Three Irish resorts are among the very best in Europe, according to readers of Travel + Leisure, the influential US travel magazine.
Ballyfin in Co. Laois placed fourth on T+L's list of the 'Top 15 Resort Hotels in Europe', with Ashford Castle ranking sixth and Sheen Falls Lodge 11th respectively.
Hotel Castello di Castolle, a 14th-century resort in Tuscany, took first place in a Top 15 ranging from Irish piles to a Versailles palace and 19th century Swiss hideaway.
Remarkably, Irish hotels also took the top four places in Travel + Leisure's Top 5 Resort Hotels in the UK & Ireland, with Ballyfin, Ashford Castle and Sheen Falls joined by the Powerscourt Resort in fourth place.
Scotland's Old Course Hotel Golf Resort & Spa at St. Andrew's placed fifth.
"This was a particularly strong year for Ireland," the magazine comments, pointing out that both Ashford Castle and Sheen Falls Lodge have recently undergone significant renovations, "which speaks to our readers’ appreciation for something newly fashionable (albeit still old-world)".
Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards, published in July, feature the top islands, cities, hotels, airports and cruise lines as voted by the influential magazine's readers.
And it is influential. Travel + Leisure has almost one million print subscribers, with an average household income of $291,000 and a median age of 51.
With North American tourist numbers to Ireland up 20.9pc to almost 629,000 from April to June, that's precisely the kind of visitor Tourism Ireland is trying to attract.
Travel + Leisure has almost 2.7m Facebook fans and 3.9m Twitter followers.
Last year, three Irish hotels were named among the world's Top 10 in Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards, voted on by over 300,000 readers.
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