I first visited Dunbrody Country House Hotel in 2013 on a glorious summers day. The sun was shining, the cloudless sky was blue and it was warm. I sat out on the patio and soaked in the setting overlooking the gardens and thought I could easily be in the Italian countryside. When I left, I remember feeling disappointed with the rooms as they seemed tired and showing signs of wear and tear. But that was my missing the point. Like a classic car, Dunbrody is a fine older lady not afraid to show her age and with enough character to give you a memorable journey regardless.
Despite my initial disappointment in 2013, I have been back on at least 12 occasions, the latest being last weekend (August 2017). It would appear the place has grown on me – it has a certain charm and character that endear me to it.
I say this knowing it is run by a well known Irish Chef and his Wife and with the Irish economy only just recovering, they must have faced considerable headwinds to keep this old building going during the recession.
Here’s what you wont get at Dunbrody Country House Hotel – its not slick, its not contemporary and it is not a five star luxury property. Yes, the floor boards may creak and every mirror may not be spotless but…its character is its charm.
The food is very good for a hotel (as it would be for a hotel run by a Chef). There are various rooms on the ground floor to discover and hide in around the bar which is very cool and backed onto by a patio which is a great escape when the weather is fine. The big lawn and shed to the rear allow great space for children to run and explore. Some of the hotel is a little dated and the rooms are showing signs of use but the staff tell me there is a refurb programme in progress.
There is the most charming little Pub on the grounds (which are great for walks by the way!) serving food which I would highly recommend in good weather and the Spa is a hidden little secret (no one told me about it in 4 years!) where the interior is modern and contemporary and the head therapist Laura is very experienced in most beauty and health treatments. One of my biggest complaints of Spa’s and therapists in general is the high staff turnover means the service is inconsistent. Laura has been at the hotel for 16 years so you are assured of a great service.
When you come to Dunbrody, don’t expect perfection. Instead, come ready to walk, to explore, to taste, to savour and even enjoy the odd imperfection that comes with a building of this age. Like me on my first visit you may go away a little disappointed…but I suspect you will certainly return.
Last visit August 2017.
me you may go away a little disappointed…but I suspect you will certainly return.