Our Stay in the Irish Countryside

Coming home from Ireland is never, ever easy, and it seems that no matter how long we stay, we never get enough time in this magically beautiful country. We booked our March visit in October and not-so-patiently waited for the trip. One thing we always try to do when in Ireland is to get out to Connemara, where my father-in-law is from and where my husband spent weekends and holidays growing up. A hike in the Irish countryside is invigorating, and this time we decided to spend the night after our hike  in a very special castle hotel, Ballynahinch Castle. After everyone climbed up the side of Errisbeg, we headed to Ballynahinch for the start of a wonderful evening.

Ballynahinch Castle

The whole family finished up the hike with drinks and tea in the Fisherman’s Pub at Ballynahinch.

Views from the hotel are stunning in all directions, whether looking out the restaurant window at the river and wild gardens in the back or looking out the pub window at one of Connemara’s majestic, rocky mountains.

Ballynahinch Castle

view from Ballynahinch Castle

Once we warmed up and relaxed over drinks, those who were spending the night checked into our rooms. Ours was elegant and comfortable, with a huge dressing room attached to the bedroom. It had a lovely big bath. . . with brown water. Ballynahinch actually sources its water from local bogs, and it is filtered and treated with UV lights so it is perfectly safe for bathing and drinking, it’s just brown. It’s also really good for your skin, and mine felt super soft after splashing around in a hot soak.

Ballynahinch Castle guest room

Ballynahinch Castle fox

On the way down to dinner in the Owenmore Restaurant, I took a couple of photos of the inside of the castle. The above painting is of a fox who used to visit the front door of the castle when my husband was growing up. He and his family fondly remember the fox, who has since died.

Ballynahinch CastleThe fine dining area at Ballynahinch Castle, Owenmore Restaurant, is really something special, with stunning views and grand yet subtle decor.

Ballynahinch Castle Owenmore Restaurant

The dinner menu is a three course, set menu, which we enjoyed at a leisurely pace while catching up with some locals the family knew. As my in-laws were celebrating their 50th, one of their friends even brought us a bottle of Champagne.

Each morsel of food was heavenly and inspired by all of the fresh and local ingredients Ireland has to offer. So many people think Irish food is terrible, but in my experience it’s the opposite. The seas and fields produce some stellar ingredients that really shine when treated properly. Head Chef Xin Sun’s guidance is truly an asset to Ballynahinch, and has made Owenmore Restaurant a destination.

Ballynahinch Castle Owenmore Restaurant

{Connemara Smoked Tuna Ceviche, Mussels and Coriander Croquette, Crab Wonton, Shellfish Foam}

Ballynahinch Castle Owenmore Restaurant

{Market Fish – Cod with a Thick Tomato Sauce}

shamrock potatoes

Because it was the night before St. Patrick’s Day, our potatoes were festive shamrocks.

walnut cake

{Warm Walnut Cake, Honey Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce}


When dinner was over, we returned to the Fisherman’s Pub for whiskeys before finding a piano and fire in one of the castle’s rooms. My husband played songs into the night while I sat by the fire and felt like the luckiest person in the world. If you ever get the chance to visit Ireland, I can’t recommend Ballynahinch Castle and a trip to Connemara enough.

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Tags: castle, Connemara, Dining out, Ireland, Irish countryside, Irish hotel, restaurants in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day, Travel, travel blog, travel bug, travel to Ireland, vacation

  1. Michelle Lahey’s avatar

    Sounds like the perfect trip! I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland – it’s definitely on my bucket list!


  2. Mstraveltipsy’s avatar

    Ahhh, looks so much like where my husband is from, the small town of Straffan in Co. Kildare (only 20 minutes away from Dublin). I just love Ireland and I urge everybody to go somtime, just anywhere in Ireland. It’s beautiful.


  3. Megan’s avatar

    Those potatoes look great. I’m so jealous of your trip!


  4. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic’s avatar

    I love all your Ireland posts. I want to go there someday!


  5. Daisy’s avatar

    those potatoes are so cute. what an experience. i love taking in those moments were you feel so lucky on vacation and just savoring them….


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