Check In: Ballyvolane

Castlelyons, Nr Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
03.16.2011 | by: Meghan

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I thought I’d show off this super charming Irish country manor that Yolanda Edwards (one of the two former-Cookie editors behind the new site Momfilter) visited by way of a three-hour, totally-worth-it detour during a trip to Dublin.

Here’s what she had to say:

At the end of a hedge-lined road, beyond pastures of grazing cows and fly-fishing-ready ponds, we came to the Georgian mansion. We were greeted by the owners, Justin and Jenny Green, a chic thirtysomething couple who live at Ballyvolane with their three kids. Jenny immediately read our minds and asked if we would like to have supper there—a huge relief, as we hadn’t made plans and dreaded the idea of strapping Clara back into the car to find a restaurant. We passed through a sitting room, where a fat 20-year-old cat named Archie lounged on a tufted couch, and then we climbed the mahogany stairs to the bedrooms. With a view of astonishingly green fields, our room had crisp bedding, a claw-foot tub, just the right amount of heavy antiques for the setting, and none of the more cloying B&B frills (stinky potpourri, cross-stitched anything).

During our stay, Jenny and Justin directed us to all the sights they visit with their own kids, sending us off with a picnic lunch or the address of their favorite pub. Ballyvolane is within close driving distance of several castles, medieval towns, and the beach (the area is also a destination for foodies, thanks to its seafood and small farms). On many days, though, we just stayed put. We borrowed wellies and raincoats to explore the grounds, hoping to spot a fox. In the afternoons, my husband fished and I read on the couch while Clara sprinted across the endless lawn with the Green kids and their dogs.

The honest country fare is made with local and organic ingredients, many from Ballyvolane’s garden. Meals are eaten communally at a big table, creating a real family-party vibe. In the morning, you can opt for muesli and yogurt or a full Irish breakfast (you can even fetch your own eggs). Arrange for picnic hampers or seated lunches the night before. Kids can have an early supper at 5:30 p.m. or eat later with their parents.

It’s a major relief to stay with a family with three kids: They have almost anything you forget to bring—raincoats, toys, etc. You also have full run of the grounds, including the gardens which have gone basically unchanged since the 18th century.

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