Like many Irish hotels, Ballyvolane eludes classification. Somewhere between a hotel, guesthouse and B&B, it’s also a historic country house that’s been in the same family since 1953. Its interior is both grand and homely, with smart wooden floors, shelves of books, paintings and mirrors – and, loveliest of all, Italianate painted panels on their doors depicting flowers and birds. The mix of antique, retro and contemporary has a boho-chic feel, enhanced by quirky alternative offerings: “Glamping” in bell tents with tea-light chandeliers and a ‘glamping pack’ with all the essentials.
The six stately bedrooms in the main house are antique-laden, but with all the modern comforts, paired with lovely old-fashioned bedrooms. A charming sense of informality pervades: although room keys are provided, most guests don’t use them and dinner is served house party style on a large communal table (with the option to eat separately). Delicious suppers are cooked by House chef Chris, using vegetables plucked from their magnificent walled garden. Committed to sustainable eating, the team are also keen foragers: expect the likes of wild garlic, sorrel, pennywort and damsons, alongside a menu of game and salt-water fish.
Ballyvolane House is also home to Bertha’s Revenge Gin, distilled onsite by Justin Green and Anthony Jackson using whey alcohol from Cork’s local dairy farmers (also featured in our Craft Gin Guide).