Spread across 400 bright green, undulating acres of farmland, this country house in rural East Cork looks straight out of central casting. Owned and run by the Allens–the reigning first family of the Irish food scene—Ballymaloe House itself is matriarch Myrtle Allen’s former family-residence-turned-hotel. Staying here feels like coming home, the accommodations are supremely comfortable with Irish linen sheets, vintage wallpaper, and fresh vases of wildflowers delivered daily. The on-site restaurant features a menu inspired by the nearby world-renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School, and showcases the best of Irish produce, most of it sourced within a few miles of the house itself. The full Irish breakfast, including warm scones fresh from the oven and traditional delicacies like black pudding and kippers, washed down with several cups of strong tea, is a quintessential Irish experience not to be missed. We recommend booking in during the annual summer Litfest, a week-long food and drinks literary festival with industry speakers that have included Madhur Jaffrey, Alice Waters, and Francis Mallmann among others. Cooking enthusiasts will relish booking into the cookery school for workshops on everything from bread-baking to Asian cuisine, with all the ingredients foraged by the students themselves from the immaculate walled gardens and fields that surround the school and house.

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