Located in the heart of the Bluestack Mountains of southwest Donegal, in the attractive village of Glenties, the Boyle family’s nice old fashioned hotel is very much the centre of the local community.
It’s the type of place that seemed to be under threat in the Celtic Tiger years but, thankfully, homely family-run hotels are now being valued once again for the uniquely Irish hospitality that gives so much pleasure to visitors from abroad and Irish holidaymakers alike.
Its claims to fame are remarkable. Not only does it make a great base for the many outdoor activities that draw people to this beautiful area - hillwalking (Blue Stack Way), cycling, horse riding, pony trekking, fishing, golf - but there must be something in the pristine mountain air that sparks creativity, as it punches way above its weight when it comes to literary and artistic connections and even affairs of state.
The playwright Brian Friel is closely associated with the village (believed to be the setting for some of his most famous works including Dancing at Lughnasa) and is a frequent guest at the hotel.
Furthermore, the hotel is the centre of activity for the annual Patrick MacGill Summer School which, since the 1980s, has brought together ‘speakers representing all walks of public life in Ireland – North and South – to analyse and debate topics of major national interest’.
This remarkable hotel is also at the centre of the area’s musical culture and visual arts – and every guest is treated to the work of one of Donegal’s finest landscape artists, Johnny Boyle, who happens to be the proprietor.
Rooms all have the basic comforts (television – flat screen in some rooms, tea/coffee making, phone, hairdryer etc and ‘work desk with study lamp’- for visiting authors, perhaps) but, while not a large or very smart hotel, the accommodation provides for varying requirements. Offering rooms to suit families, couples and single travellers, it’s a far cry from the corridor of standard rooms that has become commonplace elsewhere.
A uniquely Irish place to stay – and you never know who you might meet in the friendly bar.