Can we go again? Ballyvolane

Ireland’s country houses are the stuff of interior dreams and good life fantasies, whilst the Irish ‘themselves’ are famed for their céad míle fáilte hospitality, That’s ‘guaranteed a grand time’ to you and me, put it together and you have memories for life.

IMG_7280Last weekend we ALL headed down to Ballyvolane House, yup – the dog was welcome too, on arrival it was high tea with the family’s children in the red clover dining room (complete with dinner gong outside) and the plans began… this is family run hotel with a difference.

IMG_0960Justin and Jenny Green used to run Babington House and met at the Mandarin Oriental they have adroitly created a heritage experience which appeals to the Hip Hotel generation: in a house chock a block with beautiful things exuding country life charm:  there are deep baths, late breakfasts and  ‘farm to table’ dinners on Chinoiserie plates.

IMG_1011(Oscar unable to believe his luck … funnily enough we were first down.)

IMG_1040Mummy unable to believe her luck when this arrived under glowing candlelight.

It’s a magical place: whether your the ‘bride to be’ ready to walk  down the aisle under arched beech trees surrounded by banks of hydrangeas ….

IMG_7282or age 5 and 8 pulling on one of Justin’s country caps and ‘house’ wellies to ‘get down’ with the pigs and collect  still-warm eggs.

IMG_7445Team ready

IMG_1001Me surveying, Oscar surveying,  his whoops-muddy- knees.

IMG_7291Before we both checked out the chickens

IMG_1003job done… 

IMG_7378Ballyvolane ticks all my boxes: its relaxed yet chic, foodie but not fussy, old school but fresh.  This is a tough act to pull off and the Greens have nailed it with boundless charm and enthusiasm.  Shall we walk through together, while I dream once more of the claw foot bath, chinoiserie drawing room and that warm welcome…


The entrance hall with Corinthian topped columns and grand piano centre stage, set off by a glowing coral –  since 1850.  All around are lovely things from grotto chairs  and Turkey-rugs to decorative lamps and flying ducks.  Take a seat after helping yourself at the bar and toss a coin for whose playing “what shall we do with the drunken sailor’ primed and ready on the piano.08 drawing room

The chinoiserie accented drawing room, where when we left Justin was just settling down a family group for tea and where we spent evenings playing cards and perusing the wine list, G and T in hand.

IMG_0970Replete? Day complete? Shall we retire upstairs…past winking cupids, crossed swords and a welcoming buxom lady, to the long corridor smartly upheld by grinning dogs and rococo shells.


to the 8 bedrooms, Tippi settled in straight away:

IMG_1043As did I *…05 bathcosy, no?

04 bedOf course they are all lovely and all welcoming, we just managed to resist the cookies but I suspect Lyra and Oscar might have eaten them under the covers.

IMG_0976When the food’s this good it’s difficult.

IMG_7344As you leave the guest book is full of glowing compliments: Ballyvolane is special, it has something money can’t buy and 5 stars don’t guarantee. Returning home Lyra turned to me …Please, please can we go again? when? when? Hmmm, Don’t tell her… I’ve booked her birthday weekend and as it’s salmon fishing season, Grandpa’s coming too.




The majority of images are taken by me, the rest are from the photo gallery at,

*the bath shot is how I felt, however I used Ballyvolane’s as my images were a little more steamed up and hair down…

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