If you find yourself in Dublin and want to venture to the countryside, try the Carton House Hotel.
Carton House, a 17th-century mansion in Maynooth, Ireland, was formerly the home of the Earl of Kildare. The estate includes the original stone mansion, a modern wing, plus 1,100 acres of private park grounds. The allure of bygone times and modern conveniences and design are seamlessly combined. Resort facilities include a golf course, spa and fine dining restaurant.
Most unique is the private park grounds with rolling green fields and stately trees. Follow the path to Tyrconnell Tower (pictured), a pleasant 15 minute stroll. Most likely you'll have the park to yourself - imagine yourself a character in a Jane Austen novel, walking in an altogether different time.
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STAY: Carton House, Co Kildare, Ireland
I couldn't believe that you could drive just 14 miles outside of Dublin and arrive at this country sanctuary, but this serene spot is only 20 minutes from the bustling city center. Carton House is a hotel, spa, and golf course converted from a Georgian mansion built by the earl of Kildare in 1739 as a country home for he and his rather large family. Much is left of the original home including my favorite part, the library which has a secret door behind a bookshelf that leads to the servants quarters. The estate is vast and includes this man made lake and boat house that catches the light just perfectly in the morning.