Ballymaloe House

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Ballymaloe Country House Hotel
Ballymaloe House
Ballymaloe House
Ballymaloe House
Ballymaloe House
Eat, Stay, Cook in County Cork
Experience the Irish Countryside at Ballymaloe Country House Hotel
Farm-to-table lunch in Cork
The Honor System
Ballymaloe Country House Hotel
Ballymaloe House
Ballymaloe House
Ballymaloe House
Ballymaloe House
Eat, Stay, Cook in County Cork
Experience the Irish Countryside at Ballymaloe Country House Hotel
Farm-to-table lunch in Cork
The Honor System
Ballymaloe House
Myrtle Allen is Ireland’s answer to Alice Waters: The centenarian chef has lobbied the Irish parliament for better food policies, earned some Michelin stars, and 50 years ago she opened a restaurant called the Yeats Room in Shanagarry, a town an hour east of Cork City. She eventually added bedrooms upstairs and called it Ballymaloe House, and her sous-chef-turned-daughter-in-law, Darina Allen—who has written canonical Irish cookbooks and helped lead Ireland’s Slow Food movement—tacked on the Ballymaloe Cookery School and farm two miles from the main house.

This is thus the seat of Ireland’s food royalty, and it shows. The restaurant spins herbal, flavorful dinners out of whatever comes in from the farm or East Cork’s fishing boats, and the cookery school has become known the world over for teaching expert and novice chefs to make pizzas, ferment pickles, cook baby food, and grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Even without all that, the ivy-fronted house—and cabins and cottages on the farm’s grounds—make for a simple, pleasant country retreat.
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Neighborhood Vibe
The hotel’s 400-person home village, Shanagarry, means “the old garden” in Irish. Stop into pubs and galleries, and stroll along sandy (if chilly) Atlantic beaches.
Need to Know
Rooms: 33 rooms. From $140.
Check-in: 1 p.m.; check-out: noon.
Dining options: It’s hard to forget the fresh-baked Irish soda bread, crisped bacon, and nutty muesli on offer at breakfast. The roast pollack with tarragon butter and shrimp or red-wine-braised East Cork beef on the dinner menu similarly leave a lasting impression.
Spa and gym details: A small array of massages and nail services are available in-room. While there is no gym, the property does include tennis courts, a five-hole beginner’s golf course, complimentary bicycles, and a small outdoor pool during the summer months.
Insider Tips
Who’s it for: Food lovers, of course, especially aspiring chefs.
Our favorite rooms: The New West room has pretty floral wallpaper and a small private courtyard.
Plan ahead: Arrive a bit before check-in to choose between the available rooms.
Ballymaloe Country House Hotel
Farm-to-table cooking has been the centerpiece of this 29-room guesthouse and cooking school for the last half century. From $270.

Don’t Miss the Ballymaloe’s annual food and drink-focused Litfest in May. This year, Chef’s Table director Brian McGinn and Danish chef Christian Puglisi will discuss topics ranging from environmental impact to well-being. Open to the public, events from $15.

This appeared in the May/June 2017 issue.
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Eat, Stay, Cook in County Cork
Ballymaloe originated as a Norman castle in the mid 15th century. Today, the 400-acre estate, 20 miles from the city of Cork, is home to a superb farm-to-table restaurant and a variety of guest rooms and cottages. For the past 30 years, the Allen family has also operated a world-renown cooking school nearby in Kinoith. In May, 2013, Ballymaloe was the site of the Travel Classics travel writing conference, during which Darina Allen, of the Cookery School, took a few of us on a foraging walk around the grounds and into the woods.
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Experience the Irish Countryside at Ballymaloe Country House Hotel
This estate originated as a Norman castle in the mid-14th century. Today, 400-acre Ballymaloe, 20 miles from the city of Cork, is home to a superb farm-to-table restaurant and a variety of guest rooms and cottages. For the past 30 years, the Allen family has operated the world-renowned Cookery School in nearby Kinoith. Darina Allen (something like the Alice Waters of Ireland) might take you on a foraging walk around the grounds and into the woods. From $200.
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Farm-to-table lunch in Cork
The Ballymaloe Cookery School is the epicenter of Ireland's burgeoning local, sustainable, organic food movement. Our farm-to-table lunch at the School started with this plate of charcuterie of locally raised and cured meats, greens plucked just moments before from the garden, Ballymaloe butter, local chutney and relish, and the best deviled egg I'd ever eaten. In attendance were representatives of Ireland's Good Food organization, whose website -- http://goodfoodireland.ie/ -- can be used to plan a food-centric trip around the country.
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The Honor System
Outside the organic gardens of Ballymaloe House in County Cork, passersby are encouraged to pick up the morning's fresh offerings--including flowers, rhubarb, and farm eggs--and leave payment in the money box.
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