Why Stay Here?
- Fabulous food and great Tasting Menu.
- Beautiful historic house in Medieval Heritage town.
- Romantic hideaway in unspoiled corner of Ireland.
Ghan House is a very well kept secret, so much so that if you want to eat or stay here, you need to book well in advance! Built in 1727, the house is steeped in character and history, and full of luxury and comfort. It is one of my favourite hotels in all of Ireland and this family run house is unique among Irish hospitality gems. Open log fires, the aroma of home cooking, antiques and family portraits, four poster beds and gourmet candle-lit dinner with fine wines - this intimate country house hotel is so charming and loved by its regular visitors that it does not need to advertise! When we paid our first visit, we had already heard a lot about it through the grapevine.
ACCOMMODATION AT GHAN HOUSE
Our bedroom was a blend of historic quaint and contemporary chic. We had an antique half tester bed, crystal chandelier and chaise-lounge together with a television, CD player and internet access. We also had a table with home-made biscuits, tea, coffee and bottled water. Two tall sash windows opened out to the gardens and sea beyond. Our bathroom had a claw-foot bath, large power-shower, robes and windows and space! We were delighted to have one of the sea facing rooms in the original house that was delightfully furnished with family antiques. Photographs of the family adorned the walls of the landing outside together with lots of books and magazines, and the sweet aroma of fresh cut flowers mingled with that coming from the cookery school.
THE COOKERY SCHOOL AT GHAN HOUSE
Proprietor Joyce Carroll established the Cookery School in 1993 - 21 years ago. At the time it was the third such Cookery School in Ireland. They are now taking a break from most of their specific planned courses however they are still tailoring cookery or wine tasting courses for private groups, whether it be a corporate get-together, birthday party or Hen. In addition they are also running many events such as mythological trips, Georgian Banquets, Art Classes, Wine and Whiskey Tasting and Opera evenings.
DINING AT GHAN HOUSE
Well obviously with a cookery school in situ and a reputation as a gourmet haven, we were looking forward to our dinner! We had arrived late so we freshened up quickly and went down to the cosy bar for an aperitif while studying the menu. The atmosphere is friendly and intimate, and guests greet each other as they meet – so unlike a typical hotel and more like a civilized dinner party.
The most attractive thing about the menu was the listing of local provenance of all the ingredients together with their seasonality. My lobster salad starter was quite delicious and the other starter of roasted tomato soup with goat’s cheese crouton was so full of flavour and freshness that it was declared ‘divine’! The succulent steak came with a jus so good that we had to ask for more! Rhubarb crumble with ice-cream was the sweetest finish to a lovely meal. The wine list is extensive and very well priced, and we enjoyed a glass of New World Sauvignon Blanc with our starters followed by a French Pinot Noir with the mains. The dining room itself is bright and cosy and fronts out on to the seaview on the ground floor. There is another dining room upstairs where they were getting ready for a small wedding the next day. What a fabulous place to have an exclusive wedding reception!
It was a beautiful morning when we left, and having enjoyed an exploration of the town of Carlingford before breakfast, I felt well refreshed after taking in all that lovely sea air. I can see why Ghan House is a popular spot for those coming from either Dublin or Belfast, and I have heard that it can be difficult to get a dinner reservation, especially at the weekends. There are several special events held throughout the year, and it is the kind of place that builds up a very loyal and regular clientelle. Book well in advance is the best advice, and make sure you stay over to enjoy the relaxed cosy ambiance of the house and location. You can also book exclusive use of the entire house for a special occasion – now there’s a thought!
Check out rates on Ghan House
What's to do in the Area?
Carlingford is a great town, steeped in history for over 1,000 years. It was raided by the Vikings in the 8th and 9th centuries and the Normans in the 12th century. As a listed Medieval Heritage Town it actually has more ancient buildings than any similar sized town in the whole of Ireland!
In my short walk in the morning before breakfast, I walked around King John's Castle (pre 1210) which lies on a high rock guarding the entrance to the harbour.
Another castle to visit is Taff's Castle from 15th century with its crenellated battlements, murder holes, slit windows for archers and barrel vaulted basement.
The ruins of Carlingford Abbey, a Dominican Friory, was founded by Richard de Burgo, earl of Ulster in 1305.
The Heritage Centre is situated just behind Ghan House in the tower of the original town wall, now part of the old Carlingford church. Here you will get all the information you could want on the town and its great attractions. The hotel also has information at the reception.
Carlingtford town is nestled between Carlingford Lough and Slieve Foy Mountain with magnificent views of the Mourne Mountains. It has boundless opportunities for sailing, hiking, fishing and horse riding.The less adventuresome can enjoy a walk through the narrow medieval streets while enjoying antique and craft shops alongside a range of eateries from sandwich shops and coffee bars to pubs and fine dining. The location, on the coast just over an hour from Belfast or Dublin makes it a perfect base to explore the natural wonders of Antrim, with the spectacular Antrim Coast drive, the World Heritage Site of The Giant's Causeway and Strangford Lough all within a two hour drive.
In addition, Mellifont abbey and Trim Castle, The World Heritage site of Newgrange to 21st century amenities of over a dozen of Irelands finest golf courses are all within an hours drive of Carlingford.