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“The Royal Treatment”

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Ballinalacken Castle Country House
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Doolin
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
2 reviews
“The Royal Treatment”
Reviewed July 5, 2014

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.

Room Tip: The one at the far end has the best views, while those closest to the lobby have truly fine antique...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Nancy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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530 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (114)
Date | Rating
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English first
Lenexa, Kansas
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 2, 2014

On our recent trip to Ireland, my husband and I had booked all nights but one in advance, not sure where we would end up after visiting the Cliffs of Moher. The night before we headed to the cliffs we did some research on the Internet and were fortunate to land a room at Ballinalacken. After many days of driving around the country, this beautiful country setting was heaven sent. The hotel itself is lovely, the staff friendly and helpful, the food scrumptious, and the view of the sunset into the sea that night was incredible. We stayed in the suite with the glassed-in octagonal breakfast nook which was comfy with a commanding view. One of the best parts was the personal tour of the original castle given by Declan O'Callaghan - my favorite castle experience in all of Ireland! My only regret is that we had only one night to stay. It was so peaceful and relaxing, and such a scenic yet strategic location, I wish we could have stayed longer. Would love to go back!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Orts2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Limerick, Ireland
Level Contributor
26 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed July 2, 2014

I stayed here with six ladies to celebrate a birthday the end of June. Cecilia is a welcoming hostess. The rooms are spacious, great mattresses so a good nights sleep had by all. We met Michael the chef early in the afternoon and told him we were hoping for a good meal. He did not disappoint. It was the best dinner we had in a long time-a varied menu- good ingredients expertly cooked so congratulations to the chef. The waiting staff were very attentive, house wine very good. After dinner we took a stroll in the moonlight and the views when you go out the avenue and turn right are breath-taking.
If you want a quiet location with good quality food and accommodation but near all the delights of the Burren, Ballinalacken is the place for you.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Marguerite12345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CeciliaDoolin, Manager at Ballinalacken Castle Country House, responded to this review, July 3, 2014
Dear Marguerite
Thank you for lovely review.We are glad youand friends had a lovely meal and enjoyed your stay.Its great to have guests return to us.We hope to see you soon again and thank you for booking direct
Declan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
Reviewed June 30, 2014

We had spent the previous night at Ashford Castle so Ballinalacken had a tough act to follow. It measured up and even surpassed Ashford in many ways. Dinner was better than the one we'd had in the posh George V dining room at Ashford and the hard-working staff was unfailing cheery. Proprietors Cecelia and Declan couldn't have been more solicitous even upgrading our room unasked to a beautiful suite with a glass walled semi-circular sitting room. When we arrived it was raining and foggy, but the next morning was brilliant and we had a breathtaking view of the Cliffs of Moher through our window. Declan gave us a tour of a well-preserved castle on the property and with his explanation, I finally understand how people could live in tall, round house.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Heididnl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CeciliaDoolin, Manager at Ballinalacken Castle Country House, responded to this review, July 3, 2014
Hello Guests
We are honoured that you believe we are better than Ashford Castle.This makes all the hard work rewarding.Glad you enjoyed our half suite room 16 with its fab views.This room with its panoramic views can only be booked direct with hotel.
We do hope we will see you or your friends back with us again
Declan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed June 28, 2014 via mobile

We had an excellent visit here. We only wished we had been able to stay more than one night. Our rooms were beautiful and the food was delicious. The personal attention by The O'Callaghan family was superb. I would love to go back for an extended visit.

Stayed June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Navery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CeciliaDoolin, Manager at Ballinalacken Castle Country House, responded to this review, July 3, 2014
Hello Nancy
Thank you for your review.We are glad you enjoyed your stay and we do hope you will return
for a extended stay soon.Thank you also for booking direct with hotel
Declan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anchorage, Alaska
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed June 25, 2014

Sometimes in life you get lucky. As you travel you come across places that become more like another home than just a place to stay. And sometimes the owners of those places become family, instead of just the proprietor of the inn. I have come across a few of those in my travels, but they have been extremely rare. On my recent trip to Ireland I may have found another, the Ballinalacken Castle Country House, outside Doolin, Co. Clare. To a person the staff was welcoming, engaging and repeatedly helpful. The region around Doolin (western Clare) has a huge amount to offer -- the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, daytrips out to the Aran Islands (Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer). The owners -- Declan and Cecilia O'Callaghan -- make certain that materials describing each (and more) are readily available and both are ready at a moment's notice to supplement with their own advice. But there is more to it than that. Each morning as Cecilia served breakfast or brought coffee to the table she would ask what my plans for the day were, took a genuine interest and was ready to help provide supplementary thoughts if asked. In the evenings when I came back from the folk festival I was attending I had a great chat with Declan about who had performed during the day, who was performing the next day and had a great education about the background of some participating and great insights on who to listen for the following day. Because of my schedule, regretfully I was only able to eat one evening meal during my stay, but the food was excellent, the service personal and the discussion, if I had questions, enjoyable. It was much more like going to visit a close cousin, than being in the normal inn. My room was outstanding, the view great (photo below) and the wi-fi connection (a big issue with me) perfect. The morning breakfasts (photo below) were outstanding enough I shared pictures with friends to make them jealous. Can't recommend this place enough -- unless you happen to be traveling there when I want to and are taking the last available room, then stay away (hahahaha).

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Brad K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CeciliaDoolin, Manager at Ballinalacken Castle Country House, responded to this review, July 2, 2014
Hello Brad
Thank you for the glowing review .It was a pleasure to have you stay with us
We hope you will be back next year for the festival.Glad you enjoyed the views from your room.
Thank you for booking direct with hotel
Until we meet again
Declan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Limerick, Ireland
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 25, 2014

Thanks you Cecilia and Declan for a wonderful stay. Enjoyed all aspects of our stay - the comfortable room with amazing views of the sea and Aran Islands, the sumptuous food, friendly service and of course the tour of your own private Castle and the amazing views when we got to the top of it.WOW!
I'll definitely be back.
Tip - If you are a walker, there is the most incredible walk into the burren region from just outside the front gates. I think it's called the Green Walk or something like that.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ronan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CeciliaDoolin, Owner at Ballinalacken Castle Country House, responded to this review, June 26, 2014
Hi Ronan
Thank you for review.We are glad you enjoyed your room with seaviews.We provide all our rooms with seaviews for customers who book direct with hotel and avoid expedia ,booking.com sites.
The walking route beside the hotel is the famous Burren Way walk and the views are panoramic.
Do call again soon
DEclan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ballinalacken Castle Country House

Property: Ballinalacken Castle Country House
Address: Coast Road R-477, Doolin R477, Ireland
Phone Number:
Location: Ireland > Province of Munster > County Clare > The Burren > Doolin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Doolin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ballinalacken Castle Country House 4*
Number of rooms: 12
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

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