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Experiences on-site and nearby

You might just want to kick back, relax and read a book while you’re at Ballyvolane and who could blame you – it’s the perfect place to do just that. But if you’re looking for something a little different either on site or nearby, there are lots of options to keep you entertained …


Illustrated map of Ballyvolane estate

Onsite, we have glorious gardens to stroll around and woods to explore. Bring your pooch. We have maps of the estate showing all the paths. Justin sometimes takes guests leaf and flower foraging in the spring and mushroom and fruit foraging in the autumn. We can also bring in an expert forager for groups. In the summer, guests are welcome to try wild swimming in our lakes.

Tennis court in the walled-garden at Ballyvolane House

We have croquet (cheating essential) set up on the top lawn, badminton next to the glamping area, an all-weather tennis court and a soccer pitch in the walled-garden. Table tennis is available in the barn. There are also great jogging trails in and around Ballyvolane House. Yoga can also be arranged with prior notice. If you just want to relax, curl up by the fire in the drawing room with a good book or snooze on a sun-lounger in the gardens. Our gin distillery is located in the farmyard and this is where Bertha’s Revenge Gin is lovingly distilled by Justin and Antony. Distillery tours and tastings can be arranged by prior notice for groups too. Guests are always welcome to help feed the pigs, donkeys and as assortment of ducks, hens and bantams after breakfast.


Nearby, there are some wonderful sandy beaches on the east Cork and west Waterford coastline. Cast a fly for that elusive salmon on the river Blackwater. Canoeing on the river Blackwater is always one of the highlights and it suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. There are also a number of historic houses and gardens that are open to the public nearby. There are some cracking woodland walks and mountain hiking trails in the Galtees, Knockmealdowns, Comeragh and Ballyhoura mountains. Day trips to Kinsale, Cobh, Cork City, Lismore and Dungarvan with its Waterford Greenway are well worth visiting. Graze at our local farmers’ markets and meet our local artisan food producers in Midleton and Cork. If golf is your thing, there are Championship golf courses including The Old Head Kinsale and Fota Island and many other excellent courses within an hour’s drive. There are a few excellent driven game shoots nearby and Ballyvolane House is the perfect base for shooting parties.

We have local knowledge and we are always happy to help our guests plan day trips, restaurant bookings, excursions and activities based on the weather and the time of the year. Click here to view a comprehensive list of things to do during a stay at Ballyvolane House.


Hiking at the Vee in the Knockmealdowns
Hiking at the Vee in the Knockmealdowns

There are numerous stunning mountain and woodland hikes nearby. We recommend AllTrails App which lists all the best hiking trails in Ireland. Our favourite spots for a hike are Mahon Falls, Galtee Mountains, Knockmealdown Mountains, Glenbower Wood in Killeagh and hiking through Coillte forestry and lands. Coillte is the state-owned custodian of 440,000 hectares of land, primarily forestry. There is a dizzying array of marked hiking trails through Coillte managed forests and lands.

Clay pigeon shooting

Clay pigeon shooting

We can accommodate groups for clay pigeon shooting at Ballyvolane House. This has proved to be a hugely popular activity with our wedding groups on the morning of the weddings and with corporate groups. Also, book a private one-on-one shooting lesson with Justin who is an experienced shot and can provide expert tuition to anyone wanting to learn to shoot.


This is a fantastic day out and suitable to all ages and levels of fitness. Enjoy ambling down the beautiful river Blackwater in a Canadian-style open canoe and take in the majestic unspoiled scenery, old ruined castles, splendid mansions and abundant bird life including the elusive kingfisher. The trips lasts around two and a half hours and the timings depend on the tides.

Fly-Fishing for Salmon on the River Blackwater

Fly fishing on the Cork Blackwater

The Cork Blackwater is Ireland’s finest Salmon River and one of the most important salmon rivers in Europe, stretching for over 150 kilometres from its source in Kerry to the sea at Youghal. The season for salmon opens on 1st February and continues until 30th September. Due to the size of its catchment area the Blackwater maintains a good flow so that fishing is possible in a wide range of weather conditions.

Preparing for a days salmon fishing & fly fishing on the Cork Blackwater in Ireland

Ballyvolane House is a member of The Great Fishing Houses of Ireland was recently was awarded “Fishing Hotel of the Year” by the Good Hotel Guide.

We highly recommend booking with Glenda Powell, an award winning guide. She can arrange booking of fishing beats on the river as well as the service of a ghillie, and /or expert tuition. Glenda became World Champion in 2006 when she won the Overhead Salmon Distance Casting Competition for women at Carton House. She fished in the Scottish Ladies International Fly Fishing team and went on to manage the Irish Ladies Team. Justin’s late mother Merrie was also a mad keen angler of some renown in her own right and there is a very long tradition of salmon fishing at Ballyvolane House. Glenda can arrange the hire of all fishing equipment such as waders, fishing rods, tackle, as well as the state license as required.