Ballyvolane House, Fermoy

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Review by John McKenna

What’s your impression of being a guest at the typical Irish country house?
A bit stuffy? Older, probably retired fellow guests, people with a bit of money and Fine Gael points of view? Owners who are mostly concerned about paying to fix the roof? Tired food, probably overpriced for what you get?
Now, take a look at this portfolio of photographs. This is Ballyvolane House, near Castlelyons in north County Cork.
That’s an Irish country house? Sure is.
In her great book, Home ,Trish Deseine calls Ballyvolane House “a little piece of Irish paradise.”
Indeed it is. But it’s actually more than that. Ballyvolane is a disruptor, a genre-breaker, a new archetype for the Irish country house, and the Irish country house experience.
Ballyvolane, in short, is funky as all get out.
There is nowhere else like it.
And their gin (produced with Antony Jackson), Bertha’s Revenge, made with whey, is going to be the next Baileys. You read that here first.