Growing up on the opposite shore, my husband and I had the same dreams of leaving our urban children to live a “civilized” life: we would be rich and European, rightfully with a big house to live in. These thoughts (now a little embarrassing) may be manageable. . However, the pull of life on the pages of The World of Interiors is still strong.
So while on a trip to Dublin with our 4-year-old daughter Clara, we turned to Ballyvolane House, a regal 1728 family home and lodge located in Ireland’s East Country Cork – and it seemed to come right out of our dreams.
Hopefully, I will tell you all about it and pass it on to what we have been through!
So our home visit was a serious one that lasted just over three hours. But our patience was rewarded.
At the end of a fenced-in road, across a meadow of grazing cattle and fishing ponds, we arrived at the Georgian mansion. We were greeted by the owners, Justin and Jenny Green, an amazing 31-year-old couple living in Ballyvolane with their three children.
Jenny welcomed us in and gave us dinner – thank you. We climbed a row of mahogany stairs to our bedrooms. Our room gave us a wonderful view of the lush green fields; it had cool blankets, a gift-foot bath, a fair amount of heavy old-fashioned preparation items, and, none of the B & B frills too close (smelly potpourri, anything to the contrary).
Fact: One of the six rooms in Ballyvolane can accommodate parents and children in bed or couches, and everyone outside the Blue Room has a bathtub. Although no units are connected, Yellow and Large rooms and Green and Gran rooms face each other, making them ideal for large families.
After mixing our drinks on the floor and circling the walled garden, we sat down to have dinner in the dining room. It was an old dinner party filled with candelabras, linen, and official silverware. Clara had set up her table with plastic containers set up like ours. We settled into a delicious four-course meal, and when Clara started to panic, Jenny comforted her with a Charlie and Lola DVD in the TV room with toys next to us.
I was amazed! Then I realized how much our definition of splendor has changed since we became parents. Access to ketchup (without the need for inquiries), DVD (free of charge for room service $ 11.95), and one that plays the role of a mother in anticipation of everyone’s needs – those are the types of resources. as parents, we fell in love.
The Green’s professional background in the world of big-name hotels, and their status as parents, make them incredibly thoughtful owners. The couple met in Hong Kong while working for Mandarin Oriental and later co-managed Babington House in England. In 2004, they took over Ballyvolane, the home of Justin’s friends, whose parents ran it off as a lodge. During our stay, Jenny and Justin guided us to all the places they visited with their children, taking us to a picnic lunch or address to their favorite bars and places they could go. Many other days, we stayed – my husband fished, I read on the couch, and Clara ran on the endless grass with the Green kids and their dogs.
Every night, we would choose the night in between, and on our last night, we would feed Clara and put her to bed early so that she could have dinner with the other older guests.
It was a great relief to be with a family of three children: they almost had everything you could forget to cry about – raincoats, toys, and so on.
You see we have a lot of fun and, most importantly, I let go of the steam as I found another mom holding my hand to make little Clara feel comfortable.
Photos by Matthew Hranek
Read more on our blog.
POSTED IN: TRAVEL. TAGGED: EUROPE WITH KIDS, FAMILY TRAVEL, IRELAND WITH KIDS, SUMMER VACATION, TRAVEL WITH KIDS