The Guide is not generally a fan of roadside B&Bs but this smart modern house, set reasonably well back from the Rosslare Road just outside Tagoat, is an exception that is well worth knowing about.
Eileen and Chris Hadlington both have over 30 years experience in hospitality, having previously had a restaurant in Plymouth and then a catering business, so they know a thing or two about food and customer care, and it shows.
When you arrive, Eileen is there with the welcome while Chris is busy in the kitchen – and he’s only too happy to tell you what he’s cooking for dinner. It’s a BYOB experience and Eileen will pop your bottle of white wine in the fridge, or open the red so it can breathe before you eat.
Guests meet in the very comfortable lounge (where there is even a grand piano, as well as comfy seating), sipping their wine and chatting. As there’s a large communal dining table, this getting to know you beforehand is important. Everyone is relaxed when they finally sit at the big wooden table, on comfortable leather chairs. Conversation flows and ranges over any number of topics.
Chris is an inspired chef and dinner for residents is a real treat. Having established preferences or dietary needs when booking, the very reasonably priced no choice three-course menu is a delight. Seasonal, local and home produced is the ethos, so you may look forward to the best from local artisan producers, seasonal locally caught seafood, and local wild game, along with house specialities that include sweet and savoury preserves, many with an unusual twist.
Typically, you might have Kilmore Lobster Tagliolini with grated Parmesan followed by Slow-Cooked Porchetta with their own Mangalitsa Pork with caramelised apple and pork jus, and then finish with Banana Soufflé with Wexford Blackcurrant sauce.
When the meal is over, it’s more than likely Chris will sit down to chat; if it’s not food, it’s his beloved motorbikes. And Eileen happily reminisces about the family and friends.
The four modern bedrooms are smartly decorated to individual themes – one with two single beds has lovely green silk throws, matching the curtains, for example. Although not huge, they are comfortable, with either a tiled wet room or shower and heated towel rail. Fresh brew tea- and coffee-making facilities include homemade cookies, and on chilly nights the radiator is on to welcome arriving guests. While a flat screen TV with DVD and CD is provided (along with iPod Dock, Clock Radio Alarm an free WiFi), it seems unlikely that guests will want to turn it on in the evening – the chat is in the lounge.
Breakfast again shows off Chris’s considerable culinary skills – he makes his own delicious sausages and black and white pudding. As they’re all wheat-free, they’re suitable for coeliacs and anyone who is wheat intolerant. But as well as variations on the full Irish breakfast, including free range eggs and wild mushrooms, there’s local fish, also delicious porridge, served with honey and cream. And he’ll add a drop of good Irish whiskey if you like!
Sustainability is important to Chris and Eileen and for some time they have been involved setting up in a Renewable Energy project, which is now complete – all hot water is solar heated and supplementary heating is by sustainable wood pellets. Reflecting that mindset, Chris is also proud of the fact that everything they use is either home produced or local. ‘Our beef is home reared and currently is our own Hereford-Wagyu cross. Milk is from our next door neighbour. We pasteurise our own milk, separate our own cream, make fresh cheese and yoghurt. All preserves are home made from local fruit. We operate an Aquaponic system to provide fresh herbs and trout.’
Eileen (who is Irish), is a dab hand with the soda bread, baked fresh each morning for breakfast. They also have their own free range pigs down the road happily foraging on 10 acres and, with all the kitchen scraps fed to them as well, there’s no doubt the pork will be excellent
Great food and genuine hospitality go hand in hand here and, for those arriving on the ferry and facing a long drive, this is the perfect place to overnight - even late arrivals are catered for, with home made soup and sandwiches on offer. Superb.