Ever dream of wafting around a perfect flower and vegetable garden that could have come straight from the pages of Kinfolk Magazine? No, me neither. I’m a klutz and wafting is something I could never achieve. And, I really hate itchy clothes. So the Kinfolk magazine life was out of the question despite my love of terrariums and simple pleasures.
Lo and behold, after visiting the gorgeous gardens at Ballymaloe Country House Hotel though, I now have visions of brining a slow lifestyle into the garden of my new London home. The Ballymaloe Country House Hotel is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book, a selective collection of prestigious country house hotel and restaurants throughout the country. Ballymaloe were doing the locally-sourced eco-friendly lifestyle thing in the outskirts of Cork in Ireland long before Kinfolk was a twinkle in its Danish creator’s eye.
Located in East Cork, Ballymaloe Country House Hotel definitely requires recognition in Ireland’s Blue Book. It started off as a restaurant in 1964 by Myrtle Allen who wanted to show off Ireland’s country house cooking.
Myrtle was a self-taught cook who believed in using local, seasonal products. Of course, it helped that her husband was a farmer who produced an abundance of crops that needed to be used. In 1975, her restaurant received a prestigious Michelin star. Yes, snooty French chefs acknowledged an Irish woman in the 1970’s! Let that sense of wonder sink in.
Myrtle Allen has since passed on the care and management of Ballymaloe to her progeny. The hotel restaurant still carries on its spirit of locally-sourced, seasonal fare. In order to help with this ethos, the hotel has a fruit and vegetable garden and orchards from which they can source products for both decorating the hotel and use in its kitchen.
These gardens and orchards are part of the Ballymaloe Country House Hotel. The Ballymaloe Cookery School, run by Myrtle’s daughter in law, Darina Allen, also has gardens. Those gardens though are located a few kilometres away at another estate in the area that the Allens inherited. I didn’t get to visit the Ballymaloe Cookery School gardens.
One of the joys of staying at the Ballymaloe Country House Hotel, other than the delicious food, is walking through its gardens. For a foodie like me though, the food is not to be discounted. You can definitely taste the difference between farm-fresh organic fare and everything else. Even the simplest ingredients are bursting with flavour.
The Ballymaloe Country House Hotel Gardens
Getting to Ballymaloe Country House Hotel
The Ballymaloe Country House Hotel is a 4 star hotel located in East Cork. It’s address is Shanagarry, Midleton, County Cork. It has appeared on Conde Nast Traveller’s Gold List.
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My visit to Ballymaloe Country House Hotel was arranged through Failte Ireland. All opinions remain my own. This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through this it.