The Georgina Campbell 2011 Award for the glorious Hilton Park.
"Once described as a "capsule of social history" because of their collection of family portraits and memorabilia going back 250 years or more, Johnny and Lucy Madden's wonderful 18th century mansion is set in beautiful countryside, amidst 200 acres of woodland and farmland.
"With lakes, Pleasure Grounds and a Lovers' Walk to set the right tone, the house is magnificent in every sense. Johnny and Lucy are natural hosts and, as the house and its contents go back for so many generations, there is a strong feeling of being a privileged family guest as you wander through grandly-proportioned, beautifully furnished rooms…"
Hilton Park,is a rural idyll with glorious, landscaped parkland, sweeping pasture, woods, private lakes, tranquil gardens and an 18-hole golf course in the heart of the estate where guests may play free. Open year-round, the six rooms at Hilton Park are equally suited to small parties or family groups, or an intimate weekend à deux. The imppressive Hilton House is a fitting centrepiece to this splendid setting. It contains many original features, furniture and paintings and there are stupendous views from all the windows. Meals are the undoubted highlight of staying at Hilton, where Fred and Lucy Madden’s superb cooking is complemented by organic produce from the kitchen garden and farm.
Hilton Park outside the town of Clones, is a calm, beautiful place in which to entertain friends or celebrate anniversaries, the mile-long avenue and surrounding belts of ancient woodland providing a perfect, secluded location. Now open throughout the year it is equally suitable for large house parties or as an intimate weekend retreat à deux.
This estate in County Monaghan has been owned by the Madden family since 1734 and the Georgian house was greatly expanded after a fire in the 19th century, when the ground surrounding the basement was removed and levelled, turning the ground floor into a piano nobile. The house was encased with cut Dungannon stone and given a porte cochère, a correct classical portico with a giant order of Corinthian columns, and a balustrade at the roof level. Today Hilton Park still contains many of its original features, furniture and paintings and a wonderful collection of family memorabilia, but the real glory is the wonderful variety of views from the windows over the 500 acre demesne with its mature woodland clumps, the pleasure grounds, the lake and the parterre designed by Ninian Niven.
The current owners are Johnny Madden and his wife Lucy, a food writer and an accomplished gardener, and this year they have been joined by their son Fred. Lucy's menus are the subject of great deliberation and care. She puts great effort into finding the best ingredients, growing most of the vegetables, herbs, salads and soft fruits in her own kitchen garden, and she is a superb cook. At Hilton Park there are books and flowers everywhere, an Erard concert grand piano in one of the two drawing rooms, and a lakeside summer house in which to while away the long summer days.
Hilton Park Guest House Monaghan has two private fishing lakes, one holding trout, the other coarse fish; internationally acclaimed woods; a stunning, tranquil park and gardens and an 18-hole golf course on the estate - where golfing guests are welcome to a round during their stay. Only ninety minutes from Dublin and Belfast airports, Hilton Park is an ideal base for exploring Northern Ireland, particularly the many National Trust houses in County Fermanagh, and the wild north west coast.