Professional and amateur cooks flock here from all over the world to sit near the whisk of Darina Allen. It all started with Darina’s mother-in-law, Myrtle, whose evangelization of Ireland’s bounty of fresh produce at Ballymaloe House ★★★ restaurant elevated Irish “country house” cooking to gourmet status. The Allen family’s success led to the founding of this cooking school, the most famous in Ireland, which offers dozens of courses ranging in length from a half-day to 12 weeks. Prices start at about €50. The extensive gardens on the grounds are open to visitors all year. The Ballymaloe Shop, open 10am to 5pm daily, sells kitchen produce (including Ballymaloe’s own delicious brand of relish) and craft items, while the aptly-named Ballymaloe Café sells light lunches, afternoon tea, and lip-smackingly good cakes. Weather permitting, you can usually get a guided tour of the gardens for €5 per person.