On May 1st 2011, Ballyfin opened its doors as an exclusive hotel after years of restoration. Writer and broadcaster John Quinn spent five years as a boarder in the then Patrician College, Ballyfin, in the 1950s and later made an award-winning radio documentary about that experience. He returned to Ballyfin in 2011 as a paying guest.
The Return by John Quinn
Leading travel writer Fiona Duncan describes the experience and
feelings of being a guest at Ballyfin.
Fiona Duncan experiences Ballyfin
"Ballyfin is magical for children"
"My only regret was that we had just one perfect night at this wonderful place
- it was not enough!"
Denise Barkley, Oxfordshire
"The finest hotel I've ever had the good fortune to stay at"
"I'm crazy about this place, everything there is perfect"
Michael Smith, Celebrity Interior Decorator
"The performance by the team was exemplary. Great professionalism, coupled with a warmth of character and wonderful effort to ensure each and every guest was cared for. While being housed in great elegance, it was the manner in which we were treated during every moment of our stay that was the icing. You provided the canvas to give 35 people a quite remarkable experience that will stay in our minds for the rest of our lives. Thank you"
From an exclusive use group family & friends
"When you pull up the driveway the staff is awaiting your arrival outside with big smiley faces, ready to welcome you to Ballyfin... that is just the beginning of the ultimate royal service you will experience during your stay. The staff is incredible... so knowledgeable and absolutely passionate about this hotel. And they should be! The house itself is out of this world. The art collections, the antique furniture and embellishments are mind blowing. I stayed in the Lady Caroline Coote Room- the canopy bed was heavenly, the bathtub was HUGE, the complimentary laundry service was outstanding. And the FOOD. Ah the food! Chef Fred's cuisine is a culinary masterpiece... his tasting menu was 3.5 hours of pure heaven (and have to acknowledge Maitre d/ food manager Frederic for his wonderful wine-pairing.) The house sits on 600 acres and there is so much to see. Be sure to take out a golf buggy and explore the tower and gardens. As for activities, try the clay pigeon shooting and archery. Such a blast, and Patrick and Lionel are so patient!"
Michael & Deirdre, Dublin
"Ballyfin has quite possibly ruined every future hotel experience for me-- I don't think any hotel can compare. I had high hopes about this property and it exceeded every expectation I had. Better than 5 star! I would visit Ireland again just to stay at Ballyfin"
"Magical, wonderful oasis of peace, calm and tranquilty"
Hugh & Maureen, Laois
"Superb service & unparalled surroundings"
Dean & Gavin, London
"An absolutely astonishing experience. The level of service and kindness of the staff is unparalled"
Anne & Costar, Cyprus
"Ballyfin is simply divine. The best mini break I have ever had and I hope to return very soon to the delights of food and luxury"
Deirdre & Peter, Limerick
"We have visited nearly 70 countries and can say this is the finest property that we have ever stayed in"
Russ & Susan, USA
"Beyond the fabulous setting and restoration, outstanding cuisine and service and sumptuous comfort of the interiors, it is the staff that makes Ballyfin truly special, The fact that most are local Irish with a personal history with the property adds a whole other dimension to the guests' experience"
Brenda, MA, USA
“We had an unbelievable week. Each and every one of the wonderful staff made us feel at home and the service was perfect. Ballyfin House itself was exciting in every little detail: from the paintings, the furniture, the cascade and the gardens, giving the visitor very little reason to leave the premises. We all had an experience that we will never forget and will always cherish. Living a week in Ballyfin is like taking part in a movie, the days were full with adventures and activities, no wonder we are so sad to leave. Please keep on taking good care of Ballyfin; we hope to come again soon"
From a family of 13 spanning four generations
"Just back from a two night stay at Ballyfin. Be sure to have a GPS in your car, or better yet have the Manor House pick you up for you don't want to miss a minute at this place getting lost in the countryside. Ballyfin is an eye opener. It has been written about at length in the June issue of Travel and Leisure and so I won't duplicate the superlatives that were written in that magazine. But a stay here, even if only for two nights, gives one total relaxation, total pampering, total attentiveness from a staff that is real, that is local, that is interested and interesting.
Ballyfin was not, for me, the highlight of my weeks stay in Ireland, but rather it was one of the highlights of my life! It is a place that stands out so thoroughly that I will remember it fondly and will recommed it highly to every client (with means) who ventures out of Dublin on their trip to Ireland. Ballyfin gave my sister who I brought on this trip, the relaxation and comfort that she doesn't enjoy in her hectic life in Jerusalem. It gave my friend from Miami who I also brought along, the ease to sit down at the piano and play, something he hasn't done in 15 years.
Ballyfin is not just a place of unsurpassed elegance, history, attention to detail and to guests comfort. It is also a state of mind. You lose yourself. Even though you might have planned a day driving around the area, you find you don't want to leave, not for a minute, and though you are tired and jet lagged, you don't want to sleep lest you miss something ( at a place where little happens unless you want it to). Its a place for walks, for conversation, for fine dining, swimming, thinking. Stuff we tend not to do at home or at other vacation spots. Ballyfin shows you that you need not to stay at a resort with a long reputation and hundreds of rooms. 15 rooms and suites will do nicely. Very nicely indeed!"
From a Travel Agent touring Ireland