Weekend Away: Mount Wolseley hotel, Tullow, Co Carlow
It would be safe to say that if you asked anyone to compile a shortlist of destinations for getaway breaks, Carlow might not be top of the pile. Not because anyone has anything bad to say about the place. But everyone has an opinion on, say, Cork or Galway or Dublin. Carlow? Well, let me see…
George Bernard Shaw’s family originally came from down that way, but GB only spent one day in a life of 94 years there. And when it comes to hurling, Carlow shivers in the shadow of giants Kilkenny.
But film star Saoirse Ronan is from there, and if you’re travelling from the capital, it is, thanks to our shiny new motorways, eminently accessible.
It was a beautiful late- autumn Saturday morning when we motored up the long drive to Mount Wolseley. The broad sweep of the four-star hotel was impressive, as were the immaculately manicured grounds. More surprising than impressive, considering the times we live in, was the fact that the car park was chocker and the foyer buzzing with activity.
ROOM TO BOOK
Our room was bright, contemporary and comfortable. Despite the fact that the place was heaving with revellers into the early morning, we slept the sleep of the just.
But a quibble here. My daughters wanted to book a film through the hotel movie channel, but at €12 they decided it would be as cheap to go their local multiplex. They were thrilled to have something to moan about.
WHAT TO DO
Other than get hitched, or play golf, there is plenty more on campus. The youngest and I went for a swim in the 20m pool, which was surprisingly quiet considering how busy the hotel was and the number of young children buzzing around.
The eldest togged out for the gym, which was — like the pool — sparsely populated. Massive and well-kitted, it had personal TVs, iPod docking stations and the like on all the gear. She liked that. My wife had a facial spa (starting at €50 and working up to €120) in the Sanctuary Spa. They also do teen pampering, as if teenagers aren’t pampered enough.
We dined in-house at Fredericks that evening, which was busy without being anywhere near full. A surprise birthday party in the far corner added a nice touch of ambience.
The food was excellent (the daughters did best; fillet of Irish beef and very posh chicken). The wine list was smart but not fussily priced, unless you were foolhardy.
There’s a cocktail bar waiting to reroute you when you exit Fredericks and we ordered four (one non-alcoholic) to round off the night. Though the bartender told us he didn’t have a menu to work from (odd that), what he served up for €30 left a bad taste.
The hotel is a popular wedding venue and this weekend was no exception. As we checked in, a stunning young wedding guest sashayed by in a micro- mini. “Disgraceful,” a woman of middle years opined. “Blessings of God on her,” retorted another.
A large golfing crew was booked in too, but most of those lads were out on the fairways, finding out for themselves if the course was as ‘‘tough but fair’’ as its reputation suggests.
Midweek autumn breaks start at €139 (two nights and one evening meal); from €159pps at weekends. There are also Murder Mystery Weekends, from €179pp (two nights, one dinner); Christmas Specials (to December 20) at €419 for family room (two nights) and Gourmet Weekends from €100pps for one night.
Mount Wolseley Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort, Tullow, Co Carlow. 059 91 80100; mountwolseley.ie