Perfectly placed for walking holidays in the Wicklow Hills, playing golf, or simply for touring the area, this charming Victorian farmhouse is run by TV chef and best-selling cookbook author, Catherine Fulvio.
The farm has been in her family (the Byrnes) for three generations and they have welcomed guests here for over forty years - Catherine took over in 1999, and she then refurbished the house throughout in an old country style that perfectly suits the comfort, cosiness, home-cooked food and hospitality that she provides.
A gently Victorian theme prevails: the charming bedrooms have antique furniture and very good beds - and pretty bathrooms, most of which have Victorian baths. The dining room, parlour and sitting room are in a similar style and her energetic quest for perfection also extends to the garden, where fruit tree, roses and herbs are flourishing, and her well known cookery school - which is in a renovated milking parlour in the grounds.
Catherine cooks four course dinners for guests, based on local produce, including vegetables and herbs from the Ballyknocken farm (with wine list, including some wines that are specially imported by Catherine's Italian husband).
Although she is also a fan of Italian food (as seen on more than one TV series, and related cookbooks) Catherine is a committed supporter of seasonal local produce and enjoys nothing better than showcasing it, so - although there are, of course, some Italian influences - her cooking style is mainly 'wholesome Irish'.
All this, plus extensive breakfasts and great picnics - and a relaxing atmosphere - ensure guests keep coming back for more. Short breaks are offered, also self-catering accommodation; details on application. See also Ballyknocken Cookery School (www.thecookeryschool.ie) which offers a range of day, weekend and residential courses,.
*Ballyknocken was our Farmhouse of the Year in 2004.