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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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