From the moment we drove through the gate and up the winding path to the hotel, we were enchanted. The broad field in front of the inn was filled with wildflowers, and just to the right and beyond the sprawling hotel loomed the ruins of a castle. To the left of the field was a splendid vista, sunset over a calm, blue sea. What more could one want in a vacation spot?
How about a personal tour of the castle given by the owner's son and hotel manager? Our host was more than knowledgeable about the castle's romantic history and this he told us as we ascended its winding, stone staircase. From the top there was a spectacular view of the surrounding land, small farms enclosed by low stone walls, the vegetation so green it could only be termed emerald. We walked the structure, bottom to top and down again and could only imagine what gorgeous photos would result from our foray into the past
Upon returning to the hotel, we were seated in an old and elegant dining room, where we ate a meal which compared favorably with any to be had in New York's finer restaurants. Sea bass and lamb were the order of the day for us and both were excellent with fresh vegetables and the hotel's famous brown bread, the recipe for which was once featured in "Bon Appetit". Service was prompt and polite and, because we were in Ireland, delivered with a smile.
Our sleeping room was fitted up with Victorian furniture, in keeping with the architectural style of the hotel, and was quite comfortable, with two armchairs before a large window overlooking the ocean to the west. The room had all the amenities we required without the pretensions of an urban hotel. In other words, the feel was that of staying in a friend's lovely and comfortable old home.
The full Irish breakfast we enjoyed the next morning was spot on, with fresh roses on our white linen tablecloth and a view of the front garden from the adjacent window. After touring the nearby village of Doolin and the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, we returned to our hotel and its cozy bar for drinks and a chat with our amiable innkeeper, who could not have been a more gracious host. This hotel is a place we highly recommend and will visit again if the fates allow.
- 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