What better way to spend a few days away in some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes than a short break at one of our famous fishing hotels? And, by a happy chance, they are all lovely places for non-fishing partners to visit too….

Ballyfin Demesne
Ballyfin, Co Laois

Beautifully located in the heart of Ireland, in the foothills of the tranquil and unspoilt Slieve Bloom Mountains, this lavishly restored Regency mansion operates as a luxurious - yet homely - small country house hotel, mainly on a full board basis which offers surprisingly good value. Despite the many impressive features of Ballyfin and the extraordinary collection of antiques and artwork of the period that it now houses, the tone of the house is unexpectedly warm and welcoming on arrival, and there is none of the stuffiness so often associated with exclusive properties. The same applies to the sumptuously furnished guest rooms and suites, which are decorated in period style but also have a lovely homeliness. The finest of food is of course an important element of this exceptional experience and the menus are inspired by seasonal produce from the eight acres of walled kitchen gardens, and other trusted suppliers. Although convenient for visits to places like Kilkenny, Emo House, Birr Castle and Heywood Gardens, and with activities such as walking in the unspoilt Slieve Bloom Mountains and golfing at top courses like Mount Juliet and The K Club nearby, many guests feel no need to leave the property at all and the wide range of on-site activities offered includes boating and coarse fishing for pike and roach on their own lake (catch and return policy). A ghillie and lessons can be arranged if required.

Enniscoe House
Castlehill, Crossmolina, Ballina, Co Mayo

Enniscoe House, Crossmolina, County MayoSet in parkland and mature woods on the shores of Lough Conn, "the last great house of North Mayo" was built the 1660s by ancestors of the present owner, Susan Kellett and her son, DJ. Today Enniscoe attracts anglers and other visitors with a natural empathy for the untamed wildness of this unspoilt and still - perhaps even after President Biden’s visit to Enniscoe in 2023 - surprisingly little known - area.There is brown trout fishing on Lough Conn and other trout and salmon fishing nearby; boats, ghillies, tuition and hire of equipment can be arranged. The house has great charm and makes a lovely place to come back to after a day’s fishing or exploring the rugged countryside: family portraits, antique furniture and crackling log fires all complement the warm hospitality and the deliciously simple, wholesome dinners based on home-grown organics and local produce. Non fishing partners will find plenty to do, as there are beautiful woodland walks and restored walled gardens, which are open to the public and have tea-rooms and a Heritage Shop, stocking quality “non-tourist” items, collectables, and some garden plants. In the old farm buildings there’s a genealogy centre, the North Mayo Heritage Centre (096 31809), and an agricultural museum displaying old farm machinery and rural artefacts. There’s also a working run of an old bog railway in the grounds, golf (three courses within easy reach) and equestrian nearby. Self-catering units also available.

Ballynahinch Castle
Recess, Co Galway

Ballynahinch Castle, Recess, County GalwayRenowned as a fishing hotel, this crenellated Victorian mansion enjoys a most romantic position in 450 acres of ancient woodland and gardens on the banks of the Ballynahinch River. As the road runs parallell to it, access to the river is unusually straightforward, and the Ballynahinch Fishery also extends through Loughs Inagh, Derryclare and Ballynahinch. Famous for both salmon and sea trout, the hotel and fishery can hire everything required, and tuition is available at certain times (details from the hotel). The hotel is impressive in scale yet relaxed in atmosphere - a magic combination which, together with a high level of comfort and friendliness (and an invigorating mixture of residents and locals in the bar at night), all combine to bring people back. The tone is set in the foyer, with its huge stone fireplace and ever-burning log fire and many of the (very comfortable and understatedly stylish) rooms have lovely views over the river. Excellent meals are served in both the Owenmore Restaurant (a bright and elegant room for evening meals, organised to allow as many tables as possible to enjoy its uniquely beautiful river setting) and the mighty high-ceilinged bar, which has been extended into the adjacent room; with huge fireplaces, many mementoes of the pleasures of rod and hunt and excellent bar food, it’s a great place to drop into for lunch when touring Connemara. A fishing break here will be memorable and, for non-fishing partners, a stay here is sure to be a restorative treat – especially for garden lovers, as the recently restored walled gardens are a real joy.

Lough Inagh Lodge
Recess, Co Galway

Lough Inagh Lodge, Recess, County GalwayMaire O’Connor’s former sporting lodge on the shores of Lough Inagh makes a delightful small hotel with a country house atmosphere. The Fishery, which is at the top of the Ballynahinch system and comprises Loughs Inagh and Derryclare, is known for its spring salmon fishing (beginning in April) and sea trout in summer. The lodge has large, well-proportioned rooms, interesting period detail and lovely fireplaces with cheering log fires, plus all the modern comforts. Public areas include two drawing rooms, each with an open fire; the Finisglen Room - a handsome dining room with graceful spoonback Victorian mahogany chairs (non-residents welcome by reservation) - and a very appealing bar with a welcoming stove, and its own back door and tiled floor for wet fishing gear. A high standard of food is an attraction in both bar and restaurant. Bedrooms, some with four-posters, have views of lake and countryside and all are well-appointed and unusually spacious, with walk-in dressing rooms leading to well-planned bathrooms. While it has special appeal to sportsmen, Lough Inagh is only 42 miles from Galway and makes a good dog-friendly base for touring Connemara - fishing is a big draw, but golf, pony trekking and garden visits (including the Victorian Walled Garden at Kylemore Abbey) are all nearby. Off-season breaks offer especially good value.

Delphi Lodge
Leenane, Co Galway

One of Ireland’s most famous sporting lodges, Delphi Lodge was built in the early 19th-century by the Marquis of Sligo and is beautifully located in an unspoilt valley, surrounded by the region’s highest mountains (providing the high rainfall so dear to fisherfolk). The lodge is large and impressive in an informal, understated way, with antiques, fishing gear and a catholic selection of reading matter creating a stylish yet relaxed atmosphere and, in recent decades, the original building has been restored and extended in period style. The famous Delphi Fishery - a river and lake system offering a variety of scenery and opportunity - is the main attraction, but many people come for other country pursuits, painting, or just peace and quiet - so non fishing partners will have a rare opportunity for real peace and relaxation. The thirteen guest rooms all have lovely lake and mountain views, good bathrooms, and are very comfortably furnished. Dinner is taken house-party style at a long oak table - traditionally presided over by the person lucky enough to catch the day’s biggest salmon. After dinner there is a fine collection of books and much else of interest in the Piano Room to keep you from your bed. A billiard table, the library and a wine list that promises good bottles at a modest mark-up can get visitors through a lot of wet days. Fly fishing tuition courses are held at weekends several times a year. Five restored cottages close to the lodge offer self-catering accommodation.

Mount Juliet
Thomastown, Co Kilkenny

Mount Juliet Conrad Hotel, Thomastown, County KilkennyLying amidst 1500 acres of unspoilt woodland, pasture and formal gardens, Mount Juliet is one of Europe's greatest country estates, with world class sporting amenities that include salmon and brown trout fishing on the River Nore and its tributary, The King’s River. Mount Juliet House was built over 200 years ago by the Earl of Carrick, and named in honour of his wife - it is one of Ireland's finest Georgian houses and, even today, retains an aura of eighteenth century grandeur - but its formality is offset by a warm, gently feminine tone that is unique among the Great Houses. Guest rooms in the Manor House combine period decor with all the comfort of modern facilities, while a new and very sympathetically designed modern hotel now makes a great addition at the adjacent Hunters Yard. Dining is taken seriously at Mount Juliet - in both the graceful high-ceilinged Lady Helen Dining Room in the old house, where you will find fine dining at its best, and the smart but less formal contemporary Hounds Restaurant, at Hunters Yard - and it is hard to imagine a place with more to offer the non fishing partner: there’s the top-ranking Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course for a start, a magnificent Spa & Health Club, beautiful gardens and many other activities including: equestrian; angling; clay pigeon shooting; archery; tennis; croquet; cycling and walking trails. Sheer heaven - and open all year.

Ballyvolane House
Fermoy, Co Cork

Ballyvolane House, Fermoy, County CorkThe Green family’s gracious mansion near Fermoy is surrounded by its own farmland, magnificent wooded grounds and formal terraced gardens There is private salmon fishing on 8km of the renowned River Blackwater, with a wide variety of spring and summer beats, all carefully managed and well maintained – and, should river fishing disappoint for any reason, there is also a restored trout lake in the grounds. This lovely house dates from 1728 with mid-19th century modifications; elegant and extremely comfortable, it has big log fires and very roomy bedrooms which, like the rest of the house, are furnished with family antiques and look out over the gardens and grounds. Delicious food has always been a high point at Ballyvolane, where modern Irish dinners based on the very best of local and home-produced foods are served in style around a long mahogany table. There is much of interest for non-fishing partners, both on site (the gardens are outstanding) and in the area - the beautiful Blackwater Valley is well worth exploring, with its many gardens (including Lismore Castle) and historic sites, the Rock of Cashel, Mount Congreve House & Gardens and Waterford city all among the many interesting places which beg to be visited nearby.  

Liss Ard  
Skibbereen, Co Cork

This stunning 200-acre property offers everything you could wish for in a holiday destination, all in one beautiful package. At its heart is an elegant 19th century country house, which may surprise with its fresh contemporary style. Delicious food, for both resident and non-resident guests, is based on produce from the estate and nearby areas to create a very seasonal ‘Garden’ dining experience. The gardens are a major attraction, offering beautiful kitchen plots, trails, woodland walks - and artist James Turrell’s fascinating Irish Sky Garden, ‘The Crater’ – and the accommodation includes some rooms with private gardens that are ideal for family groups. The Lake Lodge overlooking the 50-acre Lough Abisdealy (see photo) is perfect for fishing guests, with a dry room and space for tackle storage, and it can be booked on an exclusive rental basis if required. Pike, rudd and roach are abundant and there is shore-fishing from various pitches along the bank, but a rowing boat with  lifejackets etc can also be provided, and a ghillie if required. Salmon and sea trout fishing is also available on the Ilen River at nearby Skibbereen, with the season open from February and closing in September for salmon and October for sea trout. Main runs of salmon are in April, May and June. Lakeside pitches are also available for those wishing to overnight next to the lake.

Mount Falcon Country House Hotel & Spa
Ballina, Co Mayo

Mount Falcon Estate - Ballina County Mayo IrelandOnce a romantic family home, Mount Falcon is now a luxury hotel with beautiful period features, extensive grounds with productive kitchen gardens and self catering lodges, and fine dining in a room of character that was once the old kitchen and pantry of this historic house. It also offers private fishing on Ireland’s most prolific salmon river, the Moy, which runs through the estate. Mount Falcon owns the fishing rights on a 2 mile double bank stretch just a few miles above the tide and anglers are encouraged to ‘Catch and Cook’, so they can enjoy their catches for dinner. The fishing is run exclusively for guests staying at the hotel and lodges, so there is no overcrowding. In addition, within an hour’s drive, fishing guests can enjoy a number of other prolific spate river fisheries and also lakes where you can cast a fly for spring salmon, summer salmon and grilse. The hotel offers fishing packages such as the 3 Rivers Fly Fishing Package’ including The Owenduff, The Erriff, Moy (Mount Falcon/Moy Fishery beats), and Beltra and Carramore lakes. Sea trout is also available in the area, mainly in the Moy Estuary, and a 3-acre spring fed lake on the estate offers all year fly fishing for “hard fighting rainbow trout”. The estate Fishery Manager, Stuart Price, can provide more information.

Currarevagh House
Oughterard, Co Galway

Currarevagh House - Oughterard, Co Galway

Beautifully situated overlooking Lough Corrib and set in 180 acres of woodlands and gardens, the Hodgson family’s gracious early Victorian manor house was built in 1846 as a wedding present for the present owner, Henry Hodgson’s, great, great, great grandfather. Guests have been welcomed here since 1890 (almost certainly making Currarevagh Ireland’s oldest guesthouse, certainly the longest in continuous family membership) and in the stewardship of Henry's parents, Harry and June, it became a founder member of the celebrated Irish Country Houses and Restaurants Association (now ‘Ireland’s Blue Book’). Back then fishing was the main attraction for the many guests who relished Currarevagh for its 'tranquillity, trout and tea in the drawing room'. Times have changed and guests are now equally likely to be packed off in a clinker boat with a picnic and rugs for the day, to explore the islands and the peace of Corrib. Today the emphasis is more on the 'escape' - and the food, which has been a key reason to return since Henry's wife Lucy joined the family, because she is a professional cook (Prue Leith trained and with her own catering company, Tindal O’Grady), so the food is distinctly modern. But fishing is the ultimate escape after all, and still very much a draw, especially in May, for the brown trout. And, as well as good fishing - notably brown trout, pike, perch and salmon - there are plenty of other country pursuits to assist in building up an appetite again for the next meal, which is always based on fresh local produce and proudly maintains the Currarevagh motto ‘keep it simple, unfussy and ultimately delicious’. Dinner is aso open to non-residents (by reservation) if there is room. 


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