Great gardens are a hallmark of western Ireland and Ard Na Sidhe (‘fairy hill’) has a garden to rival most. Beside the lake you find 40 exhilarating acres of mature woodland, tiered beds, stone-flagged paths and trim lawns – a tranquil Irish Eden. Paths lead to the water and you can row across to Robert’s Island for absolute stillness. The house, a sporting lodge built in 1913 by the Gordons, as in gin, looks much older than it is, while the mullioned windows that you find all over the house are old – 1713 to be precise, swiped from an Edinburgh mansion. In good weather you can breakfast on the terrace or take afternoon tea in the garden but two fires in the huge sitting room guard against the odd spot of rain and there’s a grand piano on which to practise your Shostakovich. Inside, all is thick-carpet hush and gliding smiling staff in white shirts and black waistcoats. Bedrooms, five with lake views, the best in the main house, are country-house floral; expect repro beds and dressing tables, draped crowns and fluffy bath towels. Killorglin’s eateries are a 15-minute drive.