Close your eyes an imagine an Irish Country House. It's stately, with lovely lands surrounding, a beautiful view and spacious rooms.
Ardmore Country House Bed & Breakfast in Kinnity, County Offaly is the house you've imagined, complete with stone wall and gated entrance.
Arriving at Ardmore House
Ardmore House is very easy to find, situated on the main road through the village of Kinnitty. You'll see the sign just after the stone fence and you'll be tempted to enter through the impossibly narrow front gate. Don't. Take it from someone who tried (and scraped the front bumper of her rental car)- turn right at the corner and use the rear entrance.
After my harrowing incident with the front gate (which remained unscathed after our encounter), it was lovely to be greeted with a smile by Christina Byrne, owner and hostess of Ardmore House. She situated us in our beautifully decorated and spacious rooms and provided the welcome I was hoping for- hot tea and homemade scones. So welcome after an overnight flight and drive from Dublin.
As my girls rested, Chris told us about the area, made suggestions for activities and recommended that we not let the girls rest too long or they would be awake all night! Instead of rest, Chris suggested a walk along the Nature Trail Loop in nearby Cadamstown, which was just the thing to stave off jet lag and get us set to Ireland time.
Staying at Adrmore Country House
County Offaly is the heart of Ireland, so Ardmore House is a great “home” for touring locations from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher, the Rock of Cashel to the lakes of Westmeath. Of course you don't have to go that far to find incredible sites. Nearby Leap Castle is known as the most haunted in Ireland, while Birr Castle Demense was home to the world's largest telescope until the mid-twentieth century. Lough Boora is an incredible day trip for the family and Tullamore (home of Tullamore Dew whiskey) is a quick drive, as well.
Breakfasts are hearty and fresh. The Irish Breakfast was served with homemade brown bread- Chris adds pumpkin seeds to hers (something I must try at home)- and some of the very best Black Pudding I've had anywhere. With the eggs, sausage and bacon, the meal kept us full until late afternoon! The sidebar of yogurt, cereal and fruits- along with bread, had enough variety for my daughters to be satisfied.
Rooms are very spacious and all have have an ensuite bath. We had both the “family room” (room 2), with a double and a twin bed overlooking the serene back garden, and what I call the violet room (room 4), which had two twin beds and a couch and a view of Kinnitty Pyramid and Slieve Bloom Mountain. You could feel the care that went into each room; it felt like visiting your very favorite aunt.
That feeling of comfort extends throughout your stay at Ardmore House. Chris wants to make your visit as memorable and magical as possible. She can set you up with a tour of Leap Castle, will send you to Lough Boora with a bag of bread for the ducks and can recommend the best local walks and dining. If you're very lucky you may even get to join her for a bit of craic when she plays fiddle in sessions at a local pub.
Ardmore House is an easy drive from Dublin, perfect for your first few nights in magical Ireland.
Disclosure: We stayed two nights at Ardmore House. Our first night was complimentary. Ireland with Kids thanks Chris for her generosity and her local knowledge; she exemplifies ‘cead mile failte' and we can't wait to visit again!