Tinakilly Country House – Rathnew, Wicklow, Ireland
An Emerald Isle Gem
In a country known around the world for its verdant, coast-to-coast beauty, it says something that the Irish call Wicklow “the Garden of Ireland.” The Wicklow Mountains, a major beauty spot, are located remarkably close to the capital city. Hotel guests can be in downtown Dublin within forty-five minutes, though it will seem light-years away after they check into the Victorian Italianate Tinakilly House.
This gracious 19th-century country manor was built for the captain of the Great Eastern, who laid the first successful transatlantic cable in 1866. His love for the sea is evident everywhere (the lobby’s central staircase is a replica of the one on the captain’s ship), and nautical memorabilia fill the public rooms and guest rooms, most of which are named after a famous ship.
Adjacent to the tidal-lake Broadlough Bird Sanctuary, and surrounded by 7 acres of sylvan grounds, Tinakilly is serene, quiet, wonderfully romantic, and offers an embarrassment of country pursuits (Wicklow offers twenty-three golf courses), though with a renowned and award-winning restaurant right on the grounds, one might be tempted just to live from one excellent meal to the next. Find a quiet view-filled comer, or an empty chair in front of the ever-burning fire in the great hall, and spend a few hours with a good book between epicurean feasts.