And if that isn’t totally accurate and there is in fact a global bed and breakfast listing, and Cappabhaile house isn’t top of the list, I’d be willing to wager, it would make it close to the top. Conor and Margaret run a lovely guesthouse – large rooms, large bathrooms with bathtubs, views of the Burren, 1 storey building with good insulation, ie modern building techniques and with a cozy feel, warm beds and comfy mattresses. Down the road from the art college I had photographs up from a post or two back.
The bed and breakfast is really more like a small boutique hotel – the rooms are lovely, and very large, with great views of the surrounding countryside and en-suite bathrooms with good water pressure and fresh towels daily in copious quantities. Each room has it’s own big tea pot, mugs and teacups, and different biscuits daily – I didn’t like the ones we got on the first night and only ate half, the next days we were given different biscuits. Absolute customer focus! There is a billiard room, a large breakfast room that can seat up to 36 people, a fireplace, and those lovely patterned carpets with floral motifs on a black pile that I have never seen outside of the UK/Ireland – and that remind me vaguely of William Morris wallpaper, and walls painted in sage and blackberry tones sporting photographs of local birds.
The family run establishment is cozy, friendly and welcoming. The owners, ex-Apple software and tech employees, did what many of us have dreamed of in our lives as we fly around the world or spend time on teleconferences at odd hours of the day, or wake up in a hotel to a dusky sky and wonder whether it’s the middle of the night or late afternoon, and the alarm clock next to the bed shows 4.30 and you don’t know if that means it’s day or night, as the time could be anytime. They left it all behind, closed shop in the city, moved North to the countryside, to a village with 280 inhabitants and built their own bed and breakfast, which they have been running with wild success, deservedly ever since.
Breakfast is plentiful and for those of us who care as much about the look of the thing as the taste beautiful. Fruit and cheese plates come out with melon, and kiwi slices, ribbons of orange and grapes, and generous slices of 5-6 different cheeses, the porridge is divine, the Irish breakfast enormous and great quality, if you like that kind of thing (:)) and the eggs are free range organic sourced from a German couple down the road.
Conor and Margaret like to source local produce and if you care about that they can point you in the
direction of local restaurants that do the same. The place settings are olde style with floral designs, the cutlery practical stainless steel but with a lovely empire design, and the plates and cups cream-coloured, heavy and homely. What I loved most is the fact that the jams are served not in the glass and not in those horrible plastic cheap containers, but in style each in it’s own small container, there is nary a bottle or commercial container in sight, and fittingly the jams are home-made by Margaret’s mother.
Anyone who has driven round Ireland in October and loves food and cooking will have spotted the wild brambles in every hedgerow and been tempted to pick a bucketful and find a stove on which to make jam… The soda bread Conor and Margaret serve is organic and locally sourced, during high season Margaret’s mum makes that too.
This area of Ireland is wild and untamed, high hills, rocks and stones and big sultry skies above you, fields of green and long, winding narrow roads before you, and a feeling of freedom within. There is so much to explore in Galway and County Clare, you could easily spend a couple of weeks just driving around. And Conor Cappabhailies host, clearly loves the Burren and the Ballyvaughan area, and has many ideas on how you can spend your day. He provides, maps and books on where to go and what to see. He will guide you to the best known spots but away from the crowds. Every tip he gave us was spot on. Conor tailors his information to your interests – for the hiker, the historian, the linguist or the nature lover. If he doesn’t know about something, he will find you someone who does. He is a veritable font of information you could spend all day just talking to him, it’s a real risk! Both Conor and Margaret are lovers of quality and take great pride and joy in what they do.
The tea is the way it should be, the overall quality of this place is stunning. Free wifi, and adapter plugs in the room Conor and Margaret’s customer centric approach puts the business hotel I stayed in prior to Cappabhailie house, where I had to buy an adapter plug for 6 Euros at the front desk, to shame.
If you want to get away from it all, you like the countryside and peace, and you are happy in a hamlet with a population of 280 souls this is a good place for you. Aran Island ferry from Doolin 35 minutes drive away, Connemara National park a slog at 3 hours, but worth it, and County Clare is lovely. Highly recommend the place, we will be back.