Two Laois guesthouses have made the 2012 Bridgestone guide for the top 100 places to stay in Ireland.
Roundwood House, Mountrath and Ivyleigh House, Portlaoise, are flying the flag for Laois in the prestigious Bridgestone guide, which together with its sister guide for restaurants, has just been published.
Ivyleigh House is a Georgian family run bed and breakfast near the train station in Portlaoise. It is listed in the top 100 for the eleventh year, but this is just one of many accolades, including the Michelin Red Guide and the Georgina Campbell 2011 award for Best Guesthouse and Best Breakfast. Previous guests include Christy Moore, Anna Manahan and Dolores Keane, while performing at the Dunamaise Theatre.
Proprietors Jerry and Dinah Campion are delighted to be once again included in the Bridgestone guide.
“It means an awful lot to be in the best 100 places to stay in Ireland. John also wrote a fantastic review about us, it’s wonderful,” said Mrs Campion.
She is frank about the downturn in business the recession has brought.
“It’s important even though times are bad. Business is bad too, our only hope is to stay in the awards, and keep publicity going, that will help us. It’s fantastic for Laois, and for Roundwood House too,” she said.
John McKenna who has stayed at the house many times himself, calls Dinah Campbell’s home cooked breakfast “a masterpiece” in his online blog, adding “tea was brought in a silver teapot that was so shimmering bright I could happily have used it to shave,”
Of Roundwood House the food critics say it “expresses the perfection of imperfection, the beauty of something aged, something organic.” The house also features as one of the Top “10 Places for Walkers” being close to the Slieve Bloom Way.
Proprietors Hannah and Paddy Flynn began running the comfortable 300 year old house three years ago. They were featured on RTE’s “At Your Service” programme, which helped them get to grips with the hospitality business.
They were delighted to be included for their first time, an honour held several times by Hannah’s parents, the previous proprietors.
“It means a lot to myself and Paddy. The business is starting to take off now, we are getting lots of media attention,” Hannah said.
The ten bedroom house near Mountrath caters for a mainly Irish market, with dinner bookings available for locals too.
The award winning Bridgestone 100 Best Guides are co-written by John and Sally McKenna, and celebrate the best places providing Irish hospitality, cooking, comfort and craic in the 32 counties. The guides cost €12 each.
The 21st editions are accompanied this year by newly launched apps, available from both iTunes and www.bridgestoneguides.com.