Regarding the atmosphere, every night that I was there, the lounge / bar area of the hotel was quite bustling. One night, the local yacht club had a function; other nights it was weddings or just large groups friends and hotel guests. It was easy to settle in for a drink and mingle with a variety of people happy to share a beer and a conversation. The crowd is a little older and it is far from a singles scene, but it was a nice place to grab an evening drink.
Special mention needs to be made about the restaurant. The food was by far the finest I had in Ireland. Coincidentally, the food was definitely not Irish (more French than anything else). I ate here a couple of different nights and highly recommend both the salmon and everything else on the menu. We had a couple of long dining experiences that included appetizers, entrees and dessert topped off with several bottles of wine and political discussions.
I also enjoyed the fact that the hotel gym was more than a cycle and treadmill (it did have several of both). In addition to this standard equipment, there were very nice weight machines and an exceptional pool area. The pool included lanes for swimming as well as hot tubs and a sauna.
Make sure you ask about any special offers when you are booking. We stayed on a weekend special that cost around 150 Euros per person for the whole weekend. This rate included breakfast and one dinner in the restaurant…which was normally pretty expensive.
The only thing I would improve about the experience was the Internet access. To be fair, the hotel will let you go into the sales office at your leisure to use their Internet connection. The staff was very gracious and happy to oblige. However, the connection was the slowest I have seen in many a year. Don’t plan on getting a lot done, but it is an option if you are in a pinch and need to check your email.
Charlotte, North Carolina
November 17, 2002
From journal A few days exploring Southern Ireland