THERE is a growing trend nowadays for accommodation that is a bit different and off the beaten track from the usual hotel experience, and Roundwood House in Laois, a Hidden Ireland private historic house, is ideally suited to satisfy this desire.
I stayed overnight in Roundwood, outside Mountrath. Roundwood is a family home owned by Hannah and Paddy Flynn, who, along with their two small daughters, share the house with guests during their holiday stay.
I was shown to a room in the early Georgian country house that had a very familiar, though grand, feel to it.
When you stay at Roundwood, there is the sense that you are visiting your wealthy grandmother’s house, and the ethos of family inclusion only adds to this.
There are no televisions, but plenty of books and each week, a theatrical performance is put on in the library, which anyone can attend.
At dinner, all the guests sit down to dine together at the big dinner table and food is served on large platters and placed in the middle of the table for all to help themselves.
This family style of accommodation really lends itself to socialising and camaraderie among all the guests, and you find yourself quickly becoming part of something special and unique.
For dinner, we were served Turkish aubergine-wrapped chicken, sticky sesame beef, Iranian lamb roulade, parsnip and cashew nut terrine with garlic roasted red pepper, salad and baby roast potatoes.
The guests stuffed themselves on all of the dishes, which were of the highest quality and created by Paddy, who dropped in later to get the verdict from us.
Being a vegetarian, I had the terrine, which was flavoursome and filling, and the toffee pear cake with brandy ice cream for dessert slipped down deliciously to round off a wonderful meal.
Roundwood House is available as a venue for all family occasions, parties, boutique weddings and corporate events.
There are 10 bedrooms, between the main house and The Yellow House, the Writer’s Cottage and The Forge, all of which are located on the grounds where free-range ducks, dogs, geese and hens roam the courtyard.
The 18th century-style of the house has been faithfully retained and there is a library, a nursery stocked with books, children’s furniture and boxes of toys, a cosy drawing room, study, a fantastic function room converted from an historic barn, an outdoor play area for children, several lawns, great gardens and acres of mature trees and woodland, so there’s plenty to do inside and out to keep everyone occupied.
The next theatrical performance at Roundwood House will feature Michael James Ford on August 3, who is returning to bring his moving one-man reading of a blend of letters, poems and memoirs from The Great War.
The Great War Remembered is a matinee performance on Sunday and tickets are €50 for the show and Sunday lunch at Roundwood.
For those interested in making a night of it in these historic surroundings, bed and breakfast is €70 per person sharing.
For further information, call 057 873 2120, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.