From the moment I arrived to Killarney, my local friend Aífe repeated one recommendation to me over and over: go to The Lake Hotel.
My last afternoon at the conference was gloriously sunny. I could see the rays of sunshine and blue skies peeking out at me from behind the speaker, distracting me from everything he had to say.
And so, on my final glorious afternoon, to I went on over to The Lake Hotel for lunch.
The place is immediately impressive the moment you emerge from their long, forested drive. It’s situated (as you probably guessed) right on Lake Killarney, framed by tall forests at one end and mountains on the other.
The grounds are alive with the scent of chestnut trees and flowering holly, a smell that sweeps right into the hotel along with the fresh lake breeze.
The inside of The Lake Hotel feels deep and lush, elegant but homey – exactly what you’d expect from some grand sporting estate.
The hotel is owned by the Huggard family, who have been in the Irish tourism industry for more than one hundred years.
It’s hard to imagine with all of the oversized coach busses zooming around the area’s little country roads today, but The Lake Hotel was a pioneering enterprise for Irish tourism at the time.
For lunch, I feasted on brown bread still warm from the oven and a pot of mussels, caught fresh from the local waters that morning.
As you can imagine, it was delicious. The broth was so good I even asked for some extra brown bread to soak it all up, which is the closest you can get to just licking the plate in public I think.
Finishing our meal, Aífe and I headed out for a stroll to the old ruins at the end of their property.
I could have stayed there forever, watching the little fishing boats glide over the glittering lake while the breeze whispered sweet nothings through the reeds.
I’m told that as the day turns to dusk, small herds of red deer come out to play along the shoreline.
I’m also told that each room is fitted with a hot tub overlooking the lake and the mountains and the red deer, which sounds about as close to heaven as I can imagine.
So if you’re reading this, book a room for The Lake Hotel in Killarney and tell me all how dreamy it was, I’m dying to live vicariously through someone.