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ShamrocksHer Favourite Irish B & B'sShamrocks


 Canadian Journeywoman Nikki McManus just returned from her second trip to the Emerald Isle. She found that staying in B&B's was a great way to get connected and see the country. In her travels around Ireland, she found one-of-a-kind accommodations, warm and gracious hospitality, and extra-tasty cooking. We asked her to take us on a written tour of the fabulous B&B's she stayed in--and give us a play by play of some of the better meals she met along the way. Nikki, who is "half-English, half-Irish," had this to say...

She's coddled in Dublin...

I started out in Dublin and spent a wondrous few days at McMenamins, a charming, reasonable B&B. Pauric and Marie's breakfasts are both ample and beautifully presented. The Dublin Coddle (a house specialty) was, itself, worth the trip from Canada--not to mention the smoked salmon and scrambled egg masterpiece and the awesome Irish breakfasts with homemade bread, jams, and fruitcake. 

My room was comfy and tastefully furnished. The neighbourhood is soothingly peaceful. It was just far enough from the city centre for me to indulge in "R & R" but close enough to hop on a bus and be in Dublin's heart in about ten minutes. McMenamins' residential neighbourhood has interesting shops and several off-licenses where one can pick up a nice bottle of wine for an aperitif back at the B&B.

Madigan's Pub, just around the corner, offers tasty and inexpensive fare. Plates overflow and the staff is friendly and helpful. One thing I learned: leave your diet behind when you set foot in Ireland! Meals are gargantuan; I gained five pounds during my stay. But, oh, the joy of acquiring them!

Editor's note: Since this article was written the McMenamins have retired. Too bad. Their B&B was great.


Downtown Dublin... 

Closer to town in the heart of Georgian Dublin I stayed at the comfortable, and equally reasonable, Kilronan House. It's just an eight-minute stroll from St. Stephen's Green and Lower Grafton Street. With its tasteful furnishings, elegant dining area, and attractive rooms, this is another establishment I can recommend.

I had my choice of five kinds of breakfast in the sunny dining room. There's a cozy lounge for relaxing. Small touches like fresh flowers and current newspapers and magazines all made for a convivial setting. Owner Terry Masterson is typical of Irish hospitality, going out of his way to be helpful whenever and wherever possible, like how to get around "don't-miss" sites, ordering taxis, and arranging day tours of outlying areas. No detail appears too small or unimportant.


Central Ireland...  

In rural Ireland, I went to where my ancestors came from--County Longford. This is real farming land and isn't a usual visitor highlight--but it should be. This is where I discovered a gem: Cumiskeys Farmhouse B&B, tucked away down a winding country lane.

Where this gracious B&B is concerned, I found the term "farmhouse" something of a misnomer. The main house resembles a Tudor manor. It's nestled on acres of verdant land dotted with aged trees. I was there in early spring when it was cool enough in the evenings to enjoy the peat fire that burned in the pleasant lounge.

Although early, roses bloomed, the azaleas and rhododendrons were out, and a profusion of wild flowers greeted me in hedgerows and roadside streams. I could imagine summer days sitting in the garden with its velvety lawn and floral abundance and Jack the lolloping yellow Labrador for enthusiastic company.

Rooms in the main house all feature antique furniture. I indulged myself by staying in the master suite--absolutely wonderful! Rates are incredibly reasonable given the charm of both house and surroundings.

Dog Run

For more great B&B's, click here






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