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Arts & Culture

Ballyfin: Portrait Of An Irish Country House

Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland (side view from front). Designed by the renowned Irish architects Sir Richard Morrison and his son William Vitruvius, it was subject to one of the most extensive renovations ever undertaken in a private house and is now regarded as one of the best hotels in Ireland.
Courtesy of InProduction.TV for RTÉ
Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland (side view from front). Designed by the renowned Irish architects Sir Richard Morrison and his son William Vitruvius, it was subject to one of the most extensive renovations ever undertaken in a private house and is now regarded as one of the best hotels in Ireland.

Airs Monday, July 25, 2016 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

The rebirth of one of Ireland's architectural treasures to top award-winning hotel in County Laois.

Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland (side view of conservatory). Designed by the renowned Irish architects Sir Richard Morrison and his son William Vitruvius, it was subject to one of the most extensive renovations ever undertaken in a private house and is now regarded as one of the best hotels in Ireland.
Courtesy of InProduction.TV for RTÉ
Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland (side view of conservatory). Designed by the renowned Irish architects Sir Richard Morrison and his son William Vitruvius, it was subject to one of the most extensive renovations ever undertaken in a private house and is now regarded as one of the best hotels in Ireland.

Ballyfin Hotel Reviews

Ballyfin was awarded 12th place in the "100 Best Hotels and Resorts in the World" (International Traveller Magazine), "The Ultimate Destination for 2014" (Harper’s Bazaar), "Top 10 Upscale All-Inclusive Resorts 2013" (Forbes magazine), "fourth in the Top 20 International Hideaways" (Andrew Harper Reader’s Choice Awards 2015) and numerous other national and international awards and accolades.

In the tradition of great house documentaries, “Ballyfin: A Portrait Of An Irish Country House” is a new special featuring an eye-popping Irish estate with nearly 200 years of fascinating history. In 1823, twenty years before the Great Famine that ravaged Ireland and twenty years after the Act of Union that transformed the fractious relationship between Ireland and Great Britain, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat built a magnificent mansion. For 100 years, it was a family home until WWI and Ireland's own Civil War ended their way of life, as we all saw unfold on DOWNTON ABBEY.

For the next 80 years, it housed a Catholic school, until the upkeep became overwhelming. Fred Krehbiel, a businessman and art collector from Chicago with strong Irish ties stepped in in 2002 and has undertaken an ambitious and painstaking restoration of Ballyfin. The house has been restored to it's original, resplendent condition, creating the impression that the family has only recently taken leave. It is now regarded as one of the best hotels in the world.

Ballyfin Demesne is on Facebook, Pinterest, and you can follow @BallyfinDemesne on Twitter.

“Ballyfin: A Portrait Of An Irish Country House” was produced and directed by David Hare of InProduction.TV for RTÉ.

The full episode is available for online viewing.