brand and digital case study

The restoration of an Irish legend

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Offering a glimpse of exceptional hospitality


Long admired as the most lavish Regency mansion in Ireland, Ballyfin re-opened in May 2011 as an exclusive country house hotel. The latest episode in Ballyfin’s long history followed a period of eight years of painstaking restoration.

Only the finest designs, materials, craftsmen, art and furnishings have been employed, ensuring the mansion and its 600 acre walled estate – or ‘demesne’ – redefines the concept of the country house hotel. Similar attention to detail was responsible for the international search that led to Nucleus’ appointment.


First, we created the brand identity, looking back in order to identify a way forward, choosing a coot as the brand icon. Coots are rooted in Ballyfin’s past and present, from the former owners’ name – Coote – who once presided over this grand estate, to the black and white aquatic birds keeping company with ducks and swans on the lake. The highest possible production standards were used for printed elements, such as a brochure and stationery, which involves the use of a diestamped gold for the coot icon.

The website makes generous use of a series of superb photographic images, integrated into an elegant, pared-down user interface. The navigation employs the same intuitive schema and aesthetic that is familiar to users of iPads and iPhones – so, naturally, the site is fully optimised for mobile devices.


Today, Ballyfin’s brand identity and website provide a glimpse of the exceptional hospitality on offer.

In July 2011, the website was awarded Best Hotel website (under 20 rooms) at the TravelMole Awards. In 2016, the hotel was voted ‘Best Hotel in the World’ by readers of Cond√© Nast Traveler.