Sunday 18 August 2019

First Look: Ireland's Blue Book reveals four new members for 2018

Kildangan House, Co. Mayo
Kildangan House, Co. Mayo
Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway
Kildangan House, Co. Mayo
Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan.
Marquis room at Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan
Castle Grove Country House
Glenlo Abbey, presidential suite
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Ireland's Blue Book is adding four new properties to its collection of hotels, country houses and restaurants for 2018.

Castlegrove House, Co. Donegal; Glenlo Abbey in Galway; Richard Corrigan's Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan and Killadangan House in Co. Mayo, are being unveiled as new members of the prestigious collection for next year.

The announcement will be made at the Blue Book's AGM, which takes place at Castle Leslie Estate in Co. Monaghan today.

The new additions bring the total number of properties in the collection to 54, the highest number since the Blue Book Association was founded in 1974

Browns Restaurant in Derry/Londonderry departs the collection this year.

"I am thrilled that Virginia Park Lodge is to become part of the Blue Book family," said Richard Corrigan, who bought the Co. Cavan estate in 2013.

"The welcome that we have received here today has been delightful, and we look forward to working with our new colleagues in the year ahead."

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

Castle Grove Country House, Co. Donegal

Castle Grove Country House Exterior.jpg
Castle Grove Country House

A family-run Georgian house in Letterkenny, Castle Grove dates from 1695 and is set on its own, 250-acre estate. With a location at the end of a mile-long avenue on the shores of Lough Swilly, it joins Rathmullan and Coolmore Manor house as the Blue Book's third property in Donegal. Open fireplaces, a library, cosy bar and bedrooms are furnished with antiques and luxury fabrics, the collection says, with an AA Rosette restaurant rounding out the four-star offering.

Details: 074 915-1118;; B&B from €110 to €250.

Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway

Glenlo Abbey Exterior.jpg
Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Galway

The five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Golf recently undertook a major refurbishment of its main house and bedrooms, adding not just soft touches to the bedrooms and public spaces but clever details like underfloor heating. Based around an 18th-century abbey, the hotel sits on a 138-acre estate with its own, nine-hole golf course and two AA Rosette Pullman Restaurant, set on two original carriages from the Orient Express (read our review here). It's a large property by Blue Book standards, but there's enough intimacy and heritage to make it a comfy fit.

Details: 091 519600;; B&B from €199 .

Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan

Virginia Park Lodge - Marquis Room.jpg
Marquis room at Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan

In 2013, Richard Corrigan pumped his life savings into a purchase of the 18th century hunting estate he had been married in 24 years previously. The celeb chef joins Neven Maguire (MacNean House & Restaurant ) and Gearóid Lynch (The Olde Post Inn) in creating a destination dining experience for Co. Cavan - this one set on 100 acres overlooking Lough Ramor. The historic property is "a haven for walkers, fishermen, boaters and those simply looking to relax in serene beauty of the Irish countryside", the Blue Book says, with 12 Woodland Huts providing additional accommodations (and nodding to a firm wedding trade).

Details: 049 845-6100;; lodge rooms from €220 .

Killadangan House, Co. Mayo

Killadangan House - Interior.jpg
Kildangan House, Co. Mayo

Killadangan House is Mayo's sixth Blue Book member, "a beautifully restored and elegantly furnished period property" five kilometres from Westport. Newly launched for 2018, it offers luxurious self-catering accommodation to groups of up to ten, combining the space and grandeur of a period country house with the privacy and flexibility of self-catering. Kildangan overlooks Clew Bay, and is within reach of Croagh Patrick, the Great Western Greenway and Wild Atlantic Way.

Details: 087 165-0570;; weekly rental from €2,700-€5,000.

NB: For more on Ireland's Blue Book, see Rates indicate the variation from low to high season, and are subject to change.

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