Overview

When you want to visit County Laois?

January is an off-season in Laois, some small guesthouses and b&bs are closed, the days are short, and the weather is unpredictable.

January is a great month to benefit from lower prices offered by best hotels in Laois.

Also take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

February is an off-season in Laois, the days are short and the weather could be not too pleasant, but there are enough things to do or see.

February is a great month to benefit from lower prices offered by best hotels in Laois.

Also take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

Outdoors beauty of Laois is very interesting in March: wonderful skies, green fields, rainbows and different light at all times of day.

March is a great month for hiking.

March is still low season, so you will get some great deals from our partners.

For an alternative check the collection of lovely countryside cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

April is a good month in Laois. Yes, it may rain every day, but when the rain moves on, the sun is glorious.

Great month to explore the county.

April is still low season, so this is a wonderful chance to relax in some of the best hotels in Irish countryside

For an alternative check the collection of lovely countryside cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

May is a lovely sunny month in Laois, and spring flowers are at their best. Wonderful time for a countryside walk.

Ok, don't forget it's Ireland and bring a good rain jacket with a hood.

The high season starts in May in Laois, but you will find some great deals with our partners.

Or take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

Over the past 142 years Irish summers have been stormy and wet, so don't expect a change this time around.

But July is the warmest month in Laois, there will be no better time for a countryside walk

July is high season in Laois, but you will find some great deals with our partners.

Or take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

June is a lovely sunny month in Laois, wonderful time for a countryside walk.

Mind, skies are rarely cloud-free in Ireland, so bring a good rain jacket with a hood.

June is high season in Laois, but you will find some great deals with our partners.

Or take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

Over the past 142 years Irish summers have been stormy and wet, so don't expect a change this time around.

But August is the warm month, there will be no better time for a countryside walk

August is high season in Laois, but you will find some great deals with our partners.

Or take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

The days are getting shorter in September and the weather is unpredictable but can be lovely.

It's a good time to explore Laois.

Low season starts in September, so this is a wonderful chance to relax in some of the best hotels in Irish countryside

For an alternative check the collection of lovely countryside cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

In October the days are short, expect a lot of damp, and some of the small guesthouses will be closing.

October is a great month to benefit from lower prices offered by best hotels in Laois.

Also take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

Limited daylight, cold weather with rain, but little road traffic, and no trouble booking the best hotels.

Laois in November could be a good idea.

November is a great month to benefit from lower prices offered by best hotels in Laois.

Also take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

December could be the worst time to travel to Laois because of weather, as the best things in Laois are outdoors.

But the pubs are open and the accommodation prices are lower.

December is low season, excluding Christmas period, so you will get some great deals from our partners.

For an alternative check the collection of lovely countryside cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

900. to 1400 €

Expedia offers best price guarantee, last minute deals, and exclusive member pricing.

1200 to 1700 €

Price match right up until the day before check in. Collect 10 nights, get 1 free with Hotels.com Rewards.

Special ingredients

Luxury If you are looking for a luxury hotel during your stay in Ireland, then the Ballyfin Demesne would be a great choice. The hotel has a reputation of being one of the top luxury hotels in Ireland and its reputation is well deserved. The Ballyfin offers guests excellent service, a beautiful ambience, complete privacy and the experience of witnessing old Irish charm at its best.
Secluded Guests who want a peaceful and serene vacation away from the hustle and bustle of city life will find the Ballyfin, a perfect spot. The hotel is located at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, a mountainous range in Central Ireland and is situated on a vast space of property that is around 614 acres. The Ballyfin does not have a lot of rooms like most luxury hotels but guests will find that all the rooms to be extremely spacious, providing them with complete privacy.
Historic The Ballyfin has a rich history as the country house was constructed by Sir Charles Coote, back in the 1820s. The Coote’s family spent a lot of time on the property and held on to it for over a century before they decided to sell the property to the Patrician Brothers during the rise of the Irish independence movement. The Brothers decided to convert the property into a school which became very popular in Ireland and operated successfully for most of the 20th century.
Boutique The Ballyfin is a luxury boutique hotel since it has just 20 rooms and suites for guests. The hotel has a well trained team that will focus on making your experience at the Ballyfin memorable. All the rooms come with their own unique history and feel to it.
Garden The 614 acres of property has been well maintained and guests will find a number of beautiful sights on the property including well maintained gardens, ancient woods, grottos, follies and a lake that is 9.5 kilometers long.
Gourmet The executive chef at the hotel interacts with guests to find out if they have any special preferences and if they would like to sample any particular dish. The hotel sources its fruit, vegetables and honey from its very own gardens and sometimes from local producers.
Sport Guests who are adventurous and would like to experience some outdoor activity can choose from a range of options at the Ballyfin. Some of those options include mountain biking, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, falconry, archery, fishing, golf, working out at the small fitness center or doing a few laps in the swimming pool.
Stylish The hotel has a rich ambience that makes one feel like they are walking through a museum. The interiors reflect the style and feel of the Neoclassical and Empire times while the hotel’s walls display some great Irish art that dates back to the 17th century. There are also a number of portraits of the Coote family hanging on the walls of the Ballyfin, while antiques from all over the world are displayed in the hotel premises.
Spa Guests who are looking to unwind can visit the on-site spa that has a wide variety of treatments to pamper and help guests relax. Qualified therapists are at hand to provide therapeutic massages according to the needs of each guest.

Dmitrii Siling
on Ballyfin Demesne

This stunning hotel is likely Ireland's best hotel. Everything from the building, the history, and the service to the food, the rooms, and the bathrooms and amenities is just perfect and so very special. This is one of those spectacular hotels where you would spend all your time in and around it, exploring all it has to offer. It's not a place you would simply come back to in order to get some sleep after a day of sightseeing. Ballyfin is perfect for a short stay to recharge yourself, for a romantic weekend, or as a honeymoon destination. It’s also a great place for kids, but there are restrictions, and you’ll need to book the whole house to go there with kids aged under 9. Definitely go to Ballyfin if you can afford it.

Facilities available

  • Courtyard
  • Indoor pool
  • Parking
  • Spa
  • Gym
  • Massage
  • Restaurant
  • Conference facilities

Ballyfin Demesne

Ballyfin Demesne is a five star, luxury country house-style hotel that is nestled at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The hotel is situated in central Ireland and is easily accessible from all parts of the country. The hotel is situated on 614 acres and has just 20 rooms which ensure that guests have a vacation that that is serene, tranquil and one where their privacy will be maintained at all times.  

 

Only residents have access to the house and they will get a chance to see some of the wildlife on the property during the early parts of the morning. The property is vast and there are acres of parkland, a lake spanning 9.25 kilometers, grottos, kitchen gardens, a medieval-style tower, follies, gardens and ancient woods.

The property was falling apart when Fred Krehbiel and his wife Kay decided to purchase the Ballyfin and turn it into a five star resort. The leaking roof caused significant damage as the ceilings collapsed and the floors began to rot. The stonework also suffered and the conservatory was completely run down. The Krehbiel’s spent eight years to refurbish the place, which is longer than what the original builders took to construct the property. A lot of research went into the makeover to ensure that the property was restored successfully and continued to maintain its ancient grandeur.

Some guests remark that the Demesne “looks as though it hasn’t been touched in 200 years”.

A max of thirty guests can stay at the property at any given point of time which ensures that guests always have their share of privacy. Most guests who stay at the Ballyfin do so because they want to enjoy some quiet time without being disturbed

There are reports that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian stayed at the Ballyfin for their honeymoon as they knew they would be able to maintain their privacy. 

The hotel has large state rooms, an 80-foot library running the length of the building's southern façade and a huge saloon in the centre of the house. A secret door which opens via a bookshelf in the library leads one into the sun-filled conservatory.

The Ballyfin embodies a décor from the Neoclassical and Empire periods but the drawing room is different as it is based on French décor which has beautiful stucco enhancements on the ceiling. Antiques from all across the world fill the hotel including some great art from local Irish artists.

Guests will be able to enjoy a wide array of outdoor activity including clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, falconry, fishing, nature walks and wine tasting in the cellar.

The receptionist will provide guests with a map of the property when they check-in. Guests will be able to easily figure out all of the hotspots on the property and then make use of a complimentary golf cart or bicycle to tour the property and take in the sights they would like to check out.

Food & Drink

Dining in Ballyfin

The Ballyfin has a great catering team that are happy to customize lunches for picnics which can be held on the grounds, prepare meals in the conservatory, organize a barbeque in the courtyard or even put together a gala dinner in one of the magnificent dining rooms. Guests who would like to add some drama to their meal can visit the costume department at the hotel and dress up in costumes from different time periods and attend their lunch or dinner on the premises. 

Guests can get their own fruits and vegetables from the gardens and take them back to the hotel to be cooked. They can also collect eggs from a chicken free range on the property. All the ingredients used are of the finest and are sourced from the hotel’s own gardens or from local vendors. 

 

The sausages on the menu are a must as they are sourced from a rare breed pork producer and come from free range. The black pudding served at the breakfast spread is also a delight as it is made by award winning butchers from the local market. The seafood is also sourced from the local boats in Castletownbere.

Ballyfin recruits top chefs from across the world and had earlier employed the services of renowned chef Fred Cordonnier, who was the formerly head chef of Patrick Guilbaud. Cordonnier left about 12 months ago for a new opportunity in Dubai and was replaced by head chef Michael Tweedie.

The head chef will interact with guests to find out if they have any special preferences or dietary requirements. Guests who have special requests are advised to inform the hotel at the earliest so that they have enough time to source the ingredients required to make the dish. This is due to the fact that the rural setting of the hotel makes it difficult for the hotel to prepare special items at a short notice.

Guests who choose any of the special packages can expect a full Irish breakfast, afternoon tea, pre-dinner drinks, and a gourmet dinner. The hotel also takes requests to set up private dining in Porcelain Room, wine cellar and the library. Guests are usually seated at individual tables unless a special request for group seating is made. The State Dining Room can accommodate up to 50 guests at a time and large groups will be seated in the ballroom.

Head chef Michael Tweedie has received praise for the wonder cuisine that he and his team serve up. John O’Ceallaigh from The Telegraph Luxury wrote a nice review praising Tweedie for his ability to make the most of the local produce and highlights the fact that the Ballyfin does its best to utilize as many products as it can from its own gardens. O’Ceallaigh did note that the menu does not have sufficient variety, especially when guests decide to stay for more than a couple of days.

 

The Ballyfin Bar

Ballyfin Bar, located in the former Servants Hall, is one of the places where guests can enjoy pre-dinner drinks or casual meals. It is discreet and quite secluded and features several works of art.  

In the summertime, the doors open out onto the courtyard garden, which was once the kitchen yard of the old house.

An upright piano in the corner is often used for singalongs.

Whiskey tastings are very popular events at the bar and feature a range of Irish whiskeys.

The Wine Cellar

Wine tastings can be arranged by the resident sommelier, and guests can visit the well-stocked cellar to select the wines they want served with their dinner, allowing it time to be decanted and ready when dinner is served.

Historically, ‘Wild Geese’ winemakers fled persecution in Ireland to settle in Bordeaux, where they established numerous vineyards. In homage to these exiles, Ballyfin selects wines from 14 vineyards established by them.

The candlelit wine cellar, which is often used for intimate dinner arrangements, features a system of vaults, tall limestone columns, and arched storage bins.

In 2012, the hotel was recognized with an award for the best wine list.

Complimentary mini-bar

The complimentary room bar is stocked with soft drinks, juices, gourmet nuts, and water. All meals, snacks, and coffee services are covered in the room rate.

Natural Ingredients

The hotel relies on local farmers as well as its own gardens to source fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and honey and the chef makes full use of them to turn out some outstanding cuisine. The hotel gets its lamb, venison, beef, duck, pork, fish and shellfish from local vendors and ensures that the food it serves is always at the highest quality levels in order to satisfy the most demanding tastes of its guests.

Guests also have the opportunity to visit the gardens and select their own vegetables and fruits that they would like to eat. There is also a chicken free range that guests can visit and collect eggs.

With Kids

Children are welcomed

Children above the age of 9 are welcomed at Ballyfin hotel in individual suites. Younger children can join their parents as well if the entire house is booked by a single group.

 

As a large house, it is considered perfect for large family gatherings, featuring the comforts of home in epic style - more like a dream home.

If a nanny joins the groups, accommodation can be booked at the Ballyfin Gate Lodge.

Most of the rooms can fit an extra bed, while suites and staterooms can accommodate up to 2 extra beds.

If adjoining rooms are required, the Tapestry and Morrison rooms make a good option as they share an outer door. Similarly, the Little Library and Lady Sarah Pole rooms share a private corridor on their own floor, as do The Sir Christopher Coote Suite and Maryborough room.

Children receive a range of kid-friendly amenities, including mini bathrobes and slippers, a Ballyfin Bear, a playroom, junior wellington boots for exploring the grounds, kid-sized bicycles and helmets, kid-sized life jackets for the boats, and children's DVDs.

Special dietary requirements for children can be met, and meals will be served at the appropriate time selected by their parents.

Babysitters are available as well, and a qualified nanny can sit in with the children in the playroom for a small surcharge.

Fun at Ballyfin

There are numerous fun activities planned that the family can enjoy together or for the kids to enjoy on their own. Some of these activities may have surcharges attached and must be requested in advance at the time of booking.

 

Children can enjoy biking, a treasure hunt, a teddy bear's picnic, feeding chickens and collecting eggs, climbing the Tower to look through its telescope, nature rambles, dressing in period costumes for dinner, and sitting down for story telling at the grotto.

The wide grounds are excellent to explore and will provide hours of fun.

Rooms & Suites

Spacious rooms and suites

There are 20 rooms and suites in total, and each is individually decorated. Ballyfin Gate Lodge provides an additional three rooms for extra visitors or a children's nanny.

The butler assists guests with unpacking as soon as they arrive, and the suitcase is stored in the luggage room.

Rooms are equipped with a flat screen, high-definition television, an iPod docking station, a radio alarm clock, a DVD Player with a collection of DVDs, Wi-Fi, and a telephone in the bedroom and bathroom.

Named for the last viceroy of Ireland, the Earl of Aberdeen, who visited the hotel in 1911, the Viceroy Room, a twin stateroom, boasts a double bathroom and spacious bedroom. From its position in the former kitchen wing, it has the benefit of extra privacy and seclusion.

The Knight's Room, a stateroom, is so named because of the miniature suit of armor perched between two windows in the room.

The Sir Charles Coote Room was originally called The Writing Room and was once used by Sir Charles as a study.

 

The Westmeath Room provides a close look at the original decor of the country house's bedrooms from the early 19th century. The bed is a carved French masterpiece in the centre of the room, in front of the chimney.

 

The Maryborough Room is situated above the library and is named for a county town in Laois, which was itself named after Mary, daughter of Henry VIII.

Those who will be staying alone may prefer a single room. The Morrison Room is the perfect choice. Once forming part of the nursery, it looks out onto the Pleasure Grounds from its large windows, with the Cascade at one end and the 18th-century gardener's house in front of the walled garden at the other end.

Deluxe rooms

A number of deluxe rooms are available for couples, such as The Mountrath Room, which nods at the association between the Coote family and Mountrath town; The Marquis de Massigny de la Pierre Room, which was named for the nobleman who married the only daughter of Sir Charles and Lady Caroline Coote; and the Tapestry Room, which features Flemish tapestries from the 17th century.

There is also The Lady Sarah Pole Room, a deluxe room that looks out onto the Pleasure Grounds and Cascade from the mezzanine floor, named for Lady Sarah Moore (daughter of the fifth Earl of Drogheda) who married William Pole.

The elegant Lady Caroline Coote Room, formerly Lady Coote's Boudoir, a junior suite, features rococo stucco work on the ceiling and a grand four-poster bed with curtains.

 

The Butler Room, also a junior suite, was originally the bedchamber of Lady Coote's private suite. It overlooks the lake and stands out because of its bold red wallpaper.

The Little Library is another junior suite that will be a hot favorite with guests who enjoy reading, given that there's a mini library right in the room.

Among the suites are The Wellesley-Pole Suite, located in the middle of the front garden and featuring a beautifully decorated sitting room, and The Sir Christopher Coote Suite, which features the largest bedroom in the house and a large bow-shaped sitting room.

 

Nice place to work

You might need to work some time while on holiday and Ballyfin is a nice place to work in a peaceful environment.

 

Working people will have access to WiFi in their rooms, as well as a work desk. The library makes an excellent venue for working quietly or as a break from the daily grind.

Inside The Rooms

All the rooms at the Ballyfin Demesne are furnished with all the modern amenities of the 21st century. All rooms are equipped with flat screen HD televisions, a DVD player with a collection of DVD’s, an iPod docking station, Wi-Fi and a telephone in the bedroom and bathroom. There is also a minibar that stocks free water, soft drinks, juices and nuts.

The beds are fitted with snow-white bedding with Egyptian cotton that has been imported from Italy. The bathrooms will have handmade soap from Sally Miller which is made from 100% natural ingredients while bathroom accessories are made from organic VOYA by algae.

Location


Ballyfin Demesne

Ballyfin is right in the heart of Ireland, in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. It is quite remote and rural to allow for greater privacy and seclusion for guests at the house.

The grounds of the actual hotel are vast and filled with more than a few points of interest, including gardens, a lake, ancient woods.

History and romance

Sometimes in order to appreciate the full grandeur and beauty of an ancient building or location, it is important for the viewer to understand the history and background surrounding the structure of place. The Ballyfin property which was built in the 1820’s has a rich and interesting history surrounding the property. Many wonder how the name Ballyfin came to be and the story behind it is that it was derived from the name ‘AnBaileFionn’ which means ‘the fair place’ which is an apt description for the property.

The Ballyfin which is located in County Laois was once controlled by the O’Moore clan but they were driven out during the settlement period in the 16th century. Sir Piers Crosby took control of Ballyfin and went on to build a castle at the grounds.

Emily, the Countess of Kildare wrote to her husband in May 1759 describing her view of the Ballyfin. The Countess wrote ‘Yesterday I saw a most delightful place indeed, much beyond any place I have seen in Ireland – Ballyfin…There is a piece of water there very like what I fancy ours will be, only broader; fine plantations and the greatest variety of trees and flowers almost that I ever saw anywhere.’

The Crosby castle is reported to have been demolished during the 18th century by William Pole. The demesne and the gardens were held in great esteem by Pole who once wrote in his will that the person who enjoys the mansion house and demesne must employ a skilful gardener who would be responsible for caring and ensuring the gardens were kept in good condition at all times.

The estate once again changed ownership in 1813 when the Ballyfin was purchased by Sir Charles Henry Coote, the premier Baronet of Ireland. The Cootes kept the Ballyfin property in their possession for over a hundred years. The family built two houses called Rush Hall and Castle Cuffe which were not used in 1813 and the ruins of the two houses still exist. A brief history on Castle Cuffe can be found here.

During the 1820s, the Cootes decided to remodel and extend the Ballyfin property and hired an architect called Dominick Madden to oversee the project. Madden ran into a few problems with some of his other clients and as a result, the Cootes were forced to find a new designer. They decided to hire Richard Morrison and his son William Vitruvius Morrison who proposed a plan that was completely different from what Madden had earlier submitted. They wanted to demolish Madden’s library and vestibule which were only just completed and somehow succeeded in convincing Sir Charles Coote to give them the go ahead with their plans.

The Cootes decided to sell the property after keeping it in their possession for over a hundred years. There were a number of reasons that contributed to this decision. The Ballyfin was never really able to turn a profit, changing political conditions and the loss of the estate to the Land Commission contributed to the decision to sell. The Ballyfin and the demesne were purchased in 1928 for just £10,000 by the Patrician Brothers. This was just a fraction of the cost of what it took to build the Morrison designed property nearly a 100 years before.

The Patrician Brothers ran a boarding school on the property till they decided to sell the property in September 2011. These days the historic property is kept private and tourists are not allowed on the premises. There are special occasions on which the owners allow local school children to visit the property and experience the beauty and splendor of the Ballyfin. The kids are always captivated by the demesne and the whispering room which has fantastic acoustics. On rare occasions, the owners also allow architecture experts from around the world to visit the property.

A trip around County Laois

County Laois, formerly known as Queen's County, in Ireland was named after the medieval kingdom of Loigis. The county's name was never formally changed from Queen's County though, so whenever land is sold here, the title deed still reflects the name Queen's County. It is known as the most landlocked county in Ireland because it doesn't border any counties that touch the coast.

The county's population has seen rapid growth due to its proximity to Kildare and Dublin, where most of the country's jobs can be found, while cheap housing with gorgeous surroundings can be found within the county. In fact it is the tenth largest county in Ireland in terms of its population.

Five 18-hole golf courses are spread across the county. Other places of interest are the Slieve Bloom Mountains, the Rock of Dunamase, the Emo Court, Castle Durrow, Heritage House in Abbeyleix, Timahoe Round Tower, Mountmellick Quaker Museum, and so on. 

Getting around Kilkenny

Kilkenny is a city in south-east Ireland, based in County Kilkenny. It is a popular destination for tourists. Kilkenny is the anglicized translation of the Irish Cill Chainnigh, which means Church or Cell of Canice. In 2009, the city celebrated its 400th anniversary of having been granted the status of a city.

Kilkenny

Areas of interest include Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House, Black Abbey, St. John's Priory, St. Mary's Cathedral, St. Canice's Cathedral, Watergate Theatre, and several public gardens as well as numerous museums. St. Mary's Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic bishop of Ossory, while the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel is located at St. Canice's Cathedral. A number of annual events are held in this city as well, owing to its popularity with tourists. For instance, the Cat Laughs comedy festival, Kilkenny Art Festival, Source concert, and Rhythm and Roots festival all take place here.

Spa & Massage

Guests can relax and unwind at the on-site spa which provides a wide range of treatment performed by qualified therapists. The spa uses Pevonia and VOYA products exclusively. Both products are developed in Ireland and are used by most high-end spas. 

 

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The spa offers a number of different facials and will help guests decide which facial treatment suits them best, based on their skin type. Some of the facials on offer include a Gentlemen’s Facial which is a soothing deep cleanse; a Luminous & Oxygenated Skin

Facial which uses Vitamin “C” with Oxyzomes; a Dry, Deeply Dehydrated Skin Facial that is used to replenish and nourish the skin and a Sensitive Skin Facial which is mild and gentle. All of the above facial treatments last for an hour.

There is a wide range of massage therapies, body wraps and scrubs to choose from that will leave guests feeling refreshed and energized. Some of the massages include the Ballyfin Signature Massage which is great to relax and unwind; the Pevonia Stone Relax where a holistic approach is used to stimulate the body and relax the muscles; the Back Ritual with Aromatic Moor Mud Renew and a Recovery Massage which is great to ease the tension from one’s body.

There are also special massages such as a Sports Massage and a Mum to be Massage that can be arranged upon request. Guests who prefer to relax in the comfort of their hotel rooms can request for a special Seaweed Bath or a Roses and Romance bath to be setup in their room. The Ballyfin Salon provides a number of services such as the Ballyfin Luxury Pedicure, Ballyfin Luxury Manicure, hair and makeup and waxing.

The hotel also has a fitness center that is equipped with modern exercise equipment and comes with a free weights area and audio-visual equipment. Guests who would like to use the services of a personal trainer can do so by putting in a request. Private groups can also request the hotel to set up aerobics, Pilates, tai chi and yoga sessions.

There is also a swimming pool that is fourteen meters in length and has provision for heated water. The swimming pool offers guests a great view of the courtyard garden.

Salon

Salon services are also offered, including waxing, manicures, pedicures, hair and makeup, and romantic baths in the comfort of your own room.

Sport & Activity

Range of activities

Guests who are adventurous and have a passion for the outdoors will have a great time, weather permitting, as the Ballyfin has a number of outdoor activities for guests to choose from. Some of those options include taking a bike or golf cart ride across the Demesne; taking a quiet garden walk and admiring the beautiful flowers, picking some mushrooms or taking pictures of the massive trees that have been around for centuries.

Guests who like sports can take part in croquet, tennis, horse riding, air rifle target shooting or clay pigeon shooting. Bird lovers will have a fabulous time on the property as a number of birds such as ospreys, pheasants and peregrine falcons visit the property. There are also falconry demonstrations available at the hotel and guests will be able to see peregrine falcons, eagle owls and Harris Hawks.

Those who prefer the water can enjoy boating on the lake or even do some fishing as the lake has a good stock of pike and roach. The hotel will arrange a ghillie for those guests who want to experience some coarse fishing.

The hotel has a special costume department that guests can visit, dress up in costumes and roam the grounds throughout the day.

 

 

Day trips

Guests who would like to spend their morning sightseeing can make arrangements with the hotel to visit Kilkenny, a medieval city that houses Kilkenny Castle that was owned by the Butler family and headed by the Earl of Ormond. Day trips are also available to the historic Science Centre at Birr Castle and a trip to Ireland’s capital, Dublin.

Guests who don’t want to venture out very far can make arrangements with the hotel for a 7 kilometer trip across the Ballyfin property. This day trip will be a guided tour and will take guests into the ancient woodlands, to see the winter waterfall, the gate lodges and a number of other interesting sights.

Essentials

Check-in
12:00
Check-out
14:00
Cancellation/
prepayment
25% booking deposit is required of the booking arrangement. The deposit is refundable for cancellations received more than 21 days in advance of arrival. Cancellations received within 14 days of arrival will be charged 100% of the booking arrangement.
Internet
Free Wi-Fi
Languages spoken
English
Group bookings
A request for five or more rooms will be deemed a group booking.
Pets
Pets are not allowed
Parking
On-site parking available.
Children and extra beds
Children above the age of 9 are welcomed at Ballyfin in individual suites. Younger children can join their parents as well if the entire house is booked by a single group.
Cards accepted at this property   American Express 
Currencies accepted EUR, USD
Non smoking
Ballyfin House and all bedrooms are non-smoking.
Address
Ballyfin, County Laois Ireland.
When you want to visit County Laois?

January is an off-season in Laois, some small guesthouses and b&bs are closed, the days are short, and the weather is unpredictable.

January is a great month to benefit from lower prices offered by best hotels in Laois.

Also take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

February is an off-season in Laois, the days are short and the weather could be not too pleasant, but there are enough things to do or see.

February is a great month to benefit from lower prices offered by best hotels in Laois.

Also take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

Outdoors beauty of Laois is very interesting in March: wonderful skies, green fields, rainbows and different light at all times of day.

March is a great month for hiking.

March is still low season, so you will get some great deals from our partners.

For an alternative check the collection of lovely countryside cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

April is a good month in Laois. Yes, it may rain every day, but when the rain moves on, the sun is glorious.

Great month to explore the county.

April is still low season, so this is a wonderful chance to relax in some of the best hotels in Irish countryside

For an alternative check the collection of lovely countryside cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

May is a lovely sunny month in Laois, and spring flowers are at their best. Wonderful time for a countryside walk.

Ok, don't forget it's Ireland and bring a good rain jacket with a hood.

The high season starts in May in Laois, but you will find some great deals with our partners.

Or take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

Over the past 142 years Irish summers have been stormy and wet, so don't expect a change this time around.

But July is the warmest month in Laois, there will be no better time for a countryside walk

July is high season in Laois, but you will find some great deals with our partners.

Or take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

June is a lovely sunny month in Laois, wonderful time for a countryside walk.

Mind, skies are rarely cloud-free in Ireland, so bring a good rain jacket with a hood.

June is high season in Laois, but you will find some great deals with our partners.

Or take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

Over the past 142 years Irish summers have been stormy and wet, so don't expect a change this time around.

But August is the warm month, there will be no better time for a countryside walk

August is high season in Laois, but you will find some great deals with our partners.

Or take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

The days are getting shorter in September and the weather is unpredictable but can be lovely.

It's a good time to explore Laois.

Low season starts in September, so this is a wonderful chance to relax in some of the best hotels in Irish countryside

For an alternative check the collection of lovely countryside cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

In October the days are short, expect a lot of damp, and some of the small guesthouses will be closing.

October is a great month to benefit from lower prices offered by best hotels in Laois.

Also take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

Limited daylight, cold weather with rain, but little road traffic, and no trouble booking the best hotels.

Laois in November could be a good idea.

November is a great month to benefit from lower prices offered by best hotels in Laois.

Also take a look at the selection of cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

December could be the worst time to travel to Laois because of weather, as the best things in Laois are outdoors.

But the pubs are open and the accommodation prices are lower.

December is low season, excluding Christmas period, so you will get some great deals from our partners.

For an alternative check the collection of lovely countryside cottages in Laois from Imagine Ireland.

900. to 1400 €
1200 to 1700 €

Family mansion

Ballyfin is famous for its history and romance, tranquility and beauty. The hotel is regarded as one of the most splendid Regency mansions in Ireland. The property was built back in the 1820’s and functioned as a country house for a number of years. The Ballyfin is located on a massive spread of 614 acres that is rich in culture and history. The property was home to a number of well known Irish families over the years including the Cootes, Crosbys, O’Moores, Poles and the Wellesley-Poles who were related to the Duke of Wellington.

Fred Krehbiel, a business magnate from Chicago decided to purchase the property and turn it into a five star hotel. The Ballyfin went through eight years of restoration before opening to the public in May 2011. The billionaire and his team spent a significant amount of time researching the history of the property and the background of its original owners, the Coote’s, before proceeding with the full makeover.

During the restoration process, the demesne with its beautiful fountain was relocated in order to give guests in the library and hallway a better view. The lawn area located around the fountain is popularly referred to as the ‘Pleasure Grounds’.

 

The new owner of the Ballyfin wanted the hotel to have an ambience that was similar to the Neoclassical and Empire periods.

A collection of beautiful antiques from around the world can be found throughout the hotel while the rooms tend to feature antiques from Ireland, England and France. The rooms are filled with traditional patterns and are furnished with special porcelain pieces and paintings. Some rooms even have a special collection of books.

Krehbiel stated that restoring the winter garden at the Ballyfin was the most difficult task of the entire restoration process. The garden which was filled with broken glass and rusty iron had to be taken apart and then shipped to England for a complete makeover. Krehbiel replaced it with nearly twenty five percent of house facade cladding.

Weddings

If you are looking for a perfect location to get married then the Ballyfin Demesne can definitely be reviewed as one of those choices. The Ballyfin was listed as one of the top wedding and honeymoon destinations in Ireland as it offers couples the perfect five star property location to have an intimate wedding.

 

The Ballyfin Demesne is a special posh five star wedding venue that is popular with both locals and foreigners. The grounds serve as a great backdrop for wedding photos and will serve as a reminder for years to come. The hotel will also close off the entire demesne to ensure that the wedding party can enjoy their privacy. A civil ceremony or blessing can be carried out in the house or on the grounds as well.

Guests have numerous indoor and outdoor locations to decide where they would like to hold their wedding reception. If the guest list is more than one hundred, then the ballroom of the old Regency mansion is a great choice as it can hold up to 130 people. If the guest list is between 50 and 70, then the State Dining Room which overlooks the water cascade is an ideal choice. When the wedding party is a lot smaller, the outdoor terraces, gardens or some of the smaller rooms in the hotel can be used to host the reception. 

The Ballyfin also provides a wedding planner in case the couple needs advice and help to plan their own unique wedding. The hotel has a number of fixed menus for the wedding day but will also custom design a special menu based on the preferences of the bride and groom. The hotel will allot two rooms along with hairdressers and beauty therapists for the bride and groom to get ready. Should the couple prefer to bring in their own team of beauticians, the hotel will provide facilities to accommodate their needs as well.

There are a number of luxury bedrooms to choose from and some of them have large four-poster beds. The hotel will make provision to serve breakfast late if need be, during the day after the wedding. A number of group activities for guests can also be arranged including setting up a special barbeque lunch or organizing a picnic. There are also a number of reception rooms where guests can have a light dinner and enjoy themselves.

Aileesh Carew, then general manager at Ballyfin shares a little information about weddings in the demesne, in this video.

Meeting facilities

Team-building events are welcomed at Ballyfin. They can include clay pigeon shooting, archery, mountain rallies in classic cars or bicycles, treasure hunts, cooking classes, and blind wine tasting events.

The meeting spaces come in a variety of sizes and locations to suit each gathering, and everything from seating arrangements to technical support are managed by the Ballyfin team. After formal meetings, colleagues can cut loose and enjoy some croquet, falconry, fishing, and so on. Private groups can be arranged for tai chi, yoga, pilates, and other similar activities.

On occasion, when the demesne is hosting a private event, it remains closed to other guests. For instance, it was closed to visitors when the Irish version of MasterChef was shot there.

History

The Ballyfin country house was built in the 1820s by Sir Charles Coote, related to the Elizabethan adventurer of the same name who had immigrated to Ireland in 1601. The Cootes held the property for 100 years, spending a good deal of leisure time there, before selling it to the Patrician Brothers in the wake of the Irish independence movement. The Brothers turned the home into a highly popular school, which ran for much of the 20th century. Years later, it fell into a state of disrepair before being restored to its former glory.

Photos

Instagram photos

Reviews

Laurie Kahle wrote an article for Forbes highlighting both the amount of time and money Fred Krehbiel invested into the Ballyfin restoration. Krehbiel spent tens of millions of U.S. dollars and took over eight years to complete the massive makeover. The amount of time spent on the makeover was more than the amount of time the builders took to construct the original property.

Kahle highlights the number of rare antiques from around the world that fill the Ballyfin. The mirrors and French chandeliers by Thomas Chippendale also standout as well as the expensive art collection that adorn the walls and rooms of the Ballyfin.  The paintings belong to some of the most well known Irish artists and date back to the 17th century. The modern bar and spa feature more contemporary artwork from modern artists such as Louis le Brocquy and Mainie Jellett.

Pól Ó Conghaile, who is the travel editor for Independent.ie and a contributor to National Geographic Traveller, once wrote that Ballyfin is Ireland's most expensive hotel, coming in at more than €1,000 per night per room.

Conor Power from Irish Examiner was very impressed with his stay at the Ballyfin. Power and his wife visited the property and felt that the Ballyfin had not been touched in the last 200 years as the hotel and the demesne looked so spectacular. Power enjoyed the fact that the hotel was so secluded and provided them with a peaceful and undisturbed holiday. One of the special features of the property according to Powers is its rich cultural heritage. According to Powers, any one of the less frequented parts of the property would easily be a major highlight in any other five star hotels in the world.

Powers also had good things to say about the cuisine that head chef Mike Tweedie served up. The Power’s thoroughly enjoyed the luxury accommodation, fine food and impeccable service which made their stay at the Ballyfin a memorable one.

John O’Ceallaigh from The Telegraph Luxury wrote that the Ballyfin has set new benchmarks for luxury travel in Ireland. O’Ceallaigh noted that VIP travelers who are used to paying top dollar for luxury accommodation in places like New York, Paris and the Maldives will find the costs at the Ballyfin somewhat of a bargain. The hotel package also includes a number of outdoor activities including canoeing, archery and full access to over 600 acres of property that has massive parklands, pristine gardens and ancient woods.

O’Ceallaigh also praised head chef Mike Tweedie for sourcing most of his fruits, vegetables, eggs and honey from the hotel gardens and then going on to create some fabulous dishes.  While O’Ceallaigh does make mention of a few areas of improvement, his overall experience at the Ballyfin did meet the lofty expectations he had in mind before he arrived at the Ballyfin.

This website showcases a small, colorful set of 360-degree photos taken of the hotel.

Pól Ó Conghaile, who stayed and dined at Ballyfin, wrote a wonderful review of the restaurant. Similarly, here, one can find even more sophisticated review of the restaurant's cuisine by a popular restaurant guide and critic.

Weddings, celebrations, and team-building events can all be hosted in style at Ballyfin. In fact, MyDreamWedding.ie calls Ballyfin a "wedding wonderland".

Additionally, the hotel is often used as a venue for fashion photo shoots, such as this one by Patrick McHugh.

Many people have posted on Twitter and other social media platforms about their excitement in visiting Ballyfin.

The spectacular interiors provide the look and feel of living in a museum.

Ballyfin is often compared favorably with Downtown Abbey.

Liadan Hynes of Travel Ireland was fascinated with the Ballyfin and the rich history of the property. She said staying at the hotel made her feel like the 19th century owners still lived in the building. Hynes stated that often times, boutique hotels have way too many staff that are always around to cater to the needs of every guest. She felt the service at the Ballyfin was a lot more relaxed, less intrusive and very friendly.

Hynes felt the privacy offered by the Ballyfin meant that it would be very rare for one to bump into another guest at the hotel. All the hotel rooms come fully furnished with modern amenities including a separate rainfall shower and a huge bath. Hynes pointed out that while there are a number of outdoor activities available, the weather played a huge part in determining the final plan of the day.

This review notes that guests are greeted upon arrival by a team of liveried staff, ready to open the car door, refer to guests by name, and take their luggage to their room.

Those interested in architectural history or anyone who just wants a deeper perspective of the hotel will find a wealth of information on theirishaesthete.com. Here, Robert O’Byrne describes the mansion house’s entire history. It also contains some excellent pictures of the hotel's architectural details.