An Irish farm stay can make an idyllic holiday, especially for city families and visitors from abroad who want to find the 'real Ireland'.
Just a few minutes drive west of Mullingar, Martin and Aideen Ginnell’s organic farm overlooking Lough Owel makes a lovely destination for a restful rural break.
You’ll pass the family’s donkeys, Sonny and Cher, in their paddock as you approach the house and their gentle presence sets the tone for a very comfortable family home where guests immediately feel genuinely welcome.
The setting is lovely, with activities including walking, fishing, bird watching and tennis all to hand, and the option of a cosy sitting room with an open fire and plenty of books to read - the area is steeped in history and the curious will find much of interest in the Ginnell library.
The rooms are all named after loughs - Lough Derravaragh, Lough Owel, Lough Ennell, Lough Lene, Lough Sheelin - and each has a tale to tell. They vary, as rooms in family homes do (and this one has been in the family for three generations, which adds to its charm), but they are all very comfortably furnished, with lovely views, and include two with half tester/four poster beds and also a large family room with an interconnecting twin bedroom.
Good food is an important element of a stay at this homely place. The farm has been certified organic since 2011 and the family ethos is environmentally aware. Guests wake to the aroma of freshly baked bread and, to the delight of guests, Aideen’s breakfasts are made with home grown organic produce, including her own jams and preserves, and other carefully sourced ingredients including Kilbeggan organic porridge and local breakfast meats and eggs.
This really is an enchanting place and, should you feel like a change of scene, there is much to visit in the area. Belvedere House and Gardens and Tullynally House and Gardens are both nearby, and Fore Abbey, Lough Crew and the fascinating Multyfarnham Friary are all within an easy drive.
Or, for something completely different, there are distillery experiences to enjoy at Kilbeggan and Tullamore. And much more besides.