Ted and Garry Murphy suggested we visit 'Ballinacurra House'. "It's just up the road" they said. This is where their son had recently had his wedding reception and they just couldn't wait for me to see this place.
When we arrived at the gates, true to it's word, it was indeed private with a security button hidden amongst the ivy. We decided Ted could do the honors !
Once inside, the drive up the avenue immediately catapulted me back to my childhood. These familiar plants were growing wild everywhere. Ferns and Fuschias in full bloom. Moss covered rocks lined the avenue given it a wooded feel.
As soon as we emerged from this wooded copse, hearing the gravel crunch beneath the tires, this bright and welcoming Irish Country mansion awaits you.
Oscar awaited us too ! Oscar was the Irish Wolfhound, a mere puppy, but to a small child, perhaps he would seem like a horse !
This prestigious 5-star estate sits on 40 acres of woodland and water. It is simply breathtaking. A mere 2 minutes from Kinsale Town, ideally located if you want to play a round of golf at the World Famous Course. 'The Old Head of Kinsale'
We were greeted by the owners Des & Lisa McGahan. They had lived in the far East for a considerable amount of time, returned to Ireland and painstakingly and lovingly restored this estate which was originally built in 1791. They explained that they were preparing for a group arriving from New York in a few days. The week before, the King Of Norway had been their guest.
What struck me most was that despite the luxurious surroundings, it had a homely feel, not the stifled feeling I have often gleaned from similar properties. Meandering through the house is like a treasure hunt. Truely it is. Each room has been individually designed. Needless to say , I ended up in the kitchen ! My favorite place in any home. The magnificent old dresser that took up the whole wall was filled with delf and I knew instantly that this farmhouse kitchen was well used. Through the kitchen windows, I could see strawberries growing along the rock wall and I couldn't help but feel the desire to work in this kitchen.
Next to the Manor House, is the 4 bedroomed stylish Coach house. If you feel the need to land your helicopter, fear not as there is a helipad nestled away for your convenience. Before I knew , it was time to leave. After thanking Des & Lisa MCgahan for their hospitality, all that remained was to seek out Oscar to bid him farewell......There we found him, on the front lawn , sleeping. After all it's a tough life here in Ballinacurra House for an Irish Wolfhound !
Reluctant to leave, somehow I knew,that I would come back..........one day !