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Rathmullan House - Review

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

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


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