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AuthorEmail: Patrick Taylor 

In Person

In replying to readers’ letters I always conclude by saying if you are in Ireland in County Roscommon let me know, come on over, and I’ll buy you a pint. This has changed, but if you are on Saltspring Island BC the offer stands.

For folks who do visit Roscommon and run into you’ll need a place to stay. The pub on the video, Donnellan’s, had a great B&B but unfortunately closed this January. May I recommend Kilronan Castle www.kilronancastle.ie a rebuilt Gothic revival castle on the shores of Lough Meelagh near Ballyfarnon and 10 miles from my home in Cootehall? You can contact the castle at enquiries@kilronancastle.ie or +353 71 96 47772 and me by e-mail.
I look forward to seeing you soon and sharing that pint—and remember the toast,
‘to your health’ in Gaelic is sláinte, pronounced, ‘slawnchuh’.

A little further from Cootehall, in County Sligo, is one of our favourite retreats, Cromleach Lodge, +353 7191 65155. This four star hotel is a gem set in tranquil hills above the sparkling waters of Lough Arrow. The Bricklieve Mountains stand purple and majestic on the skyline. Cromleach has been Ireland’s hotel of the year and under the steady guidance of executive chef Moira Tighe, herself an Irish chef of the year, the kitchen provides meals of such outstanding quality that the restaurant has also been honoured as Irish Restaurant of the year. If you stay there let me know, I’ll drop over, and the first pint’s still on me.

Or I may be in the north. Many readers who write say they are unfamiliar with Northern Ireland, but now the troubles are over intend to visit. You won’t find Ballybucklebo described, but you will be able to stay in North County Down and see the beautiful countryside on the shores of Belfast Lough where Doctors O’Reilly and Laverty practiced.

Six miles from Belfast a house built in 1876 and which was once a bishop’s palace is now one of Ireland’s premier hotels. Doctor O’Reilly has taken Kitty O’Hallorhan there for dinner. If I’m up north on one of my frequent visits I’ll be staying at the Culloden Estate and Spa (+44 28 9042 6777) or res@cull.hastingshotels.comIf we don’t connect in Cootehall and we meet in the Culloden (www.hastingshotels.com) —the pint is still on me.

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