Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beautiful Ballynahinch

Our first castle!

Our first castle and second destination was a long trip from Dublin to the west coast of Ireland. We ended up arriving in the dark around 9 pm, so the massive castle wasn't really visible but from what we did see, it was grand. 
Upon approaching the castle, there was a nice gentleman outside smoking a pipe on a bench and as we opened their big green doors it was immediately warm and inviting. Inside it was vintage looking and smelled of smoked salmon. 
 A nice older woman came up to an unassuming desk and we handed her our vouchers. She briefly explained some things about the castle and grounds, then gave us a map and our room key. Then she instructed someone to help us with our bags. Dinner was almost over but she assured us that it was an Irish 9 we could come back down and still be fed! he he
We didn't have one of the more luxurious rooms but they had us in the main building on the top floor, which felt special. Craig started up towards our room with a few bags in each hand and an older gentleman carried mine. To this day I am embarrassed that I can't remember his name, but that man carried my heavy mid-sized bag up three flights of stairs and never faltered. 
Each room had a different name and he explained that ours meant festive...which seemed appropriate. 

Our room was simple but big, with an updated bathroom. The mirror was heated so it wouldn't fog up and there was a heated towel rack...something I never knew existed!
The mattress and sheets were comfier that I thought they might be, for an older bed, but it did squeak he he! Perfect for newlyweds! And of course there were chocolates!
One thing we both loved is that they had their own glass bottles for water, such a better alternative to plastic! Plus we got to take one home, it now sits on our nightstand.  
We made our way back down the stairs, past old paintings and stuffed-river otter toward the dinning area.
The dinning room area was warm and inviting with lots of wood and more paintings.

A young waiter took our drink orders, explained the menu and brought us freshly baked bread. He was so sweet and honestly wanted to make our meal experience wonderful! 

The bread was the best thing I had ever had....i'm drooling just thinking of it. I would give anything to get a hold of that twisty bread!! 
Craig ordered a rabbit, pheasant and partridge pie and I a veggie risotto. Both were exquisite! I believe he said it was savory, hardy and well-rounded!

The next morning we decided to take a walk around the river and castle, as our map suggested, but first we made sure to get some brunch. Craig ordered an espresso and I my hot cocoa! They had the most delicious apple crumble...whoever said you can't have dessert for brunch is crazy! 

Upon starting our walk we were amazed...needless to say it was gorgeous! We went around the front first and started down a path towards the river. We went through some more landscaped areas and by a few horses, who actually came over to say hi, then onto the river walk pathway.
 It was definitely a path but it was so green and lush that one still had to be careful about where they stepped. Everything was green with light touches of the fall season. Lots of flowers, especially gardenias! 
The sheer amount of land they had was impressive. If we had had another day we could have wandered around the other trails. My mind kept wandering to my parents, I knew they would love it here.

Ballynahinch offered a few extra activities, on top of hikes and one was fly-fishing...and we could see why. The river was perfect for it. Peaceful...
 That night we had a fancy 5 course meal that kept getting better and better, culminating in the form of bread-pudding. Need I say more...I mean look at it.... i'm drooling again!

  Breakfast that next morning was scrumptious! Lots of options! I was impressed by the pitcher of hot cocoa they brought was like they knew my thirst for that sweet chocolateness! 

Neither of us wanted to leave but we were off to our next castle and adventure.
Ballynahinch will always be my favorite location on this was perfect for us to start with. I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting. Maybe not a big family with lots of little ones though. 
It was warm, inviting, friendly, romantic and just beautiful! Almost surreal how lovely it is! Please check it out!

Thanks for reading -Bunny