BEST FOR HIS­TORIC HO­TELS

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ABBEYGLEN CAS­TLE HO­TEL

Lo­cated in some of Ire­land’s most spec­tac­u­lar gar­dens, set against the back­drop of Con­nemara’s Twelve Bens moun­tains, Abbeyglen Cas­tle Ho­tel looks like some­thing straight out of the movies. A sprawl­ing 19th cen­tury man­sion over­look­ing Clif­den Bay, it’s the per­fect place to spend a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, es­pe­cially if your idea of a good time is a game of ten­nis, a spot of shing or an af­ter­noon re­lax­ing in a hot tub and sauna. Tues­day is Ir­ish night, which means that the mu­sic and cui­sine all go as gaeilge.

This sump­tu­ous, award-win­ning ho­tel com­bines Ash­ford Cas­tle’s orig­i­nal features with the lat­est mod­ern lux­u­ries. Metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail can be found in the unique works of art, care­fully sourced an­tique fur­ni­ture and sump­tu­ous fab­rics with cus­tom de­signed car­pets, be­spoke beds, fea­ture light­ing, ex­quis­ite tow­elling and Egyp­tian cot­ton bed linen. If you can prise your­self away from the ho­tel, there’s golf, ten­nis, shing, fal­conry, cy­cling, kayak­ing and boat trips on the lake to be en­joyed, whilst the nearby vil­lage of

Cong has sev­eral very wel­com­ing bars. For a truly royal ex­pe­ri­ence, Ash­ford Cas­tle is in­com­pa­ra­ble. We’re also ex­tremely fond of its off­spring, The Lodge at Ash­ford Cas­tle, which is home to the ex­cep­tional Wilde’s restau­rant.

BALLYFIN

One of the nest coun­try houses in Ire­land was res­cued from a pe­riod of de­cline and is now a re­mark­able, lux­u­ri­ous ho­tel in­fused with his­tory and char­ac­ter. The park, house and hos­pi­tal­ity are of the high­est stan­dard. Stay on a 614-acre walled demesne es­tate of woods and hills, re­lax­ing in a grand neo­clas­si­cal house fea­tur­ing glo­ri­ously dec­o­rated pe­riod rooms. There’s also horse-riding and a

14-me­tre heated in­door pool, plus a gym and spa.

CUL­LO­DEN ES­TATE & SPA

Perched high on the slopes of the Holy­wood Hills, Cul­lo­den Es­tate was orig­i­nally built as an of cial palace for the Bish­ops of Down. This pala­tial man­sion, which over­looks Belfast Lough and the Antrim coast­line, stands in 12 acres of beau­ti­ful se­cluded gar­dens and wood­land, mak­ing it per­fect for a ro­man­tic break. It also has an in­cred­i­ble spa, with lux­u­ri­ous treat­ment suites, re­lax­ation rooms and a swim­ming pool.

LOUGH ERNE RE­SORT

The multi-award win­ning Lough Erne Re­sort is a lux­u­ri­ous ve-star ho­tel in En­niskillen, the gate­way to north-west Ire­land. Set in the re­mark­able sur­round­ings of its own 600-acre penin­sula with spec­tac­u­lar views of the Fermanagh Lake­lands and the Faldo Course, it has some­thing for ev­ery­one. En­joy the ul­ti­mate 36-hole golf ex­pe­ri­ence on one of two cham­pi­onship golf cour­ses; dip in the in nity pool or bathe in a warm trop­i­cal shower at The Thai Spa; and ex­pe­ri­ence the stun­ning menus by ac­claimed chef Noel McMeel in the Catalina restau­rant.

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