Irish eyes are smiling at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara, Ireland has the sophistication of Downton Abbey combined with the rustic charm of Irish hospitality. Photo: Rustic Ballynahinch Castle Photo: Ballynahinch Castle

CONNEMARA, IRELANDFebruary 23, 2013 – Ballynahinch Castle Hotel ( in Connemara, Galway, Ireland has been described in one word which perfectly characterizes it as “poetry.”

Situated in the spiritual heart of the region, this manor castle and its 450 acre woodland estate reflects the spirit of Irish hospitality with its rich history and nostalgic location. Nestled on the shores of the Owenmore River at the foot of the 12 Bens Mountain range and just five miles from the Altantic Ocean, the popular luxury hotel resembles a sporting estate more than it does a traditional castle.

The Grand Walk at Ballynahinch

Ballynahinch, which means settlement of the island when translated from the original Irish, was built in 1684 for the Martyn family, of which one of its most famous members was Colonel Richard Martin. Colonel Martin was a politician and well-known animal rights activist who founded the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). At first Martin was source of public ridicule, but eventually his reputation earned him the nickname of ‘Humanity Dick.’

Since 1946, when Ballynahinch became a hotel, the property has thrived upon the distinction of offering superb accommodations and award-winning dining in luxurious, but unpretentious, surroundings. Among the most popular activities are fly-fishing for salmon, nature walks amid pristine forests, horseback riding and golf, all of which capture the ambience of a gentler, more relaxing day and age. 

Ballynahinch blends a Downton Abbey lifestyle with a rustic atmosphere that immediately embraces its guests by encapsulating them in a world that only seems to exist in period novels and films.

Fisherman’s Pub, Ballynahinch Castle

Much of the appeal of Ballynahinch is the opportunity to venture away from the castle for a variety of excursions before returning to open log fires and the lively old world charms of the Fisherman’s Pub.

The Ballynahinch Fishery, located on the property of the castle, is recognized throughout the world as providing some of the best salmon and sea trout fishing on earth. It’s a “riverdance” for anglers.

Several nearby fishing villages feature sea cruising and both deep sea and freshwater fishing. There are also regular outings to the Aran Islands and picturesque Inishbofin.with its population of just 160 inhabitants.

Inishbofin, which means the Island of the White Cow, is primarily known for its scenic location, but it is also home to St. Colman’s Cemetery, the ruin of a 13th century church on the site of a 7th century monastery.

Ancient ruin at Inishbofin

The island is a short 30-minute ferry ride from Cleggan Pier. Noted for its delightful walks and sandy beaches, it is also a popular spot to carry a picnic lunch prepared at Ballynahinch before you set out for the day.

Shoppers enjoy the villages of Roundstone and Westport as well as the local market in Clifden. Along with its market, Clifden is the gateway to the appropriately named Sky Road which is known for its breathtaking views of the Irish coastline.

Reflections of Kylemore Abbey

Another favorite day trip is a visit to Kylemore Abbey, Ireland’s oldest Benedictine Abbey. Kylemore, just a half-hour’s drive from Ballynahinch, was built in 1868 and, it has been home to the Community of Benedictine Nuns for nearly 100 yeara. The site features a Gothic church, Victorian gardens, walking areas in the mountains plus crafts and pottery.

Among the list of characters associated with Ballynahinch was Maharaja Ranjitsinhji who many regard as one of the greatest cricket batsmen in history. In addition to being an Indian prince, Ranji was a member of the English cricket team and played first-class cricket for Cambridge University.

His unorthodox batting style called the “leg glance” revolutionized the game by allowing quicker reaction time with the bat. One teammate tabbed him with the nickname “the midsummer night’s dream of cricket.”

Outside the cricket pitch. Ranji became the Chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes in 1907 and later represented his country at the League of Nations

The rest of the story, Ballynahinch



For the traveler, Ballynahinch Castle represents casual elegance. Classic rooms are individually furnished in a variety of sizes that conjure images and impressions of a bygone era. Rates begin at approximately $145 per night and all classic rooms are located in the original Ballynahinch building.

At the higher end of the scale, three riverside suites occupy the full width of the luxury wing of the castle hotel. The suites feature panoramic views of the river and woodlands or the walled garden. Prices start at about $270 per night.

Ballynahinch is a four-star property that prides itself on traditional Irish hospitality. Sequestered within the idyllic forests of Connemara, Galway, Ballynahinch will not overwhelm you with pomp and ceremony. Rather it welcomes you with all the sensations of a genteel lifesyle where living is quiet and uncomplicated. Just the way it used to be.  ( 

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Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to SwitzerlandFrance and Italy for groups of 12 or more.

Inquiries for groups can be made at Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.



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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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