Shanagarry, Co. Cork, Ireland
Famed for its cookery school, Ballymaloe House is a country house hotel in rural East Cork. With its wonderful food and hospitality (and the chance to steal a few culinary secrets), Ballymaloe House is an ideal base for exploring Cork’s magical coastline.
At a Glance
Operates one of Ireland’s finest cookery schools, a leading light in the slow food movement
Wonderful rural location ideal for exploring the countryside and coastline of southern Cork
Relaxed and informal country house atmosphere
Great option for families with a wide program of events and activities
Warm and friendly service instantly making you feel at home
Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your vacation to Ballymaloe House or take a look at our itineraries to Cork Kerry and the South
A stay at Ballymaloe is rather like visiting your favorite aunt, who just happens to have an ivy-clad Georgian manor house surrounded by beautifully tended organic gardens and a rather magnificent country estate. When you discover that, boy, can your aunt cook and that she’s willing to share some recipes with you, you may wish never to leave.
Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse fame and doyenne of the slow food movement, is a big fan, and in fact trained Darina Allen who is in charge of the cookery school. Most guests come to Ballymaloe House to live the classic Irish country house experience and to feast on or learn to cook the delectable farm-to-fork cuisine, but Ballymaloe House also makes a fantastic base for discovering the coves and pretty fishing villages of Ireland’s south coast.
As with most old country houses, there is something of a lived-in feel, and if you are looking for slick contemporary luxury, then Ballymaloe is probably not the best choice (there are no TVs in the rooms for example), but if you value old-fashioned service, a generosity of spirit and oodles of character, you will instantly feel at home. Relaxing by the fire in the drawing room over a companionable afternoon tea or contemplating the sounds of nature from a garden bench are all part of the Ballymaloe experience.
Ballymaloe’s 27 bedrooms are furnished in a soothing country style and come in all shapes and sizes, from large and airy to cosy – some in the main house, others in a Norman tower and even some self-catering farm cottages. Fresh flowers are brought in daily from the garden in summer and Irish artworks and studio pottery adorn the walls and furniture.
Come evening time, your thoughts will wander as you imagine the delights to be served up at dinner. Every day a different five-course menu is drawn up that includes herbs, vegetables, orchard fruits and edible flowers grown in the kitchen gardens, the best of the day’s catch from the fishing boats at Ballycotton, and wild game, organic meat and cheeses from the local woods and pastures. If you have time, you can enrol for a week’s cookery course to learn the skills, or simply attend one of the regular afternoon cookery presentations.
For those who would like to burn off some calories, there’s a heated outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court and bicycles you can borrow to explore the grounds and country roads around Ballymaloe, as well as yoga, zumba and Pilates classes. You can take a gentle stroll through the lovely grounds or go for a more strenuous beach-hopping hike along the Cork coast. Only half an hour away is the city of Cork with its famous English Market, while whiskey connoisseurs should make for the world-famous Jameson Distillery in nearby Midleton.
The Ballymaloe rooms are simple in design yet airy and comfortable and provide everything you need for an enjoyable stay, without the distractions of modern life such as TVs. Fresh flowers brought inside daily and views over the river or gardens bring a touch of nature to the inside and create a lovely environment in which to relax. Rooms are spread out between the main building, either on the ground floor or in the eaves, and the courtyard farm building. Local artwork adds the finishing touch to each of the rooms, along with gently patterned soft furnishings which add a splash of color and create a homely atmosphere.
There are no specific child care facilities but Ballymaloe will happily cater to families. Cots and children's beds can be provided and there is a slide, sandpit and dozens of board games to keep the little ones entertained.
Hearty and homemade, the food served up at the Ballymaloe restaurant is many people's reason for a stay here. Fresh herbs and vegetables are picked daily from the gardens, fresh seafood is brought in from the local fishermen and poultry and game is also sourced locally and fresh as it comes as the chefs conjure up an enticing five course dinner. Afternoon teas and children's teas are served every day too, and with cookery courses available there is no option to go hungry here.
After fuelling up on delicious dinners, there is every opportunity to burn it all off again. The grounds are also home to tennis courts and an outdoor pool, a croquet lawn and bikes are available for guests to use.
At the more active end of the scale, classes in Yoga, Pilates and Zumba are offered at Ballymaloe, and a number of country walks can be enjoyed, as well as croquet, tennis, golf and swimming. If the delicious dining gets you wanting to try it for yourself then get stuck in with a cookery course, bread making classes, wine cellar tours and wine tasting events. Children can partake in pizza making classes, visit the Ballymaloe pigs and chickens, and even assist with collecting the eggs.
The local area is a delight to explore on foot, on horseback or even by boat. Explore Ballycotton Island and nearby beaches, farms and wildlife parks.
Location & Directions
Shanagarry, Co. Cork, Ireland
Ballymaloe House is near Shanagarry in southeast Cork.
When to go
It is very difficult to predict the weather in Ireland - in the summer from May to late September is generally seen as the most pleasant time to visit. Rainfall is difficult to predict - but Ireland does not receive as much as many are led to believe! In the winters, temperatures do fall, but there is nothing better than finding a remote pub with a roaring fire to sit beside after a long walk in the country.