Summer’s bright and warm days seem to be definitely behind us, and while there’s plenty to look forward to this season, that stretch between summer holidays and Christmas break can seem like a very long time. A stay in an Irish hotel is the perfect solution – no early morning flights or squeezing all your cosmetics into tiny bottles, and you can embrace the best the season has to offer, from walks in the forest with crunchy leaves underfoot, to simply relaxing beside an open fire with a glass of wine. We’ve picked three great options, so you can start planning.
Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney
Nestled on the edge of picturesque Killarney, Cahernane House Hotel has stood proudly since 1877, when it was built as a family residence for the Herbert family. Set on 6.4 acres of beautiful grounds, the 38 bedroom manor house underwent extensive refurbishments earlier this year, and it is now back to its full glory, yet retains the distinctive character that makes it such a unique experience.
Designer Julie Goggin balanced the rich history of the building with modern functionality, and made sure every detail was perfect. The reception, stairwell and hallways are painted in a very special shade of blue. “Both the client and I had a vision for the room, but we couldn’t source the exact colour. Eventually we found a heritage blue that was no longer in production, and we managed to get it reproduced especially for this project. We call it ‘Cahernane Blue’,” explains Julie.
The Cellar Bar has also had a revamp. A new space was created in the old wine cellar, and expert craftspeople were brought in to create the panelling, decorative light fittings in solid brass, furniture and the bespoke floor design, giving a quality that is evident when you sit down to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat.
The Garden Wing of the hotel has been completely refurbished, each room has individually selected wallpaper and antique furniture to reflect its character. The bedrooms in the Manor Wing have had an even more luxurious treatment – each one featuring handmade curtains and specialist wall coverings that were printed to order. For example, a room which is believed to have belonged to one of Henry Herbert’s daughters has wallpaper with a hummingbird design, while the more formal suites have plastered panels.
A kitchen refurbishment also allows head chef Eric Kavanagh and his team to continue to provide the guests with excellent food from the two AA Rosette-winning restaurant. Making use of the produce in season, they ensure that you’ll have a truly luxurious dining experience, whether it’s a delicious breakfast or a special dinner.
Bed and breakfast at Cahernane House Hotel starts from €85. cahernane.com
Cliff at Lyons, Kildare
Made up of a collection of Georgian stone buildings, including a former mill and dovecot, Cliff at Lyons is not a traditional hotel. Instead, guests can choose to stay in individual cottages or apartments, or rooms in one of the larger buildings. Each is finished to the highest quality, and set amongst the beautiful grounds of the property. Some overlook water, and others the artistically planted beds of the gardens. You also have a choice of top-quality restaurants during your stay.
The Trellis is perfect for a light lunch, or relaxed coffee and snack, while The Orangery is renowned for their use of seasonal produce and foraged ingredients, as well as the elegant, glass-walled surroundings. New to the menu is Aimsir, opening in late autumn. Young newly-weds, Cornish chef Jordan Bailey and Danish front of house Majken Bech are combining their talents for this venture. They’re planning menus around Irish ingredients such as Atlantic seaweed, razor clams, sea snails, raw goat’s milk, Killahora Orchards Ice Wine, and wild boar from Ballinwillin. We can’t wait to see the results.
Bed and breakfast at Cliff at Lyons starts from €169. cliffatlyons.ie
Ice House, Mayo
The Ice House Hotel is perhaps best known for its modern wings, that were dug into the riverbank around ten years ago, with impressive floor-to-ceiling windows, clean lines and a modern mix of steel, wood, glass and stone. At the heart of the building, however remains the hotel’s namesake, the original icehouse where snow was stored and used to freeze salmon from the river. The older parts of the hotel are full of charm and local touches, such as wooden slat bathtubs and Foxford throws.
If the weather is on your side, Ice House is the perfect base for watersports such as paddle boarding. However, if you’d prefer to stay firmly on dry land, a wander around nearby Enniscoe House is just as enjoyable. Finish off your day in the atmospheric restaurant to try its selection of seasonally-inspired dishes, where you can find out exactly where the ingredients came from. Situated just minutes from Ballina train station, Ice House also allows you to get away without the car, meaning you begin to relax from the moment you leave.
Bed and breakfast from €170 per night. icehousehotel.ie
Featured image: Cliff at Lyons