I’ve been a five star hotel girl since, well, a long time before I could afford to be!! However, recession gripped Ireland has given all of us a different slant on our spending and when we were invited to a very special friend’s wedding at Dromoland Castle I balked at their overnight rates and got online to search for alternatives. My resulting experience at the amazing Kells Country House has now caused me to question ever staying in a five star hotel again.
As we arrived at the accommodation electric gates slowly swung open and we wound our way along a sylvan drive until we saw the lovely house perched on an elevated site. The heavy double front doors opened and Ron O’Brien was already on the doorstep to welcome us and assist with our luggage. Guiding us to the luxurious Tower Room, Ron quickly returned with a tray of delicious warm homemade scones and we made tea with the in-room facilities.
The room was circular in shape, large, and with numerous windows looking out on manicured lawns where I spied rabbits hopping from hedge to hedge. A super-king sized bed dominated the room which was also furnished with two oversized leather armchairs, a huge mirrored dressing table/desk moulded to the shape of the room, and other occasional furniture. We had a separate large walk in dressing room plus a full modern en suite bathroom with the strongest power shower ever. Linen and towels were white, pristine, and of excellent quality. Everything was scrupulously clean.
Ron gave us a tour of the house and we met his wife Pauline. Much to our surprise we were lead to a room which was furnished as a bar and Ron told us to help ourselves to any drink we desired for the duration of our stay. The bar was stocked with at least a hundred liqueurs and spirits and there was a fridge packed with beers and ciders. Sailing memorabilia decorated the walls.
“There’s one rule in this house” said Ron.........”we absolutely insist that you make yourselves at home”. That was the tenet of our entire stay here. That evening, as we relaxed in the huge vaulted drawing room, I gazed out through large picture windows at the view down to the river Shannon. Ron arrived into the room and placed a bottle of an excellent white wine in front of me but with the best will in the world I could manage no more than two glasses.
Breakfast next morning was served on Royal Alert china and our juices were poured into Waterford Crystal. Although a menu with a wide choice was provided we were assured that if we desired any other food item we need just ask.
The Church where the wedding ceremony was to be held was a bit out of the way, so Ron insisted on guiding us by driving ahead of us. At his encouragement we returned to the house after the Church and left our car while Ron drove us to the reception at Dromoland Castle.
The following morning after breakfast we had a tour of the outside of the property and got to admire Ron’s powerful Harley Davidson. Always having had an interest in Harleys this was a bonus for me.
We were very sad to depart as already, after just two days, Pauline and Ron had become our friends. They simply could not do enough for us. We will most certainly be back.
If I could give you just one piece of advice it would be to book early as they have just three guest rooms.........in my opinion they must be the most prized accommodation rooms in the Country!
The most special thinng about this wonderful house is its owners and proprietors, Pauline and Ron - never before have I felt so at home when away.
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