Ballynatray Estate (Brochure Copy)

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Ballynatray Estate

The trees are in their autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry,

Under the November twilight the water

Mirrors a still sky

– W.B. Yeats

Ireland’s great estates have a long tradition of shooting house parties: crisp autumn mornings in beautiful parkland, high birds, sumptuous dining and vintage wines in elegant historic dining rooms. Ballynatray, home to the first Earl of Cork, is one of Ireland’s most beautiful Georgian houses, as well as one of the country’s finest driven shoots.

A long winding drive through 850-acres of mature parkland, an ancient ruined Abbey overlooking a bend in the legendary Blackwater River, sunny Georgian reception rooms with fireplaces big enough to stand in, sumptuous bed linens and enormous marble baths in ensuite or adjoining bathrooms, a private chef cooking the finest of the Estate’s organic produce… Ballynatray Estate offers a grand Irish welcome to guns from all over the world.

Ballynatray Estate Shoot offers challenging shooting for even the most accomplished gun; the cartridge-to-bird ratio is sometimes as high as 10:1. Ballynatray Estate’s terrain is aggressive, with steep valleys and dramatic views of the Blackwater River. There are mature woodlands, and beautiful waterways on some drives. Most drives are 30-50 minutes, and guns are provided with their own loaders. Birds are high – up to 60 meters – and flushes are avoided at all times.

There will be a driven and a walk-up shoot day. Birds shot on driven days include pheasant, partridge, and duck. The driven day at Ballynatray consists of six to seven drives, and provides a 400-500 bird day. The walk-up day is a relaxed affair of three to four hours’ shooting, depending upon the enthusiasm of the guns. Wild birds include woodcock, teal, snipe, and widgeon. Guests will shoot one driven day at Ballynatray, and one walk-up day.

The second day’s shoot will be at Curraghmore Estate, the private home of the Eighth Marquis of Waterford. The estate includes some 2,500 acres of formal gardens, woodland, and grazing fields, making it the largest private demesne in Ireland. The house includes some of the finest neo-classical rooms in the country, featuring the magnificent plasterwork of James Wyatt, and grisaille panels by Peter de Gree. The Marquis will be our host.

Curraghmore’s terrain is less aggressive than Ballynatray’s, and is made up of undulating mature forestry, with a number of challenging drives along the riverbank. There are more drives at Curraghmore than at Ballynatray, but they are shorter. Ballynatray will bring loaders, staff, and refreshments for elevenses. Lunch will be in Curraghmore House’s magnificent historic dining room. This will be a 300-bird day.

The Non-shooting Program will be tailored to guests’ interests. Activities can include cooking lessons and lunch at world-renowned Ballyamloe Cookery School and Ballymaloe House, a tour of Cork and the English Market, a tour of Midleton Whiskey Brewery and Midleton Farmer’s Market, garden tours, fox hunting, and a spa day at Ballynatray House including use of the pool, sauna, and hot tub, as well as private massage and spa treatments.

SAMPLE NOVEMBER SHOOTING PROGRAM: 

November Day One

Guests will arrive in the afternoon and will be given a warm welcome to Ballynatray. Tea will be served with scones, local butter, and the Estate’s own preserves.

Guests will have time to settle in, relax, take a walk, and use the indoor pool and sauna. There are many magnificent walks through the grounds and along the river. Massage treatments can be arranged upon request.

7 pm: Pre-dinner drinks will be served in the drawing room. Dress will be smart casual: jackets, no ties.

8pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room. Dinner will include fresh organic produce from the Estate, prepared by a private chef. See attached sample menus. Please let us know in advance of arrival of any dietary needs that you may have.

The evening will include a brief on the upcoming shooting, given by Ballynatray’s resident gamekeeper.

All guns are lent to guests; please let us know in advance of any preferences you may have so we can endeavour to accommodate them.

November Day Two

8.00am Sharp: Full Irish breakfast will be served.

8.45am: Guns will meet the host to arrange fitting of firearms, and to collect cartridges and clothing as required for the day’s shooting.

9.15am Guns will assemble in the hall for the safety brief, and for the drawing of pegs prior to setting out for the day’s shooting.

Drives 1 and 2 on the Estate.

Elevenses: Break for traditional refreshments, which typically consist of homemade soup, sausages cooked in honey and mustard, and some housemade Sloe Gin. Elevenses will be served outside, weather permitting.

After the morning break, the shoot will continue with Drives 3 and 4.

Lunch: Guns will return to the house after the 4th Drive for a formal lunch.

Champagne and wine will be served in the music room, and lunch will be served in the dining room.

2.30pm to 3pm: The shoot will resume with the 5th drive. A 6th Drive will be optional, depending on the bag shoot during the day.

The remainder of the afternoon will be free to use the facilities in the house, and to explore the local area. There are many long sandy beaches nearby, and the local villages have some wonderful traditional pubs and cafes.

7pm: Pre-dinner drinks will be served in the drawing room.

8pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room.

November Day Three

7.45-8.30am: Full Irish breakfast will be served, after which the guns will depart for a day’s shoot at Curraghmore. Our host will be the 8th Marquis of Waterford.

This day will have similar arrangements to the shoot day at Ballynatray, including elvenses and a formal lunch party in Curraghmore’s magnificent historic dining room.

After tea, the guns will depart Curraghmore and return to Ballynatray.

There will be free time to rest and recuperate.

7pm: Pre-dinner drinks will be served in the drawing room.

8pm: Dinner will be served in the dining room.

November Day Four

7.45-8.30am: Full Irish breakfast will be served.

9:00 am: Guests will assemble in the hall for a brief about the Wild Bird Day.

Elevenses: Break for traditional refreshments. Elevenses will be served outside, weather permitting.

Shoot continues

1:30 pm: Guns will return to the house for a formal lunch, or alternatively picnic will be organised on the estate.

The remainder of the afternoon can compise more wild shooting, or will be free, depending upon the enthusiasm of the guns

7pm: Pre-dinner drinks will be served in the drawing room.

8pm: Formal dinner will be served in the dining room (at the client’s discretion).

SAMPLE MENUS

Dinner menu 1

Pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seeds, bacon lardons, basil oil and parmesan cheese served with brown and white soda bread

Traditional Irish stew served with champ potatoes and creamed kale

Baked blackberry and stem ginger pudding

Selection of Irish farmhouse cheese, Tea/Coffee

Dinner menu 2

Ardsallagh goat’s cheese tartlet on puff pastry with red onion marmalade and coriander oil

Slow cooked duck with star anise and ginger served with pickled red cabbage and potato and parsnip gratin

Walnut and honey Tart

Selection of Irish farmhouse cheese, Tea/Coffee

Dinner menu 3

Hederman’s Smoked Salmon with lemon and chive cream cheese on mini brown scones

Bouillabaisse of Hake and mussels served with sundried tomato bread

Bread and butter pudding with Baldwin’s ice cream

Selection of Irish farmhouse cheese, Tea/Coffee

Formal Dinner Menu

Celery and Cashel Blue soup served with brown and white soda bread

Cocktail of Dublin Bay prawns with tomato and avacado salsa

Blood orange and rosemary jelly

Roast striploin of McGrath’s Beef (hung for 29 days), served with Yorkshire pudding, dauphinoise potatoes, roasted seasonal roots and sauteed savoy cabbage

Baileys creme brulee with homemade shortbread fingers

Selection of Irish farmhouse cheese, Petit Fours, Tea/Coffee

Lunch menu 1

Tomato salad with Knoclalara sheep’s cheese, basil and toasted pine nuts

Not so traditional bacon and cabbage (glazed oyster of bacon on a colcannon potato cake topped with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce)

Rhubarb crumble with creme anglaise and Baldwin’s ice cream, Selection of Irish cheese, Tea/Coffee

Lunch menu 2

Wilted spinach, caramelised apple, Clonakilty black pudding and roasted red pepper puree

Wild Blackwater Salmon with dill and lemon butter, mixed greens and baked potato wedges with sour cream and chives

Poached pears with orange and rosewater mascarpone cream, Selection of Irish Cheese, Tea/Coffee

Breakfast

Full Irish Breakfast

Locally cured low-salt bacon, O’Flynns gourmet sausages, Clonakilty black and white pudding, roasted tomato, Portobello mushrooms and Ballynatray eggs

Ballymaloe relish

Hederman’s naturally smoked Irish salmon with scrambled eggs

Eggs benedict or florentine

Homemade granola and natural yoghurt

Fresh fruit salad

Flahavan’s porridge with Jameson and cream

Homemade breads,Tea/ Coffee

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