn, quaint, uncannily evocative and at times, poignant portals into times gone by. You couldn’t help but feel that this is the future its ancestral inhabitants would have wished for Ballinkeele: a reinvention that combines all the warmth of a family home(Laura, Val and children could not have been friendlier and made us feel completely at ease) with the pristine freshness of high-class accommodation and yet preserves its essential character as a nineteenth century Great House.
As lovers of nature, the regal presence of pheasants and a flying visit from a hare were bonuses. We also saw our first swallows of the summer there and the serenity of the waterside walks proved the perfect apéritif for what turned out to be a really enjoyable evening meal. Communal dining at the magnificent old mahogany table, and a chance to broaden horizons by chatting with convivial fellow guests, added to our illusions of grandeur. It is a place, not just to visit, but to carry away with you, enriched in your appreciation of what hidden Ireland has to offer, Paul and Yvonne, BrayMore
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