While our stay at Ballygally Castle Hotel was almost a year ago, it remains uniquely memorable in nearly all the best ways. The history is fascinating. The grounds and the views are stunning. The layout of the hotel is functional and yet quirky and unique in some areas. It is a great retreat, a lovely place to escape, and works well for a destination or event stay. Oddly, Ballygally was our second choice; our first choice further inland was unavailable. Despite that disappointment, the ultimate choice of Ballygally was best for all the right reasons. This trip was a homecoming, of sorts, as it was my first visit to Northern Ireland and an opportunity to see the precise region where my ancestors had once lived. We were greeted warmly upon arrival (I believe Scott assisted--he was great!) and I was quite pleased to learn that my surname was familiar locally and by staff. It made me feel more at home to know my family name was still recognized, that it was pronounced correctly by the locals, and that I felt welcomed as an Irish descendant. Our first night there, a local traditional Irish band was performing in the pub area after dinner, and it was quite welcoming. Food service in the restaurant the first evening was a little weak and we had to wait quite a while to place orders and get food. The reasons for the weakened service included a large coach tour of 45 that had stopped unexpectedly for dinner and also a decreased staff due to illness. With those reasons, it was understandable that the wait was longer. The food was worth the wait--delicious--and the wait staff was courteous and attentive. Most of all, I was pleased that there were selections I could eat on a limited diet. The breakfast bar offered a tremendous assortment of options, all quite good, so no one could walk away hungry. It was a great added value attached to a room cost that we considered quite reasonable among the various places we stayed in Northern Ireland and Ireland. The overall package was great. Perhaps best of all was the location itself, steeped in history with great views of the sea and Scotland in the distance. The coastal area was beautiful and it was so enjoyable to walk around the extensive grounds or the beach. We opted for a room with a sea view and were thrilled to be given a tower room in the old original castle. We were just below the Ghost Room, though we weren't disturbed by that. In fact, it made the location even more interesting. The shower in our room was in the converted turret! The room was cozy, the bed was great, and as we fell asleep with the windows open and the salt air rushing in, we slept like babies. I hadn't had a sleep that sound and good in months! It just made the stay all the more enjoyable, and we didn't want to leave. If we get back to Northern Ireland again, I would be thrilled to have another Ballygally stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the scenic Antrim coast only 26 miles from Belfast and close to Larne, the Ballygally Castle faces the sandy beaches of Ballygally Bay. The Castle dates back to 1625 and is the only 17th Century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland today. This enchanting hotel is full of character and charm. The many original castle features and antique furnishings also give the hotel a unique welcoming atmosphere. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ballygally Castle Hotel Ballygally
- Castle Hotel Ballygally
- Ballygally Castle Northern Ireland