Wednesday 18 September 2019

Luxury 'glamping' and rock 'n' roll mansion added to the Blue Book

Plenty of room with a view: The Hideaway, overlooking Kenmare Bay, has been added to Ireland’s Blue Book for next year
Plenty of room with a view: The Hideaway, overlooking Kenmare Bay, has been added to Ireland’s Blue Book for next year

Pól O Conghaile

The former home of Jimi Hendrix's bass guitarist, and what must be Ireland's most expensive tent, are among the new additions to Ireland's Blue Book for 2019.

The Hideaway, a luxury glamping tent overlooking Kenmare Bay at John Brennan's Dromquinna Manor, marks a new departure for the prestigious collection, which next year celebrates its 45th anniversary. A night's stay in luxury will cost a cool €350 a night.

Meanwhile, in west Cork, Dunowen House is the former home of Noel Redding, one-time bassist with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The 18th century, self-catering stay combines luxury bedrooms and saucy, standalone tubs and rock memorabilia.

The two properties join Ballyfin Demesne in Co Laois, Bishop's Gate Hotel in Derry, Butler House in Kilkenny and Killarney's Cahernane House as new members.

Ballyfin is among Ireland's most expensive stays, with doubles from €940 a night in peak season - but the prices won't all make you feel blue. B&B can be had at Butler House from €79, for instance, and a B&B with dinner deal is available at Bishop's Gate from £119/€134 per room.

There are now 56 country house hotels, castles and restaurants in the collection.

"Not only do they provide wonderful, locally sourced food and luxurious accommodation, but their charm, history and individuality make them a highlight of any Irish journey or occasion," said Simon O'Hara, Blue Book chairman, at the launch event in Dublin's Merrion Hotel.

Here's what you can look forward to from the new members.

:: Ballyfin Demesne, Co Laois - Less than eight years since the former boarding school and mansion reopened as a luxury hotel, it has become one of the most decorated resorts in Ireland and is where Kim and Kanye honeymooned. It has added a €2,000-a-night private cottage.

:: Butler House, Kilkenny - Kilkenny Castle's former Dower House is upgrading with an elegant tea room open for lunch and afternoon tea. The Lady Eleanor Suite, with bay window overlooking 18th-century gardens was the first of 14 rooms revamped.

:: Cahernane House, Killarney - The 39-room bolthole reopened this May following a €6.5m renovation overseen by designer Julie Goggin. Highlights include a total revamp of the Cellar Bar.

:: Dunowen House, West Cork - 10km from Clonakilty, Dunowen was once home to Jimi Hendrix Experience bass guitarist Noel Redding, and it's gotten the rock n' roll refurb it deserves.

:: Bishop's Gate Hotel, Derry - Set within the historic city walls, Bishop's Gate has exactly the kind of heritage chops you'd expect - 30 rooms include two suites and much like Derry itself, the food seems to be improving by the year.

:: The Hideaway, Kenmare - Is this the most expensive tent stay in Ireland? But it's not just a tent. John brings his Brennan Brothers brio to the party, with five-star mattresses, goosedown duvets and pillows, Voya toiletries and rustic furniture beneath the canvas.

Irish Independent

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