Welcome back to Charming Places — a series in which I talk about the places I stay. From B&B’s, hotels and guesthouses to apartments and farm stays, I’ll give my honest thoughts on these spaces. I’ve found that the accommodation I choose to stay often directly affects how I feel about a particular destination. And how I connect with that location and its people. So I want to share these places with you by dishing out a bit of info and some of my opinions.
When I came across Ardtarmon House in County Sligo I knew I found a special place.
Even from the website I could tell this was not going to be a typical B&B.
“The house has been the family home since 1852. The residence offers tranquil, spacious, and comfortable accommodation with a nineteenth-century ambience, much original furniture, and four en suite bedrooms. The five, renovated, self-catering cottages include a Gate Lodge, Thatched Cottage, and three converted farm buildings (the Garden, Harness, and Barn Cottages). There is a notable feeling of quietness and peace as the nearest minor road is a quarter mile away.”
So I contacted Charles and Christa, the owners of this lovely house.
They had the 2 nights available that I wanted — and at a good price for early April (€50/night).
I immediately booked it as I knew it would be a great place to stay in County Sligo.
Finding Ardtarmon House wasn’t super easy.
Notice that is says “the nearest minor road is a quarter mile away.”
This means the major road is even further.
Using Google maps and the directions from their website kept me on track.
As I drove back along these lesser roads from Drumcliffe I knew I was in for some serious peace and quiet.
I kept following the sign for Raghly and all of the sudden there was the sign for Ardtarmon on the left.
There are no B&B signs at all like you might see for other places.
It will just suddenly be there.
Then drive up the gravel road and this beautiful scene will appear before you:
I felt like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind approaching Tara.
So I was in some little Volkswagon Up and dressed in … well comfy driving clothes.
The house is beautiful.
If you like old houses.
If you don’t, then it might not be for you.
But I love all the history.
It’s really lovely.
And as Christa took me up the staircase and to my room, I couldn’t help but think about what this house had seen over the years.
If these walls could talk!
My room was large and lovely.
It is known as the South room.
I had a view out over the lawn to the right of the house.
The furniture was old.
The scars told stories of time — of family history.
It was perfect.
And — since this is Ireland — I was offered tea and treats immediately.
Christa had set this up in the beautiful parlor-like room and she joined me to chat about my plans.
It’s always wonderful to stay in a place like Ardtarmon House where your hostess offers up some ideas of things to do in the area.
I would have loved to have met her husband, Charles, but he was away on holiday.
One of my favorite things is that Christa found a little portable heater so I wouldn’t be so cold in my room.
It was still quite chilly in early April here and — even though the heat was on — it wasn’t quite enough for me.
I was grateful for the extra warmth!
The grounds are gorgeous.
Seriously this is a nature lover’s (me! me!) paradise.
There are trails through the trees and foliage.
And there’s a trail down to the beach.
I walked by sheep and cows grazing in the fields.
And ended up at this beautiful beach.
Yup. Even on a typical Irish day it’s still stunning.
Breakfast was delicious.
And served in this elegant dining room.
There’s a wonderful choice of hot breakfast items like a full Irish breakfast or simple scrambled eggs which was my choice.
Fresh whole fruit was available as were cold cereals and yogurt.
You’ll definitely walk away full.
Since I was the only guest in the house, I had Christa all to myself.
So it was nice to chat with her a bit about the house and the history and to hear about her children who are young adults (university age).
And she brought out maps to help me find my way to various places she recommended.
We also talked about the fact that not many folks travel to County Sligo — especially Americans.
And how perplexing this is as there’s quite a lot to do here.
There are gorgeous beaches and lots of places for walks in nature including lakes, waterfalls and a couple of decent size mountains in Benbulben and Knocknarea.
And there are some interesting historical sites as well.
Ardtarmon House is very close to Drumcliffe where WB Yeats’ grave is.
It’s also quite close to Creevykeel Court Tomb, one of many megalithic sites in Sligo and north Mayo.
So while seemingly out of the way this house really isn’t.
For me Ardtarmon House offered the best of both worlds.
I felt as though I was away from it all as the location is so peaceful.
I could run along the road without worrying about too much traffic.
As a light sleeper, the quality of sleep was ideal for me with the tranquil location.
I had a forest and a beach — and fields of animals.
Yet it didn’t take long to get back to the main road (the N15) to get to the restaurants and shops.
Or to get to the things I wanted to do like Yeats’ grave, Creevykeel and Mullaghmore Beach.
Do I recommend Ardtarmon House?
You betcha! (as my mom would say)
And I’d love to go back myself someday soon.
It’s really one of the best places to stay in County Sligo.