Barnabrow does not market itself as a hotel, it is a "venue".It is perched on the side of a hill. As you arrive there is no view of the house just the roof and various accomodation and the dining room built to the rear.
There is nobody manning reception. A girl stuck her head in our car window told us to park and took us to our room. Such a disappointment. It is different but in the right way? There is retro, eclectic and shabby chic but!!!!!!!!! The furnishings do not bear commenting on. It was cold, the kettle did not work, the telephone did not work, not that there was anybody to answer in reception, and the blinds fell off when pulled. There was no hot water to shower next morning, the towels had brown "rusty" spots on and the loo once flushed took forever to fill again. The loo beside the dining room in the main house came within a couple of centimetres of overflowing when flushed.
If you are lucky at breakfast you will get a seat at the table in the room near the kitchen, If not you are shown to the large, formal dining room. It was winter and it was cold. There was no obvious sign of heating. Breakfast was exactly what you would get in any hotel so no tips taken from Ballymaloe which is next door. The meal at the wedding reception was perfectly edible but hardly enhanced by the mashed potato arriving in a huge mound on top of a soup plate with a spoon stuck in,
The staff take their cue on how they interact with the guests from the owner. The only interaction they want with you is when they take your money at reception (which opens for the purpose) when you are checking out.
However, in my opinion, health and safety is the biggest issue at this location. People have to go outdoors to access the various areas and get back to their accomodation. The lighting did not work and people were floundering around in the dark, up and down fairly steep gravel paths and accessing the main house via a perpendicular fire escape ladder at the rear. If you do inflict this location on your family and friends make sure you tell them to bring a torch.
I have read the positive reviews about this venue and cannot reconcile them with my experience there. It is such a shame because we were really looking forward to our friends wedding celebrations. The saddest thing is we have to lie when asked if we enoiyed their day.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Barnabrow Country House, dating from 1639, has been lovingly and extensively restored over the past ten years. It now proudly stands as one of the most stunning wedding venues in Munster. It sprawls over 35 acres, has 22 individually-designed bedrooms and a large medieval-style banqueting hall that seats 150 guests as well as some traditional self-catering cottages. It is relaxed and friendly and offers a truly different ambiance for celebrations that are bespoke and exclusive. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Barnabrow Country House Hotel Midleton