Essential Architecture-  Ireland

Assolas Country House




Ireland > County Cork








A Queen Anne mansion covered in creepers; a section of the Owenbeg River; a pair of swans floating gracefully on the water; otters playing at dusk; and small wooden boats and rubber boots there for the taking -- all in all, this peaceable kingdom, while slightly off the beaten track, makes for an excellent base for touring and allows you to savor the peace of the deep, deep countryside. Combining prettiness and elegance with historical charm, the 1740 manor house is a rare Irish example of Queen Anne style, with a symmetrical center block and rounded bays at either end, topped by a mansard roof and pediment with a circular Palladian window. Picturesquely, the house is surrounded by a grove of mature trees, fronted by a rolling lawn, and threaded by the Owenbeg River. Add to this attentive hosts, the Burke family, who have presided over Assolas since the 1960s and brought more than a few antique heirlooms with them. Hosts Joe and Hazel Bourke are the second generation; Joe had the great fortune to marry Hazel, a talented chef, who revels in preparing delicious dinners from produce organically grown in their walled garden, and sourced from local farmers and fishermen. Dinner ($$$$) begins in front of the blazing log fire in the drawing room, where you peruse the menu over aperitifs. Family silver and white linen are on the tables in the red Queen Anne dining room, but the fare may be less traditional -- -an Ardrahan cheese soufflé, or prawns with fresh tomato and herb salsa to start, perhaps followed by local sirloin of beef with fresh horseradish sauce. Top it all off with gooseberry crumble and a night of pure peace. 9 rooms. In-room: no a/c, no TV. In-hotel: restaurant, tennis court. MC, V. Closed Nov.-Mar. Full breakfast.

Address: Signposted off N72 west of Mallow, in Killarney direction, Kanturk, Co. Cork, Ireland
Phone: 029/50015
Fax: 029/50795