Imagine a guesthouse took a bite out of the Natural History Museum.
That’s my first impression of the elegant Quay House in Clifden. Stepping inside the door, I find the shell of a leatherback turtle in the hall, wall-mounted antlers echoing the twist of a marble staircase, and several antique animal skins lounging about, including a tiger shot in Bengal in 1938.
Paddy and Julia Foyle’s guesthouse is no dead zoo, however. The house dates from 1820, but it’s an inspired mix of old and new – you’ll find colourful cushions and warm wicker sofas beneath oak-framed lithographs, or an oil of stormy seas splashed by light from the French windows.
The Quay House has 14 rooms, all individually decorated, most with views of Clifden Bay. They feel at once quirky and classy – one boasts a huge antique mirror behind the bed, another has cloud wallpaper on a ceiling rising into the eaves, and a rim of silver painted scallop shells.
There’s an individual send-off too. Breakfast is served in a conservatory with Virginia creeper twisting and turning overhead, and the menu includes oak-smoked salmon, pan-fried haddock, or half-a-dozen oysters served on ice with a decorative splash of seaweed.
Details: thequayhouse.com; B&B from €75-€90pps.
Key words: quay house clifden