Home And Away Guide: Hilton Park Co Monaghan

Ireland’s Blue Book has added Hilton Park in Co Monaghan to its collection of hotels, country houses and restaurants for 2017. Home to the Madden family for over 300 years guests are offered the elegance of a bygone era with stunning views over a 500 acre wooded park, restored gardens and lake. In the master bedrooms you can sleep on a four-poster bed and bathe in a freestanding bath or lounge with your book for afternoon tea decadence in Hilton's formal drawing rooms.

Dinner for residents is served in a beautiful dining room overlooking the estate and memorable breakfasts are taken downstairs in the Green Room next morning. Fred and Joanna Madden are the ninth generation of Maddens to have lived here and they bring new vitality and enthusiasm to the house and estate overseeing major renovations to the pleasure grounds and rose garden with ongoing refurbishment work planned. Heritage sites worth visiting in the county include Monaghan's St. Macartan's Cathedral, the 12th century round tower at Clones (the town began life as a fifth century monastic settlement), as well as St Tiernach's church and grave. Hilton Park is also an ideal centre from which to visit Enniskillen, the island town which divides the upper and lower lakes on Lough Erne, providing lake cruising, outdoor activities, fishing, hunting and history. National Trust properties Castle Coole and Florence Court are also an easy drive away. My favourite Castle Coole is the neo-classical home of the "Earls of Belmore".

This is an attractive venue for parkland walks and a summer picnic, should the weather stay fine. If not, the house can be viewed and guided tours are available. Florence Court House also has gardens, walks, picnic sites and toilets. Other attractions include scenic drives over Lower Lough Erne for fishing while Castle Archdale Country Park has a nature reserve with trails, marina and jetty, picnic sites, youth hostel, shop and restaurants. The "Old Post Inn" in nearby Cloverhill village is one of the most successful rural country inns and restaurant in Ireland with the owners perfectly retaining the former post offices original rustic feel with bare brick walls, old beams and wooden furniture. The cooking has a strong European slant, although locally sourced produce is given plenty of exposure. 

 Hilton Park is one of the newest members of Ireland's Blue Book a collection of Irish Country House Hotels, Manor Houses, Castles and Restaurants located throughout the island of Ireland. These charming and stylish hideaways are the perfect choice for a midweek or weekend break and those seeking a romantic getaway. Activities vary from golf, fishing, spas and cookery schools or just relaxing in warm and comfortable surroundings. Residential packages include two nights accommodation, with evening meal and fully cooked to order Irish Breakfast. The property is also available for exclusive weekly rental or for longer periods and is the perfect venue for private house parties, family celebrations or weekend or weekday breaks. You’ll feel the difference the moment you arrive. To find out more, visit here.

Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio in Northern Ireland and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland. 

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