Lorum Old Rectory Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow
Dating from 1863, Lorum Old Rectory sits beneath Mount Leinster in the peaceful valley of the River Barrow. Its warm, yellowish, locally cut granite gives it a distinctive and pleasing appearance. The owner, Bobbie Smith, is an enthusiastic hostess, famous for her warm welcome and splendid home baking. She grew up at Lorum, knows the area intimately and is always a fund of local knowledge. Bobbie also uses Lorum as a base for relaxed, bespoke cycling tours in the neighbouring counties of Carlow, Wexford and Kilkenny. Visitors cycle from house to house and their luggage awaits them on arrival.
Lorum Old Rectory was built from crisp, mellow, locally-cut County Carlow granite which gives the house a feeling of tremendous warmth. The house sits peacefully on the slopes above the River Barrow at Kilgreaney, about half way between Bagenalstown and Borris. Behind the house are Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs Mountains while in front, across the river, are the plains of Kilkenny. Beyond the plains Slievenamon, the Mountain of the Women, in far away Tipperary is clearly visible on fine days.
In the second half of the 20th century the Church of Ireland passed thorough a period of rationalisation. Parishes were amalgamated; churches closed and a number of rectories became redundant and were sold. Among these was Lorum Old Rectory which Mr. Young purchased as a home for his family. Fast forward for another thirty-five years and his daughter Bobbie, on inheriting the house, was forced to make it pay and, together with her late husband Don, decided to provide country house accommodation for visitors to the region.
They quickly built up an enviable reputation as a well-run, comfortable house offering good food and good company. Bobbie, who is a member of Euro-Toques, is renowned as a consummate and considerate hostess, and for her imaginative home cooking, using home-grown or local organic produce wherever possible.
County Carlow is one of Ireland’s smallest counties, and Lorum Old Rectory is well positioned for those also who wish to explore the neighbouring counties of Kilkenny, Kildare, Wexford and Wicklow, where there is plenty to see and do.
For those who want to explore there is a portal dolmen at Brown’s Hill and important monastic sites at Ullard and St. Mullins. In the middle of the town of Graiguenamanagh is he great Cistercian abbey of Duiske, the largest in Ireland, with the smaller but more beautiful Jerpoint just south of Thomastown. The mediaeval town of Kilkenny with its castle and museums is worth a visit and nearby gardens include Altamont, Kilfane and Woodstock. There are golf courses at Mount Juliet, Mount Wolsley and Borris, fly fishing for trout and the occasional salmon, and wonderful restful walks along the tow-path of the Barrow Canal or, for the more energetic, in the Blackstairs Mountains.
Lorum Old Rectory Guest House Bagnelstown, is also home to Celtic Cycling, which runs bespoke cycling tours for couples and small groups throughout the South East, along the Rivers Barrow and Nore, through unspoilt countryside with pretty villages and small hamlets. And, for those who prefer to do nothing, the garden and croquet lawn at Lorum Old Rectory are delightfully peaceful and relaxing.