Guidebook Entries - 2006

Lonely Planet Ireland 2006

The favourite chill-out spot for Dublin’s high flyers is this luxurious country house about 3km west of Rathdrum in the village Macreddin. The 39 standard rooms set a pretty high tone, with four poster and sleigh beds dressed in crisp Frette linen, but the suites sing an altogether more harmonious tune, each a minimalist marvel that wouldn’t seem out of place in a New York boutique hotel – massive beds, flat-screen plasma TV’s, top-of-the-range sound system and every other possible style sundry. The accommodation is pure luxury, but it’s the outstanding spa that keeps them coming back for more. Mud and floatation chambers, Finnish and aroma baths, Hammam massages and a full-range of Decleor and Carita treatments make this one of the top spas in the country. Your credit card will never have nestled in softer hands.

Rough Guide Ireland 2006

Venturing further afield, you might be tempted to stay or eat at The BrookLodge Hotel at Macreddin, to the west of Avoca, two miles north of Aughrim. The enterprising owners have redeveloped this picturesque village, which had fallen into decline in the late nineteenth century, with a modern country-house-style hotel, the excellent and innovative Strawberry Tree Restaurant, which uses only organic, free-range and wild ingredients, a pub with its won microbrewery, an equestrian centre and craft and organic food stores. The first Sunday of every month sees a big organic food fair in the afternoon, with barbecues and music.

Footprint Ireland 2006


A short, signposted, way from Aughrim lies this modern new hotel complex with a relaxed country house atmosphere. There is a micro distillery, a pub, an exceptional restaurant and a luxury spa.


The Strawberry Tree Restaurant has a most unusual décor that is likely to provoke mixed reactions but the food is a resounding success. Organic produce is the order of the day and the menu is meticulous in this respect. Well worth the journey.

Frommers Ireland 2006

Where to stay

BrookLodge is a revolutionary idea in Ireland – not so much a hotel as a planned village with accommodations, fine dining, pubs, a chapel, a bakery, and shops selling wines, homemade jams, crafts, and the like. The hotel itself is luxurious and comfortable, done up in warm, energised colours. Rooms have firm Four-poster beds, deep tubs, quality linens, and contemporary furnishings. The hotel restaurant is The Strawberry Tree – gourmet and all-organic. The latest addition to this holistic oasis is The Wells, a spa with Finnish baths, mud baths, hot tubs, indoor and outdoor pools, a floatation room, and all sorts of therapies and skin treatments. You can often get good discounts by booking online.

Where to dine

Winner of the Irish Food and Wine’s Best Restaurant award in 2003, this place has gone from innovative to iconic in a few years. Only wild and organic foods are the ingredients in the memorable meals served in this chic dining room. Starters might include Macreddin Smoked Salmon with wild sorrel, or wild wood pigeon terrine. Then there could be beef fillet with beetroot, in a balsamic jus, or wild guinea fowl with dried fruit compote.