What’s not to like about Knockranny?

by Gazette Reporter
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WE were looking forward to a a weekend of cycling, eating and massage.

Our large room in Knockranny House Hotel in Westport had a view, gazing out impassively on the picturesque town, Croagh Patrick and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The hotel sits on the Greenway track to Achill and we were up for it – as far as Mulranny at least. And definitely tomorrow!
Meanwhile, we took in our luxurious surroundings (the bathroom included a jacuzzi bath and a hand basin each)
We grabbed swimsuits and, in fluffy dressing gowns, headed for Spa Salveo. With its spa suite and cool pool, this was the perfect place to unwind after a long week and the journey down. One hour of swimming and sweating later, we set out for the obligatory pint in Matt Molloy’s pub.
Next morning, after a sound sleep and breakfasts of poached and scrambled eggs in La Fougere, the 18-mile bike ride to Mulranny seemed just the ticket.
We collected our hotel lunch packs and in Clew Bay Bike Hire, picked up our vehicles. My companion took the electric option and I the high nelly. The Greenway, manageable for walkers and cyclists of all ages, is well-marked trail and takes in stunning views – particularly as Mulranny hoves into view. Great weather made it even more memorable but, truth to tell, so did my legs which hadn’t turned a pedal in over two years.
Afternoon Delight (or tea) in the Brehon Bar eased the pain. Dainty open sandwiches of Knockanore cheese, Knockranny smoked salmon, baked ham, thyme poached chicken and a profusion of colourful mini cakes (lemon meringue – my favourite – passionfruit cheesecake, strawberry mousse, chocolate flan not to mention the humble scone) were washed down by china cups of tea. Making the moment golden…
A hot shower later and off again to Spa Salveo for a full body aromatherapy massage. I felt wobbly and sore right after the cycle, but that evening and the following day, I waited for muscle pain and none emerged. The Deep Blue Rub truly lived up to its reputation.
No time for dawdling as back in the Brehon Bar we lined up for pre-prandial cocktails. The skilful Owen Hughes treated us to his prizewinning St Clement’s East mix. Slainte, we said.
In La Fougere (no jeans allowed) head chef Seamus Commons and his staff had produced a delightful amuse bouche of pickled mackerel to open the evening.
From the menu, I chose a starter of green salad of asparagus, young broccoli and blue cheese dressing.
Far from the usual limp lettuce this was substantial but light, the veg tender with bite and the tangy dressing enhancing the flavour of both. In between a lime and ginger sorbet cleansed our palates. My seabass with creamed spinach, tomato salsa and assorted potatoes (croquette, garlic and roast) was melt in the mouth. I polished off the lot. Dessert was almost impossible – a spoonful of passion fruit mousse was about all I could manage.
And then it was time to return to the real world!
Opened by Adrian and Geraldine Noonan in 1997, Knockranny’s four stars have been well earned. More info at www.knockrannyhousehotel.ie and http://www.clewbaybikehire.ie/

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