Places to visit and stay in County Wicklow, Leinster

I have been dividing previous entries that were divided by Province into division by county as my entries were too long!

On the map above:

blue: places to visit that are not section 482

purple: section 482 properties

red: accommodation

yellow: less expensive accommodation for two

orange: “whole house rental” i.e. those properties that are only for large group accommodations or weddings, e.g. 10 or more people.

green: gardens to visit

grey: ruins

As well as places to visit, I have listed separately places to stay, because some of them are worth visiting – you may be able to visit for afternoon tea or a meal.

For places to stay, I have made a rough estimate of prices at time of publication:

€ = up to approximately €150 per night for two people sharing (in yellow on map);

€€ – up to approx €250 per night for two;

€€€ – over €250 per night for two.

For a full listing of accommodation in big houses in Ireland, see my accommodation page:


Help me to fund the maintenance and update of this website. It is created purely out of love for the subject and I receive no payment so any donation is appreciated!


Places to visit in County Wicklow:

1. Altidore Castle, Kilpeddar, Greystones, Co. Wicklow – section 482

2. Avondale House, County Wicklow

3. Ballymurrin House, Kilbride, Wicklow, Co. Wicklow – section 482

4. Castle Howard, Avoca, Co. Wicklow – section 482

5. Charleville, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow – section 482

6. Corke Lodge, Co Wicklow – gardens open to visitors – section 482

7. Dower House, Rossanagh, Ashford, Co Wicklow – gardens open by appointment 

8. Greenan More, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow – section 482

9. Huntingbrook, County Wicklow – gardens open to public 

10. Killruddery House & Gardens, Southern Cross Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow – section 482

11. Kiltimon House, Newcastle, Co. Wicklow – section 482

12. Kingston House, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow – section 482

13. 1 Martello Terrace, Strand Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow – section 482

14. Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, Co. Wicklow – section 482, garden only

15. Powerscourt House & Gardens, Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow – section 482

16. Russborough, The Albert Beit Foundation, Blessington, Co. Wicklow – section 482

17. Tinode, Blessington, Co Wicklow – June Blake’s Garden, open from Springtime 2022 

Places to stay, County Wicklow:

1. Ballyknocken House, Ashford, County Wicklow

2. Ballymurrin House, Kilbride, Co Wicklow – 482 and Airbnb 

3. Bel Air Hotel (formerly Cronroe), Ashford, Co Wicklow

4. Brook Lodge and Macreddin Village, County Wicklow

5. Clone House, Count Wicklow

6. Croney Byrne, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow – courtyard accommodation

7. Druid’s Glen hotel and golf club (formerly Woodstock), Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow

8. June Blake’s Garden, Turkey House and Cow House, Tinode, Blessington, Co Wicklow – June Blake’s Garden 

9. Rathsallagh, Co Wicklow – accommodation €€

10. Summerhill House Hotel, County Wicklow €€

11. Tinakilly House, Rathnew, Co Wicklow – country house hotel

12. Tulfarris, Blessington, Co Wicklow - hotel 

13. Wicklow Head Lighthouse, Dunbur Head, County Wicklow € for 4

14. Gate Lodge, Woodenbridge, Avoca, County Wicklow €€

Place to visit in County Wicklow:

1. Altidore Castle, Kilpeddar, Greystones, Co. Wicklow – section 482

Altidore, County Wicklow, June 2019.

see my write-up:
contact: Philip Emmet
Tel: 087-7601369
Open dates in 2023: Mar 10-29, May 1-31, June 1-5, 1pm-5pm, Aug 12-20, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult /OAP €5, child/student free

2. Avondale House, County Wicklow

Avondale, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, photograph by Sonder Visuals, 2014, Courtesy Failte Ireland.

We visited in March 2023. The house was built in 1779 for Samuel Hayes and may have been designed by James Wyatt (1746-1813), or by Samuel Hayes himself. It then passed to the Parnell family and was the birthplace of the politician Charles Stewart Parnell. In 1904 the state purchased the Avondale Estate to develop modern day forestry in Ireland.

We visited in March 2023. The house was built in 1779 for Samuel Hayes and may have been designed by James Wyatt, or by Samuel Hayes himself.

Mark Bence-Jones writes in his  A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 15. “A square house of two storeys over basement, built 1779 for Samuel Hayes, a noted amateur architect who possibly designed it himself. Five bay entrance front, the three centre bays breaking forward under a pediment; small Doric porch with paired columns, Coade stone panels with swags and medallions between lower and upper windows. Garden front with central bow; the basement, which in the entrance front is concealed, is visible on this side with its windows have Gibbsian surrounds. Magnificent and lofty two storey hall with C18 Gothic plasterwork and gallery along inner wall. Bow room with beautiful Bossi chimneypiece. Dining room with elaborate neo-Classical plasterwork on walls and ceiling; the wall decorations incorporating oval mirrors and painted medallions. Passed to William Parnell-Hayes, brother of the 1st Baron Congleton, and grandfather of Charles Steward Parnell, who was born here and lived here all his life with his mother and elder brother. Now owned by the dept of Lands, Forestry Division, which maintains the splendid demesne as a forest park…The house has in recent years been restored by the Board of Works.” [1]

Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.

Samuel Hayes who built the house also planted a forest. He was an expert on trees and wrote books and planted experimentally to see what trees grow best in Ireland. Hayes wrote A practical treatise on planting and the management of woods and coppices (1794). Intended to be a practical guide to the planting of trees and the managing of wood for timber, it was in fact Ireland’s first full-length book on trees. It is fitting that the property is now owned by Coillte, and that they also grow trees and ran the “Great Tree Experiment” here at Avondale. For several years after the house passed into the ownership of the state a forestry school was located in the property.

The house contains Gothic features in the front hall, especially in the stuccowork. The front hall is double-height and has an overlooking balcony.

Charles Stewart Parnell was a very shy man, and so he used to practice his speeches from the balcony in the front hall of Avondale. For this reason, his family called him “the Blackbird.”
Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.
The door has Samuel Hayes’s initials, and the date which the house was completed.

The first room we entered from the hall is dedicated to Samuel Hayes.

Avondale, 2023.
Samuel Hayes (1743-1795), who built Avondale House.
Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.
As well as being an amateur architect, a politician and expert on trees, Samuel Hayes designed this bridge that was built over the Avondale River. Unfortunately it no longer exists.

Samuel Hayes was the great grandson of Thomas Parnell (1625-1686), the first of the Parnell family to come to Ireland, and from whom Charles Stewart Parnell was also descended. Thomas’s son John (1680-1727) became Judge of the Court of King’s Bench and built a house at Rathleague in County Laois. According to the family tree framed in the Drawing Room, John had a daughter Anne who married John Hayes and gave birth to the builder of Avondale, Samuel Hayes.

In 1766 Samuel Hayes married Alice Le Hunt, daughter of Thomas Le Hunt, MP and wide streets commissioner of Dublin, but he died childless. The estate was initially inherited by Sir John Parnell (1744–1801), 2nd baronet. John Parnell (1680-1727) married Mary Whitshed, daughter of Thomas, Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Carysfort, County Wicklow between 1692 and 1698. Their son John (d. 1782) became 1st Baronet Parnell, of Rathleague, Queen’s County in 1766, after being High Sheriff for County Laois and MP for Maryborough in Laois (now Portlaoise).

1st Baronet Parnell married Anne Ward from Castle Ward in County Down. They had a son John (1744–1801), 2nd Baronet. He married Laetitia Charlotte Brooke, daughter of Arthur, 1st Baronet Brooke, of Colebrooke, Co. Fermanagh.

Portrait of John Parnell, 2nd Baronet, by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, from National Trust, Castle Ward.

By the terms of Hayes’s will, Avondale passed from the 2nd Baronet to his son William Parnell (1777–1821), writer, landlord, and MP. Hayes stipulated in his will that rather than being inherited by the eldest son of the family, the estate would be inherited by a younger son. William was the younger brother of John Augustus, 3rd Baronet, who was disabled and died childless, and of Henry Brooke Parnell, who became 4th Baronet Parnell and later, 1st Baron Congleton, of Congleton, Cheshire, which had been the birthplace of the original Thomas Parnell who emigrated to Ireland.

As a result of his inheritance of Avondale, William Parnell assumed the name ‘Parnell-Hayes.’ [2] William married Francis Howard, granddaughter of Ralph Howard, 1st Viscount Wicklow. They had a son John Henry, who was Charles Stewart Parnell’s father. Charles Stewart Parnell inherited Avondale as he also was not the oldest son, but the seventh of eleven children. It was an unusual stipulation that Samuel Hayes made.

The plasterwork in the dining room is lovely, as is the marble fireplace.
Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.
Charles Stewart Parnell’s mother Delia. She was an American, daughter of the famous “Old Ironsides,” Admiral Charles Stewart.

Delia was a member of the Plymouth Brethren, and converted a building on the property into house for worship. The 2nd Baron Congleton also converted to the Plymouth Brethren who met in Aungier Street in Dublin.

Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.
The Cowshed.
Avondale, 2023.
The Drawing Room contains a beautiful Bossi fireplace.

When Charles Stewart Parnell inherited Avondale estate, it was mired in debt. He sought to increase his income by mining the local area. He became a politician chiefly, our tour guide told us, to earn money to support the estate. The Dictionary of Irish Biography tells us:

Parnell invested heavily in mining and quarrying ventures in Wicklow, in particular stone quarrying at Big Rock, near Arklow, from which he supplied paving setts to Dublin corporation. He expended money and effort in seeking to revive the old lead mine and to relocate the lodes of iron and seams of copper that had formerly been worked in the vicinity of Avondale. Through the late 1880s his chief recreation was the quest for gold in Wicklow, assaying samples of ore in his workshops successively at Etham and Brighton.” [3]

Parnell assaying his gold.

He may have been influenced in his politics by his mother’s Republican views, i.e. anti-monarchy. He sought home rule for Ireland and was President of the Land League, which sought to enable tenants to own the land on which they worked. He was arrested for this and put in rather luxurious quarters in Kilmainham Gaol, where he was incarcerated for six months.

By this time he was having an affair with Katherine O’Shea who was called “Kitty” in the press in order to belittle her. She was the wife of another MP who allowed the affair, presumably to maintain his position in parliament as Parnell commanded wide support. He fathered three children with Katherine and when her husband divorced her, they married, but she was unable to inherit Avondale, which passed to Parnell’s older brother.

The Irish turned against Parnell due to his affair, as discussed in James Joyces’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man where Stephen Daedalus’s father and aunt argue about Parnell and Stephen’s father laments “Ireland’s poor dead King.” There is a lengthy biography about him in the Dictionary of Irish Biography.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography tells us:

Katharine Parnell lived on in deteriorating circumstances and died in Littlehampton, Sussex, on 5 February 1921. After Claude Sophie, who died shortly after her birth, Parnell and Katharine had two further daughters, Clare (1883–1909) and Katharine (‘Katie’) (1884–1947). Clare, who bore a haunting resemblance to Parnell, died in labour. Her son Assheton Clare Bowyer-Lane Maunsell, a lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, died of enteric fever in India on 29 July 1934, aged 24. As Parnell’s biographer F. S. L. Lyons wrote, ‘the line of direct descent from Parnell therefore ends in a cemetery in Lahore.’ “

The wedding ring which Parnell gave Katherine is the one on the right. The other is made from gold mined on the Parnell property.
This room is mostly dedicated to “Old Ironsides,” who gave the desk-cabinet to his son-in-law.
Avondale, 2023.

Like many old houses, Avondale had a tunnel for the servants, to the outbuildings.

Avondale, 2023.
Different types of wood, labelled, in one of the rooms which was used as a Forestry School

The forest planted by Samuel Hayes mostly did not last, as we see from a photograph from 1900. However, the forestry school reinstated the forest, now owned by Coillte.

There are many walks on the estate, including a “tree top walk” and a viewing tower, which has a large enclosed screwshaped slide, which Stephen and I could not resist sliding down! Be prepared to lose all control to speed!

Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.
Avondale, 2023.

[1] Bence-Jones, Mark. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.



3. Ballymurrin House, Kilbride, Wicklow, Co. Wicklow A67 PX56 – section 482

Ballymurrin, County Wicklow, July 2019.

see my write-up:
contact: Philip Geoghegan
Tel: 086-1734560
Open: Jan 2-21, July 12-31, Aug 1-20, 2pm-6pm
Fee: Free

4. Castle Howard, Avoca, Co. Wicklow – section 482

Castle Howard, County Wicklow, September 2019.

See my entry:
contact: Ailish Macken
Tel: 01-6327664
Open dates in 2023: Jan 9-11, Feb 13-17, Mar 6-8, 21-23, June 7-10, 12-14, 26-30, July 1, 10-15, 24-27, Aug 12-20, Sept 4-9, 16, 23, Oct 2-4, 9-11, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €8.50, OAP/student €6.50, child €5

5. Charleville, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow A98 V293 – section 482

Charleville, County Wicklow, August 2020.

See my entry:
contact: Tatiane Baquiega
Tel: 01-6624455
Open dates in 2023: Feb 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-28, Mon- Fri, 1pm-5pm, May 2-31, Mon- Fri, 1pm-5pm, Sat-Sun. 9am-1pm, June 1-2, 6-7, Mon-Fri, 1pm-5pm, Aug 12-20, Mon- Fri, 1pm-5pm, Sat & Sun, 9am-1pm
Fee: house €10, garden €6

6. Corke Lodge, Co Wicklow A98 X264 – gardens open to visitors
Open: June 1-30, Mon-Sat, July 4-28, Tue-Fri, Aug 7-27, 10am-2pm
Fee: €8, paid voluntarily in honesty box to benefit Our Lady’s Hospice

Open other times by appointment only.

No pets allowed.

The website tells us:

The house was built on and incorporates the remains of an older structure, visible on the 1750 maps of Dublin. Situated on the lands owned by Hannagh Tilson Magan it was commissioned by her or by her son William Henry Magan between 1815 and 1820.

William Magan is known to have employed the Architect William Farrell to design a country house, Clonearl, in Co. Offaly in 1815. This house was destroyed by fire in the 1840’s but it is clear from the surviving plans that the distinctive pillastered design is mirrored in both Killyon manor, Co. Meath another Magan/Loftus house and in Corke Lodge. Unusual fenestration and similar door treatments also link the two surviving properties. Close by the church at Crinken, endowed by Hannagh Magan was also designed by Farrell. So it would not be unreasonable to assume that Corke Lodge, which has all the hallmarks of an architectural ‘capriccio’ is by the same hand. The main façade and the two front reception rooms are in the classical style. The rooms at the back and above have gothic detailing.

The last Magan owner of this property as well as the other huge Magan/Tilson/Loftus estates was Augusta. Her eccentricities and reclusive life are said to have inspired Charles Dickens, who visited Dublin, in his creation of Miss Haversham, in the Great Expectations. 

The most striking feature of the house is the bold architectural treatment of the classical facade, a miniature of the two great houses mentioned above. By contrast, the back elevations are in a flat gothic stile reflecting the romantic nature of the planted ‘wilderness’. The interiors retain all their original features in terms of marble mantle pieces, pillared architraves and plasterwork. Although the house originally would not have been used for more than a few days a year by the Magans when bathing in the nearby sea or visiting the family tombs at Crinken, it has been continuously inhabited since its incorporation into the Woodbrook estate By Sir Stanley Cochrane in 1906. Sir Stanley, heir to a mineral water fortune, was an accomplished athlete and opera singer who created on his estate championship cricket pitches a golf course and the Laurel Park Opera House, precursor of Glyndebourne, and where Dame Nellie Melba sang.

The house as it presents itself today was restored and furnished in 1980 by architect Alfred Cochrane. It pioneered the current trends in historicist restoration of country houses and was featured in a number of local and international publications.

7. Dower House, Rossanagh, Ashford, Co Wicklow – gardens open by appointment

Opening (if Covid allows) April 2nd  to July 1st, 2022.
By appointment only.

The gardens surrounding this late eighteenth century house (c.1790) were laid out towards the end of the nineteenth century with plantings of many fine specimens including Rhododendron arboreum,  Magnolia soulangeana ‘Alba’, and Camellia japonica. Also included are a number of specimen mature trees, including a fine Chilean myrtle, Luma apiculata, planted c. 1880. When the Butler family acquired the property, a white garden in a sheltered enclosure behind the house was added together with a wild meadow which reaches its peak in mid June.

The indefatigable Mrs Delany, eighteenth century social commentator, diarist, artist and friend of Dean Jonathan Swift commenting on Rossanagh demesne on which Dower House was built wrote: ‘It is a very pretty place… neatly kept’. As early as 1733, A.C. Forbes noted that the largest tree in Ireland, a Spanish chestnut flourished in the demesne. It was under this tree that Methodist preacher, the Reverend John Wesley preached during one of his many visits in June, 1789. Rossanagh holds links to many well known ‘personalities’ of the day including musician/composer, Thomas Moore, artists, George Romney, Maria Spilsbury-Taylor, politicians, Henry Grattan and William Pitt, the Younger together with Patrick Bronte, father of distinguished English novelists, Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Described as one of ‘Wicklow’s finest gardens’ (Jane Powers), the gardens are open each year in aid of The Wicklow Hospice.

8. Greenan More, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow – section 482

contact: Paul Arnold
Tel: 087-2563200
Open dates in 2023: May 3-7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-28, 31, June 1-4, 7-11, 14-18, Aug 12-20, 23-27, 30-31, Sept 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 10am-3pm
Fee: adult €6, child/OAP/student €3

9. Huntingbrook, County Wicklow – gardens open to public

The Gardens open Wednesday 6th April until Saturday 24th September 2022

Wednesday – Saturday

Designed to be a thoroughly immersive experience, the gardens are home to one of Ireland’s largest private collections of plants. A riot of colour, shape and texture, the gardens are always on the move with fresh surprises at every visit.” 

10. Killruddery House & Gardens, Southern Cross Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow – section 482

Killruddery, County Wicklow, April 2021.

contact: Anthony Ardee
Tel: 01-2863405
Open dates in 2023: Apr 1-Oct 31, Apr-Sept, 9am-5pm, Oct, 9am-4pm
Fee: adult house and garden tour €14, garden €8.50, OAP/student house and garden
tour €13, garden €7.50, child 4-12 years €3, 13-18 years €7.50, under 4 years free

See my entry

11. Kiltimon House, Newcastle, Co. Wicklow – section 482

Kiltimon House, County Wicklow, photograph courtesy of National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Michelle O’Connor
Tel: 087-2505205
Open dates in 2023: May 8-28, Aug 12-20, Sept 1-30, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €5

12. Kingston House, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow A67 DV25 – section 482

contact: Liam Lynam
Tel: 087-2415795
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €3, OAP/student/child €2

13. 1 Martello Terrace, Strand Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow – section 482

Martello Terrace, Bray, County Wicklow – photograph from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Liz McManus
Tel: 087-2357369
Open dates in 2023: May 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, June 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29, July 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31, Aug 3, 5, 7, 10, 12-22, 24, 28, 31, Sept 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28, Oct 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30, Nov 1, 6, 8, 13, 1pm-5pm,
National Heritage Week, Aug 12-20, 9am-1pm

Fee: Free

This house forms part of one of Bray’s earliest, best preserved, and most distinctive seafront terraces; it is also of some historical value due to the fact that James Joyce lived in the property between 1887 and 1891. 

14. Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, Co. Wicklow A67 VW22 – section 482, garden only

Mount Usher, County Wicklow, June 2021.

See my entry
contact: Caitriona Mc Weeney
Tel: 01-2746900
Open: all year, except Christmas Day and St. Stephens Day, Jan-Mar, Nov-Dec,
10am-5pm, Apr-Oct, 10am-6pm
Fee: adult €10, student/OAP €8, child €5, groups €7.50

15. Powerscourt House & Gardens, Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow A98 W0D0 – section 482

Powerscourt House and Gardens, photograph by Chris Hill 2015, for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool.

See my entry:
contact: Sarah Slazenger
Tel: 01-2046000
Open dates in 2023: Jan I-Dec 24, 27-31, house and garden, 9.30am-5.30pm, ballroom and garden
rooms, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: Mar-Oct, adult €12.50, OAP €9.50, student €9, child €5, family ticket 2 adults
and 3 children under 18 years €28, Nov-Dec, adult €9, OAP €8, student €7.50, child
€4, family ticket 2 adults and 3 children under 18 years €20

17. Russborough, The Albert Beit Foundation, Blessington, Co. Wicklow W91 W284 – section 482

Russborough House, County Wicklow, photography by Chris Hill 2015 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. [2]

See my entry:
contact: Eric Blachford
Tel: 045-865239
Open: Jan 1-Dec 23, 27-31, 10am-5pm,
Fee: adult €12, OAP/student €9 child €6 under 5 years free, group rates €8.50,
Entrance to the Parkland and Children’s Playground is free, all day carpark €4

17. Tinode, Blessington, Co Wicklow – June Blake’s Garden, open from Springtime 2022

The very best gardens intrigue and restore us, and so it is with June Blake’s garden which is a rare fusion of inspired design and painterly planting. Situated in the townland of Tinode in west Wicklow, and spread over three rural acres, it wraps itself around June’s home, a handsome Victorian farm-steward’s cottage surrounded by a huddle of austerely beautiful, granite-stone farm buildingsone of which -the Cow House- has recently been the subject of an award-winning, modern architectural conversion. In a previous life, Blake was a gifted jewellery maker. Those same carefully honed skills- a razor sharp eye and keen attention to detail, an artist’s deep appreciation of colour, texture and form, as well as the ability to take a raw, unpolished material and expertly craft it into something aesthetically deeply satisfying- still shine through brightly in her excitingly contemporary country garden. Within it are many different areas of interest. These include intricately planted borders of gem-like beauty, swathes of naturalistic, prairie-style planting, sculptural landforms, a flower meadow that comes to life in spring with sprinkles of crimson red Tulip ‘Red Shine’, generous stretches of woodland intersected by curving cobble paths and filled with choice shade-lovers, and a formal, rectangular pool whose silver sliver of water is a mirror to the cloud-streaked Wicklow sky. Each one is so thoughtfully, imaginatively and expertly executed that it would be enough by itself to bring joy to the heart of any gardener. But it is when they are combined together as a whole that they form what is, without doubt, a truly remarkable garden.” Fionnuala Fallon.

The house was designed by William Caldbeck in 1864. Tinode House was burned to the ground in 1922 by the IRA, and has since been partially rebuilt.

Places to stay, County Wicklow:

1. Ballyknocken House, Ashford, County Wicklow

The website tells us:

Ballyknocken House, Farm and Cookery SchoolScenically located on 280 acres only 47 km south of Dublin City Centre in County Wicklow, Ireland. Our charming 4* Victorian style farm guesthouse offers 7 guest bedrooms plus a 3-bedroom Milking Parlour apartment, surrounded by scented kitchen gardens, offering a farm to fork experience. Home to celebrity chef and award-winning food writer, Catherine Fulvio, we pride ourselves on continuing the family tradition of providing B&B accommodation for over fifty years here in County Wicklow.

We offer an intimate, cosy, warm and friendly experience not only for individual guests for Foodie Short Breaks and for visiting Wicklow but we also welcome private parties, whether it’s a corporate, friend and family gathering or hen party. Ballyknocken can be booked exclusively for accommodation, cookery events and onsite activities for your company day out or your celebration.

2. Ballymurrin House, Kilbride, Co Wicklow – 482 and Airbnb, see above 

3. Bel Air Hotel (formerly Cronroe), Ashford, Co Wicklow 

The website tells us:

Bel-Air is an old Manor House Hotel on 200 acres farm and parkland. The house and stable yard are in the middle of the estate, with the land surrounding it in all directions. There is wonderful parkland to the front of the house looking out to the coast, while the tillage land is behind the house. In the centre of the estate is old woodland, which has lovely jumping lanes. In the spring, bluebells and wild garlic bring colour and aroma to the tracks and trails. And the heady scent and sight of the vibrant yellow gorse makes your heart sing.

The stable yard is from ca 1750 and the current house was built in 1890. Both the house and the yard are listed for preservation and wherever you look you find evidence of the old days.

Even though we are less than an hour from Dublin, you feel like you are miles from anywhere and you also take a leap back in time. Bel-Air is not just a place – it’s a way of life!

4. Brook Lodge and Macreddin Village, County Wicklow

The website tells us:

Relax and unwind at The Wells Spa, a designated ‘resort spa’. Dine at The Strawberry Tree, Ireland’s first certified Wild and Organic Restaurant, or La Taverna Armento, a Southern Italian style bistro. We also host Actons Country Pub, The Orchard Café, an Organic Bakery, a Smokehouse and a Wild Food Pantry and much more. Macreddin Golf Course designed by European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley is a short stroll from BrookLodge.

Macreddin Village has twice won AA Hotel of the Year, Ireland’s Culinary Hotel of the Year and Ireland’s Luxury Eco-Friendly Hotel. Other recent awards for The Strawberry Tree Restaurant include titles such as Best Restaurant and Best Organic Restaurant.

5. Clone House, Count Wicklow

The website tells us:

Clone House, first built around 1650, is surrounded by five acres of private land and gardens.

Based in the heart of vibrant and beautiful County Wicklow, just an hour south of Dublin, Clone House offers a unique holiday experience and quality accommodation for up to 26 guests.

We cater for events such as family reunions, corporate events, hens & stags and small weddings.

Clone House was originally built by the O’Byrne family in the 1650’s. Back then it was the Manor House on a large estate stretching across Moneyteigue, Clone and Coolahullen. The house’s history is as grand and interesting as its demeanor. Clone House provided refuge to the famous Billy Byrne of Ballymanus, was burnt down in the 1798 Rebellion, restored around 1805 and nowadays functions as a beautiful guesthouse.

6. Croney Byrne, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow – courtyard accommodation

The website tells us:

Wicklow is a great holiday destination and you will love staying in our luxurious Self Catering Holiday Homes in one of the most beautiful locations in Irelands Ancient East. Croneybyrne Courtyard is a family friendly destination where children love our park with playground and collecting their eggs for breakfast from our hens and geese. See our accommodation page for more details.
A mere 1 hour drive from Dublin city it is a great escape with many acres of wilderness on our doorstep including Clara Vale Bird Sanctuary and Wildlife Reserve where you can spend hours exploring without seeing another soul or hearing the sound of modern distractions. There you will see Sika Deer as well as Badger, Fox, Rabbits and the occasional Hare, not to mention the myriad of Birds, including the spectacular Red Kite and Spotted Woodpecker.

There are forest and mountain walks, we are near the Avonmore Trails and within easy reach of the Wicklow Way and the beautiful Vartry Tracks and Trails. Or for the more adventurous, there are challenging Rock Climbing activities as well as hiking on the highest mountain in Wicklow Lugnaquilla or the many mountain tops in the area. If you are looking for a Walking Holiday in Wicklow see our Walking/Hiking pages for a list of our top walks in the area.

7. Druid’s Glen hotel and golf club (formerly Woodstock), Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow

Mark Bence-Jones writes of Woodstock, which has now been converted to Druid’s Glen hotel:

p. 287. “(Tottenham, sub Ely, M/PB) A three storey five bay block of ca 1770, with  single-storey five bay block added ca 1840 by Rt Rev Lord Robert [Ponsonby] Tottenham [1773-1850], Bishop of Clogher [son of Charles Tottenham Loftus 1st Marquess of Ely], who bought the property after 1827; it had previously been rented for a period by the Lord Lieutenant, Marquess Wellesley. The centre block has a one bay breakfront and a die which was probably added by Bishop Tottenham at the same time as the single-storey Ionic portico, which is by Sir Richard Morrison. Giant blind arches in end pavilions; balustraded parapets on wings. Garden front with curved bow in central breakfront; now asymmetrical because of projecting C19 wing on one side and other additions. Hall running through the full depth of the house, divided by a screen of columns from the staircase, which is of fine solid C18 joinery; rococo plasterwork in the manner of Robert West in panels on the walls above the staircase, and curving round the apse at the back of the hall in the bow of the garden front; similar plasterwork on the ceiling of the staircase and landing. Dining room with rococo plasterwork in centre of ceiling. Large and lofty drawing room in right hand wing with frieze and cornice of elaborate C19 plasterwork, rather in the manner of Sir Richard Morrison. Handsome C19 room with bold cornice and ceiling medallion in wing flanking garden front. Sold 1947, afterwards the home of Mr and Mrs G. Van den Bergh. It is now the home of Mr and Mrs William Forwood, who have carried out a most sympathetic restoration of the house, with the help of Mr Jeremy Benson.” 

The National Inventory tells us:

Detached five-bay three-storey over basement former country house, built in 1770, now in use as a hotel / country club. The original house was probably to designs by Robert West the eminent Irish stuccodore. Two-storey wing additions added in c.1830 to designs by Sir Richard Morrison. There are later additions to the rear elevation. The walls are finished in painted lined render. A short flight of stone steps rises to the front door; it has a four-pane fanlight and is flat-headed. This is set within a projecting portico with Ionic columns. Window openings are flat-headed and have moulded surrounds; those to the piano nobile also have blocking courses and projecting cornice. The hipped roof is finished with natural slate and cast-iron rainwater goods. Chimneystacks are rendered with plain caps and clay pots. Much of the late Georgian interior has been retained; this includes rococo plaster work to the hallway, the original stair and fireplaces to principal rooms. The building is set within a large demesne which is now in use as a golf course.” [3]

8. June Blake’s Garden, Turkey House and Cow House, Tinode, Blessington, Co Wicklow – June Blake’s Garden, see above 

9. Rathsallagh, County Wicklow – accommodation €€

Rathsallagh, photograph courtesy of Rathsallagh House.

It was built around 1750 as stables and converted in 1798. The range consists of four wings based around a large courtyard with the main wing to the front (west) having two-storey projections to its north and south ends.

The website tells us: “Rathsallagh House has been owned and run by the O’Flynn family for over 30 years, it has a happy and relaxed atmosphere with log and turf fires in the bar and drawing rooms. The food at Rathsallagh is country house cooking at its best, Game in season and fresh fish are specialities. Breakfast in Rathsallagh is an experience in itself and has won the National Breakfast Awards a record four times.

Rathsallagh also has conference and meeting rooms, Spa room, billiard room, and tennis court and is surrounded by the magnificant Rathsallagh Golf Club.

Joanna and David at Rathsallagh, photograph courtesy of Rathsallagh House.
Rathsallagh House, County Wicklow, photograph courtesy of Rathsallagh House.
Rathsallagh, photograph courtesy of Rathsallagh House.
J Channing RS Rooms, Rathsallagh, photograph courtesy of Rathsallagh House.
Rathsallagh, photograph courtesy of Rathsallagh House.

10. Summerhill House Hotel, County Wicklow €€

The website tells us: “Summerhill House Hotel is where glamour and the countryside blend in one of Ireland’s prettiest villages. Our location in the cosy village of Enniskerry is a gloriously refreshing antidote to city living or stressful lives. Reconnect with family and friends and let the kids run free. Lose track of time as you breathe in clean air, stride for miles through nature walks on your doorstep, stargaze under big skies, and, most importantly – relax, with a dose of the finest Wicklow hospitality.

11. Tinakilly House, Rathnew, Co Wicklow – country house hotel 

The website tells us:

Set in 14 acres of mature landscaped gardens overlooking the Irish Sea Tinakilly offers peace and tranquillity yet is only 45 minutes from Dublin. This stunning award winning Country House Hotel in Wicklow is steeped in history and oozes charm and sophistication.

Mark Bence-Jones writes (1988):

p. 304. “A house of 1870 by James Franklin Fuller, built for Commander Robert Charles Halpin, RN, who commended the steamship Great Eastern when she laid the first Atlantic cable. In vaguely Queen Anne revival style; entrance front with two bay centre between three sided bows; pedimented porch. Roof on bracket cornice with central dormer. Side elevation with central three sided bow. Very impressive central hall, an early example of the hall-cum-living room which was to become an almost obligatory feature of late Victorian and Edwardian country houses; with an imperial staircase rising to a bridge gallery which continues around two of the walls. The ceiling is elaborately coved and coffered; the soffits of the stairs and gallery are richly ornamented with plasterwork. The fireplace is surmounted by a triple window, so that the flue appears to vanish; a conceit which, like the “living hall” itself, became increasingly popular towards the turn of the century. Halpin died 1894; his widow was living at Tinakilly 1912.” 

The website gives us the history:

Tinakilly House was constructed for Captain Robert Halpin, who was born in Wicklow Town and who succeeded in becoming Commander of The Great Eastern when it laid most of the world’s transoceanic telegraph cables.  The cable connecting Europe to America was laid in 1866 from Valentia Bay in Ireland to Hearts Content in Canada.  A section of this cable and a fine colour print of The Great Eastern can be seen today in Tinakilly Country House Hotel & Gardens.  Most of Captain Halpin’s memorabilia is in the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire.

Halpin is reputed to have been given an open cheque by the British Government to build his new mansion in gratitude for his contribution to improving world communications and thereby world trade.  He recruited the then very fashionable Irish architect, James Franklin Fuller, to design the house. The timber, which is so evident and gives such character, was selected in London by Halpin. The doors on the ground floor are of Burmese mahogany with many panels of different woods, the best of which are in “birds eye” maple. The architraves window shutters and stairs are in American pitch pine. Fireplaces were imported from Italy with the exception of the drawing room where a fine Georgian one graces the room.

In 1870 the land extended to 400 acres, two Head Gardener’s were employed, one for inside the walled garden to grow fruit and vegetables and the other to supervise the seven acres of pleasure gardens. There are fine stands of beech eucalyptus and evergreen oak while two giant sequoias (American Redwood) are at either end of the old tennis court. The site chosen for the house is on elevated ground two miles north of Wicklow Town, overlooking Broadlough Bird Sanctuary and the Irish Sea.

Halpin married the daughter of a wealthy Canadian whaling merchant. They had three daughters, the youngest of whom, Belle, lived in Tinakilly until the early 1950’s. Captain Halpin died at the young age of 58 from blood poisoning after cutting his toe.

In 1949 the house and lands were purchased by Augustus Cullen, a Wicklow solicitor. The Trustee’s sold on condition that Belle Halpin retain the house for her lifetime, which she did until 1952. Rumour has it that her ghost continued to occupy the house as well as Miss Halpin’s housekeeper – hence the Cullen’s never took occupation. During the last six years of Mr Cullen’s ownership, the house was only used in the summer when it was rented by a group of Jesuit priests for summer retreats.  Any ghosts quickly departed.

In 1959 the house and lands were sold to Mr Gunther Smith whose nephew, Mr Heinrich Rolfe, inherited the property in 1962.  His wife ran the house as a guesthouse while Mr Rolfe concentrated on farming.  A colourful Frenchman called Jean Claude Thibaud then rented the house and ran it as a “Restaurant Francais”.  A thatched cottage bar was constructed in the hall while stucco plaster on the dining room walls appeared to give an effect of “waves by the sea”.  One day Jean Claude discovered his kitchen chimney was blocked by the home of a family of building crows.  Not wishing to climb out onto the roof to discover which of the 36 chimney pots needed freeing, he took a sledgehammer to a top floor bedroom and through the flue of a fireplace allowing the smoke into the bedroom.  He then opened the window and closed the door.  A French solution to an Irish problem.

In 1978 an Irish couple, Dermot & Anne Garland, who had experience in running the Pembroke Restaurant in Dublin, swapped with the Thibauds and completed a purchase agreement for Tinakilly House. The Garland’s redecorated Tinakilly and ran a successful restaurant. Dermot tragically died leaving Anne to struggle on with their two young sons.

In 1982 Tinakilly sold to William & Bee Power, who decided to develop a full hotel putting bathrooms ensuite and installing a modern fully equipped kitchen. Redecorating and furnishing of the hotel was undertaken by William & Bee to ensure the homely Victorian character so evident to the visitor today. Great care has been taken in all reconstruction work to maintain the nautical theme.  Bedrooms were named after ships. 

In 1991 the Power’s constructed 15 suites all overlooking the Irish Sea and Broadlough Bird Sanctuary.  Sunrise is a spectacle to behold.  The Victorian Halpin Suite was developed to cater for conferences and weddings.

In 1997 the East wing was extended northwards with the addition of 24 suites and a lift, bringing the total compliment of bedrooms to 51. Also in that year, a new dining room, the Brunel, was built to the west of the house. All of this work has been architect controlled to ensure the true character of Tinakilly is maintained. In January 2000, Tinakilly was taken over by William & Bee’s son and daughter-in-law, Raymond & Josephine.

In 2013 Tinakilly House changed hands again, the owners are passionate about this grand country manor, adding refreshing touches through out the house but always in keeping with the character. The Great Hall is alive again with chatty conservations over afternoon tea, the Brunel restaurant and menus are refreshing, wedding guest fill the house with laughter and joy.  So check back with us to see the old and new meld to give this beautiful Victorian manor a new chapter in history.

12. Tulfarris, Blessington, Co Wicklow - hotel

The website tells us: “Tulfarris Hotel & Golf Resort is a luxury 4 star retreat situated in the garden of Ireland, County Wicklow. Perched on the banks of the Blessington Lakes against the backdrop of the Wicklow mountains, yet only 45 minutes drive from Dublin. Offering delicious food, relaxed bars and deluxe guest accommodation, the views are breathtaking and the golf course is immense. Step back in time as you enter the 18th century Manor House which stands imposingly at the heart of our 200 acre resort. Get married, get your colleagues together or get some rest and relaxation. Tulfarris Hotel in Wicklow is yours to enjoy.

The website tells us of the history of the house:

Tulfarris House derives its name from the land it is situated on. Tulfarris comes from the Gaelic ‘Tulach Fherghuis’ meaning Fergus’ Hill.   

From a document known as the Faints, which contains legal judgements from the Tudor period, it is clear that the lands known as Tulfarris were included with the manor of Rathmore, Co. Kildare. This estate was in the possession of Gerald Fitzgerald (Garret Oge), 9th Earl of Kildare. Until 1534, the Fitzgerald dynasty dominated both the lands and events that occurred in much of Ireland. The rebellion of Gerald’s son Thomas, popularly known as Silken Thomas, resulted in the confiscation of the entire estate by the crown. In 1541, the crown to Walter Troot, Vicar of Rathmore, leased the manors of Rathmore, including Tulfarris.

Shortly afterwards in 1545, the lands were granted in full to Sir John Travers, a knight from Monkstown, Co. Dublin. Sir John Travers had an heir by his first marriage, Henry. Henry married Gennet Preston [d.1599], daughter of the third Viscount of Gormanstown [Jenico Preston, d. 1560]. Henry however, died young leaving two daughters, Mary & Catherine. John Travers died in 1562 and the lands were inherited by Henry’s daughters, Mary & Catherine.

Mary married James Eustace, 3rd Viscount of Baltinglass. After James played a leading role in the Desmond Rebellion of 1579, The Baltinglass estate including Mary’s share of Rathmore, were confiscated by the crown. Mary managed to have her share of the estate returned to her in her husband’s lifetime.

Her sister Catherine married John Cheevers of Macetown, Co. Meath. Catherine’s share of the Rathmore Estate included Tulfarris and was inherited by Catherine’s son Henry. Henry in turn married Catherine Fitzwilliam and their son Walter inherited the title to Tulfarris. Inquisitions dated 24th September 1640, detail the size of the estate at the time of Henry Cheever’s death. According to this document, Tulfarris contained one ruined Castle, 20 messuages, 70 acres of land and a manor.

Tulfarris’ turbulent history continued and in a list of outlaws intended for the House of Lords and dated 1641-1647, five entries for Tulfarris were found. During that time, the crown again confiscated Tulfarris.

Tulfarris and other properties were granted to Colonel Randall Clayton on 15th October 1667, in trust for the officers of the Cromwellian soldiers of 1649. Tulfarris was subsequently granted to Captain John Hunt of the Cromwellian soldiers of 1649. His son, Vere Hunt, later sold the land to John Borrowes of Ardenode, Co. Kildare. In 1713, Robert Graydon of Russellstown held Tulfarris. The means of transfer of ownership between Borrowes and Graydon is uncertain, however, Borrowe’ss niece and granddaughter both married Graydons.

Much of the house’s more recent history is associated with the Hornridge family who held the land from the early eighteenth century until the 1950’s. James Hornridge came to Ireland from Gloucester with Cromwell’s parliamentary Army in 1659 and settled in Colemanna in Co. Carlow.

The Historical information regarding how the Hornridge’s came to own Tulfarris is unclear. His son Richard Hornridge married Hester Hogshaw of Burgage, Blessington Co. Wicklow in 1699. It is most likely that Tulfarris came into the Hornridge’s possession through this marriage.”

13. Wicklow Head Lighthouse, Dunbur Head, County Wicklow € for 4

14. Gate Lodge, Woodenbridge, Avoca, County Wicklow €€


Beautifully restored small Castle situated in the Vale of Avoca, within walking distance of the Golf Club. Only 4km from Arklow Town and only 3km from the stunning Avoca Village. The Castle is ideal for those who are looking for a relaxing break to take in the beautiful scenery, walk ways, fishing and golfing.

The space
If you choose to book the Gatelodge, you and your guests will have full use of the Small Castle.

[1] Bence-Jones, Mark. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.