Welcoome to the Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.
A majestic stone hotel situated near a placid lake and craggy mountains, Ballynahinch Castle offers a glimpse into Ireland’s storied past. Once the ancestral seat of an ancient clan, the 250-year-old castle has become a sumptuous but unpretentious retreat, with 48 guest rooms and suites. Throughout its colorful history, the castle has been residence to a pirate queen and an Indian Maharajah and remains a striking reminder of Galway’s history.
Refurbished last year, Ballynahinch has views of surrounding mountains and waterways. Meals are served in the hotel’s Owenmore Restaurant overlooking the river, where head chef Ultan Cooke creates dishes with local flavor, like pork with cabbage and parsnips and a selection of Irish cheeses. Visitors can also frequent the Fisherman’s Pub on the grounds, where the dark wood interior and a roaring fireplace create a cozy setting and hotel guests mingle with local regulars who rave about the seafood chowder.
Outdoors, visitors to Ballynahinch can explore the rugged beauty of the Connemara countryside, with its mountains, woodland glades and Atlantic coastline. The hotel offers fly-fishing for salmon and brown trout, clay shooting on the grounds and 10 miles of walking trails on the estate (guests can borrow Wellies). Guided tours give the chance to see the 16th-century tower house, the original castle on the island and the old home of the powerful O’Flaherty family. In the nearby village of Roundstone, guests can board a boat for lobster fishing, visiting a deserted island or watching a colony of grey seals in the Atlantic.
Plan Your Visit: Throughout March, Ballynahinch has weekend and mid-week packages for a quick Emerald Isle getaway, as well as longer stays for visitors who want to linger. Ballynahinch Castle is about two and a half hours by car from Shannon Airport.
Rooms from €180 (about $195) per night, ballynahinch-castle.com