Thursday 14 November 2019

First Look: Ireland's Blue Book reveals two new members for 2020

The 46th edition of Ireland's Blue Book brings a cinematic castle and revamped Victorian townhouse to the collection

Glin Castle. Photo: Ireland's Blue Book
Glin Castle. Photo: Ireland's Blue Book
Catherine FitzGerald and her husband, actor Dominic West, in the pink room - a room kept for adults during Catherine’s childhood, but their own kids are given free rein of the whole castle. Photo: Tony Gavin
One of the 15 bedrooms in the castle. It's possible for a family or group of friends to hire the castle for a special occasion or a themed weekend
Glin Castle, located on the banks of the Shannon, has stunning gardens which Catherine FitzGerald loves to tend
A double at The Wilder Townhouse
The Wilder Townhouse, Dublin
Tea on the terrace at The Wilder
Laura Bowe, the blue Book's new chairperson for 2020. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

The castle where Taylor Swift spent Christmas and a €9.5m Dublin townhouse restoration are new additions to Ireland's Blue Book for 2020.

Glin Castle in Co Limerick, owned by Catherine FitzGerald and actor Dominic West, is available for exclusive private rentals, events, golf tours and small weddings.

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Prices start from €5,500 per night, or €24,500 for a week.

Home for 800 years to the FitzGerald family, hereditary Knights of Glin, the Shannonside castle has hosted celebs like Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and Taylor Swift, who reportedly stayed over last Christmas.

"All the talk nowadays is about experiential travel, and it would be a lovely experience for a family or group of friends to take over the castle, and maybe have a themed weekend," FitzGerald told the Sunday Independent this summer.

The Blue Book's second new addition, the Wilder Townhouse (below), is a €9.5m restoration of a Victorian building on Adelaide Road by Frankie Whelehan, owner of sister property, the Montenotte Hotel in Cork. Its 42 stylish rooms range in size from 'Shoebox' to luxury suites, with rates from around €160 per night.

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The Wilder Townhouse, Dublin

Two properties are leaving the Blue Book next year - Newport House and private rental Killadangan House. Both are located in Co Mayo.

The announcement of new members is being made today at the collection's AGM in Ballymaloe House, Co. Cork. The new additions bring its total number of restaurants, hotels and country houses to 56.

Newly elected chairperson Laura Bowe welcomed the news.

“Both properties are beautiful and completely unique, which is a true representation of what a quintessential Blue Book property is," she said.

Glin Castle

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Catherine FitzGerald and her husband, actor Dominic West, in the pink room - a room kept for adults during Catherine’s childhood, but their own kids are given free rein of the whole castle. Photo: Tony Gavin

Home for 800 years to the FitzGerald family, hereditary Knights of Glin, Glin Castle offers 15 uniquely decorated bedrooms, a grand entrance hall, dining room, library and light drawing room, all with open fires.

Owned by Catherine FitzGerald and Dominic West (above), whose credits include The Wire and Tomb Raider, it anchors a 400-acre wooded demesne on the banks of the Shannon, with romantic pleasure grounds and a walled garden behind the house.

The kitchen offers Irish country house cooking, while guests can also partake in activities like clay pigeon shooting, yoga and archery - experiences like history discussions, or whiskey tastings with Irish music, can also be arranged on site.

The castle is available to hire exclusively for private rental accommodation, events, golf tours and small weddings, at €5,500 per night or €24,500 for a week.

Did you know? The castle's flying staircase, leading to the bedrooms, is the only one of its kind in Ireland. 'Cracked Jack', the 26th knight, used to ride his horse up the stairs to bed.

More: At home in Glin Castle with Dominic West and Catherine FitzGerald

The Wilder Townhouse

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A double at The Wilder Townhouse

Dating from 1839, The Wilder took on a new life following a €9.5 million reboot by Frankie Whelehan (owner of the Montenotte Hotel in Cork).

Creating the townhouse "allowed us to bring a beautiful structure back to its former glory", Whelehan says, creating "a truly unique hotel experience" in Dublin 2.

Set just a five-minute stroll from St Stephen's Green, the Victorian property offers 42 rooms of different styles and sizes as well as an Art Deco-style residents' bar, The Gin and Tea Rooms. Overseen by architect Gráinne Webber, the design feels both sophisticated and fun - from the beautifully restored red brick outside to tailor's dummies for hanging jackets and coats in rooms, or the smoked parquet floors and botanical wallpapers in the bar and restaurant.

Menus and breakfast are available for guests only. Lead-in rates range from around €160 per night for Shoebox rooms, or €350 for suites.

Did you know? The Wilder was once a home for retired governesses.

More: Read our Wilder Townhouse review here.

For more info, see irelandsbluebook.com.

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