Country house comfort on the shores of Lough Swilly
BUILT IN THE 1760S as a summer house for Belfast bankers and run by the Wheeler family since 1963, Rathmullan House retains all the graciousness of its grand history, hand-in-hand with a welcoming informality. Set just outside the sleepy Donegal village of Rathmullan
, this mostly Georgian manor house is set in the prettiest grounds.
Three warm and elegant sitting rooms replete with chandeliers, antiques, marble fireplaces and oil paintings are warmed by open turf fires in winter
, offering the embracing comforts needed after a day of bracing Irish air. There's also an informal cellar bar, open in summer.
Rathmullan's bedrooms vary from the simple to swishy. Those in the newer Regency wing are best
, with polished wood floors, gas log fires and clawfoot bathtubs. Double doors in ground floor suites open onto the rose-filled gardens, and each has a different decor theme range from Shaker to Cath Kidston. Rooms in the original house have more of an unpretentious country-house feel – some having four-posters. Opt for a Doggie room is you're travelling with pooch
– these come with their own little couch.
Bracing walks and breezy dips
Hit the Spot
On the western shores of Lough Swilly.
Opt for quarters in the Regency wing – ideally a garden suite.
Conferences are held here regularly, but the laid-back atmosphere keeps things low key.
De-stressing Donegal delight.
Outdoors, Rathmullan's seven acres of lawns and trees stretch down to two miles of deserted white sand beaches
along the shores of Lough Swilly. Not up to a breezy dip? Relax in the indoor heated pool and steam room, or book a pampering aromatherapy massage in the spa.
Dinner menus are pure Ireland, using organic fruit and vegetables from Rathmullan's walled garden
, locally caught seafood, and lamb grazed on the salt plains.
Donegal’s scenic coast and countryside share top honours here. Don’t miss Glenveagh National Park and Glebe House, or spend a day at the Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills whiskey distillery. There's plenty of golfing, too.
Rathmullan House was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mike North
ROMANCE AT RATHMULLAN – Donegal
Romance is the name of the game at Rathmullan House in Donegal. Spoil yourselves with a night in a superior room with champagne and chocolates, dinner and a massage.
You’ll arrive to a bottle of bubbly chilling in your room with homemade chocolates. Enjoy an invigorating massage each in the Spa, followed by dinner for two. The cost is EUR 530 per couple. Pay EUR 760 and your stay includes a two night stay, with dinner on one night.
* Request "Romance at Rathmullan" in the Message box on our Booking Inquiry form.
Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the gallery.
Dine beneath an extravagant tented ceiling swathed in Bedouin silk and sprinkled with fairy lights. Organic fruit and vegetables are grown in the restaurant garden and a seaside setting means plenty of fresh fish and seafood. Try the pan seared Lough Swilly queen scallops with caramalised endive, sea spaghetti and salsa verde
Have a pint at the White Harte Bar and dine at Bun an Bui restaurant, just a short walk from the hotel. If you fancy a flutter, Oceans Restaurant and Casino Cocktail Bar is a 25-minute drive. The Mill restaurant in scenic Dunfanaghy is 45 minutes away.
See & Do
Weeping Elm restaurant at Rathmullan House.
Assiette of Rathmullan lamb with pea and mint puree, mustard spaetzle and rosemary.
Dress the part
Err on the smart side.
A nice table for two by the open fireplace.
Take the Knockalla coastal drive around the Fanad Peninsular to the lighthouse and en route gaze at fabulous Warden Beach, regarded as Ireland’s most beautiful. Admire the works of art at the Glebe House, spot red deer at the Glenveigh National Park and – if it’s not too chilly – get surfing at Donegal's Bundoran beach, where the waves are reputed to rival those at Bondi in Sydney. For lazy shoreside walks, simply stroll through Rathmullan House’s lovely gardens to the sandy beach along the lough.
Rathmullan is a seaside village with plenty of quaint shops where you can snap up mementoes.
Pamper yourself in the hotel’s Solace Room, whose range of holistic treatments include the cult skincare brand Dr Hauschka ‘90 minutes of heaven’ facial and massage.
Curl up with a drink by the open turf fire in one of the lounges or take a walk along the moonlit beach at the bottom of the gardens.
For total sensory overload see the musicians, dancers and acrobats at the Earagail Arts festival.
August bank holiday
With a packed programme of popular music from Ireland and beyond, the Ballyshannon Folk and Traditional Music festival is unmissable.
Lough Swilly, Rathmullan, Letterkenny Co. Donegal
There is free guest parking
Sligo station – 32 km
EUR 50 from the station
Donegal and City of Derry – 68 km
Rooms and suites
Some rooms have balconies, four-poster beds, separate sitting areas and roll-top baths.
Rathmullan also has a swimming pool, steam room, tennis courts, helipad and holistic therapy rooms.
EUR 150- 350
Closed 10 January – 8 February
Minimum night stay?
Award winning breakfasts are served until 10am
Available morning and evening
Welcome – but there are child-free areas in the hotel
Yes – there's a specially built ‘doggie room’ inside one of the superior rooms.
Yes – held in the Weeping Elm restaurant outside peak summer months for up to 135 guests. Smaller weddings (for up to 60) are held in a more intimate private function room with a minstrel's gallery .
Rathmullan is a member of REPAK, with recycling and recovery policies.
The Wheeler Family – owners