There are few Irish castle hotels that can go toe-to-toe with the incredible Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in Galway.
Nestled in the Connemara region of Galway, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is surrounded by the sort of glorious scenery you might expect to find in a Sean Connery-era James Bond film.
Flanked by mountains, lakes and winding roads, this is a seriously stunning place to stay along an epic stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way!
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything you need to know if you’re debating a visit to the very swanky Ballynahinch Hotel – one of the finest castles in Galway.
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Ballynahinch Castle history
Although there has been a building of some sort in this spot since the mid 16th century, the present Ballynahinch Castle was constructed in 1754 by the Martin family to be used as an inn.
Eventually, however, it became a private residence at the behest of Richard Martin – a colourful man known for his commitment to animal welfare, to the point where he earned the nickname “Humanity Dick”.
Life at Ballynahinch Castle after the Famine
Following the Great Famine, the castle was taken on by London Law Life Assurance Company, before being purchased by a brewer from London named Richard Berridge.
Berridge spent plenty of time and money restoring and then enlarging Ballynahinch Castle to its present-day size.
Then along came a prince
In 1924, the house was purchased by Maharaja Jam Sahib, another interesting character in the long history of Ballynahinch Castle Hotel. An Indian prince and a formidable test cricketer (a teammate of the legendary W.G Grace, no less!).
The prince was a fabulously wealthy individual who had fallen in love with the Connemara scenery and the surrounding countryside.
Given to spending his summers in this remarkable part of Galway, he often arrived by limousine and held a lavish party on his birthday each year (serving guests himself!).
The journey to present day
After Maharaja Jam Sahib passed away, Ballynahinch hotel was sold to a Mr. Fredrick C. McCormack, who held the castle until he passed in 1946.
It was then, in 1949, that the Irish Tourism Board bought Ballynahinch Castle and opened it to the public, quickly becoming one of the most popular of the many castles in Ireland.
However, after 3 short years, the tourism board sold the castle and it passed between a number of hands in the years since.
What to expect from a stay at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in Galway
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel has a range of ornate rooms to choose from. The Classic Room and Classic Riverside Room are both cosy digs with the Classic Riverside Room offering (obviously!) a nice view of the meandering river outside.
The Superior and Luxury Rooms maintain that same standard of indulgence but increase the size, with some rooms featuring posters on their King and Queen size beds.
The wonderfully furnished Riverside Suite comes with spectacular views of the river and woodlands, while the spacious Lettery Lodge will give you all the room you need to relax.
The beautifully secluded Owenmore Cottage means you can enjoy the Ballynahinch hotel estate but with the privacy of a holiday home.
Things to do at Ballynahinch Hotel
While the gorgeous setting will tempt you to pass the time relaxing and admiring the scenery, Ballynahinch Hotel isn’t short of things to do!
With over 5km of trails to explore, the surrounding woodlands are ideal for hiking and the nearby mountains offer a more spectacular challenge for the more experienced.
If fly fishing is your thing, then the diverse system of interconnected loughs and rivers of Ballynahinch is perfect for getting out on the water. And with so much open air, clay pigeon shooting is a satisfying and safe way to pass an afternoon (great for bragging rights too!).
Eating at Ballynahinch Castle in Galway
Foodies visiting Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in Galway have a lot to look forward to, with a variety of finely prepared dishes on offer in a variety of settings.
There are several places to eat at Ballynahinch Hotel, depending on 1, the type of food you fancy and 2, where you’d like to enjoy it.
1. The Owenmore Restaurant
A sophisticated fine-dining experience, The Owenmore Restaurant is surely one of Ireland’s most picturesque restaurants. With sublime views of the gentle woodlands and meandering river, Owenmore’s food is a rich reflection of the region’s local produce.
2. The Fisherman’s Pub & Ranji Room
The rustic interior of the Fisherman’s Pub will immediately tug the heartstrings of anyone in Ireland with an affinity for old pubs full of character. Offering superb seasonal dishes, it’s a relaxed and friendly place to enjoy a pint and cracking bite to eat.
3. Ballynahinch Picnic Selection
If you’re here in the summer, Ballynahinch Picnic Selection is a unique offering to perk up any afternoon. Choose from three types of picnic – including the sumptuous Wine and Cheese Hamper – and enjoy the great outdoors with a spring in your step.
Ballynahinch Castle reviews
Want a little flavour of what others who stayed at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel think about it? Look no further!
Here’s a short round up of scores and opinions so far (note: these are accurate at the time of writing):
- Tripadvisor scores Ballynahinch Castle Hotel 4.5 out of 5 based on 1,765 reviews
- Booking.com scores Ballynahinch Castle Hotel 9.5 out of 10 based on 168 reviews
- Google scores Ballynahinch Castle Hotel 4.7 out of 5 based on 753 reviews
Things to do near Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
One of the beauties of Ballynahinch Hotel is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Ballynahinch (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Connemara’s top attractions
Ballynahinch is a short distance from many of the best things to do in Connemara. Below, you’ll find some popular spots to visit (plus how long it’ll take to drive to them):
- Dog’s Bay Beach (18-minute drive)
- Kylemore Abbey (28-minute drive)
- The Sky Road in Clifden (13-minute drive)
- Connemara National Park (29-minute drive)
- Diamond Hill (29-minute drive)
2. Lively villages and gorgeous islands
Ballynahinch hotels is surrounded by brilliant little towns and villages and a number of great islands worth exploring. Here’s some to check out: