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Enter another era at Ballyfin

Author: Elle Canada

Travel

Enter another era at Ballyfin

 

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Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The house

Majestic Ballyfin Demesne, built in the 1820s by a wealthy English family, is one of Ireland’s best-preserved Regency mansions. I had three relaxing days at this stunning property last spring, feeling as spoiled as Lady Mary. #downtonforever READ MORE: The full story of Ciara Rickard’s stay at Ballyfin

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The staff

The staff at Ballyfin is exceptional – warm, welcoming and always on hand for whatever you need, be it help with your bags, afternoon tea or an interesting tidbit about the area. I was by a roaring fire with a pot of tea and delicious cookies within 10 minutes of arrival. #agoodstart READ MORE: A foodie retreat in Quebec

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The Roman mosaic floor

This stunning mosaic floor – one of the first things you notice as you step into the entrance hall – originally came from a 2,000-year-old Roman villa. It was purchased in Italy in 1822 by honeymooning Cootes, who seem to have had a limitless budget. READ MORE: Travel to North Carolina: Hollywood East

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Ciara Rickard Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The Saloon

The Saloon, a large, grand reception room, is the centre of the house: It’s the site of pre-dinner cocktails, post-dinner digestifs and anytime lounging by one of the fires with a book or your iPad (there’s good wifi throughout the house). READ MORE: The most beautiful hotel rooms with a view

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The Library

The library, filled with both antique and authentic replica furnishings, is super-cozy and another great spot for fireside relaxation. The best part? There’s a secret door at one end. Push in the right spot on an inconspicuous-looking bookcase, and you’ll find yourself in an impressive glass conservatory. READ MORE: A-Z top travel guide of Canada

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Ciara Rickard Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The Gold Drawing Room

The Gold Drawing Room is maybe the grandest room in the house. As its name suggests, nearly everything is gold or gold-coloured, and its large windows offer views of the lake in front of the house. READ MORE: A culinary journey through Vietnam

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The stairs

The cantilevered staircase is a standout feature of the house, and it’s made all the more impressive by original portraits of various Cootes lining the Tiffany-blue walls. The lovely low-hanging chandelier will make you want to take picture after picture. READ MORE: Travel memoir of 22 hours in Cairo

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The Westmeath Room

The guestrooms are all individually decorated, with many thoughtful, unique touches. The four-poster beds, beautiful fabrics, deep bathtubs and massive windows will make you feel like you’re staying at Downton Abbey. READ MORE: Set-jetting in Iceland

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The Lady Caroline Coote Room

This room was Lady Caroline Coote’s boudoir in the 19th century. Today it is one of the prettiest guestrooms at Ballyfin – and, in a house full of beautiful rooms, that’s saying something. READ MORE: Inside look at Dexter and Byron Peart's travel guide

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The bathrooms

I’m not usually a bath person, but this one inspired me to sink into it each evening before dinner and enjoy the lovely scene through the window. All of the en suites are so pretty and spacious, it’s easy to spend far too much time in there and be late for dinner. READ MORE: 9 of the best travel gift ideas

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Ciara Rickard Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The pool, spa and gym

Should one wish to return to the 21st century temporarily for some exercise or spa treatments, there’s a 14-metre heated indoor pool, a gym and relaxing treatment rooms. READ MORE: An inside look on how Lyndie Greenwood travels

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The wine cellar

Oenophiles shouldn’t miss the opportunity to do a wine tasting in the cellar. The atmospheric, dimly lit room with vaulted ceilings is the perfect setting to try some vintages with in-house sommelier Richard. READ MORE: A travel guide to Dubai

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The setting

There are several ways to see the property, but one of the most charming is by horse-drawn carriage. Irish cob Billy took us through the woods, where we were surrounded by vivid colour: a carpet of spring bluebells and a few of Ireland’s 40 shades of green. READ MORE: 7 things you need to sleep on a plane

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Ciara Rickard Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The folly

This may look like a crumbling medieval tower, but it is in fact a folly – built in the 19th century for no purpose except to look like a hundreds-of-years-old ruin. You can go up to the top to see the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the near distance and even arrange to have a picnic brought up. READ MORE: 5 stylish passport covers

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: Horseback riding

Another lovely way to see the property is on horseback; experienced guides will take you around the lake and through the woods and fields at whatever pace you choose. (My horse looks tiny, but he seemed rather large at the time!) READ MORE: Travel guide to São Paulo, Brazil

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin by night

A nighttime stroll around the property provides an impressive view of the mansion. Ballyfin is well into the countryside, so the glowing house is the only light you can see and the happy voices inside the only sound you can hear. READ MORE: 10 travel essentials for a good night's sleep

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Ciara Rickard Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: Period-costume fun

On our last evening there, myself and some other guests raided the period-costume room to complete our 19th-century experience. (That's me in blue.) I felt self-conscious at first, but before long I started to like the look and even felt a little sad that I couldn't rock 19th-century fashion more often. READ MORE: Maria Giulia Maramotti's travel must-haves

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ciara Rickard Credits: ELLE Canada

Enter another era at Ballyfin

Ballyfin: The pub

After-dinner fun takes place in the Ballyfin pub, in the basement of the house. Small, cozy and warmed by the requisite fire, it’s the perfect place to pass the evening. I enjoyed live traditional Irish music and dancing and some Irish whiskey here – and it was the perfect end to a delightful escape. READ MORE: The full story of Ciara Rickard’s stay at Ballyfin

By: Ciara Rickard Source: Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne Credits: ELLE Canada
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Enter another era at Ballyfin