Peter and Shelley Stokes’ substantial 18th century country house midway between Dublin and Cork is an impressive building with some magnificent period features, and offers comfort and relaxation with style.
A large marbled reception area with fresh flowers gives a welcoming impression on arrival, and public rooms include a lovely dining room with a gently pastoral outlook at the back of the house (see below) and a new art deco inspired bar which was opened in 2016 to mark the 300th birthday of Castle Durrow. Here they serve the famous Castle Durrow cocktails (gin, elderflower grown and made on the grounds, fresh lime and soda water served on crushed ice) as well as a carefully selected range of wines, beers and spirits.
Very spacious, luxurious accommodation is in high-ceilinged, individually decorated rooms and suites in the main house (some with four posters), with views over the surrounding parkland and countryside; some more contemporary but equally pleasing ground floor rooms are in a wing - particularly suitable for guests attending the weddings which have become a speciality, as they are convenient to the banqueting suite and avoid disturbing other guests.
Converted stables in a second wing provide more rooms, this time in a simpler country style – not luxurious, but very charming.
Conference/banqueting (160/170); secretarial services. Children welcome (under 5s free in parents' room, cot available without charge, baby sitting arranged, children's playroom). Pets permitted by arrangement. Garden tours. Spa, walking, tennis (all weather, floodlit), cycling, clay pigeon shooting, snooker. Golf, fishing, equestrian all nearby. Hairdressing, beauty salon.
Rooms 40 (10 junior suites, 3 ground floor, 4 family rooms, all no smoking and with bath & shower). DB&B from about €195 per couple (see website for special offers). 24 hr room service. Turn down service. Closed 24-26 Dec.
The White Lady Restaurant at Castle Durrow:
Formerly the Castle Restaurant, this is a lovely room overlooking the gardens and with views of the rolling countryside. With hand painted ceilings, original fireplaces, antique furniture, and gleaming chandeliers it makes a special setting, whether for dinner à deux or a get together of family and friends. Candles are lit in the foyer and restaurant at dusk, giving the whole area a lovely romantic feeling.
Head chef Graham Gallagher and his team offer a combination of traditional Irish and international dishes, always made to order . The policy is to use local artisan produce where possible, and the Castle gardens supply the kitchen with freshly picked vegetables and herbs in season.
The restaurant is a popular dining destination for its ambience, pleasant service and cooking with a "unique Castle Durrow twist". Some dishes may sound complicated but they work well on the plate.
Fresh fish from Donegal may be given the Castle Durrow treatment, for example, in a dramatic dish of cod wrapped in banana leaf; cooked with chilli, ginger, spring onion, coconut milk and coriander, and served with flash fried baby bok choy and fluffy jasmine rice, it brings a taste of the exotic to the heart of Ireland.
Local Angus beef is always a winner and, offering a variation on the usual accompaniments, it may be served with garlic and thyme roast fondant potato, honey glazed baby vegetables, smoked paprika and shallot butter.
And diners with a weakness for dessert should be sure to keep some space for indulgent treats, such as a duo of white and dark chocolate pyramid with an orange centre and orange crisp, or perhaps a classic apple Tarte Tatin served warm with tonka bean ice-cream and warm caramel sauce
Afternoon Tea at Castle Durrow:
Afternoon tea is served daily in the Chinese Room. Overlooking unspoilt countryside, this lovely room is decorated with oriental hand painted silk wallpaper and provides a serene setting for the enjoyment of traditional delicacies including finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and mini seasonal desserts. (Special dietary requirements can be catered for.)