John McKenna visited Renvyle House
Renvyle House Hotel has entered a second century of service with two of the great masters of Irish hospitality – Ronnie and Tim – guiding the helm.
In 2013, Renvyle House Hotel celebrated 130 years as an hotel. Consider, for a moment, what Ireland was like in 1883. Consider what Ireland was like when W.B. Yeats spent his honeymoon here, or when Black’s Guide noted, in 1912, that a week’s residence in Renvyle cost £3, in a fine house that was “most homely and comfortable”.
Today, 101 years young, Renvyle remains “most homely and comfortable”. Indeed that very description sums up what makes Renvyle so special: you arrive, you walk in the doors, you see the same smiling faces of the same staff members, and you are in a place that is “most homely and comfortable”.
Renvyle is one of the totemic west coast destinations, and will be one of the iconic stop-overs for many travellers’ itinerary as they navigate the Wild Atlantic Way. But Renvyle is especially fortunate in having two of the great practitioners of modern hospitality at its helm: manager Ronnie Counihan and chef Tim O’Sullivan. Together Mr Counihan and Mr O’Sullivan have gifted the hotel with its own special brand of excellence, a loose-limbed but apposite informality that melds perfectly with this noble house. Mr Counihan is one of the great managers – funny, witty, relaxed – and for the last fifteen years he has brought his own special stardust to the house. Tim O'Sullivan's cooking is distinctive and delicious, his ingredients are superbly sourced and, do note this, Mr O'Sullivan not only cooks dinner, but is up early to cook breakfast also. Mr O’Sullivan is a modest man, and his cooking is understated, but utterly convincing. There is only one rule regarding Renvyle: make sure you stay at least two nights, for it’s “most homely and comfortable”, it's irresistible.