The Irish staycation that allows you to truly switch off from the world 5 years ago

The Irish staycation that allows you to truly switch off from the world

Worth every minute of a six-hour journey.

Setting out for Ballynahinch Castle from Dublin on a Friday afternoon, I hadn't quite anticipated that it would take us the best part of the day.


However, major traffic on the M50 meant a couple of necessary detours and we finally arrived at our Connemara destination at 6:15, having left Dublin at about 12:30 that afternoon.

Needless to say, two weary travellers, one with a dodgy back and the other recovering from a troublesome knee injury, were in need of sustenance and more importantly, the relaxation Ballynahinch is renowned for.

Thankfully, it delivered on both fronts and the first glimpse of the gardens from our bedroom showed me I was in for something very special indeed.


I've determined to live beside a beach at some point and Ballynahinch is located on Owenmore River with rippling water providing one of the most tranquil sounds you can possibly imagine.

There are quaint benches, chairs and tables located in various nooks and crannies around the grounds of the castle, patiently waiting for people to sit and take some time to appreciate their surroundings.

The hotel boasts walks and woodland trails encouraging guests to meander around at your leisure. However, if you prefer activities, there are a few options including fishing, hiking and clay shooting.


Considering Ballynahinch is located in the heart of Connemara, you might have guessed that the scenery is on another level and this is part of what makes the hotel so special.

It's the perfect picturesque getaway where you have the opportunity to properly switch off which isn't always the easiest thing to do.

Another high point is the Owenmore Restaurant where both breakfast and dinner are served and judging by the name, you've probably guessed that this spacious room offers stunning views of the river.

On the night we dined there, a window table became free just before our starter arrived and thankfully, the staff were able to accommodate our request to move.


If you visit, ask for one of those tables because honestly, you'll do well to concentrate on your food with such breathtaking surroundings nearby.

And the food. Well, it deserves a mention all of its own and this will be of particular interest to those who have a tendency to choose fish. Scallops, monkfish, eel, oyster, trout and shellfish feature but there's also beef, duck, guinea fowl, pigeon and of course vegetarian options making for a very well-rounded menu.

As for drinks, there's an extensive cocktail menu and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the espresso martini was impeccable...I'm extremely critical about this particular beverage and it's tough to find the perfect one.


Having read up on the hotel before visiting, most reviews gushed about the staff and how friendly everyone was. I have to say I had the same experience with everyone there proving friendly and only too happy to help with any request.

All in all, it's a delightful place and the serene, peaceful atmosphere is one you'll go a long way to find elsewhere.

There are a couple of packages running at the moment including Summer Midweek, Sunday to Thursday, which includes two nights bed and breakfast with dinner on one evening in the Owenmore Restaurant, from €325 per person sharing.

There's also, and this is a must for any music buff, the Vinyl Package which involves a personal turntable in your room with a selection of records from the Ballynahinch library. The package includes an overnight stay with bed & breakfast and a room service dinner from €235 per person, with a drink to match your choice of music.

I'm almost tempted to make a return visit for this alone...