Jetsetters Magazine had the opportunity to visit many of the historic manor homes in Ireland that are open to the public as guest accommodations.  Many of these manses are located in rural, rolling countryside, mountain valleys, near national parks, and other remote Irish locales.  All of the following properties are represented by Ireland Blue Book, a company that scrutinizes a manor home’s every detail, from historical significance, to fine dining, to attractions in the area, before it is listed and promoted by this service. We hope you get a chance to visit a few of these wonderful properties.

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BELLE ISLE CASTLE - County Fermanagh - 8 bedrooms - Open year around

Belle Isle is on one of the ten islands that are owned by the estate on Upper Lough Erne, with a bridge connecting it to the mainland. Expect an authentic Country House atmosphere without the frills of modern restorations and furnished with a collection of antiques and pictures. There is a tennis court, croquet lawn and boats for hire. Belle Isle Castle is licensed for civil weddings for up to 30 guests.

The Belle Isle School of Cookery offers both day and residential courses. It is run by the resident chef Liz Moore and is supported by Michel Roux. Liz's expertise and easy going manner combined with a wonderful sense of humour, make for fun-filled sessions in the cookery school. It is very much a hands-on experience with a maximum of ten students per course. Further information:

The region also has an abundance of National Trust properties, such as Florence Court, Castle Coole, and the Crom Estate. Among the many amenities to be enjoyed in the area are golf and superb game fishing on Lough Melvin and the river Mourne.

Proprietor: Duke of Abercorn KG
Land Agent: Charles Plunket

From Belfast take the A4 to Enniskillen. Follow signs to Carry Bridge and signposted thereafter. From Dublin take N3 and Carry Bridge thereafter.

BUSHMILLS INN HOTEL - County Antrim, Northern Ireland - 32 bedrooms - Open year around

Rescued from near dereliction in 1988 by the present owner this faithfully restored coaching inn and adjoining mill house, at the home of the world's oldest distillery, one of Ireland's 'must visit' hotels.

Intriguing fireplaces, oil lamps, nooks, crannies and even a secret room set the tone. In the bar, still lit by gas light, try a glass of Bushmills malt from the hotels private cask or relax in a rocking chair in front of the gentle glow of a turf fire in the smoke aged 'old kitchen'. The award winning restaurant, blending 'new Irish' cuisine with the finest North Antrim produce, overlooks the garden courtyard and contrasts intimate 'snugs' with white washed walls and warm mellow brick with well aged timbers.

Spectacular oils and water colous of the Causeway Coast line the grand staircase and Gallery. There's an extensive range of intriguing bedrooms — on the riverside, past the old hay loft with its turf fired hut, are the spacious Mill House rooms with their own sitting area and small dressing room with the much smaller original rooms of the Coaching Inn mostly overlook the village Main Street.

Proprietor: Roy Bolton
Alan Dunlop & Stella Minogue

(2 miles from Giant's Causeway ) - on the A2 ( Antrim Coast Road ) in the village of Bushmills , as you cross the River Bush

COOPERSHILL HOUSE - County Sligo, 8 bedrooms - Open April through November

Coopershill House is a fine example of a Georgian family mansion. Home to seven generations of the O’Hara family since it was built in 1774, it combines the spaciousness and elegance of an earlier age with the comfort and amenities of today. Most of the bedrooms have four poster or canopy beds and all have private bathrooms. The rooms retain their original regal dimensions and are furnished in keeping with the period of the house.

Candle-lit dinners, a wide choice of wines, open log fires, and personal attention from the owners all help to create the atmosphere and hospitality that is special to Coopershill.

Standing at the center of a 500 acre estate of deer farm and woodland, separation from the outside world seems complete. There are many delightful walks and wildlife is abundant and undisturbed.

Boating and fishing are available nearby and there is an all-weather Tennis Court and Croquet. Championship golf courses and fine beaches are within an hour's drive, along with the spectacular mountains and lakes of Yeats’ country, County Sligo.

Proprietors: Brian & Lindy O’Hara

Signed from Drumfin Crossroads, 19 kms south-east of Sligo on route N4 to Dublin

CURRAREVAGH HOUSE - County Galway - Open March to October

I really loved the hospitality of this old fashioned Victorian House, filled with fishing memorabilia, great books on Ireland, and a wonderful sitting room to read them in. Harry, June, and son Henry are the current owners of Currarevagh, but the land has been in the family for over 150 years. There really has been no need to move, because this place is perfect. I took Harry's wooden boat for a row around the Corrib cove to catch the natural light. Fishing has improved in Lough Corrib, Ireland's largest lake, since they cleaned it up, and many guests return year after year for the fishing, including the dairy farmer and his wife from Wales, whom I met at the House.

The country manor is romantically situated on the shores of Lough Corrib on 150 acres of private woodland. The original house was built in 1842. Harry or Henry can set you up for wild brown trout fishing with local ghillies (guides) at current rates. There is an 18 hole golf course in Oughterard and there are five other golf courses within an hours drive. The house also has a tennis court. Great area for walking.

Food Guides highly recommend its classically simple menus based on the local produce. (Dinner for non-residents by advance booking only.). The dining room has wonderful full length windows, and the breakfast is included in your stay.

Cancellation Policy:
1 to 31 May - 3 weeks notice
Rest of season - 7 days notice
Proprietors: Harry, June & Henry Hodgson

Take the N59 (Galway/Clifden) Road to Oughterard. Turn right in village square and follow the Glann road for 4 miles (6km)

Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature, "A Quiet Castle for the Quiet Man" for more about the Lough Corrib area.

DOYLE'S - County Kerry - 8 bedrooms - Open Mid-February to mid November

The Dingle Peninsula is a must see area of Ireland, and I had the opportunity to visit the mountainous region with Vagabond Ireland Tours — Rob, Dave, and Mark gave us the trip of a lifetime us off roading the area.

Doyle's Seafood Restaurant is famous the world over for seafood, fresh from the ocean, synonymous with Dingle.

Originally a small shop and pub built in 1790, the award winning restaurant still features flagstone floors, stone walls, a cozy arrangement of tables, sugan chairs, and original cast i ron range. Locally caught seafood is the main attraction, with lobster selected from a tank in the bar a speciality. There are concessions to non-seafood eaters; Chicken, Steaks, Duck, Kerry Lamb, Guinness stew as well as vegetable paella. Puddings are scrumptious and traditional. There is also a plated selection of farmhouse cheeses from the Munster area. The Restaurant is fully air conditioned. Everyone in our Vagabond Ireland tour party toasted glasses of Guinness while waiting for the Guiness Stew, then it was dancing with the manager to authentic Irish music.

The Townhouse has the most delightful rooms in Dingle, and they have been recently refurbished. Eight spacious bedrooms with full en suite bathrooms are decorated in a most comfortable traditional style with antique furnishings and 21st century amenities such as satellite TV, phone, trouser press/iron, tea & coffee facilities etc. The drawing room is decorated in a Victorian style and is very welcoming with its open fire, pine floors and soft furnishings.

RAC, AA, Michelin recommended, Tourist Board "Award of Excellence", Egon Ronay "Seafood Dish of the Year". "Les Routier" restuarant of the year 2002.

Proprietors: Sean & Charlotte Cluskey
Located in the heart of Dingle Town off the Mall.

DUNBRODY HOUSE - County Wexford - 22 bedrooms - Open year around except Christmas holiday

This captivating 1830's Georgian Manor House Hotel hiding amid 300 acres of tranquil parkland on the idyllic Hook Peninsula, yet is less than 1-km from Waterford City. A chic, yet informal ambience, permeates Dunbrody, where guests have the opportunity to experience sheer indulgence coupled with a tradition of courteous attentive service. Gracious hospitality and personal attention to detail is evident throughout, such as fresh flowers in the hallway, crackling log fires in period fireplaces, a cozy bar, and a choice of individually styled elegant and luxurious bedrooms.

Enjoy the famous late breakfasts (served till noon daily), and later sit back and relax before treating yourself to some of Ireland 's finest cuisine. The focus is on food not just of the body, but also the mind; the hotel offers the award winning Harvest Room Restaurant and food-based therapies at the renowned spa. This gastro twist makes the Dunbrody experience one of a kind on numerous levels, a sensuous, elegant retreat for body and mind.

Masterchef Kevin Dundon has designed a range of exciting fun-filled one and two day courses at the cookery school at Dunbrody.

Proprietors: Kevin & Catherine Dundon

Directions: M11/N11 from Dublin to Wexford. R733 from Wexford to Arthurstown.
100 miles from Dublin or Cork ; 40 miles from Rosslare port; N25 from Cork to Waterford and Passage East car ferry to Arthurstown.

ENNISCOE HOUSE - County Mayo - 6 bedrooms - Open April 1 - October 31

Enniscoe House is listed as a Heritage House of Ireland and has passed to the present through twelve generations of the family to the present owner, Susan Kellett. She has now been joined by her son, DJ Kellett. The family portraits, antique furniture, open fires, good food and wine, and a warm welcome, all contribute to the pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.

The house is situated on the shores of Lough Conn, with attractive views of the lake across the parkland. The old walled garden is being restored, and another garden produces organically grown vegetables. One farmyard now houses a small agricultural museum and the genealogy center that researches names and families of Mayo origin.

There is brown trout fishing on Lough Conn, other trout and salmon fishing nearby. The fishery manager can make all arrangements for boats, gillies, tuition, and hire of equipment.

There are three golf courses within easy reach, and riding stables in the area. Enniscoe is a good for exploring North Mayo, Achill to the south, and Sligo to the north.

Proprietors: Susan Kellet & D J Kellet.

Enniscoe is two miles south of Crossmolina on the R315 to Pontoon and Castlebar. It is 12 miles from Ballina.

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GLENLO ABBEY - County Galway - 46 bedrooms - Open year around except Christmas

Glenlo Abbey Hotel is situated 4kms/2miles from Galway City Centre on the N59 to Connemara. Situated on its own 138 acre lake side golf estate, Glenlo Abbey is Galway's only 5 Star 'Failte Ireland' rated property and is the perfect base for touring the West of Ireland. Its owners Peggy & John Bourke bought Glenlo Abbey and the surrounding land in 1984 and lovingly restored it to open as a 20 bedroom hotel in 1992 and later increased to its present 46 bedrooms & suites. There are many lovely features about the property.

The main house itself dates back to 1740 and was built by the French Family who were one of Galway 's Famous Fourteen Tribes who ruled the City for centuries. The stone cut Abbey was built in the 1790s but was never actually consecrated. The many sitting rooms and library are a testament to another era and The Pullman Restaurant aboard the Orient Express is truly Ireland 's most unique restaurant.

Situated behind the first tee, The Pullman Restaurant is a special experience and has a long history dating back to 1927. Glenlo Abbey Hotel's location on the shores of Lough Corrib, make it an obvious attraction for all year fishing but particularly the trout & salmon season. The onsite golf course and the close proximity to many of Ireland's great golf courses make this family run hotel a great base when touring the West of Ireland. Plans are currently underway for a Spa to open in the near future. A warm welcome awaits all guests.

Proprietors: Peggy & John Bourke.

Directions: Glenlo Abbey Hotel is situated on the N59 to Connemara & Clifden and is 4kms/2 miles northwest of Galway City Centre.
From Shannon: Take the N18 north to Galway and continue approx 55miles/85kms. From Dublin : Take the N4 west to Galway and continue approx 130miles/220kms.

To Galway Airport: Fly with

Click to Book Glin Castle

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immerick - 15 bedrooms - Open March 1 - November 30

Glin Castle, one of Ireland’s most historic properties, has been in the FitzGerald family, hereditary Knights of Glin, for over 700 years. The castle, with its superb interiors, decorative plasterwork, and collections of Irish furniture and paintings, stands on the bank of the River Shannon surrounded by formal gardens and parkland and in the middle of 500 acres of wood and dairy farm. One hour’s drive from Shannon airport, half an hour from Ballybunion championship golf course and within easy reach of three other courses, including the new Greg Norman links course, Doonbeg. The Dingle Peninsula, Killarney National Park, and the wonders of County Clare, including the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren (via the nearby car ferry) make Glin a superb area for exploring southwest Ireland.

The property offers Irish Country House cuisine, using fresh vegetables and fruit from the beautifully kept walled kitchen garden, locally produced meat and poultry, and freshly caught fish. Hard tennis court and croquet lawn are in the gardens. Claypigeon shooting and archery can be arranged on site. Glin village, which boasts the most traditional pub in Ireland, is at the front gate.

Proprietors: Desomond & Olda FitzGerald.
Manager: Bob Duff

Located o
n the picturesque N69 between Foynes and Tarbet. From Shnnon follow signs for Cork and Tralee and then the N69 for 32 miles along the south bank of the river. Turn left into Glin village off the main road and right at the top of the square.

Book Gregans Castle

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GREGANS CASTLE - County Clare - 21 bedrooms - Open
all year around

Sometime between 1175 and 1195 a group of Cistercian monks settled in the valley on the southwestern side of Ireland's Burren.  With a perceptive genius they called their new church, Sancta Maria de petra Fertilis — St Mary of the Fertile Rock.  Who ever thought of the name clearly grasped the central feature of the remarkable landscape and the dramatic contrast that the Burren presents.

I note these contrasts while sipping merlot before the freshly caught Atlantic salmon is served for the evening meal at Gregans Castle. I peer out the alcove windows as the light dabbles across the landscape, the sun bullying open a spot to shine through before the clouds close in again by winds buffed over from Galway Bay to the north. The Burren is an area of ancient limestone hills, bald and treeless, but not lifeless.  Each changing ray of sun highlights a different precipice or bluff in the mid-distance. An artist would do well here.

Owner Simon Haden manages this oasis of comfort together with his attentive staff. Irish hospitality, good food from excellent local produce and peace and quiet are the themes. All bedrooms are individually and elegantly decorated without the intrusion of televisions. The superior rooms and suites are particularly spacious and graceful, and are especially recommended. Some of these are at the ground floor level. A garden sensitively borrowed from the landscape and the rural setting ensure a peaceful co-existence with nature.

Within one hour's scenic drive from both Shannon and Galway Airports. Early check in is possible. Non residents are welcome for lunch and afternoon tea in the Corkscrew Bar an for dinner in the Dining Room. Exclusive rentals can be arranged for house parties and small weddings and we will assist in planning your event.

Amenities include: non smoking bedrooms; gardens and walking trails; bicycles for guests use; croquet; massage therapist; wi-fi internet access.

Local activities include: Cliffs of Moher; Golf at Lahinch, Doonbeg and Gort, horseback riding, cycling, and guided hiking in the Burren, day trips to the Aran Islands from nearby Doolin; sea fishing; clay pigeon shooting; Ailwee Caves; Coole Park.

Classification: Irish Tourist Board 4 Star Hotel; Karen Brown, Fodors and Frommers recommended; Conde Nast Johansens; Best Loved Hotels; AA Red Stars and Rosettes, Good Hotel Guide, Good Food Guide.

Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature, "Ireland's Stony Place - The Burren" for more information.

Wicklow - 22 bedrooms - Open year around except Christmas

Hunter's Hotel is Ireland’s oldest coaching inn, now in the 5th generation of the same family with a long standing tradition of friendliness, hospitality and good food. Its picturesque gardens along the banks of the river Vartry provide a haven from the world at large, and a delightful setting for a delicious afternoon tea, or a pre-lunch drink.

The hotel is an ideal base from which to visit Mount Usher Gardens , Powercourt Gardens, Russborough, Killruddery, Glendalough and the other attractions of County Wicklow, "The Garden of Ireland".

There are fifteen, 18-hole golf courses within half an hour's drive, most notably Druid’s Glen and the European. Horse-riding and hill walking are other pursuits which can be arranged for guests. Conference facilities are available for groups of up to 30 people. Hunter’s is approximately 60 minutes drive from Dublin, 30 minutes from Dun Laoghaire, and 90 minutes from Rosslare.

Proprietors: The Gelletlie Family.

From Dublin: Turn exit for Ashford off N11. Turn left at the bridge in Ashford. Then 2 kms.

From Wexford/Rosslare: Take second exit for Rathnew of N11. Take R761 signposted for Newcastle. Hunters is 1 km on right.

Directions: One hours scenic drive from Shannon Airport . Early check in possible. On the inland road N67, just 5 kms south of Ballyvaughan.

LISDONAGH HOUSE - County Galway - 10 bedrooms - Open April 29 - 30 October

John and Finola Cooke are a young couple with infant children and their home is Lisdonagh House, located 20 minutes from Galway City in a glorious tranquil setting. I had a great time feeding the horses and walking the grounds. You can not get more rural in Ireland than where this place is located. Picture post cards of the traditional Irish walled hay fields were filled with sheep nearby.

The house is early Georgian with commanding views over Lough Hackett, which is really more of a pond, with good fishing. There are over 100 acres of woodland on the estate where I meandered through overgrown gardens.

The house has been elegantly restored, retaining the classical proportions. The oval entrance hall has murals depicting the four virtues dating from 1790. The bedrooms are named after prominent Irish artists and writers.

Each evening a five course gourmet dinner is served, alternatively guests may have a lighter two course supper option. The cooking is superb, innovatively using the best of local produce. Fresh seafood is a speciality.

The property is a terrific vantage point from which to explore Connemara, Cong, Yeat's Country, and the Aran Islands. It is situated close to some of the finest golf courses in the West of Ireland. It is an ideal choice for a quiet relaxing time in a beautiful setting.

Proprietors: John and Finola Cooke.

From South/Dublin: Take N17 towards Sligo. About 11 miles from Claregalway turn left at R333 through Belclare to Caherlistrane. In Caherlistrane, turn right at Queally's pub, approx 1½ miles turn left down signed road.

From Galway: Take N84 to Headford. In Headford turn right at "Anglers Rest", continue on N84 for approx 3 miles, turn right for Lisdonagh House.

LONGUEVILLE HOUSE - County Cork - 12 bedrooms, 3 suites - Open year around except Christmas

Set in 500 acres of wooded estate in the heart of the Blackwater Valley, Longueville House is a 1720 Georgian Heritage Mansion owned and run by the O'Callaghan family.

Longueville House is an ideal base for touring or golfing in the scenic southwest and provides a peaceful and tranquil setting for those who wish to relax or laze by the fire. The Longueville estate offers a variety of activities, including salmon and brown trout fishing on the River Blackwater, shoots between the months of November and January and scenic walks throughout the estate.

The Presidents Restaurant presents a menu offering fresh produce from the garden, farm, and river, and the kitchen is supervised by William O'Callaghan, a combination that is widely commended in various international food guides and magazines. Guests may enjoy dining in the recently restored Victorian Turner Conservatory (1862) which has been beautifully and aesthetically restored to its former glory.

Longueville provides an atmosphere and setting ideal as a venue for residential wedding parties, business meetings, prestigious events, and family get togethers. Annual events: beekeeping, mushroom hunts, make-up master class, antiques, x-mas decorating.

Proprietors: The O’Callaghan Family.

3 miles west of Mallow on the N72 to Killarney. Take Ballyclough junction on the right hand side and hotel entrance is 100 yards on the left side.

MOY HOUSE - County Clare - 9 bedrooms - Open March 1 to January 1; weekends from January 1 to March 1

Hostess Bernie Merry was a delightful welcome to the Moy House. The splendorous home reminded me of a lighthouse keepers home in New England. The sea grasses were being cut back when I arrived so the smell of the courntry was in the air. There are trails down to the small beach. The area is known for its great surfing at Lahinch a mile away. The owner of the property also owns the most popular bar in Lahinch, along the strand, called O'Looney's; a hen party was in progress when I sat down for a Guinness. Lahinch is a great summer party town when over 30,000 people visit or stay in the area.

The Moy House is popular with golfers so book well in advance. The eary 19th century estate recreates a contemporary and eclectic ambience in the drawing room where drinks are on the honor system. They have a fine whiskey line in the cabinet. Finger food is served hot while we check out the view from the second story windows.

The Moy House comprising 15 acres with commanding hilltop views over Lahinch Bay, the Estate is enhanced by mature woodland and the meandering River Moy, more like a stream than river. I loved walking the country roads in the area.

Each of the nine oversized, comfortable bedrooms are individually crafted with a mixture of classic and contemporary aesthetics. The signature statement for the House are the guest bedrooms, a number of which have free-standing original cast iron baths.

The residential ambience is complemented by a number of private spaces dispersed throughout the House; from the traditional Drawing Room to the Zen-feel of the lower Library area. The warm and snug-like Dining Room offers the best of contemporary Irish fayre for both breakfast and dinner.

The Moy House is within close proximity to both Lahinch and Doonbeg links courses, and it is ideal for exploring the Cliffs of Moher and nature's glorious Burren area, renowned for its wild and abundant flora and fauna.

Winner of the AA Guest Accommodation of the Year 2004 Award. Winner of the "Country House of the Year Award 2003" - Georgina Campbell/Jameson Guide.

Proprietors: Antoin O'Looney
Manager: Bernie Merry

Moy House is located about one mile out of Lahinch town, on the Milltown Malbay road. Shannon Airport is a one hour drive.

Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature, "County Clare Coastlines" for more information.

THE MUSTARD SEED AT ECHO LODGE - County Limerick - 13 bedrooms, 3 suites - Open year around except Christmas and 2 weeks in February

The drive south from the small community of Adare was through the rural countryside of County Clare. I had heard many great reports about the cuisine at the property, because the owner, Daniel Mullane, is also known for his vegetable and herb gardens around back of the house, which is a converted 19th century convent. Set on ten acres, the celebrated country house is surrounded by mature trees, herbaceous borders, orchards, and kitchen garden. The Mustard Seed also welcomes non residents for dinner and has long been acclaimed for attracting lovers of good food and wine from around the globe.

Each of the 16 bedrooms is individually decorated, combining traditional antique furnishings and modern facilities. The library contains an interesting collection of books for a rainy day by the fire. A sauna and massage room are available for guests in the house.

The Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge is an ideal base touring the south west region. The Dingle Peninsula, Killarney, and the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Burren are all pleasent day trips. Horse riding, fishing and garden visits can all be arranged nearby.

Voted "Best Country House in Munster " by the readers of Food and Wine magazine 2004 and 2005.

Proprietors: Daniel Mullane

From Limerick: from the top of Adare village, take the N21 Killarney road for ½ mile. Turn left at the first road junction to the left and follow the signposts to Ballingarry.

From Kerry: Travel along N21. Look for signs for Rathkeale. In Rathkeale town, follow the R518 for 4 miles to Ballingarry village.

Book the Park Hotel in Kenmare

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THE PARK HOTEL, KENMARE - County Kerry - 40 bedrooms, 9 suites - Open February thru November

Since 1897 many world travelers have enjoyed the pleasure of the Park Hotel Kenmare and its renowned restaurant. Set in a heavenly location overlooking Kenmare Bay the hotel is in the heart of Ireland's most scenic countryside. All accommodations are spacious with sitting area, antique furnishings, and original art, while deluxe rooms and suites enjoy a full sea view or private veranda.

Home to the Deluxe Destination Spa SÁMAS; guests can experience the virtues of a true spa. This special and quite unique place blends healing and therapeutic traditions from the East and West with the life inspiring scenery of Kerry to revive the body, mind, and soul.

The Hotel's lifestyle programs combine traditional Country House elegance with mental and physical relaxation to provide a true indulgence of the senses. Daily activities include jogging, flora/fauna and heritage walks, hiking, Tai-Chi, Yoga, meditation, golf, and fishing.

Come to this special corner of Ireland and be reborn.

Proprietors: Francis Brennan
General Manager: John Brennan

Located at the top of the town.

RATHMULLAN HOUSE - County Donegal - 32 bedrooms - Open year around except Christmas

Unique seaside setting with a three mile beach just one hundred yards from the front door. Time moves slowly in the mature tranquil gardens that slope down to the sea. Explore the walled garden which provides the kitchen with fruit and vegetables.

Fine Georgian proportioned lounges, elegantly furnished with antiques, paintings and cozy fires. Friendly, relaxed atmosphere, bustling with young families during holidays, warm and romantic at other times.

Award winning restaurant offering seasonal table d'hôte and à la carte menus. Supporters of the "Slow Food" movement and organic produce. The Cellar bar has traditional music nights and alfresco lunches during the summer.

Thirty-two bedrooms with their own distinctive style from luxury suites to simple family rooms. Ground floor rooms with garden views, and sea view rooms with balconies. Good sized indoor heated swimming pool, steamroom and two outdoor tennis courts. Resident masseuse offering holistic treatments.

Lots of golf locally at excellent rates. Horseriding, sea angling, and fishing nearby. Beautiful scenery, fine long sandy beaches and plenty of interesting and historical places to visit locally.

3-4 hours from Dublin, 2 hours from Belfast - Its not as far as you think!

Proprietors: The Wheeler Family.

From Letterkenny go to Ramelton. Turn right at bridge to Rathmullan. Through village - gates on the right. Dublin 3½ - 4 hours via N2 and A5. Belfast 2 hours via A6. City of Derry Airport 1 hour.

ROSLEAGUE MANOR - County Galway - 16 berooms, 4 suites - Open 15 March to 1 November

While waiting for my room to be ready, I had a stiff shot of Jameson with Ed, father to Mark, who both own and run this seaside property overlooking Ballinakill Bay.

The hotel has been discreetly converted into a first-class hotel with a Victorian style conservatory and delightful drawing rooms with open log fires. All of the bedrooms are individually decorated and feature fine antiques and paintings. The bar is wonderful because of the airy atrium lighting.

Set on 30 acres of secluded woodland to the ocean’s edge, Rosleague is a beautifully wooded area on the coast, in the center of the fabled Connemara and beside Connemara National Park, an area of some 5,000 acres. Salmon, trout and sea fishing; golf and horse-riding all available in the area. Tennis court and billiard table available for guest's use.

Winner of the Irish Tourist Board’s Award of Excellence and recommended by all the better known Good Food and Hotel Guides, Rosleague is personally supervised by the owners, and all the food is produced locally and prepared by them, with the help of a skilled and experienced staff. The cuisine is based on the freshest and finest of ingredients, with fresh seafood and Connemara lamb a speciality. Yeah, that's what I had, the tender Connemara lamb.

Proprietors: Edmund and Mark Foyle.
Directions: N59, seven miles north west from Clifden

STELLA MARIS COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL - County Mayo - 11 bedrooms, 1 suite - Open April 1 thru October

Experience the Beauty and Tranquility of the Mayo Coastline.

Stella Maris was built in 1853 as a Coast Guard fortress and subsequently became a convent in 1914. The detailed restoration of this imposing 19th century structure took two years to complete. Antiques are interspersed with comfortable leather furniture to create a 'homely' sense for guests. Visitors enjoy the tranquil setting from the 100-foot conservatory fronting Bunatrahir Bay and Downpatrick Head, one of the most picturesque sea stacks in Europe.

Proprietor and Chef Frances Kelly oversees the kitchen to ensure a fine dining experience. Stella Maris features its own garden for herbs and vegetables and has been cited for its culinary excellence in several noted publications and guides. Open fires warm the inviting bar and lounge, where guests relax before and after dinner.

Stella Maris is strategically located between the world-renowned golf links of Enniscrone and Carne/Belmullet, and is only 20 minutes from Nick Faldo's exciting new Bartra Island Golf Links. Stella Maris is also easily accessible to Rosses Point and Westport Golf Clubs. Sea and freshwater fishing are outside the front door. High-Read the Ireland blog fromJetsetters Magazinequality linens complement tasteful antiques in the individually furnished ocean-front rooms. High-pressure showers in all rooms.

Recommended by: Karen Brown's Ireland: Charming Inns and Itineraries; The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland; Georgina Campbell's Guide to the Best Places to Eat, Drink & Stay in Ireland; Ireland's Food and Wine Magazine as well as most major tour guides.

Proprietors: Frances Kelly & Terence McSweeney

Stella Maris is located on the ocean, 17 miles west of Ballina and 1.5 miles west of Ballycastle in County Mayo.

— Feature by
Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine, and Ireland's Blue Book.