Review: Mulranny Park Hotel
Slowly but surely, the former Great Southern is taking its place among Ireland's great family-friendly hotels.
WHY: Once upon a time, Mulranny, Co. Mayo, felt like the middle of nowhere. Today, both the Wild Atlantic Way and Great Western Greenway run right past its door. Either (or both) are the perfect excuse for a family stay at a hotel that nails just the right mix of Victorian charm and 21st Century creature comforts.
WHERE: Mulranny Park Hotel, Mulranny, Co Mayo WHY: Once upon a time, Mulranny felt like the middle of nowhere. Today, both the Wild Atlantic Way and Great Western Greenway run right past its door. Either (or both) are the perfect excuse for a family stay at a hotel that nails just the right mix of Victorian charm and 21st Century creature comforts.
HIGHLIGHTS: Mulranny Park is a super-confident reboot of the old Great Southern Hotel overlooking Clew Bay and, after several stays, it has become a favourite of mine for a family break. Run by a committed and creative staff, it has put a lot of thought and effort into its food - try the scallops with Kelly's black pudding at the Nephin Restaurant - and has perfected the art of the activity break. Rainy days can wreck holidays in remote locations like this, but everything from angling trips to bread-making, painting and film nights are possible here. It's well on its way to becoming an Irish classic.
LOWLIGHTS: The wi-fi connection in our apartment was patchy at best, and the TV was pretty tiny. Not a great combo for movies before bedtime.
BEST FOR: During school hols, Mulranny Park Hotel is one of the best in the west for families. The Wild Woolies kids' club is in full swing (with kids' discos, shell hunts and cupcake decorating among the activities), the Greenway runs right past the back door (you can rent bikes on the spot from clewbaybikehire.ie), and the pool is big, warm, and full of woggles and floats. Happy out.
ASK FOR ROOM NUMBER: We stayed in one of 20 spacious Seaview Apartments overlooking the bay. They're large, with a modern fit-out, extra sofabed and a basic kitchen if you fancy cooking. Wooden floors had us worrying about noise from guests above, but we slept soundly in the end.
CONCIERGE'S CHOICE: The hotel has been one of the main driving forces behind the Great Western Greenway - offering both biking packages and a Gourmet Greenway trail brochure.
GUESTS OF HONOUR: John Lennon and Yoko Ono stayed in 1968, reputedly serenading guests with a version of 'Revolution' on the lawn. The couple owned nearby Dorinish Island for a while (buying it for £1,700), and the John Lennon suite is named for their stay.
RATE: Going to press, a late booking offer had B&B plus dinner from €99pp. A two-night family package in a Seaview Apartment, including one dinner, starts from €499 for two adults and two kids. A third child gets free B&B.
CONTACT: 098 36000; mulrannyparkhotel.ie