Great gardens are a hallmark of western Ireland and Ard Na Sidhe (‘fairy hill’) has a garden to rival most. Beside the lake are 40 acres of tranquil woodland, neat lawns and tiered beds. 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 – its mullioned windows are from 1713, swiped from an Edinburgh mansion. You can breakfast on the terrace and take afternoon tea in the garden or stay cosy by the two fires in the huge sitting room, where there’s a grand piano which you may play. Five of the bedrooms have stunning lake views.
Caragh Lake is on one side of you and the forest, teeming with wildlife, on the other. Set off on one of many walking paths, fish, paddle boat or forage. Killorglin is a ten-minute drive for shops and restaurants, and larger Killarney is 35 minutes.