— Please tell us a bit about the history of Ballyvolane House.
My father was farming the estate when I was a child, and then in 1985, my parents started taking in paying guests for the first time. The whole house was restored over that period and my wife and I took it over in 2004. We’ve been carrying on where my parents left off.”
— Ballyvolane House
— You and your wife have lived in different parts of the world. What made you come back to Ballyvolane House?
My wife and I both went to hotel school in Switzerland. We have worked in Hong Kong, Bali and Dubai running several five star hotels. After that, I made a conscious decision to work in smaller, boutique properties because you get a more rounded experience.”
— Ballyvolane House bedroom
— The interior is absolutely beautiful. How would you describe the style of Ballyvolane House?
We restored the drawing room that used to be the kitchen. We moved it down to where it’s supposed to be, in the wing of the house, and then returned the drawing room to its former glory. We also just restored an old barn and turned it into a wedding venue in the farmyard, which is adjacent to the gardens.
We’ve got antique furniture and antique portraits and lots of deer heads on the walls. We’re offering tradition in abundance.”
— Ballyvolane House lounge
— Please tell us a bit about the facilities and the rooms.
We use the highest quality bathroom products produced in London and we have the best mattresses money can buy with top quality linen sheets and pillows. It’s the best night’s sleep. We charge quite a lot to stay here, so everything has to be top quality.
There are antique radios in all of the bedrooms, which kind of suits the style of the house, but we also have TVs. Breakfast includes all the usual stuff you’d get in a nice hotel and we serve breakfast until 12 noon. In the bedrooms there are little touches like homemade chocolate biscuits and elder flower cordials to give it a more homely touch.”
— Ballyvolane House bathroom
— Ballyvolane House also has a beautiful vegetable garden and is still a working farm.
At dinner all the guests sit around one big table. It’s like a house party, like having a bunch of friends staying. People really seem to enjoy that because they’ve been traveling around Ireland and had dinner every night with their spouse, then they come here and get to meet other people and have a good time. Of course, if someone wants privacy, we give them their own table but most of the people participate in the communal dining.”
— Ballyvolane House fireplace
— With many years of experience in the hospitality business, what in your opinion is the secret of being a good host?
We spent a lot of time making sure we create a lovely space for people to relax in, as well as having supreme comfort and ambiance. Good food with good design is a winning combination.”