Magazine names Ballymaloe on world best list

A Cork hotel has been named one of the world’s best, according to travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller.

Ballymaloe House, located in Shanagarry, East Cork, was the only Irish hotel to secure a spot in the travel magazine’s Gold List 2015.

This year, the winners span six continents and 34 countries and, according to the Condé Nast website, are all personal favourites of the publication’s travel editors.

Ballymaloe’s Hazel Allen said she was overjoyed with the accolade. “We’re delighted with it,” she said. “And to be the only hotel in Ireland on the list is just fantastic.”

Conde Nast dubs Ballymaloe a “seventeenth-century stone mansion” with service “that has to be experienced to be believed”.

It also describes the cooking school and organic farm as “an experience no foodie should miss”.

Only a few weeks ago, however, the hotel received unfavourable reviews from British journalist AA Gill.

The food critic visited Ballymaloe late last year and went on to slate the hotel’s restaurant in The Sunday Times magazine.

Ms Allen admitted the review was disappointing, but recent reviews and accolades were extremely positive.

“I think the AA Gill review was a once-off,” she said. “Nowhere is going to be right for everyone and I think we just weren’t what he was expecting.

“We’ve been getting lots of great reviews lately so we’re very happy with what we’re doing. It’s been a terrific year and this is definitely a great start to 2015.”

Meanwhile, West Cork’s Sheep’s Head has been named Destination of the Year by the prestigious John and Sally McKenna guides.

While Sheep’s Head has traditionally been the least-visited of the three West Cork peninsulas, in recent years it has gained a reputation among foodies who are drawn to the area by local delicacies such as Durrus Cheese, Bantry Bay mussels, and Glenilen butters.

Recognising this, the McKennas, authors of Where to Eat and Stay On the Wild Atlantic Way, have singled out the peninsula as a must-see destination.

“With a clutch of excellent places to stay and eat, the Sheep’s Head is recognised as a great destination that offers unparalleled walking experiences,” they wrote.

Siobhán Burke, from the Sheep’s Head and Bantry Tourism Co-operative, said businesses in the area are working together to create fantastic experiences for visitors.

“It’s wonderful to see that those efforts are being rewarded,” she said.

“The McKennas’ selection of the Sheep’s Head as their destination of the year is a great tribute to the community here, and to the thoughtful way tourism has been developed in our area.”


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