Conveniently located just an hour from Dublin or Belfast airports, the Carroll family's 18th century house is attractively situated in its own walled grounds on the edge of Carlingford village, with views across the lough to the Mountains of Mourne.
Guests can mingle in the little bar or relax beside the drawing room fire, which is very pleasant for residents to return to, and especially welcoming for non-residents who are just coming in for dinner.
Accommodation is shared between four rooms of character in the main house, each with sea or mountain views and charming bathrooms, and eight newer bedrooms which are offered in a separate building. As the rooms vary considerably, it is wise to discuss your preferences when booking.
The lovely location and the fact that Carlingford is such a charming village make this a very desirable destination, especially since Ghan House joined Ireland's premier marketing association, the Blue Book (Irish Country Houses, Historic Houses & Restaurants), in 2015.
The current owner-manager, Paul Carroll, has thoughtful plans in place for discreetly upgrading the already comfortable accommodation, and building in modern amenities for business meetings and group events.
Paul's mother, Joyce Carroll, established one of Ireland's first cookerys schools here and she is still involved with it; the current focus is on programmes tailored especially for groups.
Cookery school (groups by arrangement; details on request). Conference/banqueting (55/85); house available for exclusive use. Garden; walking. Children welcome (under 5s free in parents' room; cots available without charge; baby sitting arranged). No pets.
Rooms 12 (1 shower only, 3 superior, 2 family, 1 single, all no smoking). B&B Double Room from €75 pps (low season); single room available, no supplement. (Discounts applied on stays of 2 or more nights.) Open all year except Christmas & New Year.
Dinner is, of course, a high priority at Ghan House. The style is contemporary, based mainly on quality home-grown (vegetable, fruit and herbs), home-made (breads, ice creams, everything that can be made on the premises) and local produce, notably Cooley lamb and beef, dry cured bacon, free range eggs - and seafood: oysters are synonymous with Carlingford (there are also mussels from the lough and lobster from Ballagan, while smoked salmon and crab come from nearby Annagassan).
A six-course midweek tasting menu offers great value: the first course might be ham hock terrine with red onion marmalade; second course, spicy coconut and crab claws broth; third course, pan-fried Castletownbere scallops with pickled vegetables and mojo verde; fourth course, chef’s choice of sorbet; fifth course, pan-fried medallion of Cooley beef, braised beef cheek, cumin and carrot puree and rosemary jus; and sixth course, dark chocolate fondant.
A user-friendly set dinner menu with about five choices on each course is also priced by course, allowing considerable flexibility without having a separate à la carte, and there's a fairly priced wine list.