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Farnham Estate and Spa offers relaxation, wonderful food and luxury in a picturesque setting

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Farham Estate.

Farham Estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

Farham estate

Farham estate

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

Farham Estate.

Sitting in 16th century splendour, sipping Masala Chai tea as Beethoven danced on the air, I knew I was in the height of luxury.

Farnham Estate and Spa on the outskirts of Cavan town, Co Cavan, is a popular spa and golf destination with a reputation for decadence.

As my girlfriend and I finished off our scrumptious afternoon tea surrounded by the handsome period features of the main house, the reputation was hard to dismiss.

The main hotel building is a mixture of the remains of 16th century Farnham House and the newer facilities, including a spa, restaurants and bars.

The mixture mirrors what the hotel offers - a modern, healthy-living resort with the old-world charm of a country estate and golf course.

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Farham estate

Farham estate

Farham estate

The rolling lawns and lovingly-tended grounds around the house form the 18-hole course which encircles the resort.

Neither my girlfriend nor I know our tees from our fores, so golfing definitely was not on the menu, but after a two-hour drive from Belfast, a relaxing hot stone massage certainly was.

As my girlfriend went to check out the room, I filled in a quick questionnaire and changed into my robe at the modern and relaxing Farnham Estate Spa.

The 44,000sq ft spa was designed by Heinz Schletterer, whose previous projects include spas at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Sandy Lane in Barbados and the Queen Mary cruise liner.

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John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

The spa certainly lives up to its reputation, with delightful views of the estate from the indoor and outdoor heated pools, as well as several luxurious relaxation rooms, sauna, steam room and foot spas.

I had been booked in for a 90-minute hot stone back massage, which sounded like a delightful way to unwind after the long drive.

I've always found the idea of a hot stone massage curious and the sensation of warm oily stones gently running up and down your back is certainly unique. The helpful and attentive masseuse and I chatted throughout and I left the room feeling like a new man.

Having been well and truly unwound, I headed for the room to find my partner and get ready for dinner in the The Cedar Rooms.

The 2AA Rosette Restaurant is housed in charming, converted old stone buildings, historically lived in by the estate managers, and is named after the magnificent Cedar of Lebanon tree, which stands pride of place on Farnham Lawn.

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John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

I always judge a kitchen by their scallops, if they have them, and was delighted to find the pan-seared variety on the a la carte menu served with a black pudding croquette, sauce gribiche, a chervil gel and a bread tuile.

Cooked to perfection and complemented marvellously, the scallop starter was divine. The kitchen passed the test.

As we moved on to the mains, the traditional, locally-sourced menu offered a great variety of classic fine dining.

Ignoring the venison, duck breast and tempting chateaubriand, I plumped for the smoked oil-poached halibut.

Served with squid ink cannelloni, scallop mousse, brassica and an oyster and stout foam, the skill level of the kitchen was really on display.

Delightfully cooked and full of flavour, the dish was a superb and well-presented delight.

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John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

John Toner Travel feature. Farham estate.

Despite feeling as though I might explode at any moment because I was now so full, I forced myself to make a selection from the dessert menu.

Unusually, I really didn't fancy anything sweet and opted for the interesting looking Irish cheese selection.

Comprised of Cavan corleggy goats cheese, smoked gubbeen farmhouse cheese, cavanbert brie and Cashel blue, served with homemade rye and oak biscuits and quince pear jelly - the decadence just kept coming.

After a long day of eating, relaxing, drinking and eating again, I needed my bed and my partner and I made our way back to our room.

The modern wing of the resort has 146 standard rooms spread over three floors. The interior design is contemporary and comes with handy features, including walk-in showers, wireless broadband and flat-screen TVs.

The resort also boasts 12 luxurious suites - eight of which are located in the 400-year-old Farnham House itself. Once we had made our way back to our room, my partner and I drifted off to sleep in a huge king-size bed, totally relaxed.

For couples looking for a relaxing getaway with well-being and golfing options close to home, Farnham Estate and Spa represents excellent value.

Travel factfile

Standard rooms at Farnham Estate & Spa start from just £116 a night, with up to 20 per cent discount available now for bookings in Easter.

The resort is also offering Mother's Day packages, with access to the spa, gym and grounds from as little as £141 for the night. Check out www.farnhamestate.ie

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