Clearly signed on the outskirts of Cobh, and at the end of a long winding driveway overhung by tall trees, you will find John and Pam Mulhaire's large and peacefully situated 1840s house.
Its rather plain exterior, tarmac parking area and low-maintenance garden give no hint of the luxurious interior which is revealed when the front door opens onto a huge hall, where a deep red carpet and dramatic flower arrangement set on an antique desk set the tone for a house that offers guests the best of every world: lavish decor and facilities worthy of a top-class hotel, along with great hospitality, and reasonable prices.
The Mulhaires had lived here for over 25 years when they opened for guests in 2004 - Pam is very chatty, relaxed and friendly, a natural hostess who treats her guests to tea and home-made scones on a silver tray on arrival, and on request at any time.
An impressive drawing room has plenty of comfortable seating and an open fire and, like the rest of the house, the bedrooms are also decorated with sumptuous good taste (although lovers of old houses may be disappointed by the practical PVC double-glazed windows).
Accommodation is very comfortable, with generous beds and immaculate en-suite bathrooms that have power showers (no full bath) and many thoughtful details, including pristine white bathrobes and Molton Brown toiletries.
A good breakfast is served in a dining room overlooking the garden (stunning displays of magnolias, azaleas and camellias in spring) and set up with white Villeroy & Boch china and pristine white cotton napkins. It includes a delicious fresh fruit salad, fresh orange juice, good-quality cereals, yoghurts, as well as a sound rendition of the traditional hot breakfast and homemade brown bread and scones.
This is an exceptionally comfortable place to stay and, although no dinner is offered, the restaurants of Cobh and Midleton (or Monkstown, just across the ferry) are not too far away.