| -2.5°C Dublin

First Look: Brennan brothers’ new hotel and 15th-century castle make Blue Book for 2023

Renowned collection of country houses, historic hotels and restaurants has announced 63 members for 2023, its largest ever

Close

Perryville House, Co Cork

Perryville House, Co Cork

Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny

Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny

Inside Tubbrid Castle...

Inside Tubbrid Castle...

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, Co Down

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, Co Down

Perryville House, Kinsale

Perryville House, Kinsale

/

Perryville House, Co Cork

A 15th-century castle in Co Kilkenny, John and Francis Brennan's new townhouse hotel in Kenmare and a centuries-old inn with links to CS Lewis are among the Blue Book’s new boltholes for 2023.

Tubbrid Castle in Co Kilkenny, Perryville House and Fernhill House & Gardens in Co Cork, The Lansdowne in Co Kerry, and The Old Inn in Co Down are the five new properties added to the renowned collection of country houses, historic hotels and restaurants for next year.

The new additions bring the total number of Ireland’s Blue Book members to 63 – its largest contingent ever.

The only property to leave next year is Glin Castle in Co Limerick, a private rental. 

With B&B from €80pp, the family-run Fernhill House and Gardens in Clonakilty will be among the most affordable Blue Book members.

Michael O’Neill Jr said his family were “absolutely thrilled” to be invited to join, “as it represents the pinnacle of Irish country house hospitality”. 

Close

Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny

Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny

Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny

Travel insider Newsletter

Considering where to go as the world opens up? Indulge your inner traveller with our free newsletter every Wednesday.

This field is required

The Lansdowne is the third Brennan Brothers’ property to make the collection – The Park Hotel Kenmare and The Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor are already members. 

“Ireland’s Blue Book represents the true essence of Irish hospitality and The Lansdowne Kenmare, dating from 1790, proudly carries that heritage forward following a total renovation in 2021,” said Francis Brennan. 

The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn, Co Down, is a revamp from Galgorm Collection, which has also added The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat to its growing empire in Northern Ireland. It dates from 1614. 

An elegant period townhouse, Perryville House is a 34-bed hideaway on the Wild Atlantic Way in Kinsale, while Tubbrid Castle is a 15th-century Irish castle that was uninhabited for over a century before its restoration by the Campion family.

Ireland’s Blue Book was founded in 1974, and has grown to include not just luxurious country houses, but castle hotels, restaurants, manor houses and even a lighthouse (on Clare Island) and luxury hotel barge (the Shannon Princess, based in Carrick-on-Shannon).

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

Fernhill House & Gardens, Co Cork 

Close

The 'Wild Rose' room at Fernhill House. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

The 'Wild Rose' room at Fernhill House. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

The 'Wild Rose' room at Fernhill House. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

Family-run for four generations, Fernhill House & Gardens in Clonakilty will be one of the most affordable nights away in the Blue Book, but it brings a surprising attention to detail, superb focus on local provenance and design, and gardens designed by Chelsea Gold Medal winner Mary Reynolds.

Menus spill over with county and garden produce, the hotel makes its own gin, and biodiversity and sustainability are key to its ethos - the estate features a permaculture forest, bee meadow and protected ancient forest glen, for example.

It featured in the Irish Independent’s  Hot 100 Best Hotels in Ireland for 2022, and won the award for ‘Irelands Best Wedding Venue’ at the Hotel & Catering Gold Medal Awards this year. Read our review of Fernhill House & Gardens here

Details: B&B from €80pp; fernhillhousehotel.com

The Lansdowne, Co Kerry 

Close

The Lansdowne, Kenmare

The Lansdowne, Kenmare

The Lansdowne, Kenmare

The Lansdowne has been part of the Kenmare streetscape since 1790.

Not ones to sit out the Covid-19 pandemic twiddling their thumbs, John and Francis Brennan acquired it in 2021 and have revamped the property to include a new LK Café, Dining Bar Terrace, Piano Lounge and 28 stylish rooms.

But it’s not all about the Brennans, either. Kasia Michalak is an astute general manager, as we noted when including it in our  Hot 100 Best Hotels in Ireland for 2022. Read our review of The Lansdowne here

Details: Rooms from €175; lansdownekenmare.com

The Old Inn, Co Down 

Close

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, Co Down

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, Co Down

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, Co Down

From Galgorm Collection (the folk behind Galgorm Resort and The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat; named Northern Ireland's Hotel of the Year for 2023), the Old Inn feels like a perfect fit for the Blue Book.

“Walking down the narrow, rickety corridor, dotted with antiques and grandfather clocks, you almost feel like you’re back in the 17th century,” Nicola Brady wrote in our Fab 50 this year.

This 32-bed coaching inn dates from 1614, and author CS Lewis stayed there in July 1958 with his wife Joy for a “perfect fortnight” and a “belated honeymoon”, as the Belfast Telegraph reported.

But beyond the Tudor façade and thatched roof you’ll find creature comforts met with 21st-century sophistication. Bedrooms are individually designed, with fun touches like four-poster beds and gold standalone tubs.

Details: B&B from £185/€211; theoldinn.com

Perryville House, Co Cork 

Close

Perryville House, Kinsale

Perryville House, Kinsale

Perryville House, Kinsale

Nestled in the natural harbour of Kinsale, Perryville House was built in 1820 and has been run by Andrew and Laura Corcoran since 1997. The period townhouse “is now a warm, and light-filled boutique guesthouse”, the Blue Book says, pitching it as “your first stop on the Wild Atlantic Way”.

There are 34 rooms (many with sea or harbour views; some with four-posters). Parents may enjoy some rest without younger kids, too: bookings are accepted for children over 12 years only.

Details: B&B from €280 per room; perryvillehouse.com

Tubbrid Castle, Co Kilkenny

Close

Inside Tubbrid Castle...

Inside Tubbrid Castle...

Inside Tubbrid Castle...

Set in Kilkenny’s Sliabhardagh Hills, Tubbrid Castle blends modern touches (think underfloor heating, for starters) with the 15th-century tower house atmospherics.

The tower was uninhabited for over a century before its restoration by the Campion family, and guests can today look forward to four-poster beds, a deep bath, fully equipped kitchen in the Great Hall and an oak banquet table on which to feast like a king. 

It sleeps eight over three bedrooms, and made our Fab 50 list in 2021

"Tubbrid Castle was home to generations of families allied to the Butlers of Kilkenny Castle,” the Blue Book notes. “Its architectural significance is denoted by its designation as a National Monument and a Protected Structure.” 

Details: From €725 per night; tubbridcastle.com


Most Watched





Privacy