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OverviewMyrtle Allen was a real culinary heroine without whom the food culture of Ireland would not be the way it is today. And Ballymaloe Country House Hotel – the elegant, East Cork country home she shared with her husband and their children – is where it all began. You don’t really get a sense of just how important this place is on the Irish food scene until you make the pilgrimage. Then it all slots into place and you begin to understand exactly why this is the bosom of real Irish cooking. Despite its fame, guests at Ballymaloe House Hotel are looked after like lifelong friends and this really is a Read More
Ballymaloe House Hotel is home to the cooking dynasty of the Allen family, so you know you are in for a gastronomic treat when you dine here.
Ballymaloe House has its own walled garden which provides a pick of seasonal vegetables and the folks at Ballycotton supply the fresh fish and shellfish that grace the menu. Cork’s local beef, pork and lamb also play a starring role in dishes as does a marvellous selection of Irish farmhouse cheeses.
Food is organic, local, seasonal and sustainable where possible and is skillfully prepared and creatively served in the glorious surrounds of the Ballymaloe House Hotel Restaurant.
The food at Ballymaloe House Hotel showcases the best Irish country house cooking with an emphasis on fresh home grown produce. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the main restaurant which is a wonderfully elegant space filled with natural light thanks to the large sash windows.
Dinner at Ballymaloe House Hotel Restaurant is a lavish affair, usually consisting of five courses which begins with a soup, a salad or sorbet, followed by a second course which might feature local seafood and fresh fish, seasonal vegetables, pâté and terrines. Main courses include locally reared meat and poultry and the catch of the day and the vegetarian option features walled-garden produce, which varies depending on the season. The feast continues with a fantastic Irish cheese and biscuit selection, which is served from a trolley and showcases some terrific cows, goats and sheep’s cheese.
But wait, there’s more! Make sure you save room for treats from the traditional dessert trolley. Take your pick from a fruit fool, compotes, tarts, mousses, possets and meringues, as well as homemade ice cream. The exquisite dining experience is rounded off with coffee and herbal infusions served with petit fours.
On Friday evenings, there is a seafood hors d’oeuvres buffet featuring the best Irish seafood like lobster, oysters, mussels and crab as well as the hotel’s own smoked mackerel.
On Sundays, Ballymaloe serves a lighter four course menu.
The daily lunch is a set seasonal Farm to Fork menu and there is a separate children’s menu available, which is just as delicious and creative as the main menu. There’s also a children’s tea every day on a long table in the conservatory. Children really are most welcome and well catered for here.
Afternoon tea, coffee and a freshly baked seasonal cake is available to all guests on arrival.
As for breakfast, well, it is an unforgettable bountiful feast. Make sure you come hungry and enjoy porridge, made with Macroom stone-ground oatmeal, Bircher muesli made with apples from the garden, seasonal fruit compotes and home-made yoghurt from the cookery school. The traditional Irish soda breads and spotted dogs, Ballymaloe brown yeast bread and scones are all baked fresh first thing every morning and they can be loaded up with jams made from the hotel’s own fruit, such as rhubarb and ginger or gooseberry and elderflower.
The traditional cooked Irish breakfasts feature Ballymaloe farm eggs, bacon and sausages. Even the coffee is considered, and is hand-roasted by The Golden Bean, a small roastery in one of the estate farm buildings.
From morning to night, dining in Ballymaloe House is a remarkable and memorable experience.
Rooms & Facilities
This welcoming family home is all about relaxation in beautiful but comfortable surroundings. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, you’ll feel like this house is your home.
Accommodation at Ballymaloe House Hotel is simple and elegant and in keeping with the country house feel. A lovely personal touch are the fresh flowers brought in from the garden daily that adorn the bedrooms. The cocooning beds and calming ambiance make for a peaceful slumber. Another accommodation option are the charming rooms in the lime-washed, rose-covered farm building in the courtyard.
Ballymaloe is on 300 acres of working farmland grounds and has a heated outdoor pool in the summer months, gardens and vegetable gardens. Benches are dotted throughout the gardens for guests to sit in summer and read or listen to the sounds of the farm.
There is also the Ballymaloe Shop which stocks everything and anything a keen cook needs as well as some tasty treats and artisan products and a Ballymaloe Cafe onsite too.
Also on the extensive grounds is the Ballymaloe Grainstore, which was originally a 17th century farmyard building but it has now been converted into an elegant multi-purpose venue. The Grainstore hosts a variety of musical, theatrical, film and art events throughout the year and it is also available for hire for any occasion including concerts, weddings, lectures, family events, exhibitions, workshops, classes, demonstrations, dances and other special occasions.
The calm and elegant bedrooms at Ballymaloe House Hotel come in a variety of styles and sizes. These include large and airy superior rooms, some cosy country house rooms and ground floor courtyard rooms.
All rooms a decorated in a warm, country house style with comfortable beds, beautiful fabrics and elegant furniture. The rooms feel light and bright and airy and have all the mod-cons needed for a relaxing and enjoyable stay. The bathrooms are also spacious with lovely toiletries and fluffy towels perfect for a pampering session.
There are also some farmhouse cottages available and these are perfect for those looking for a self-catering option, for families and for those looking to bring their furry family members on holiday.
Experiences By Ballymaloe House Hotel
Sustainability is at the heart of Ballymaloe House Hotel and has been from the very first day of operations. In 1985 Ivan Allen wanted to move away from fossil fuels and therefore in 1984 the family purchased a biomass straw boiler and has not looked back since. Materials from the Ballymaloe Farm have been used for this boiler to provide fuel for heating and hot water. Ballymaloe estimate that this has saved using over 600,000 litres of oil over this time.
The land in which Ballymaloe House Hotel is situated is also playing a big role in sustainable initiatives. Over the years Ballymaloe have planted acres worth of trees which now equate to 1000 tonnes of carbon stored. Moreover, solar panels have also been installed in 2021 which has led to them being fully independent of the ESB on sunny days.
Much of the ingredients used at Ballymaloe are produced and grown on their farm, reducing food miles dramatically while items not available on-site are sourced from local suppliers. You’ll also find their very own beehives producing honey and further nurturing bio-diversity.
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