Ballyvolane House - Fermoy, Co Cork
Family-friendliness is increasingly important in Irish hospitality as more people prefer to choose the simplicity, relaxation and - if chosen wisely - better value, that airport-free home holidays offer.
Our Family-Friendly award is more highly-valued each year, as times change; we look for the places that cater especially well for families by providing a range of services and activities for varying ages and interests that make for a stress-free break - to date we have singled out hotels (and, with their leisure centres and other all-weather activities, the best are a very good option indeed), but this year’s award is an invitation to families to consider less obvious choices.
“A country house break tends to be seen as rather grown up and sophisticated – not the first idea that would come to mind for a family holiday.
Yet many country houses fit the bill perfectly offering a magical ‘big house’ experience, with gardens and woodland to explore, farm animals to meet and lots for all ages to do.
To prove the point, Jenny and Justin Green of Ballyvolane House, Fermoy, Co Cork offer special ‘Little People’ breaks throughout the year for a few days of family fun.
It’s ideal for little people, with vast grounds to get lost in, a tree house to play in, woods to explore, hens to feed, eggs to collect, donkeys to pet and lots more entertainment nearby, such as Fota Wildlife Park, Blarney Castle and Leahy's Open Farm.
Each child is given a storybook and a jar of cookies on arrival, and ‘Farmer Justin’ takes all the kids on a tractor and trailer ride around the estate after breakfast; then each evening at 5.30pm, Justin and Jenny's kids Toby, Jamie and Fleur host a High Tea Party. Magic!”