Hotel in the centre of Clifden has been in the Foyle
family for 3 generations and one would be hard pressed
to find more gracious hosts than Eddy and his two sons.
The beauty about staying in Foyle's is that it's lovely,
no doubt about that, it is situated right in the centre
of the town but also it is situated about ten yards from
the best pub in Clifden - EJ King's. Practically every
night of the year there's traditional Irish music in King's.
can I say… Situated on one of the most
spectacular locations one could imagine for
a hotel - right on the beach at the end of
the Renvyle peninsular, (take a wee peek at
the views. And that's not pints of Guinness
those people are holding, just something that
looks like Guinness). Renvyle was once the
home of Oliver St. John Gogarty, one of Ireland's
most celebrated playwrites. A fact not many
people are aware of is the Gogarty was a very
keen racing cyclist and there are a few posters
of him hanging on some of the walls in the
corridors in the hotel. Renvyle House is all
about relaxation, there's always a turf fire
on, (which I usually end up tending…going
to have to do something about that) and it
is for this reason that we like to try to get
here early in the day. One doesn't just stay
at Renvyle, one experiences it. And I kid you
not when I say we have had many people actually
take pictures of their dinners! Look forward
to dinner at this place.
hotel, situated in the very centre of one of the
most famous little villages in Ireland, Cong, is just
delightful. Run by Geraldine & Mike Ryan, the hotel
has the dubious honour of having John Wayne as one of
its ex-residents. The movie, 'The Quiet Man' was filmed
in Cong and many a session of Guinness was had in the
bar at Ryan's.
Carrigan. Mary Howard lives
in and runs the Carrigan, a lovely hotel 100 yards outside
the famous village of Lisdoonvara, (more information
on Lisdoonvara later). Mary is quite proud of her dining
room, and well she should be, she has a collection of
Waterford crystal some people would kill for! She is
also a very good chef so again, look forward to dinner
at the Carrigan. (I'll tell you about the pub down the
road from the hotel later. Famous old Irish republican
is situated right in the middle
of Ireland's only architect designed town, Westport.
A lovely hotel with a great collection of local Irish
artwork on the walls in the bar. (Just on the topic of
bars, Westport has the dubious honour of having more
pubs on its main street than any other town in Ireland.
Now that's not why we stop in Westport, we stop here
because it is one of the nicest town in Ireland). You
will not be disappointed by the food at the Central by
Iorrais, (that's a bit of a mouthful, I know.
Pronounced, 'chalk urrish'. To say that this hotel is
in a remote part of the country would not be doing the
word, 'remote' justice. The hotel is way way out west,
in a village called, Gweesalia, (pop. 47 at the last
count). There are two remaining Gaeltacht regions in
Ireland, Gweesalia & Donegal. All the signs are in
gaelic, people speak the old language and at the schools
everything is taught through gaelic. When you arrive
at the hotel expect to be greeted by two lovely local
Irish girls, speaking gaelic. You won't have a clue what
they're saying to each other for a second or two but
don't worry, they look after my guests very well indeed.
Once you greet them in gaelic you'll be fine. 'Cunas
ata tu?' (How are you today?).
often don't believe us when we tell them we're
staying in a castle on a huge estate just outside
Ballina. But we are. And when you cycle down
the long driveway to Belleek Castle prepare
yourself for a very nice sight. This is a real
castle, not a made up, fake, touristy castle,
but a real one, complete with dungeons, secret
passageways and an armoury that is second to
none. Marshal and his wife Jackie have spent
the last 50 years working on the castle and
it is an absolute credit to them the job they
have done, and remain doing to keep this place
in the order it is currently in. Marshal often
gives my guests a tour of the castle and this
is an experience you won't forget. He has made
a bar out of a ship sunk off the coast on county
Clare in the 1400s when the Spanish Armada
went down and it is magnificent. We have had
so many people tell us that the time they spent
in Belleek was truly special. And dinner…?!
a different kettle of fish altogether. Big.
The oldest inhabited castle in Ireland. Lived
in and run by Charles Cooper whos great, great
grandfather built it in 1565. At the top of
the stairs there's a huge stained glass window
with the whole Cooper family tree running though
it, (quite an impressive sight). The dining
room is magnificent and the views of the formal
gardens from the bay window are lovely.
Yeat's Country Hotel is a nice wee spot, just
outside Sligo and situated 100 yards from the beach.
A walk after dinner is often the order of the day because
more often than not the sunsets are spectacular.
Sand House Hotel
we say the Sand House Hotel is situated on
one of the most spectacular locations in all
of Ireland we are not kidding. Right on the
most beautiful beach imaginable. And they always
give my guests rooms on the sea side, (which
is very nice of them, don't you think…).
Dinner is an occasion at the Sand House so
do look forward to it. Now, just up the cliffs
behind the hotel is a pub called, The Smuggler's.
We have been known to walk up/cycle up and
drive up the Smugglers after dinner so if you're
up for it….Just to take in the amazing
views of the ocean. Of course. Okay then, maybe
one Guinness. And there's a funny story about
two of the paintings hanging in the pub. I'll
tell you that story when we're there. Seriously
though, the Sand House is quite a place. And
people just smile when they arrive into the
lobby, (actually they usually head straight
for the turf fire that's always burning!).
the only real town we stay in on our Donegal tour and we're
in the Bay View, right in the very centre. The town is
the busiest fishing village in all of Europe and when you
see the fishing vessels you'll see why. Huge. The hotel
is very nice, dinner is always nice and if you want a wee
bit of pampering head upstairs to the sauna, jacuzzi or
the steam room.
House. Our guests often tell us the night they
spent in Bunbeg was the most memorable. We stay Bunbeg
House, a charming wee guest house right down on the pier.
But it is where we dine that stands out and makes the
impression 'Dannie Minnows'. Absolutely the best restaurant
in all of Donegal. Wait 'till you see this place! Now
don't get me wrong, it's not black tie, but it is as
good a dining experience as you'll ever have. Guaranteed.
Grove Country Manor.
'Amazing' is how Castle Grove
Country Manor can only by described. 280 years old,
run by the O'Haloran family and a place we always love
to. You'll like this place. Trust me.