Are you looking for somewhere to escape reality for a night or two? Do you just want to relax and unwind in beautiful surroundings? Or do you fancy the perfect base to explore the beauty of Connemara and all it has to offer? Then look no further than the beautiful Lough Inagh Lodge.
I was lucky enough to stay at Lough Inagh Lodge earlier this year having been gifted a voucher for Original Irish Hotels (formerly Manor House Hotels) by a friend. Browsing the website, I was delighted to see that Lough Inagh Lodge was included in this collection of independent hotels around Ireland.
A former fishing lodge, Lough Inagh Lodge is now a boutique hotel nestled in the heart of the Inagh Valley in Connemara. It couldn’t be in a more idyllic location, hugging the shores of Lough Inagh and surrounded by the Twelve Bens and Maumturk mountains. It’s no surprise that the Inagh Valley is a popular driving, walking and cycling route with such spectacular mountain and lake views.
If you love old-world charm, Lough Inagh Lodge has got it aplenty. Full of period furnishings and art throughout, you’ll find yourself lingering in the rooms and hallways taking it all in. There are two drawing rooms where you can relax in front of the open fire, a formal dining area and a quaint bar too.
Our bedroom was really spacious and positioned at the front of the house with amazing views out to Lough Inagh and the Twelve Bens. It had probably the largest bed I’ve ever slept in and a generous sized en-suite too.
I’m normally not one to hang out in my hotel room. Usually I’ll just drop my bag and get out exploring and I had planned to get in a decent walk but the mix of dark clouds, rain showers and my general laziness conspired to change my mind! So we decided to relax and take it easy for a bit. We ordered some scones and tea to our room and pulled the coffee table closer to the window so we could make the most of the view as we enjoyed them.
Having visited Connemara more than a few times, I didn’t really feel the need to go exploring too far. Besides, we were already smack bang in the middle of some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. So, after enough relaxing and taking it easy, we just wandered across the road and followed the short path down to the shores of Lough Inagh.
Inagh Valley – A Photographer’s Paradise
If like me, you love photographing beautiful landscapes, you’ll be in your element here. Whatever the weather conditions, Connemara always looks amazing and on this particular day we were spoilt. Dramatic clouds passed overhead but with enough clear sky to allow the light through to paint the mountains. We even got a lucky rainbow, though I wasn’t quite in the right place to capture it!
Back on the road, we walked just a few hundred metres to another breathtaking view – a little boathouse by the the lake, with the Twelve Bens in the background. As if it wasn’t stunning enough, we were treated to a most beautiful sunset. The mountains behind us suddenly lit up like nothing I have ever seen and I was running down to the lake like a mad woman trying to catch some reflection shots before the light disappeared!
Delicious Food and Friendly Staff
After all that excitement it was time to get back to the hotel for dinner. We had booked a meal in the restaurant but there is also a menu available in the bar, if you prefer. The menus include the best seasonal produce, sourced locally where possible and our meal was absolutely delicious. The staff were really attentive and friendly too, not just during dinner but throughout our stay.
Though our bellies were happy and most definitely full after dinner, we couldn’t resist a nightcap in the bar before we headed to bed. The first thing we noticed was that there seemed to be quite a few dogs out for a Saturday night pint!
Pets and Movie Stars are Welcome at Lough Inagh Lodge!
Only after talking to the barman did we learn that Lough Inagh Lodge is a well known pet-friendly hotel and actually won Pet Friendly Hotel of the year in 2016. Since visiting, I’ve also learned that the lodge was once part of a large estate owned by Richard Martin. Richard was an Irish politician and earned the nickname “Humanity Dick” due to his campaign against cruelty to animals. He was also a driving force behind the establishment of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It’s clear the current hotel owners share his love of animals and they obviously have a good sense of humour too – check out this award-winning ad for the hotel from a few years back!
Any fans of the movie Marley and Me? Some scenes from the film where shot in the front garden of Lough Inagh Lodge and Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson stayed here. I couldn’t find out which rooms they slept in but with only 13 rooms in the lodge, chances are high that I’ve slept in the same room as one of them right?!
It’s the Small Things
Much to José’s disappointment, I set the alarm early for sunrise, feeling optimistic after the beautiful sunset the night before. This time we took the car and ventured just ten minutes up the road to Derryclare Lough. Luckily for me, the sky exploded with colour, so I didn’t have to feel bad for dragging us out of bed. Oh to wake up every morning in such a stunning location!
It was back to the hotel then for a yummy breakfast and an unexpected little surprise. It was Easter Sunday and on each table was a full-sized chocolate Easter Egg, ours to take away and feast on later (it didn’t last long!). That brought a smile to everyone’s face I can tell you.
We took another little wander outside before reluctantly packing up and checking out. I can highly recommend a stay at Lough Inagh Lodge but trust me when I say it’s hard to drag yourself away from this piece of paradise. To make it a little easier I promised myself that I’ll definitely be back again!
Planning a visit to Connemara? Click here for prices and availability for Lough Inagh Lodge.