Site Inspection: Ballyfin

The Conservatory

There are a few hotels in the world for which I have an instant and insatiable admiration. Ballyfin is one of those hotels.

What is not to love? It manages to feel as though it exists in a place that time forgot. A place that is formal, yet relaxed. Gilded, yet comfortable. Old, yet modern. A place where the staff genuinely care about your experience. There is no trying at Ballyfin. Things are done, and they are done well.

Gorgeous gardens, a roaring fireplace, wellies for borrowing, a secret grotto, meals whenever you want them – every detail has been considered. It’s all about you and your experience. Feeling the urge to dress up in period clothing? They have a full costume department. Need a fast Internet connection or a workout on the treadmill? They have that too.

Ballyfin is perfect for a long weekend getaway from Boston or New York, or for a stay as part of a larger Ireland itinerary. Art aficionados will enjoy the Inspiring Irish Art Weekends [PDF] which combines Ballyfin with a stay at The Merrion in Dublin (also Virtuoso). In addition, you can buy out the property to ensure privacy for your special occasion.

My time at Ballyfin was short, but I cannot wait to return and I would love to send you. Take my photo tour and see for yourself a little of what makes this such a special hotel.


The complimentary Virtuoso amenities for 2014 are as follows:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily breakfast, already included in rates
  • Guest’s choice of: Selected and paired bottle of wine with dinner and a departure gift OR traditional afternoon tea for two, once during stay

Ready to experience Ballyfin? Call me at 508-485-3061 or send me an email today!


Trip Report: Ireland from Shannon to Dublin

Bunratty Castle View

I had the pleasure of spending a week in Ireland thanks to Tourism Ireland (and Hillarie), Failte Ireland (and Ellen), and Aer Lingus. Also, special thanks to Ally for being a wonderful guide, all around lovely person, and a treasure trove of knowledge and wit. To our driver Donnie, there is none better in all of Ireland. Thank you for your amazing driving skills. Apologies for my sixty pound suitcase.

What an amazing experience! My previous visit to this beautiful and welcoming country had been in June of 1997. If it has been a while since you’ve been, it is definitely time to go back. If you’ve never been, with many nonstop flight options to both Shannon and Dublin, now is a great time to experience all of Ireland’s charms. Christmas is an especially picturesque time to visit (and shop!).

The Irish people were as warm and friendly as I had remembered. The cuisine exceeded my every expectation. Credit for this goes to Darina Allen for pioneering the slow food movement in the country, along with the founding of the Ballymaloe Cookery School (You must visit!).

Darina Allen and Erin Logsdon

With plentiful rain, a temperate climate, and small farm agriculture the farm to table movement was evident in every meal that we enjoyed. Additionally, and we all agreed that this was just short of a miracle, meals were served hot! I had forgotten how amazing a fresh meal served at the correct temperature could be be – no tepid soup or lukewarm pasta, fresh homemade bread, grass feed beef, cucumbers from the garden. Wonderful!

Vegetable Tart

I stayed for one night in six different hotels, and did site inspections at another nine properties. I have listed them all below and I am happy to discuss any questions that you may have.

Ballyfin Arrival

In addition, we visited the following sites and attractions:

  • Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
  • King John’s Castle
  • The Hunt Museum
  • Muckross House
  • Bricin’s Restaurant
  • Jameson Distillery
  • Ballymaloe Cookery School
  • Ballymaloe House
  • Rock of Cashel
  • Malahide Castle and Gardens
  • Dublin City Tour

Rock of Cashel

I also attended an Irish Tourism Trade Show where I met with seventy suppliers of all types from all over Ireland.

I am excited to use this knowledge and firsthand experience to help you plan the perfect itinerary for your next trip to Ireland!