Most famous for being Ireland’s best-known cookery school—you can take wonderful day and half-day courses here—Ballymaloe is also an inviting country hotel. Comfortable guestrooms are furnished in traditional country-house decor, with floral-print wallpaper, antique-style furniture, and original art on the walls. If you want a bit more privacy, you can choose from several self-catering options, including cottages, a faux castle tower (complete with balcony on the battlements), and cabin-style chalets. The kitchen is the real draw here—the restaurant produces fantastic gourmet dinners nightly, lavish five-course affairs with seasonal menus (€75 per person); Sunday features a slightly simpler buffet spread—just as well if you’ve already had the €45 Sunday lunch. The (largely French) wine list is extensive, and unusually high tech—ask to be given the iPad version to check out video information pages.