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“HOME FROM HOME” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gougane Barra Hotel

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Gougane Barra Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Gougane Barra, Ballingeary, Ireland   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ballingeary
Shannon, Ireland
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“HOME FROM HOME”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

We consider The Gougane Barra Hotel our "home from home." My husband and myself have not missed a year's visit for the last thirty eight years. We even have our favourite room allocated to us each time we visit.
The hotel is family owned, which is part of its charm. When we started to visit, it was run by Breda Lucy and her late Husband Christy. It's now run by their son, Niall and his lovely wife Katie, both graduates with excellence from top catering establishments.
The food is excellent and is served in the spacious dining-room overlooking the lake. Because the surrounding mountains shelter the lake, it's sometimes possible to see the fish coming to the surface to feed on the flies when the lake is still.
We always start our holiday by visiting the lovely little graveyard beside the hotel. Because Gougane Barra is a native Irish speaking area, most of the headstones are in various forms of Irish.
I particularly like the epitaph of Tadgh De Buchalla, the famous tailor of "The Tailor and Ansty" banned book, by Eric Cross. It reads:- "A Star Danced And Under That Was I Born".
Our next stop is the tomb of Father O'Mahoney, just under the graveyard. This is protected by wrought iron gates. He was the Parish Priest of several surrounding parishes in the sixteenth century.
Apparently, he was a bit of a bold boy, because he was sentenced by the then Pope to live the remainder of his life as a hermit on the island "having been found guilty of the sin of fornication". At that time, the little Island could only be reached by boat.
Father O'Mahoney spent the rest of his life on the island as a hermit. He rebuilt the ruined cells of Saint Finbarr and his Monks single-handed, which can today be seen behind the lovely little Saint Finbarr's Church on the Island.
He died alone on the Island and when his remains were found by local people, they decided to club together and give him a decent Christian burial.
Our annual visits vary between the months of June and September. On a few occasions we've been there around the time of the anniversary of Father O'Mahoney's death.
Several times I've noticed a lone artificial red rose carefully laid on his tomb.
So there you have it. Beauty, peace, an excellent hotel, plus mystery, intrigue, sex and scandal!
What more could you want and all of it together amidst the spectacular beauty of Gougane Barra in remote West Cork in the South of Ireland.
Valerie Sweeney (Journalist)

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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187 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2013

On entering the hotel and its bar, it was very clean, neat and tidy but it clearly had not been done up in a few years. However after having lunch there, I was pleasantly reminded that great food and a truly warm welcome outshines any fancy exterior. The scones were just out of the oven, with slices of peach over the serving cream and the teapot was refilled before any shortage. Though whilst this is an isolated hotel, they could rival Starbucks for the selection of teas and coffees. The service is as warm and homely as the food. The owners truly love what they do and you can feel that they enjoy talking with the customers and are not doing it just because it is good customer service. Thank you very much for such a lovely afternoon. I will be coming back again without a doubt.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

It had been a long day of travel along the Irish Coast and to find this diamond was mesmerizing.
The little cafe and bar were stilli open so we shared a Chicken wrap that was simple yet delicious and more than enough knowing dinner was only a couple hours away, and of course a pint of Beamish.
Julian was so helpful at check-in and kind to help us to our room. The room was small but all we had asked for and had lucked into on that very day! Very clean and en suite and we weren't there except to lay our heads down to sleep. Just want to soak up the surrounding beauty and breathe the fresh air. Took a long walk that turned into a much longer walk than we had planned but we were just wandering aimlessly taking photos. Exquisite beauty all around.
I wish i had taken a photo of our dinners! they were lovely to look and and even better to eat!
Neil was there all through dinner serving and tending and everything else. I'm sure Katy mustve been in the kitchen i dont think I ever got to see her. The church was beautiful and there were 2 weddings going on the next day! so how they managed to be so attentive to us was amazing.
I liked all of the Gougane Barra Hotel, Cafe,gift shop, surrounding forestand trails the best.
We had to leave is what I liked least.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful day and night,
David and Sal T

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

All you need to do if you are planning to visit Ireland and would like to find the finest place to stay is to read the Trip Advisor reviews for Gougane Barra. They will tell you that It is the most beautifully situated hotel that I have ever, ever visited; add to that menus to tickle the most discerning palate from Katy's kitchen; then add evenings in the bar with great musical performances from the Lucey children, not to mention the new venture of a Supper Club evening which involves Irish entertainers and a Tasting Menu; finally mention must be made of the wonderful staff. My annual treats always involve visits to Gougane Barra - definitely a MUST!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheshire
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013

Have you SEEN the glorious, early morning , mirror-image reflection of St. Finbarr's Oratory on the lake?
Have you HEARD the magical sounds of the Lucey family singing and playing their music in the hotel bar?
Have you been TOUCHED by the last gleaming of the evening sun disappearing behind the nearby mountains?
Have you SMELT the all pervading fragrances of an eclectic mixture of roses, herbs and the mountains' airs?
Have you TASTED the gastronomic delights from Katy Lucey's kitchen?

At Gougane Barra all of your senses will be eminently satisfied.

Go there...........................and stay! .

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

We chose this hotel for our wedding because of its size and location, but most of all because of the owners Neil & Katy who are just wonderful. Also their staff who could not do enough for us.

You expect a wedding to be a stressful occasion, but at Gougane Barra it was anything but. Every guest came to us to say how totally relaxed they had been, and how much fun they had.

So often, wedding food falls far below the normal standard produced by the venue, but not here. The kitchen produced dinners on both evenings that drew compliments from everyone. The full Irish breakfast also had people who would not normally dream of this type of start to the day, relishing the quality and freshness.

We had four small children with us (my grandchildren), and again the kitchen made such an effort to keep them happy with suitable snacks beautifully presented in a fun way.

I just hope that all of the guests who swore they would return to this magic location will do so.

So, if you are planning a small wedding with around 60 guests, this destination should be top of your list.

I should also mention the wonderful forest walks close to the hotel, as they cater for all ages and levels of fitness, and were much enjoyed by many of our guests.

The local lake boat trip was also a great success, and the coach we hired to get everyone to and from the lake was brilliant value at €50 in total.

In the past, we have also visited this hotel for mid-week breaks and also weekends, and have always returned home delighted.

if you are looking for a spa, solarium, fitness center, swimming pool etc then this hotel is not for you. But if you want character, a superb location, tranquility, great food, and a welcome second to none, then this is the place for you

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

I had a wonderful night at Gougane Barra Hotel. It's a great family run property, I only wish that my schedule had allowed me to stay a few days. It's a walker's paradise, the location is beyond beautiful and the nearby hiking trails in the forest park beckon to be explored. My meals and bar service were all flawless. It really felt like a classic old Ireland experience which is just not available in some of the more modern, glossy hotels. Step into another world, this is a place you will want to return to again and again. Very romantic, too bad the wife was not along on this trip. Next time, for sure.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gougane Barra Hotel

Address: Gougane Barra, Ballingeary, Ireland
Location: Ireland > Province of Munster > County Cork > Ballingeary
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ballingeary
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Gougane Barra Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gougane Barra Hotel is situated in a uniquely magical unspoilt lakeside location in the mountains of West Cork, in the South West of Ireland. Our 25 bedroom family run, seasonal hotel is renowned for its genuine old-fashioned hospitality, has a reputation for really good food, has a cosy friendly bar and sitting rooms overlooking St. Finbarr’s oratory. We have bikes and rowing boats and are just 1 kilometre from the National Forest Park. It’s waiting… ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Gougane Barra
Gougane Barra Macroom
Gougane Barra Hotel Ireland/Ballingeary

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