Ireland’s Blue Book offers an impressive range of discreet, luxuriously appointed properties. Comprising country house hotels, elegant Georgian manors, stately castles, historic hotels, luxury boutique hotels and barges there is something to suit all tastes and requirements …
The Ice House Hotel, Co Mayo
Romantic and relaxing, The Ice House Hotel is set on the banks of the River Moy in north Mayo; when guests check in they can’t fail to change gear. Activities on offer include meandering along the river, a fishing excursion, cycling to Bartra Island, or lounging in The Chill Spa where the recent addition of a thermal extension adds to its top notch facilities. The latter is where you can relax in the Aromatherapy Room, refresh in the Experience Showers and drift away in the Snooze Room. Its outdoor thermal extension includes The Wellness Room – a duo therapy pod with Gharieni quartz treatment beds (inspired by Egyptian rituals) and a private outdoor hot tub for two, with floor to ceiling views of the river and Belleek woods. In addition there are two sunken outdoor hot tubs, four two-person outside baths for shared bathing rituals, and The River Room – a glazed room on stilts over the river – offering great views of the river estuary, the woods and its nature and wildlife. Enjoying a treatment at the spa is the perfect preamble to dinner in 54° 9°, before retiring to a stylish river-facing room; www.theicehouse.ie.
Castle Leslie Estate, Co Monaghan
Castle Leslie Estate is set on 1,000 acres of rolling parkland with ancient trees and glittering lakes teeming with wildlife. The estate is one of only a handful of castles and estates in Ireland still home to its founding family. Sammy Leslie, the current owner, has recently overseen the restoration and decoration of The West Wing Suite — a two-storey, two-bedroom suite in a private wing of Castle Leslie. Think four-poster beds, roll-top baths, pretty balconies and a private spa treatment room — just right for a small group of friends or a couple to enjoy. There is plenty to do from dining in the 2AA Rosette award-winning Snaffles Restaurant, exploring the estate on horseback or lounging in the spa; www.castleleslie.com.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate, Co Galway
The ideal location for exploring the West of Ireland, Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate, dating back to the 18th century, is the recipient of numerous awards making it a superb dining and entertainment option for both formal and informal occasions. Facilities include the River Room Restaurant overlooking the estate, the Pullman Restaurant on The Orient Express, the Oak Cellar Bar, and three elegant Reception Rooms in the Main House which exude old world charm, where guests can enjoy a relaxing drink, afternoon tea, or take time out to relax and read the newspapers. With a 138-acre lakeside golf estate, its unique championship nine-hole golf course is one of the best nine holes in the country, with rolling hills, lakes and fabulous views of Lough Corrib. Other activities that can be organised include a boutique spa, private cinema, fishing, horse riding, boating, water sports and the ancient sport of royalty – falconry; www.glenloabbeyhotel.ie.
Hayfield Manor, Co Cork
The five star Hayfield Manor provides the charm of a country house with all the amenities of Cork city on its doorstep. Splendid rooms and suites are classically styled and individually decorated. Guests can dine in the gourmet restaurant Orchids (overlooking the beautiful private gardens) or the contemporary dining space, Perrots Garden Bistro. The in-house Beautique Spa offers a range of specialist Ground Wellbeing treatments as well as an indoor pool; www.hayfieldmanor.ie.
Dunbrody House Hotel, Co Wexford
Husband and wife team Kevin and Catherine Dundon love welcoming guests to their boutique hotel on the Hook Peninsula. Guests will find friendly, relaxed service, luxury accommodation and renowned dining options – from a chic champagne seafood bar and gourmet restaurant. For foodies, there’s also a cookery school offering one- to five-day courses (online options are available too). For a mini break, Dunbrody is ideally placed in Ireland’s Ancient East near the Hook Lighthouse, Dunbrody Famine Ship, Tintern Abbey & Trails and the Kennedy Homestead; www.dunbrodyhouse.com.
Need to Know: Ireland’s Blue Book is a collection of country house hotels, elegant Georgian manors, stately castles, historic hotels, luxury boutique hotels designer lodges, located throughout the island of Ireland. These charming and stylish hideaways are the perfect choice for an autumn break, with activities varying from golf, fishing, spas and cookery schools or just relaxing in warm and comfortable surroundings, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes and requirements this year. Also included in the collection are a number of award-winning restaurants, several of whom have been awarded Michelin stars. Ireland’s Blue Book Vouchers are welcomed in all 59 properties; www.irelandsbluebook.ie.