Sleepover: Ballymakeigh House

A bed for the night in Ireland
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The Independent Travel

The location

The location

Off the N25 near Cork. This is a good place to break your journey if you're heading south-west from the ferry port at Rosslare. The proud, creeper-clad house is attached to a dairy farm and stands in rolling fields - the cows are your alarm clock.

The USP?

How many guest houses have a TV chef on hand to make dinner? Owner Margaret Browne is a fêted small-screen chef.

The comfort factor

You won't come here for interior design tips, but you can rely on solid guest-house comfort and warm hospitality. There are six rooms. I stayed in a bright and airy one at the top, which had a vast yet snugly dressed bed. No TVs in the rooms, just the one in the lounge. But then this place is all about peace and quiet in the countryside. The conservatory, which runs across the front of the property, and the front lawns are pleasant places to relax.

The bathroom

All rooms are ensuite. Ours had a small but adequate shower room with loo.

The food and drink

Gourmet meals are served in the dining room. Don't expect nouvelle cuisine, however - portions here are hearty. Margaret cooks what's fresh that morning from local suppliers, so the menu is always a surprise. Breakfast is a splendid spread. And there's an honesty bar in the lounge.

The people

Holidaymakers exploring the south-west of Ireland. Margaret and family are very friendly and welcoming.

The area

Visit Cork City, the pretty seaside town of Youghal, and Cobh, the last point of departure of RMS Titanic. Margaret can tell you about activities available in the area. For more information contact Tourism Ireland (0800-039 7000;

The access

No wheelchair access because the rooms must be reached via stairs. Children welcome. No pets inside.

The damage

B&b costs €55 (£39) per person per night, based on two sharing. Dinner is €40 (£28). Closed Nov-Mar.

The address

Ballymakeigh House, Killeagh, Youghal, Co Cork, Ireland (00 353 24 95184;