Our last night in Ireland, we had the pleasure of staying at the Ballinalacken Castle Country House Hotel. It was our most enjoyable stay of our trip. After a day exploring Doolin and going on a cruise to the Aran Islands and by the Cliffs of Moher, we made our way to the guest house, just 2 miles from town.
We were warmly greeted by Cecilia and checked into our rooms. The guest house, situated next to the Ballinalacken castle ruins was built in the early 1800’s by the O’Briens who then owned the land and castle as a place to live. Lord O’Brien lived in the home until he passed away and his widow sold off the property. It was purchased by the O’Callaghan family who added on to the house and opened it as a hotel.
There are still a few rooms that are in the original home, including a two room suite that was formally Lord O’Brien’s bedroom, as well as additional rooms that were added on. The main difference in the rooms is the furnishings. Also, Room 16 is known as the Honeymoon Suite. It has a sunroom that fills the room with natural light and allows for amazing views of the surrounding areas.
We stayed in room 10 and enjoyed our view from there. Each room has chairs around the windows, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful views outside.
There is also a large sitting room at the front of the house and several benches outside, all offering great views that are afforded to a house perfectly situated on a hill. You can see the coast and Cliffs of Moher from the grounds and out several windows.
Touring The Ballinalaken Castle
Each evening Declan takes guest on a tour of the castle that is closed to the public. After making our way up the hill just a few steps from the house, you enter the gate and on to a field where the castle stands today.
Declan shared the history of the castle and the details of the passing of ownership as we toured the castle. He also pointed out the changes that were made over time. Because the castle is fairly well preserved, you are able to visualize what is was really like when it was at its prime.
The best part of the tour is making your way up the spiral staircase and onto the top level of the castle. The view of the area, including the cliffs of Moher, is amazing.
Dinner at Ballinacken Castle
We had no plans about food when we arrived at the house, but after looking at the menu, it was an easy choice to dine there. The dining room, like so many other rooms, has tons of windows filling the area with natural light and providing amazing views. I flower and flickering candle adorned the table we were brought to. Speaking of our travels made it easy for other couples in the room to join our conversation and dinner seemed to be both an intimate and romantic meal, with moments that felt like you were having dinner with a group of close friends.
Before ordering, we were served a Salmon tartare to start the meal. We ordered a pistachio coated goat cheese salad to share as a starter.
For our entrees, we ordered the lamb chops and filet. Both were local and cooked to a perfect medium rare, tender and well seasoned.
Our sides were served family style. Three types of potatoes and three types of vegetables made for a good variety of flavors and textures.
Before dessert there was a welcome interruption, inviting us to go outside to enjoy the sunset. When we came back in, we order a 3 layer chocolate mousse and a pannacotta. Both were delicious and served with a scoop of icecream.
It was a great night spent together before heading to our room. The next day, we, unfortunately, had to make our way to Dublin to catch our flight. We stalled a bit to enjoy it for a just a few more minutes.