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North Andover, Massachusetts
March 15, 2007
From journal Ireland
Stamford, New York
December 20, 2005
Cregg Castle was all that I had hoped it would be: old world, eclectic, and a taste of the real Ireland. It has had mixed reviews, but if you love antiques, "rusticness," traditional Irish music, and lots of animals, you will love Cregg Castle. We were welcomed by Ann Marie into a large lounge with 25-foot ceilings and a roaring fire, big overstuffed chairs and couches, candlelight, and a hot cup of tea. Plus, there was a wonderful huge calico cat to sit on our laps. She advised us to find a place, Regan's Pub, to have dinner, and we then returned to sit around the fire and later to hear Ann Marie and Paddy Broderick play their Irish instruments. It was nice of them to give us a performance due to it being off season and we were the only three staying there that night, a sharp, cold winter day. Ann Marie has a unique way of playing the Bohran, and Paddy has played his ullian pipes with the Chieftans and toured with Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames. In the morning, as we awakened in our large pleasant room, which was a bit chilly but tolerable, we found a misty wonderland of forest, fields, huge stone fences, and quaint outbuildings outside our windows. We were encouraged to take a walk and told that there were Wellies under the front steps to wear if we wanted. Breakfast was in a large charming dining room, where we sat at the end of a huge table decked with an antique chandelier. Sue served us wonderful homemade brown bread, the best we had so far, and lovely tomatoes and mushrooms with our eggs, bacon, and sausages.
Taking that walk after eating, we were met by a barrage of anxious dogs who accommodated us to the barnyard. There was feisty Charlie the "Westie," old Magoo, and homely little Elvis and also a great brown lab and sheep dog. We also met Johnnie the donkey and Izzy the sheep, who thinks she is a dog. What a great atmosphere of stone, mist, and moss! I did not want to leave. I would recommend this place highly, not if you are looking for the fancy high-end kind of lodging, but for the diamond in the rough. Authentic Ireland. Peasant-like and real. I can't wait to go back.
From journal Ireland...Land of A Thousand Welcomes!