''When Yeats was on his honeymoon he came to stay with us at Renvyle, a lovely sea-grey house in Connemara on the edge of the Atlantic at the extreme edge of Europe,'' said Oliver St. John Gogarty, poet, surgeon and owner of the historic Renvyle House Hotel. That was in 1917, prior to that, this sea-grey house had a turbulent and troubled history, dating back to the days of the Pirate Queen, Grace O'Malley, in the 16th century. It's believed that she lived in Renvyle Castle, the remains of which are just a short distance away. Cromwell ordered the castle to be demolished in the mid-17th century and a house was built on the site of the present Renvyle House shortly afterwards. From the time it opened as a hotel in 1883, the Land League, the Famine, the Civil War and the First World War have all played a part in the house's history. When Gogarty bought it, he used it as an escape from his life in Dublin and played host to impressive literary gatherings. However, it was burnt to the ground by Anti-Treaty Republicans in 1922, with many valuable articles lost.Rebuilt as a hotel - with government compensation - the house was designed to retain as much of the character of the original as was possible. The Gogartys ran the hotel for some years but in 1953, it was bought by its present owners. Since then, Renvyle House Hotel has been a huge success story. Set on the edge of the Atlantic with its back to the mountains, it's reached by a drive from Galway through the rugged and mysterious landscape of Connemara. When you get here you get to paradise - a true haven of comfort and good food with the family welcome always on offer. In fact this is one of the special places in Ireland that makes you feel as if you live here. Even your dog will be welcome - well behaved pooches are allowed to share their owner's rooms and use the public rooms. It's great to see them lying by the turf fires - there are two fireplaces blazing in this cheerful and cosy entrance hall and lounge. Children also love Renvyle, plenty for to occupy them and their own high tea menu in the afternoons. Renvyle's 68 spacious and comfortable bedrooms are well designed, with rooms in both the old and newer areas. All materials are sourced in Ireland - wood is from Roundstone, the beautiful throws on the beds are Irish tweed, bed linen is from Cork and carpets are Curragh. Bathrooms are tiled with magnificent Connemara marble. The library is comfortable and the adjoining conservatory is bright and sunny with large windows overlooking the deking and gardens outside. Furnishings are very much in keeping with the simple Arts and Crafts period of this house. That extends through the bedrooms and public areas - many's the guest who has implored the family never ever to change things! Renvyle's regulars love this place just as it is - and so do we! In fact we love it so much it was awarded our Culinary Haven of the Year for 2013. Of course, one of the most important rooms in any hotel is the dining room. Spacious but with intimate corners for small parties and larger table seating for groups, the ambience is welcoming and cosy. Executive Eurotoque Chef Tim O'Sullivan has reigned supreme in the kitchen at Renvyle House for some 20 years. He sources local produce and uses his culinary flair to present them on the plate. A master of the art of fine cooking without fussiness, is Tim! Impeccable culinary skills are to be marvelled at and enjoyed in equal measure. His breakfasts are truly superb, we can't rave enough at just how competent he is in the kitchen here and no wonder the owners have hung on to him for all those years. Despite that long service, Tim always brings something new to the table and his style evolves and surprises every day. Aside from the relaxing lounge areas and great food, there's a range of outdoor pursuits in Renvyle. Tennis, golf, a heated swimming pool in the summer months, croquet and lawn bowls. There's trout fishing - and if you're lucky enough to catch one, you may get to eat it for supper. A childrens' playground has been innovatively planted with peas around the edges so that visitors can pick and east as they like. Walks around the grounds include the beautiful rose garden, the herb garden and the orchard. The sea is just over the road so lots of ocean pursuits in the area too. We love Renvyle and it's fabulous family run atmosphere - a haven of comfort in one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland.
Read more about Renvyle House Hotel and Resort, here is their Restaurant Review.