Mornington House, Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath
Renowned for its warm hospitality and tranquility, Mornington captures the true spirit of Hidden Ireland amidst the sparkling lakes, rolling hills and ancient forests of County Westmeath. This has been the home of the O’Hara family since 1858 and is now in the careful stewardship of Warwick and Anne O’Hara. Meals are one of the highlights of staying at Mornington since Anne is a talented and imaginative cook who always insists on using prime ingredients. Guests enjoy walking to Lough Derravaragh, visiting the passage graves at Loughcrew, the remains of the early Christian site at Fore or Belvedere House and gardens.
The house is hidden away in the midst of a charming and dramatic landscape with rolling hills, green pasture, forests with ancient, heavy timber and sparkling lakes, deep in an unexplored corner of County Westmeath. Nearby are ancient churches, castles and abbeys, and delightful small villages, so Mornington is truly part of the Hidden Ireland, away from all hustle and bustle of 21st century life, yet just 60 miles from Dublin.
There has been a house at Mornington since the early 17th century, but this was very much enlarged in 1896 to form a comfortable family home; the interiors completed at that time have all survived intact.
Anne is a member of Euro-Toques, the international fraternity of chefs, and has built up an entirely justifiable reputation for delicious meals in the best traditions of Irish country house cuisine, while her husband Warwick is renowned for his delicious breakfasts.
They both have an intimate knowledge of the region so visitors can rely on expert assistance when planning to explore an area rich in remains from former times. The ‘holy’ Hill of Ushnagh, the centre of Ireland in pagan times, the Neolithic passage tomb at Loughcrew, early Christian sites at Inchcleraun on Lough Ree and the 9th century church of St. Fechin at Fore; Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in the country; splendid 18th century houses at Belvedere and Ledwithstown; Wilson’s Hospital School, one of rural Ireland’s finest Palladian complexes, and the perfect landlord’s village at Tyrrelspass are all well worth seeing, as are the gardens at Belvedere, Loughcrew and Tullynally Castle.
Coarse anglers can fish on Loughs Derravarragh and Owel, while there is good flyfishing for trout on Loughs Sheelin, Ramor and on the River Inny, and golfers can enjoy easy access to a series of little known but challenging courses.