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Reviewed 23 October 2006

We had our wedding here last December (a small affair with just family and close friends) and absolutely loved it. It's about half an hour from Cork, and very rural, but the directions are good and it was easy enough to find (though I wouldn't fancy the drive on a dark wet night, if it was my first time trying to find the place). I was in regular contact with Justin and Jenny, the owners, in the months prior to the big day, and found them very helpful and professional - really nothing was too much trouble. The house itself is fabulous and has been beautifully refurbished, but (for the benefit of the reviewer who commented on some worn furnishings) it is a family home as well as a hotel, and is the work of generations, not some instant interior decoration. Personally I loved the mellow blend of old and new, and found it far more characterful than any bland modern hotel. There are only 7 or 8 bedrooms, and I saw them all, as we booked the entire venue for the wedding. (There is also a self-catering cottage, but I did not visit that). The rooms are mostly large (a few are small), and all are different. Our room was enormous, with a huge separate bathroom. The bed was also very large, and extremely comfortable. The decor was fabulous and there were wonderful views from the window. The other rooms were also lovely, though a few are on the (comparatively) small side. The only one I'd prefer not to have is the downstairs one, as it's very near the communal areas and could be quite noisy. Note, also, that there are no locks on the bedroom doors, as everything runs on trust, with the atmosphere of a country house party - a bit disconcerting for the security-conscious modern traveller. I had dinner at Ballyvolane twice, once in the run up to the wedding, and of course on the day. The food is superb, without being overly fancy - what I would describe as excellent country house cooking - all fresh ingredients, locally sourced, much of it from the hotel's own garden. Breakfast included the most wonderful organic eggs from the hotel's own hens. I'm not sure I'd go for the communal dinner, if it meant making conversation all evening with complete strangers - not really my cup of tea, but I suppose it's part of the country house experience, and many people might enjoy it. The gardens are lovely in a relaxed way, and good for a wander - the grounds are extensive. In keeping with a country house, there are several dogs and an enormous cat - I loved this, it's one of the reasons I booked the hotel, but it might not be to everyone's taste. I believe there are also some donkeys in the grounds. As it was winter , there were warm log fires in the communal rooms, which made it so welcoming. All in all, I would recommend Ballyvolane House very highly - can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: December 2005
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3  Thank Galwaychick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Justybusty, Owner at Ballyvolane House, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2011

It was a pleasure to host your wedding here. We really enjoyed helping plan your big day and I am delighted you all had a brilliant time. Please keep in touch. Justin

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Reviewed 21 August 2006

Ballyvolane is a complete retreat from the day to day grind. Stepping back to a time of elegance, graciousness and charm, our hosts welcomed us with afternoon tea and the freedom of their home. Days can be filled easily with croquet, gentle walks, fishing, music and conversation with guests from all parts of the world. A privilege to be able to share in the life of a country house that has been loved by so many generations.

4  Thank SRAC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Justybusty, Owner at Ballyvolane House, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2011

Thank you very much for your comments and for staying. Glad you had such a great time. Hope to see you again. Rgds, Justin

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Reviewed 9 July 2006

Ballyvolane is the perfect combination of all the comforts of a nice hotel (fine linens, bathrobes, excellent plentiful pillows, etc) and the charms of staying at someone's spectacular house in the countryside. The food at all meals was delicious and the communal dining loads of fun (obviously this depends on who happens to be there at the same time). There are some quirks, as this house is "real" the art and furniture have been collected by the family over the years and some of it might be worn or chipped. Anyone who has lived with antiques will understand. I have stayed at some of the finest hotels in the world (Gritti Palace Venice, Ritz and Plaza Athene Paris, The Hassler and de Russie Rome, Claridge's London) and Ballyvolane will always stand out as a truly unique experience. Remember it is not trying to be a large fancy but bland hotel. When you look back at your time there you will never confuse it with any other place you have ever stayed.

A truly unique experience!!

  • Stayed: June 2006
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3  Thank dwm5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Justybusty, Owner at Ballyvolane House, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2011

Thank you. Delighted you enjoyed Ballyvolane House. Come and see us again soon. Best wishes, Justin

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Reviewed 17 May 2006

My husband and I spent 2 nights here and we can't imagine what everyone is raving about. The place is overrated. The rooms are musty and dim, and the furniture throughout is worn and/or chipped. Pictures in the hall and along the staircase to the second floor exhibit water damage and mildew. I know the other reviews mention the hosts but frankly we saw them very little and they didn't appear all that hospitable when we did. The food was good but overpriced for what was offered and the wine list is practically nonexistent. If we were going back to Ireland, we wouldn't return.

  • Stayed: May 2006
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4  Thank sbrantley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Justybusty, Owner at Ballyvolane House, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2011

Thank you for your feedback and I am sorry you did not enjoy your stay. We are continually refurbishing, maintaining and restoring the house and furniture. Whilst I admit some of the antiques and are a little battered and stained, the house itself and everything else is in excellent condition. With regards to the wines, we have an extensive wine list with over 90 wines and I'm sorry if this was not offered to you during your stay. We normally hand out the menus and wine list before dinner to all our guests. We do our utmost to be warm, friendly and welcoming and we will continue work hard to improve on this. Thanks again for your comments and best wishes, Justin

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Reviewed 21 January 2006

We stayed for one night at Ballyvolane in Roland's Room. The room was huge and clean. The house was beautifully decorated, furnished and well maintained. The property is large with many gardens for strolling. Our hosts (Justin & Jenny) were very nice and accommodating - they knew how to make their guests feel welcome. Breakfast was made to order and was delicious.

Be forewarned that the house itself is quite a ways out in the countryside, so if you like the convenience of being near a major town, it may not be for you. Be sure to stop for food and any sundries you might need before arriving at Ballyvolane because it is a good distance back to town. Also, be aware that the hosts have a couple of dogs which started barking around 8 AM so you can't really sleep in unless you have good ear plugs. Since we didn't have time to sleep in anyway, the dogs didn't really bother us.

We would definitely recommend this gorgeous house to others!

  • Stayed: August 2005
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6  Thank janices7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Justybusty, Owner at Ballyvolane House, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2011

Thanks for your comments and I am glad you enjoyed your stay - apart from the dogs. They are normally quiet (not always I admit). They now live in the wing of the house so are well away from the guests rooms if they do decide to bark. Thanks again and hope to see you again. Regards, Justin

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