Thrill of the new: these Irish hotels have menus worth travelling for

Find fresh reasons to indulge in delicious food and wine at these elegant Irish properties. Partner content with Ireland’s Blue Book

The drawing room at Cashel Palace Hotel is an exercise in elegance

Cashel Palace Hotel, Co Tipperary

Delightfully old yet thrillingly new, Cashel Palace is a Palladian manor in the heart of Ireland that’s been meticulously restored and luxuriously reimagined. Overlooked by the Rock of Cashel, this boutique hideaway of 42 individually designed bedrooms and suites opened in 2022, bringing refined five -star service to the heart of Tipperary. Settle in for an indulgent stay and enjoy the best of everything. The sensational spa and indoor-outdoor pool overlooks sublime gardens which envelope the house, creating a soothing sanctuary in the middle of Cashel town. Linger by a log fire, sip a cocktail in the Residents Bar or sink a creamy pint in the Guinness Bar, with its historical connections to the brewing dynasty. Enjoy decadent afternoon tea in the Queen Anne Room or settle in for an exquisite lunch or dinner in The Bishop’s Buttery. Here chef Stephan Hayes draws on Tipperary’s rich larder to create exciting seasonal menus that celebrate the best of Irish produce. Combining classical roots with contemporary flair, each memorable dish is served in the extraordinary vaulted room that was once the original kitchen of this archbishop's palace.

The Bishop’s Buttery restaurant at Cashel Palace Hotel Photo by Michelle Chaplow

Ballyfin, Co Laois

The word ‘experience’ is often bandied about, and doesn’t always equate to quality. An experience is however the best word to describe a trip to Ballyfin. This 5 star luxury country house at the foot of the Slieve Bloom mountains tops international hotel lists, with service that matches its stellar status. Come for the exceptional setting in six hundred and fourteen acres of grounds, and stay to savour Ballyfin’s thoughtful approach to food and drink. Eight acres of walled garden supplies the restaurant with a rich variety of herbs, fruits and vegetables, with honey and honeycomb derived from the Buckfast hybrid bees who live at Ballyfin - lucky bees. Beef, pork and lamb is sourced from local butcher Mick Keegan, fish from Kilmore Quay, butter from Cork’s Glenilen Farm and sourdough bread from Mueller & O’Connell bakery in nearby Abbeyleix. The food is simple, delicious and utterly elegant, while a pre-dinner drink at Ballyfin’s Saloon room is most certainly to the manor born.

Ballyfin Demesne in Co Laois is an internationally renowned five star property Photo by Naoise Culhane

Fernhill House & Gardens, Clonakilty, Co Cork

A sunny day in Clonakilty is hard to beat: knowing that you’re staying at Fernhill Hotel & Gardens seals the deal. The ideally situated country house hotel places you on the cusp of all that beautiful West Cork has to offer, not least an exciting food and drink scene that ranges from perfect pub grub to Michelin-starred dining. At Fernhill, expect olde worlde rooms, a delicious West Cork breakfast in bed and a long tradition of fresh, local food that, the O’Neill family say, “is at the core of everything we do.” Oh, and don’t forget to explore the gardens while you’re there; soul food, indeed.

Fernhill enjoys an idyllic setting a few minutes’ drive from the town of Clonakilty

Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry

A new chapter at Killarney’s Cahernane House Hotel has begun with the recent appointment of head chef Conor Veasy, and with it a new approach based on food provenance and seasonal ingredients. “I don’t subscribe to the idea that there has to be all of these extra flourishes such as gels and foams to make a dish impressive,” says Vesey. “Great dishes don’t need that. I like to start from the beginning, and to look and see what’s in season. What’s growing now is going to be the very, very best thing on your plate.” Book your stay, and your dining experience at Herbert’s Restaurant at Cahernane House through Ireland’s Blue Book.

Killarney’s Cahernane House Hotel has placed a new emphasis on food

Three more delicious options

In Wexford, the recently-opened Pond Suites at this elegant property have made a trip to Marlfield House even more compelling, but this property has long been an enticing prospect for food lovers. Enjoy candlelight and crisp white linen in the Conservatory restaurant or go casual in The Duck - whichever option you choose, you won't be disappointed. And at Mallow’s Longueville House, gardeners Anthony and Shirley are integral to the menu choices, with vegetables, fruits and herbs grown at the kitchen garden, and other ingredients sourced with a 20 kilometre radius of the 303 year old Georgian country house. At the iconic Castle Leslie estate in Co Monaghan, meanwhile, the motto is “you’ve little chance of going hungry”. Choose from light lunch in the Lodge, a picnic in the woodlands, or dinner at Snaffles, the 2 AA Rosette award-winning restaurant where generations of well-loved recipes at Castle Leslie have been reimagined with contemporary flair. We especially like the chic banquette seating at Snaffles, not to mention the gin menu that runs to over 100 options.

Reasons to indulge at Castle Leslie in Co Monaghan

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