Wife and two kids, one car and about a five-hour drive (including feeding stops) to our destination in the Kerry heartlands.
Glorious sunshine on the drive down was replicated for the first day. A little cloudy for the rest of the stay but still lovely and warm. It was very much beach weather.
Ard na Sidhe Country House is in a stunning setting on the edge of Lough Caragh. The main house boasts 10 lovely rooms and there are eight Garden House Bedrooms. We were booked into the main house in a massive room overlooking the terrace.
The two superior rooms in the Garden House, one on the ground floor with patio doors to the garden and one on the first floor, offer flexibility for families with small children. The luxury country house has modern comforts while retaining an old world enchantment with a collection of antique furnishings and paintings.
This 48-hour break is all about outdoor family fun. On arrival at the hotel, it was easy to decide what to do first, go explore the lake. And find some fairies of course. Ard na Sidhe, means "Hill of the Fairies" so fairies are a big theme for the little ones. There 32 acres of spectacular gardens to explore with hidden pathways and secret glades - giving way to the lake & mountains beyond.
It was a great added bonus to be able to use the kid amenities in the local and sister hotel Dunloe Hotel & Gardens - the playground, swimming pool, and newly installed fairy trail were big hits. It meant we could entertain the kids, have some lunch and then pop back to our own hotel for some relaxation.
A very excited 4-year-old got to meet Dandan (a really big horse) at the hotel. You can take a complimentary trek around the grounds of the hotel, but we just did the paddock for the first time on a horse.
Beaches around the area are amazing and well worth a visit and a paddle. We drove the short distance to Rossbeigh Strand and played among the dunes. It was another great escape into the Kerry landscape.
The Killarney National Park is also close-by.
By the nature of the Ard na Sidhe Country House, you do end up eating there most nights. It was not a disappointment. Each night our table was ready for us - high chair and all. Our eldest daughter got a special kids menu and the adults' food was exceptional.
On the second night we had wanted to venture further afield to try another restaurant but after the service and food the first night we just couldn't think of going elsewhere.
Picnics are also a really good option with some many parks, beaches and walks around.
And the other thing we lived on during our Kerry adventure - ice cream.
Honestly, we were very hopeful that this hotel experience would be something different, a real break and we weren't disappointed. We had a few wobbles before arriving about no swimming pool to keep the eldest kid entertainment. But we had nothing to worry about - as it was a really relaxing break and one we would do again in a heartbeat.
Details: We stayed as guests of Ard na Sidhe Country House, Caragh Lake, Killorglin, Co. Kerry
Ireland T: + 353 66 976 9105
B&B Rates start from €210 per double room per night for 2 guests sharing (€190 single occupancy). One night Dinner, Bed & Breakfast starts from €150 per person sharing (€225 single occupancy)
For more information visit the website here https://www.ardnasidhe.com/
Other five star hotels in the area include...
- Muckross House Hotel, Muckross Rd, Muckross, Killarney, Co. Kerry.
- Killarney Park Hotel, Town Centre, East Ave, Dromhale, Killarney, Co. Kerry.
- The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, Beaufort, Killarney, Co. Kerry.