Gougane Barra Hotel
Our kids met up with some Dublin friends at the Gougane Barra Hotel, late last summer. Apart from enjoying Katy’s delicious cooking and Neil’s superlative service, they were able to see at close quarters the sort of magical spell that this magical place casts on first-time visitors.
The Dubs were not just delighted to find themselves deep in the valley of Gougane, they were enraptured by each and every detail of this singular destination. The calm! The cooking! The walks! The peacefulness! The charm! The hospitality! The generosity!
Neil and Katy’s Gougane Barra Hotel is situated in the cradle of the River Lee, and that is a thoroughly appropriate siting for an Irish family-run hotel where the first principles of hospitality are practised with life-affirming rigour.
All the simple, foundational elements that make us feel welcomed and looked after are enacted here with the power of religious rite. Katy’s cooking ferries us through the day, from the perfect bowl of breakfast porridge to the sincere, homely, unclichéd plates that make dinner so special, and on no account miss their Irish cheese board, which is one of the very best you will find anywhere.
Neil’s calm custodianship reflects the very best of Irish hospitality, somehow always able to make an emotional connection with every guest, yet authoritatively efficient and capable.
The Gougane Barra Hotel is an essence, a distillation, of the very best that Ireland can offer, a cradle of civilised living, a modern classic in an ancient tradition.
The Dubs didn’t want to go home, of course.
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