A Visit to Ballyvolane House09/07/2015
by Mark Walton
”It’s not often we get to visit one of our customers, our friends have the impression that we sip Martinis in first class lounges around the world, but it’s a more like eating sausage rolls in motorway service stations.
So, I was delighted to finally get to visit one of our newer customers, Ballyvolane House run by the lovely Justin and Jenny Green. It’s fantastic just get a break but also even better to actually be able to get a night away. The property, maybe new to me, but obviously not to others as it was the first time in two years I was actually able to get a room. When I booked, in March it was one of the two nights left available for the whole summer! Enviable position to be in, though you’ve been warned, book early!
What I love about Ballyvolane, amongst many things, is that it is a beautiful country house, that is also a home that has opened its doors to the public. It used to be a large farm, but now has luxury accommodation and caters for corporate retreats and weddings. Not as in some cases whereby there is a modern extension to an existing building. When you walk about, you know every painting or piece of furniture has a family connection and it hasn’t been hidden away to protect it. If I was to describe it I would say it’s like a mini Downton Abbey meets the mad hatters tea party! The rooms are sumptuous, large and well appointed, with lovely touches like homemade cordial. Some may find it odd, as for example there are no TV’s and in our room there was no shower, just a grand raised bath, I know the inhumanity of it all ;-). I loved it personally, but I know some people will see these things as a negative, if you are that person, don’t come.
The family are ever present as are there pets, watch out for Dumpling there cute little Yorkie, who is little and round, she’s old, she’s entitled to be! The dining areas are gorgeous as are the lounge areas, the grounds are beautiful and extensive, they have (soon) tennis courts, five a side pitches, walled gardens, finds and forests for walls and lakes full of trout. I love fishing so coincided my trip with a day’s guided salmon fishing on the famous Blackwater river. I love the way the porch is stuffed with footballs, rugby be balls, tennis and badminton rackets, as much for their own family as the guests. It’s a very safe environment and you’d be very happy to let your kids just room and be children!
Of note they are also doing Glamping or Glamourous Camping, which would be so much fun, especially if you do have kids!
We also opted for the 6 course meal in the evening. I have to admit this was a real highlight. Ballyvolane makes no presences about its dining being Michelin star and described it as locally sourced organic country house cuisine. However, I thought this was a huge understatement, both dinner and breakfast was simply superb, again right up my street. Nothing molecular about it, just bursting flavour and fresh as it comes!
The service is impeccable as you would expect, as both Justin and Jenny have worked for many years in management of some of the finest hotels in the world including the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. So a lot of this has not happened by accident! Ballyvolane is a 4hr drive for us, so not to be taken lightly, but I certainly love it so much I’ll be booking now for 2016.”
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Ballyvolane House is a historic Irish country house of extraordinary warmth, style and comfort that provides luxury accommodation and salmon fishing on the river Blackwater, located in the North Cork countryside of southern Ireland.