“Welcoming unpretentious country house hotel with acres of grounds and great food”
Accommodation is spread across 3 buildings. The original 1850s Country House also contains the main common areas (dining room, lounges), and highlights of pink and green plus modern art add contemporary energy to the tall Victorian rooms and wide plank hallways.
Upstairs are 6 bedrooms of varying sizes, with views across the countryside and some original features such as fireplaces and black and white bathrooms. Our room had double windows overlooking the lawns, an original fireplace, and a large bath on a plinth in its spacious bathroom. Next door, we got a glimpse of the Country House Suite, which has a lovely spacious sitting room.
Adjacent to the main house, the 19th-century stable block has been transformed into the Garden Mews, which has another 9 rooms. These are more modern in feel and can be configured flexibly into sets of 4 or 3 rooms plus 2 rooms are twins (so ideal for family parties or larger groups of friends). The ground floor-rooms open onto private gardens and are pet-friendly; first-floor rooms look out over the walled and herb gardens.
Nestled between Lough Abisdealy and the forest is the refurbished Victorian dower house Lake Lodge, a 10-minute walk from the Country House. It's ideal if you want more privacy, and popular with families and couples alike - but don't stay here if you prefer to have the facilities of the main house on tap, or aren't keen on a stroll. There are 10 bedrooms and guests get their own conservatory and living rooms; you can book the lodge in its entirety for a special occasion.
Decor throughout is comfy country contemporary with lots of white and wood and slate-topped sideboards, enlivened with woven bedspreads, Persian rugs, velvet cushions and taffeta drapes. TVs are flatscreens in the Country House and the Garden Mews rooms. Artwork is restrained: our room had elegant black and white photographs of the estate taken 20 years ago. You get grey and white modern bathrooms in the Country House; those in the Lake Lodge and Garden Mews have Japanese style sliding doors, useful toiletries, bathrobes, ample hanging space, and tea- and coffee-making facilities (Bewleys, naturally).
Expect to dine well at Liss Ard. The chef takes delight in sourcing excellent quality produce from local farmers, fishermen and artisans. The claim is that the food served is not measured by miles but in metres. The breakfast buffet, served in the Country House, consists of fruit, cereals, juice, and locally produced porridge oats, yoghurt, fruit compote and jams. Breads and scones are cooked in-house daily. Hot dishes cooked to order include the full Irish, and scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.
Most evenings there's a 3-course seasonally changing a la carte menu for dinner, packed with flavour and interest. It could be flame-touched trout with golden beet salad or fresh crab to begin, or monkfish on the bone or dry aged Hereford steak as mains. There's always a vegetarian dish of the day as well as gluten free options and a range of desserts. Teas and coffee, and well-selected wines round off the meal.
If you're self-catering in the Lake Lodge, there's a large fully-equipped family kitchen and the dining room can seat up to 20 people; if you wish you can arrange for a chef to cater for a special occasion, or have meals delivered.
If dining out, try Mary Ann’s in Castletownsend, or The Church Restaurant in Skibbereen.
Children are warmly welcomed at Liss Ard Estate which has acres of grounds for exploring and adventuring. There's also heaps to do in the area. And best of all, kids under 12 stay for free (up to a maximum of two per family).
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Most room categories can accommodate a baby cot, some can take a rollaway bed for a child, ranging up to the Country House Suite which can take a family of 5. Only a few of the rooms within the Country House (the Suites) and Garden Mews are large enough for couples sharing with children (you can group some of the latter together if a couple of families are holidaying together); the Lake Lodge is ideal for large family parties who want their own private space or for families wanting to self-cater.
Babysitting is available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Specially prepared children's meals with fun and healthy food options are available on request. You can let Liss Ard know in advance of any requests/preferences.
Take care when strolling with the kids near the lake.