A short drive from the village of Lecarrow, in a beautiful rural waterside location overlooking Lough Ree, lies what may well be Roscommon’s best kept secret - a lovely understated late Georgian country house that owners Richard and Liz Collins modestly call St John’s B&B. (And the story of how they came to be here is a romantic one, so don’t forget to ask.)
When arriving at this peaceful and welcoming place, with its kitchen garden, hen house, friendly donkeys and the garden bench inviting you to sit down and enjoy the view, it’s hard to credit that it’s only 90 minutes drive from Dublin or Knock airports – an hour and a half in ‘real’ time, perhaps, but a lifetime away once you start to get tuned in. Arriving guests soon slow down, over a cup of tea and a slice of home baked cake, and, as they say themselves, “it’s the perfect place to relax and re-charge the batteries”.
There’s plenty to do in a relaxing sort of way, with a Norman Castle, Rinn Duin, close to the house - a scenic national trail looped walk around Rinn Duin starts and finishes at the main gate – The Tain trail and Green Heartlands cycle routes also pass close by (two bicycles are available for guests’ use), and there’s excellent wild brown trout fishing in May and September. The habitat and wild life are a treat by any standards and there are many lovely places to explore.
The front part of the house itself has elegant period features - formal rooms, with tall ceilings and open fireplaces – but it’s not too grand, and the drawing room is an inviting place to while away an hour or three with a good book in front of the fire.
The back of the house is more recent and everything has been updated, so the three bedrooms all have modern bathrooms (one with bath and separate shower). The front room is the largest (and costs a little more) but all are lovely, with the top quality bedding that makes for a peaceful night’s sleep - and one of the back rooms has the best view over the lough.
Breakfast is served in a beautiful formal dining room with an open fire - home baked breads, free range eggs, home made jams and compotes are among the treats offered, also smoked Lough Ree trout as an alternative to a full Irish breakfast.
Evening meals are also available by prior arrangement (fish fresh from the lough, lamb from the neighbouring farm and home grown fruit and veg), but The Yew Tree restaurant is just a five minute drive – and the friendly Coffey’s Bar has live traditional music during the summer months. Packed lunches and light suppers can also be arranged.
It’s a magical place and you’ll soon be wishing you could stay longer – especially as there are discounts for stays of two or more nights and, if staying four or more nights, a personal tour of the Rinn Duin peninsula or a boat trip is included. And then perhaps you can come back for one of the special weekend breaks, with dinner!
Lecarrow may not be the first destination to come to mind for exploring the West, but it’s actually well situated for day trips to Galway, Sligo and the Burren – and there is just so much to do without leaving the area at all. What a find.