Monday 20 May 2019

Inside George and Amal's secret romantic Irish holiday

From left to right: Andy Ring, George Clooney and Seamus Clooney at Ballyfin House
From left to right: Andy Ring, George Clooney and Seamus Clooney at Ballyfin House
George And Amal Clooney
The Prince of Wales speaks to Amal and George Clooney (Chris Jackson/PA)
Amal Clooney and George Clooney attend a dinner to celebrate The Prince's Trust, hosted by Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on March 12, 2019 in London, England
Amal and George Clooney attended the royal wedding (Chris Jackson/PA)
Amal Clooney leaves after attending the baby shower for Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, at The Mark Hotel, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).
Amal Clooney (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Niamh Horan and Sarah Slater

George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin jetted in to Ireland this weekend and are enjoying a secret romantic Easter break on the exclusive Ballyfin Demesne estate, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

The A-list couple caused a stir among delighted guests yesterday when they quietly checked into the five-star country house in Co Laois.

Recently named the best hotel in the world by Condé Nast magazine, Ballyfin previously hosted honeymooners Kanye West and Kim Kardashian in 2016.

Clooney, whose ancestral home is Windgap, Co Kilkenny, was said to have been delighted at finally reconnecting with his Abbeyleix relatives yesterday, thanks to local man Andy Ring.

The planned family get together was organised by his parents renowned broadcaster Nicholas (85) and his writer wife Nina (80) who touched down into the country from the US during the week.

Nicholas’ late sister was internationally acclaimed singer Rosemary Clooney.

The couple hosted the family reunion at the five star award winning luxury hotel Ballyfin House in Co Laois to also mark the actor’s first visit to Ireland.

The actor’s parents, renowned broadcaster Nicholas (85) and his writer wife Nina (80) touched down into the country from the US this week.

Amal and George Clooney (Chris Radburn/PA)
Amal and George Clooney (Chris Radburn/PA)

The location was chosen as it is remote and far from prying eyes.

Andy Ring, a cousin of Clooney’s and the owner of irishheritagetowns.com met with the actor at Ballyfin. “The first thing he said when he arrived at Ballyfin House was, 'The Irish Clooneys are doing okay', he’s an absolute gentleman.’

The Hollywood actor, who has previously spoken of his friendship with Bono, was seeing having dinner in Dublin's Coppinger Row last night joined by the U2 front man and his good pal and artist, Guggi.

He dined with his high-flying wife international human rights lawyer Amal (41) with Bono and Guggi undisturbed in the popular Mediterranean restaurant only spotted by some eagle-eyed diners - going unrecognised by others as he had grown out his beard.

Set in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom mountains outside Portlaoise, Ballyfin opened as a country house hotel with just 20 bedrooms after eight years of renovations in 2011.

The Regency mansion stands in 614 acres of secluded gardens where the couple can stroll, horse ride, enjoy coarse fishing on the lake or archery and falconry.

The luxurious hideaway has won numerous awards and Condé Nast readers gave it a score of 99.11.

Each of the suites, including Lady Caroline Coote's four-poster canopy bed, has been individually designed to mirror the unique style of the original house. Wines are carefully selected from 12 vineyards established by Irish exiles - known, inevitably, as the Wine geese.

This weekend calls to Ballyfin Demesne went unreturned.

Read more: How the Clooneys became the world's biggest power couple

Sunday Independent

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