Whether for a short break, a special occasion, a good meal or just a light bite and a browse around the gardens, this lovely period property near Slane is well worth a special visit.
Arriving at dusk with the courtyard fountain, walled garden and sweeping grounds all romantically lit up, you could imagine you are pulling up to a grand Tuscan villa – and, sipping wine on the sheltered bistro patio in fine summer weather, the illusion is complete.
Since buying the property in 2002, Trish and Brian Conroy have restored and renovated the house with consideration and taste – and, thanks to their efforts, it also stands proud once again on the parkland that belonged to the original estate.
The whole property is under continuous renovation and development and, although the main house was originally available only as a private venue for groups or events, the Conroys later decided to open all rooms for independent bookings – so they are now able to offer 18 luxurious double bedrooms, six of which are splendid period rooms situated in the main house, with additional accommodation in the courtyard.
The entire house is also still available for rent on an exclusive basis for special occasions, and the courtyard cottages are available for self-catering (see our self-catering site for details).
The main house is very beautiful, with several elegant reception rooms, a very beautiful dining room, huge kitchen, games room and more. A small bar that was initially intended to meet the needs of guests attending events (it is a gorgeous wedding venue), it now adds an extra dimension to the appeal of Tankardstown as a short breaks destination.
No expense has been spared with fine antiques, artwork and splendid mirrors, and only the very finest fabrics and furnishings feature in every room; the overall impression is one of immaculate taste and luxurious comfort.
The charming 18th century stable yard has been converted into elegant cottages, available for self catering (see self-catering site) but also for B&B - breakfast can be delivered to your door on request.
Each bedroom in both the main house and cottages is elegantly decorated in a different style, and most have both bath and shower ensuite - plus additional comforts including waffle cotton robes, slippers and Molton Brown toiletries. And, near the cottages, there’s also a Garden Party Room, fitness studio and two treatment rooms.
Tankardstown is firmly established as one of Ireland’s most desirable country house destinations - a wonderful place for a short break, the house also lends itself particularly well to small weddings (up to 60 guests can be catered for to dine in the house and a marquee can be arranged for larger numbers), and is ideal for a family reunion or special birthday party.
Likewise, Tankardstown is perfect for small conferences or business meetings - the conference room seats about 70 people theatre style, or 50 at tables of 10. There are two small breakout rooms and a kitchen adjacent. In the main house, the dining room makes an impressive boardroom, seating up to 20 at a polished mahogany table with large windows ensuring plenty of light, and several reception rooms providing excellent breakout area.
It’s very conveniently located (only a short drive from Dublin airport and handy from the North too) and the area will repay time given to exploration – Newgrange World Heritage Site is nearby and there are lots of less obvious places to visit and things to do. Facilities on site include an all weather tennis court, massage room, gym and horse riding; golf and fishing nearby.
Conferences/Banqueting (120/60); free broadband wi/fi; secretarial services. Rooms 18 (6 in main house, 12 in courtyard cottages); B&B €120 pps. Children welcome (cots available, baby sitting arranged, play ground); Pets welcome (stay in bedroom or outside in kennel). Fitness room, equestrian, tennis, archery, clay pigeon shooting, garden, massage, treatments. Fly fishing, golf, garden visits, & horse racing nearby.
In addition to the main house and courtyard, Trish and Brian Conroy have opened up buildings around a garden area at the rear, to provide not one but two restaurants - and, most recently, a pretty Tea Room. It must originally have been the service yard, and they call it their ‘garden village’ - a fitting setting for good food, especially since the arrival of Robbie Krawczyk as head chef in spring 2014.
Robbie - son of the renowned West Cork charcutier Frank Krawczyk - is well known to Irish food lovers from his time in some of the country's best-loved restaurants including Dunbrody House Hotel in Arthurstown, Co Wexford, and the late lamented O'Brien Chop House in the heritage town of Lismore, where his flavoursome, ingredients-led cooking earned him many followers.
The Cellar is a smart casual restaurant and bar in a series of characterful former outbuildings, with outdoor seating for fine weather; delicious, stylishly simple food is served here.
And, in the courtyard alongside, is the fine dining Brabazon Restaurant. Although mainly a new build you would never guess it - the old cow shed was the starting point and, like everything else at Tankardstown, it has been built and finished with exquisite taste to create an atmospheric, slightly other-worldy setting for a very special dining experience.
The style is sophisticated rustic, with an open fire for winter and, for warmer days, a garden terrace accessed by French doors, which – like all the woodwork – are painted in a beautifully elegant soft country green.
A meal here gets off to a good start with a prompt and genuine welcome, and well trained staff waste no time in offering a drink along with one of Robbie's famously ingredients-led menus.
Menus here always offer a good choice of interesting, accessibly priced dishes based on local produce and the Tankardstown walled gardens, polytunnel and poultry enclosure, but Robbie and the team also operate some terrific one-off evenings.
These began with the Friday Night Project, which champions a local supplier and runs on the third Friday of the month off-season. The first was Peter Whelan of The Whole Hogg, complemented by the local craft beer, Bru, from Trim Co Meath. Another appealing initiative is ‘Tasting Thursdays’, when a five course ‘Taste of Land and Sea Menu’ menu is offered at a very reasonable €45 per person - a good excuse to indulge in a midweek outing.
The setting at Brabazon is charming, but it is much more than a pretty face. With its excellent cooking - and exceptionally professional and friendly service - what you can expect here is a special occasion experience at an everyday price – a very customer focused approach which ensures plenty of returning guests.
Don't forget to allow time for a look around before or after dining here, as there is plenty to see - including a variety of poultry in their enclosure near the carpark, where ducks and geese sail serenely on a little pond.
Whether for dinner or Sunday lunch, a meal at this atmospheric restaurant is always a real treat.