Mount Falcon will be fondly remembered by many for its lovable eccentricity under the previous owner, the late Connie Aldridge (whose husband, Major Robert Aldridge, was a keen archaeologist and helped to discover the Céidhe Fields) and it is now owned by the locally based Maloney brothers, who fell in love with it when visiting in 2002 and bought the estate when Connie retired.
They then completed an extensive building and refurbishment plan that included extending the original house and building a number of luxurious courtyard houses and woodland lodges.
Now a 32 bedroom luxury hotel, Mount Falcon is a welcoming place. A series of ground floor drawing rooms and lounges have comfy sofas and open fires, and coffee tables scattered with books and magazines about fishing, hunting and country life in general create a homely atmosphere.
Beautiful fresh flowers are a lovely feature throughout the public rooms and, interestingly, these impressive displays come mainly from the hotel gardens as it is the hotel's policy to replace imported florists' flowers with locally grown blooms and greenery as much as possible.
Accommodation includes six deluxe rooms on the upper floors of the original house (including two suites, the Wallpool and Connor’s Gap, which are named after famous pools on the Mount Falcon Fishery); they have been restored with pitch pine shutters and floors, original cornices and marble fireplaces whilst integrating the necessary modern comforts.
The newer rooms are spacious, with custom-designed furniture, television and radio, direct dial phone, personal safe and hairdryer as standard.
The estate enjoys more than 2 miles of double bank salmon fishing on the River Moy, and the 100 acres of grounds have been redeveloped and landscaped to incorporate lakeside and woodland walks. Other local activities include championship golf, at nearby Enniscrone Golf Club, and horse riding - and there are many beaches nearby.
Conferences/Banqueting (250/220), broadband wi/fi, video conferencing. Spa, leisure centre with indoor 'pool, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and gym.
Rooms 32 (2 suites, 4 junior suites, 2 for disabled); B&B €110pps, ss €85. Children welcome (under 2s free in parents' room, cots available free of charge, baby sitting arranged); Lift; 24 hr room service. Self catering also available. Helipad.
The former head chef Philippe Farineau ("Irish Produce, French Heart") was largely responsible for establishing Mount Falcon as a dining destination and, when he moved on in 2015, the hotel was very fortunate to have a very able successor in his colleague, Daniel Willimount, who continues the philosophy of showcasing local foods in modern classical cooking at the wonderfully atmospheric Kitchen Restaurant. Originally the kitchen and pantry of this grand house, the main diningroom resonates with old world charm and history.
Exposed stonewalls, old cookbook illustrations and gleaming copper pots make it an elegant and unique space for enjoying a special meal and it also makes a delightful breakfast room for residents; the smaller room, which is used for overflow on busy nights, has less atmosphere but is ideal for a private party.
Suppliers, name checked on the menu, include butchers Jarlath Tolan of Crossmolina and Kelly’s of Newport - both famous for their own sausages and other products such as home cured ham and traditional puddings as well as the main cuts of meat, which would include Achill mountain lamb in season. The Moy River, which runs through the Estate is a source of wild Atlantic salmon, trout and (when permitted), eel.
Cheeses are from Connaught and Munster and other special local produce includes Cuinneog farmhouse country butter from near Castlebar, and Achill Island Sea Salt. Every Saturday a fresh harvest of seaweeds and samphire comes from Killala, and most of the fresh produce is home grown including wonderful herbs and berries, from meadowsweet to elderberry; mushrooms are foraged on the estate too, and wild game also features on the menu over the winter months.
The kitchen gardens are a special point of pride. Immaculately maintained by Head Gardener Alex Lavarde and his team, they are an impressive sight when seen from the driveway on arrival. There are several polytunnels as well as extensive outdoor cultivation of fruit, vegetables, herbs and salads and, during July and August when they are at their most productive, guests are encouraged to book a garden tour (Monday-Friday, 11am for one hour). Classes are also offered at certain times - you might have a foraging day, for example, or learn about willow architecture.
The cooking of this natural bounty is accomplished and adventurous and staff are warm and welcoming, although service might sometimes benefit from being a little more focused.
All round, you should have a treat in store at this unusual restaurant.