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“My favorite room-ever” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bantry House & Garden

Bantry House & Garden
Bantry, Ireland
353-27-50047
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Ranked #2 of 19 things to do in Bantry
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: Bantry House and Garden is a stately home in southwest Ireland situated right on Bantry Bay with panoramic views of the bay and the caha mountains. The estate is owned by Egerton and Brigitte Shelswell-White and is managed by their daughter Sophie and her partner Josh. It has been in the family since the 1700s. The house contains original furniture and objects d'art. The garden is laid out over 7 terraces with a fountain, large wisteria circle and 100 steps leading up to the woodland. The house, garden and tearoom is open to the public daily from easter to october. The estate hosts weddings, music festivals and fairs. We have a separate review page for our B&B accommodation.
Arlington
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“My favorite room-ever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

The gardens and the views are incredible, but hands down, the best is the Library. I wanted to live there permanently. The tea shop on the premises has a decent lunch at a good price too. We never did find the "walled garden", but everything else made it easy to imagine yourself the Earl.

Visited August 2012
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SophieSW, General Manager at Bantry House & Garden, responded to this review, September 9, 2012
hi Kitty1409
thank you for visiting recently and glad to hear you enjoyed the estate. The library is a very special room. Come again and stay a night in the B&B, that way after the visitors have gone you can have the library all to yourself!
best wishes, Sophie Shelswell-White, General Manager
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kenmare
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Beautifully restored house and gardens”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

I have driven past Bantry House many times, but never had a chance to stop in. I finally made the time, and wasn't disappointed. It's a lovely house, a bit more than half which is well restored and open to the public (the rest is either not restored and not open to the public, or is being used as a guest house). It is full of relevant antiques and artwork. The gardens are exceedingly well maintained and very beautiful, complete with maze and a lovely relaxation area around a fountain with a number of comfortable benches. There are several walks around the estate. I was disappointed to see that the coach house and stables and other outbuildings, as is the case in the vast majority of manor houses in Ireland, have either been allowed to fall into a great state of disrepair, or have been gutted and turned into storage areas, and you can no longer tell what their intended use was.

The kitchen has been turned into a cafe. It had very decent desserts, drinks (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, minerals), soup, and sandwiches.

The views from the house and grounds over Bantry Bay are quite lovely.

The cost to view the house was €5, the gardens were open for free that day. I understand it is normally €10 for the house and gardens. I find that to be quite pricey, but I was perfectly happy to pay a fiver to see it all.

Visited August 2012
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SophieSW, General Manager at Bantry House & Garden, responded to this review, August 30, 2012
hello and thank you for visiting us the other week. You came on a special day as we had reduced our admission for the day to participate in national heritage week.

Perhaps you did not get one of our information leaflets however the west stables were opened for the 1st time in many years again. We had received a grant from the heritage council to structurally restore the building and we were delighted it was ready in time. I would also like to let you know that although a part of the other stableyard is used for storage and is the garderners shed, it is also now a venue for craft fairs, art auctions and this weekend a wedding! It was also the venue for our first (but not last), very successful pop up restaurant in April.

Regards,
Sophie Shelswell-White
General Manager
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New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“gorgeous setting”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

Don't miss it! lovely gardens, magical 100 steps or so that will offer you a glorious view over Bantry Bay. A sweet cafe with yummy food offers indoor and outdoor seating.

Visited July 2012
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SophieSW, General Manager at Bantry House & Garden, responded to this review, August 29, 2012
Hi Didi M
so glad you enjoyed your visit! The view over bantry bay today is quite spectacular with sunny spells and big thunderous showers!
Sophie Shelswell-White
General Manager
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Winchester, England, United Kingdom
1 review
“Stunning, a real treasure.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

We stopped by here a couple of days ago, have been to Bantry before but hadnt been to the house and gardens before. If you are in West Cork this is well worth a visit. The house itself is stunning and unlike English national trust houses there is no barriers or rope separating you from the furniture or to prevent you walking through the rooms. Guide books are handed out at the start which are informative and I think much better than a tour guide. The gardens are lovely and views from the from over Bantry Bay are nothing but stunning. Definitely worth a visit. Hopefully the family have enough support to renovate more of the house to visitors.

Visited August 2012
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SophieSW, General Manager at Bantry House & Garden, responded to this review, August 29, 2012
Dear James R
I just wanted to write a quick note to say I am glad you enjoyed your visit with us. We are completely different to national trust houses but hugely admire their work too. Hope to see you here again soon.
Sophie Shelswell-White
General Manager
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Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Very expensive. No guided tour. Poor service at the tea room. Great house but poor service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2012

Made a special trip to Bantry to visit the house. In it's day it would have been spectacular and it is clear the owners are trying to return it to it's former glory. Having visited many estate houses in the past all over the UK and Ireland, we were initially taken aback at the entrance fee of €11 to see part of the ground floor and a small part of the first floor, and the gardens. It was raining and a gardener might have appreciated the garden but it was a waste of money if all you want to see is the house. There was no guided tour and we were handed one home made type of guide booklet which listed things in each room. A guided tour would have been great. The house itself and the rooms we were allowed to see were lovely but not enough fir the charge.
We then went to the tea room. It was staffed well but nobody seemed to want to serve. Stood there waiting on my own for ages as five staff passed in and out behind the counter ignoring me. I asked to be served and was told "one of the other girls will serve you in a while". Served eventually and sat down to have another member of staff home and start spraying the table I was at with cleaning fluid. I asked if she could wait til I'd finished and noticed other empty tables needed cleaning. It didn't stop there!! She told me she had to clean tge tables. So I had to explain that I didn't want spray on my food and asked her to wait til we had finished. Basic training missing there. She disappeared and didn't clean anything...then another girl cane out to clean a different table, flicked a cloth at it bent down to puck a napkin off the floor but promptly placed it back there!! I have never seen such a display of laziness in a restaurant or tea rooms. The manager of this tea room needs to take staff in hand as it truly could be a gold mine. the food was of good quality and not over priced. But the place needed a good clean and the staff need to be on the ball.
We went out to the gardens which are lovely. I was about to put money in the telescope to see Bantry bay. However I noticed that the majority of any possible view was obstructed by bushes that needed to be trimmed back a lot.
Fantastic potential. Staff issues. Could be brilliant with good management. But still very much over priced. I'm sorry to say that I left Bantry house sadly disappointed :(

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SophieSW, General Manager at Bantry House & Garden, responded to this review, August 22, 2012
Thank you for your review of your recent visit to us here at Bantry House. I am truly disappointed with your comments. We are a family run business, I took over the management of the estate from my parents 3 years ago and take each compliment and critique very personally.

Due to government tax increases on private stately homes this year we could not afford to absorb that cost so our prices did have to go up by 10%. We currently offer self guided tours of the house and garden for many reasons and for next year we are looking at enhancing that experience even more with the introduction of guided tours. We have 11 rooms to visit and in my opinion very generous access given to our visitors. The other areas of the house you couldn't visit are where my family live or where the bed and breakfast accommodation is. We have 40 acres of formal garden and 60 acres of woodland. Yes, the house can not be seen without the garden because they are such a part of each other. All of our revenue goes back into restoring the whole estate and although I will take your criticism on some of your comments to say that the garden is a waste of money is really hurtful. My mother and our small staff of gardeners work so hard to make the garden an attraction in its own right and we get garden groups from all over the world coming to visit. I certainly will have a look at the telescope and see what needs doing to enhance the view.

In response to your time in the tearoom. The girls in the tearoom generally do a very good job and I am surprised that you were left waiting for a long time - for that I apologise. I make sure the tearoom is working as effeciently as possible with high cleanliness levels and its unfortunate your experience was poor. At least you enjoyed the food, we source local produce and bake and cook everything fresh each day.

I also think we do have fantastic potential and hope that I am the right person for the job. My family, my staff and I are trying our absolute best.

Sophie Shelswell-White
General Manager
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