In parkland and mature woods on the shores of Lough Conn, Enniscoe can sometimes seem stern and gaunt, as Georgian mansions in the north-west of Ireland tend to be but, with family portraits, crackling log fires, warm hospitality and good home cooking, this hospitable house has great charm.
It was built by ancestors of the present owner, Susan Kellett, who settled here in the 1660s, and is a very special place for anglers and other visitors with a natural empathy for the untamed wildness of the area.
Large public rooms include a fine drawing room, with period details and plenty of seating, and a more intimate dining room, where Susan’s delightfully simple dinners are served.
Her menus change daily and make good use of home-grown and local produce in dishes like pan-fried scallops with Madeira dressing and rocket salad and a delicious house speciality of roast free-range pork; homely desserts like rhubarb and orange crumble to finish, and cheeses laid out on the sideboard - as they are again next morning, as part of an excellent breakfast.
Traditionally furnished bedrooms are large, very comfortable and, like their en-suite bathrooms, regularly refurbished.
There is much of interest around converted outbuildings at the back of the house, including a genealogy centre (The Mayo North Family History Research Centre, Tel: 096 31809), a small agricultural museum with working blacksmith, and conference facilities.
The house is surrounded by beautiful woodlands, with a network of paths, and there are restored walled gardens (both ornamental and productive - one is run commercially as an organic market garden), which are open to the public and have tea-rooms and a shop.
The latest addition, open since 2008, is a working run of an old bog railway; the first section, with its little platform, is operational an dthere are plans to extend it.
There is brown trout fishing on Lough Conn and other trout and salmon fishing nearby; boats, ghillies, tuition and hire of equipment can be arranged.
*Enniscoe has been selected for a number of the Guide’s awards at different times, an unusual example is the Food eXtra Award in 2008, for an outstanding all-round contribution to the hospitality of the area, with special emphasis on food.