It is interesting that one of Ireland’s oldest hotels, The Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon, should be the first hotel in Ireland to receive the EU Eco-label ‘Flower’ award in recognition of its commitment to sustainable tourism and protection of the local environment: The Bush may be best known for its old-fashioned hospitality and exceptionally pleasant and helpful staff, but it’s clear that there’s nothing backward-looking about the management.
The ‘Flower’ comprises 84 very specific and technical criteria in energy, water and waste management - with much emphasis on environmental awareness and innovation. Initiatives undertaken include installing over 1300 Class A Low Energy bulbs which provide 97% of lighting in the hotel, contracting Airtricity as its electricity provider and emphasising locally sourced products.
The hotel also does not accept pallets, shrink wrap, bubble wraps or polystyrene, all deliveries now come in returnable and reusable plastic crates and all excess packaging is removed by suppliers.
The Bush has undergone considerable refurbishment in recent years and, while rooms will vary in size and comfort (and the 40 newer rooms are more luxurious), this hotel has personality.
Public areas have character and a pleasing sense of history, and there are two bars, one of which has been given a contemporary make-over and is now a bistro bar, and a TV lounge with an open fire which is very appealing in chilly weather.
A recently added conference room offers a full range of business and conference facilities and The Orchard Ballroom makes a bright and inviting venue for large events. Informal meals are available at the self-service coffee shop/carvery, with bar food also offered at lunchtime and in the evening.
Conference/Banqueting (350/300); free broadband wi/fi; business centre, secretarial services.
Rooms 60 (1 suite, 3 family rooms); B&B €89.50pps, single €99.50; children welcome (under 2s free in parents' room, cot available without charge). Golf nearby. Tennis; garden. Parking (180). Closed Christmas.
The hotel’s pleasant restaurant is notable for its traditional style and courteous service, and remains a popular destination. In addition to a set menu they offer a Bistro Menu, which is also available in the bar.
Expect the comfortingly familiar kind of food that used to be more typical of Ireland: starters like egg mayonnaise and Irish oak smoked salmon salad, and main courses that will almost certainly include steak - Irish sirloin steak au poivre, perhaps - baked fillet of salmon and roast crispy duckling.
Finish off with profiteroles or lemon cheesecake. The food is traditional and reliable, the service is delightful and it offersvalue. House wines are good value at € 19.95.