Set back from the flag-stone shore and looking onto the cliffs of Aughinish, you enter another place at Mount Vernon, a magical country house whose owners, Mark Helmore and Aly Raftery, seem to have a special empathy with it.
Named after George Washington's residence in Virginia, it was built in the 18th century for his friend Colonel William Presse of Roxborough, who served in the American War of Independence. The three tall cypress trees in the walled garden are thought to be a gift from Washington.
At the end of the 19th century it became the summer home of Sir Hugh Lane, the noted art collector, and then to his aunt Lady Augusta Gregory of Coole Park, County Galway. Many of the leaders of Ireland's cultural renaissance stayed and worked here, including WB Yeats, AE (George Russell), Sean O'Casey, Synge and GB Shaw.
The lovely reception rooms have fine antique furniture, paintings and batiks and painted panels from Sir William Gregory's time as Governor of Ceylon; three fireplaces were designed and built by the Pre-Raphelite painter Augustus John.
The bedrooms are spacious and interesting with views to the sea or the wonderfully tended gardens, which include lovely walled gardens to the side that provide a sheltered place to sit out in the sunshine. (And don't forget to ask about the cobweb clearing walks.)
There is a leisurely feel here and meals are an event, with drinks and conversation at 7.30 and dinner at 8.00pm. There's an emphasis on organic and local foods, especially seafood like crab, lobster, salmon and monkfish in summer, moving towards game and other meats in the cooler months. Mark and Aly grow their own organic vegetables and enjoy foraging the shoreline for samphire and seabeet in season too. Aly also makes a range of wild Burren house preserves, which guests can purchase as gifts.
Although conveniently located, only 20 miles from Galway city, this is a world apart.
Golf links at Lahinch and Doonbeg are within comfortable driving distance. Guided walks on the Burren are available locally.