Rustle. Sniffle. Trickle. Plop. Slice. Crakle. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
That’s the sound of an winter walk followed by tea and cake and a nap in front of the fire.
November is here, boys and girls. Time to kick some leaves, munch on cake and choose your fireside.
Hidden Ireland know the score…
Clone House, County Wicklow
When I was a young Wicklow lad, Mum took me for an October stroll in the forest. Mid-way, she directed me towards a particularly invitingly leafy pile and suggested I give them a good booting. Feet clad in Thomas the Tank Engine wellingtons, I marched over. Of course, my mother knew that under the leaves was a particularly wet and muddy patch of ground. I swung a boot, fell flat on my face and my dear mother crumpled in laughter. ‘I hate you Mamma, I hate you!!!’
Such horrors won’t befall you at Clone House. All you’ll find there is a cosy fireplace and vast swathes of eminently walkable countryside and mountains. If you’re lucky, your hosts will have one of their famous Medeira Cakes on the go.
Hilton Park, County Monaghan
We still can’t shake that feeling of ‘Why don’t we own this!’ about Monaghan‘s Hilton Park. It just manages to push all our romantic buttons. Outside it’s all chunky balustrades, balconies, ponds and beautifully manicured lawns. Inside it’s luxury but with class. Four poster beds, cavernous fire places and high-ceiling halls. Owner Fred Madden explains:
Hilton Park is home to glorious parkland and gentle drumlins – perfect to build up an appetite for a most delicious afternoon tea. This autumnal photograph is a view from the house. A recipe that we adore for a real Autumnal treat at tea-time is a moist cake of apples, blackberries , ground cobnuts and cinnamon. It is on the menu for tomorrow’s tea in fact!
Lorum Rectory, County Carlow
Bobbie Smith and her family have built an international reputation for delicious and imaginative home cooking that incorporates mainly local and organically grown produce.
Isn’t this exactly what you want to hear about your guesthouse hosts?!
At Lorum Rectory it’s tasty grub on the inside and fine handsome features with lashings of pastoral perfection out. Walk-wise, County Carlow’s cup runneth o’er. We’re talking long langurous stroll along the River Barrow or boots on and diving into the Blackstairs, Comeragh or Wicklow Mountains next door. As to what’s waiting for you on your return, we’ll hand over to Bobbie:
My afternoon tea usually includes a homemade teabrack and homemade biscuits by the fire in the drawing room.
For more grand residences all over the island of Ireland, check out Hidden Ireland.