How to get there:
Located on the square in Killarney, beside railway station.
The first time I was in Killarney was many years ago, with a gang of girls, for the Circuit of Ireland Motor Rally. We were more interested in what was driving the cars than the rally! Everybody congregated in the Great Southern Hotel and I was mesmerised by how beautiful it was.
This beautiful Victorian hotel first opened in 1854 and has always been regarded as the Grand Old Lady of the Irish hospitality scene. It has just got better and better. Once you approach the impressive pillared entrance, go up the steps into the regal foyer with blazing fire, you know you are somewhere special. The charm and elegance of the main building has lasted for over 150 years. The building has recently been extended and the rooms in this area offer a modern feel. The magnificent traditional décor remains in the core building but with the little added luxuries our austere ancestors did without! However, a penchant for indulging in afternoon tea in the grand foyer is something we do have in common! The onsite bakery furnishes the venue with gorgeous goodies lovingly homemade.
Rooms include Standard, Deluxe, Junior Suites, Ambassador Suite and Presidential Suite. For something special, if you so wish, you can have your dinner candle-lit in your own room! 24hr room service is available. TV, hairdryer, trouser press and tea and coffee making facilities are in every room. From Deluxe upwards you can, on request, have a fridge which can be stocked as a minibar or used to cool your Champagne and caviar! Junior Suites offer separate bath and shower while the Ambassador and Presidential Suites comprise two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a drawing room and garden view. Tell you what – I certainly felt like a First Lady here!
The Great Southern also offers Self Catering accommodation with fully furnished kitchen including cooker, dishwasher, oven, fridge freezer and washing machine. There are flat screen TV’s in the bedrooms. The ground floor residence has a patio area. As prices vary, contact website.
The food lovers among you will get a chance to let your palate sing! The Executive Chef is producing some excellent food here and The Garden Room Restaurant with opulent gilded Victorian high domed ceiling, amazing atomosphere and grandeur, is the place to enjoy it. They do some really great starters, such as wood pigeon with a burnt onion dressing, curly kale, hazelnuts and tenderstem broccoli, or a tasty, warm and spicy watermelon soup served with rice crisp, kalamata olives and pickled ginger. Their organic smoked salmon with buttered savoy cabbage, capers, wholegrain mustard and beetroot puree sounded delicious also. Mains included assiette of Kerry lamb with minted pea and salsa verde or herb roasted supreme of chicken with baby vegetables, pearly barley and chorizo broth. Fishophiles are always well catered for at The Malton with dishes such as collop of monkfish served with pak choi, cauliflower puree and yuzu beurre blanc, or fillet of salmon with parsnip and honey mousseline, almond and a shrimp mousse. They also grow their own organic vegetables and herbs in gardens and polytunnels, which is really good to hear.
Health and Beauty are really looked after here – they have a 15m heated pool, a sauna, stream room and Jacuzzi. I spent a lovely afternoon immersed. You can avail of massages, facials, body treatments, nails & make up for ultimate relaxation in the fabulous Innisfallen Health & Beauty Rooms. Why not try a hot stone massage or a hydrating facial, and follow up with a manicure, pedicure or professional make up application?
So if you fancy a glimpse of the Victorian era without the draughts and ankle-length skirts, let the Great Southern Killarney take you back in time. It is really beautiful.