Everybody loves staying at Bobbie Smith's mid-Victorian cut stone granite rectory - it was built for the Rev. William Smyth-King in 1864, and now makes a warm and welcoming family home.
Elegant and homely, there's a library as well as a lovely drawing room where guests can gather around the fire and relax. Spacious accommodation includes one particularly impressive guest room with a four-poster and all rooms are beautifully furnished and very comfortable - with good bathrooms, big beds, phones, tea/coffee trays and lovely views over the gardens and surrounding countryside.
But it is Bobbie Smith's easy hospitality that keeps bringing guests back: Bobbie, who is a member of the international chefs' association, Euro-Toques, is committed to using local produce and suppliers whenever possible and is renowned for delicious home cooking using mainly organic and home-grown ingredients; rack of local lamb is a speciality, cooked with a honey, mustard & rosemary glaze, and residents have dinner at a long mahogany table, where wonderful breakfasts are also served.
This relaxed place was the Guide's Pet Friendly Establishment in 2000 and guests are still welcome to bring their own dogs, by arrangement.
This area makes an ideal base for exploring the lush south-east of Ireland, and is close to many places of interest, including medieval Kilkenny, Altamont Gardens, New Ross (where river cruises are available, and you can see the famine ship Dunbrody), Kildare's National Stud and Japanese Gardens. Also close by is Gowran Park racecourse and activities such as golf and a riding school (offering both outdoor and indoor tuition).
Dinner must be booked by 3 pm; a concise, well priced wine list with tasting notes is offered - and guests may bring their own wine if they wish (corkage €12, or €15 for champagne).