Romantic Hideaways....

If there is one thing guaranteed to keep the love of your life happy it is a romantic break away somewhere utterly gorgeous, like one of the following romantic hotels which can be found throughout Ireland. Nestling in fabulous, heathery, ‘Heathcliff-style’ wild, remote (but not too remote) locations or on vast country estates. Dreamy, old manor houses with tumbling rose gardens or converted hunting lodges with leafy walks, beside misty lakes, rugged windy seascapes or tucked in under great towering mountains.
Inspired by the very popular Downton Abbey television series my choice of Irish Country House Hotels evokes the same kind of elusive glamour and elegance that's difficult to find these days (not to mention the lover or husband?) A discreet, quiet ambiance is always assured, it is not a kids thing? (leave them at home please) house dogs by all means, stretched at your feet, in front of a roaring log fire, while you snuggle up with a nice hot whiskey or an Irish coffee. Deep four poster beds, you won’t want to leave, crisp white linen, down comforters, pristine bathrooms with roll top bath and scented candles. You just might surface for a scrumptious dinner in a classic dining-room or show up sheepish but ravenous the following morning for an ‘oat cuisine’ breakfast...

Ballyvolane House, Fermoy, County Cork

Ballyvolane (pictured above) is one of my favourites but without doubt the nicest place I stayed this year was Ard na Sidhe in County Kerry. This cut stone manor house with leaded pane windows was designed by Lady Gordon (of the Gin family) to be ‘the house of her dreams’ and has has the most perfect arts and crafts interior. It has been described as the sort of place you can read or write a book, in front of the fire or abroad on the terrace overlooking Caragh Lake. The woodland gardens are a blaze of pink and purple in the spring and leafy red and orange in the autumn, Ard na Sidhe (Hill of the Fairies) is very romantic and the perfect place to pop the question (they will happily set the scene by arranging a lakeside picnic for you) and / or spend your honeymoon.

Ard na Sidhe is just one of the Top 10 Romantic Hideaways recommended in my eBook Where to Eat, Sleep & Play 2014



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