Ideal for 2 single people travelling together, visiting a lovely heritage town at the centre of ‘The Middle Kingdom’ of Ireland. In the heart of town, this Georgian home has a tranquil, country house atmosphere. The elegant Red & Grey Rooms share a bathroom in the guest wing. Luxurious touches include indulgent breakfasts served at a leisurely pace, and evening, fireside liqueurs. Arrive mid-morning and go for explorative dawdles around town and the remarkable castle demesne, nearby.
A charming, calming and relaxing short break for one person or two friends, to take time to immerse themselves in this notable heritage town and surrounding countryside.
(Please note that parts of the following are still being formalized/edited/added to, et cetera)
1) For stays of up to four nights, request special rate options when booking.
2) For added choices with Bed and Breakfast at Brendan House, of extra treats and experiences, request an inclusive rate or specific costs of extras which can be selected. (All visitors staying may have a small discount to the entry price to Birr Castle Demesne & Historic Science Centre.)
EXTRA OPTIONS -
1) The room rate on offer (as listed) includes a healthy two-course breakfast of fruit plate, cereals and freshly baked breads. For many years visitors staying have loved the full Brendan House breakfast of three courses, selection from the menu, and for one or all mornings, this can be included at a higher special rate (offer sent if requested).
2) One fireside three-course supper, with or without wine. For the options and cost details, please enquire. (However, there are good local cafés and restaurants nearby)
3) ‘Eccentrics Town Tour’ - booking essential. (We will soon be creating A Birr Experience through Airbnb.)
4) Hill/Mountain Guided Walks -
Depending on the location and distance of walks with an experience guide, this may be free, or a small charge. Slieve Bloom walks can be followed with maps provided to people who would rather explore alone, or taken with Rosalind or Derek. A good picnic can be provided at extra charge, or grasp provisions before departing!
5) Personal Art Tuition -
A relaxing and pleasurable ‘mindfulness through art’ addition to the Birr experience. The host guides the way through easy techniques of ‘mark-making’ on paper, to a still-life artwork. Within two to two-and-a-half hours in the hosts’ art studio (Tin Jug Studio) these mind= and body-relaxing classes offer gentle encouragement, guidance on composition, learning observation and awareness of light and shade as well as some pleasant chat. With background music, scented space and most importantly, midway refreshments, these classes are good time for wallowing in a little creativity. They are ideal for complete beginners too.
6) Spa Treatments -
Booking ahead is essential!
For a superb massage in Lusmagh, reflexology in Clonfert, or facials, etc. in Birr.....(Please enquire)
7) Yoga and Meditation -
Various options locally .....
Whether coming to attend a festival event, or going to the theatre for a play or music, or for a day’s walking or cycling in the Slieve Blooms; there is the essential inspirational visit to Birr Castle Demesne. Visitors staying here have a discounted entry and strolling around the gardens, eases frayed minds from busy times, And the Historic Science Centre astonishes. For those who need shopping, there are good places for gifts and fine clothing, as well as many good cafés for eating and pubs for imbibing, so Birr is well worth taking time to linger longer in.
This B&B has been open for around 18 years and over those years, Irish and multi-national tourists, writers, poets, playwrights, storytellers and musicians, mountaineers and more have stayed at Brendan House (or 'The Flag House' as it has been nicknamed). All have greatly enjoyed their visits. Here is serenity behind the front door, though within short paces from the centre of happenings in this historic town. Lots of lovely touches in this arty home: antiques and art with stories; books on myriad topics; spring water and chocolate in the rooms and a silver tray in the tented corridor for making cups of herbal or oriental tea, at any time. Sit in a wing chair by the drawing room fire for the welcoming drink. Glossy magazines on architecture, design, art and country sports and a few board games too, from chess to Scrabble. No television but free WiFi, and a good selection of DVDs from blockbusters to some foreign and art films.
In the morning, no need to rush to get dressed for the dining room. Dress up in one of the vintage dressing gowns and Moroccan slippers, for the elegantly presented, simple breakfast is brought to the rooms. It can include wholesome cereals with fresh fruits, local organic milk, fresh croissants or wholewheat bread from the bakery (two minutes from the front door). See below for 'the full Brendan House Breakfast Experience.' On request the night before, the local paper or a national daily paper can also be brought with the breakfast tray.
Brendan House or 'The Flag House', is named for the Prayer Flags across its facade. Uncertain of its exact date, it may once have been two 17th century houses which were then converted to one, of Georgian style. As its original, elegant windows pre-date 1815, we can but guess at its venerable age. The original lane was widened around 1817 - no doubt demolishing homes in the process - to give access from the main street and Market Square to then then newly built Catholic Church. (Both the Catholic and Protestant churches are cathedral-like in their presences and architecture.) The part of the street near the church is known as 'Chapel Lane' and the section near Market Square is Saint Brendan Street. Yet there has been no road sign to share the latter name, except for the very brief appearance of a fine cast iron sign around 6 years ago.
On old market days, farmers traded on this street, Market Square and up Castle Street. The old pig market (bonmh) is now the centre for Birr Tidy Towns, with its outdoor classroom for children’s ‘growing’ workshops.
For those who wish to have an overnight but time-extended stay, to explore the Georgian heritage town of Birr, this is an ideal option: Early check-in; late check out. For this 'extended stay' - the brief getaway in Birr, visitors may check in early (from 11am on the arrival day) and check out the next day as late As 4pm, but bags can be left until around 5.30pm. Thus, a booking at Brendan House is more of a two-day, over one-night experience. Choose either the Red Room or the Grey Room. NOTE If two singles wish to come together, please write to request the special rate. .
An option to linger longer over The Full Brendan House Breakfast Experience - a three course, much-praised breakfast, anytime from 9.30am up until midday is an additional cost. Mostly made with local, free-range, organic produce, meaty breakfasters might try Paul’s superb sausages, rashers and white pudding with a local farm hen or duck egg. But fish-lovers can try smoked salmon or smoked mackerel with or without a choice of eggs, and vegetarians and vegans will also leave the breakfast table feeling well-filled. Relax, eat, or even snooze afterwards.
Afternoon tea upon antique china and linens, by the drawing room fire, can also be booked ahead.
Before bed, have a deep, scented bath in the candlelit bathroom.
Optional Extras . . . For an extra charge....
1) Before or after your deep bath by candlelight, a glass of Prosecco or Elderflower Pressé with a gourmet chocolate, made in Birr.
2) The single visitor may prefer a glass of wine, light supper with homemade soup, or pudding and coffee,
3) What can be booked ahead is a wonderful Reflexology treatment in the house, with Brenda Abeyta, a superb reflexologist from Clonfert. Utterly relaxing!
4) We can add in a guided walk into the countryside, by the river and through woodlands or a visit to our local bogs, or a longer walk in the mountains, with or without a picnic.
5) A couple of hours of untaxing art tuition (tailored for beginners) in our art studio.
Brendan House is very close to the main attraction of Birr Castle Demesne. People staying at The Flag House and studio, are entitled to a €2 discount on their entry fee.
Visitors can also explore the elegant streetscapes. There are two town trails. Discover the recently artist-created Famous & Notables of Birr Trail and find out about the histories of some of Birr's remarkable people from past eras, who made their impact locally, nationally and internationally.
Brendan House or 'The Flag House', is named for the Prayer Flags across its facade. Uncertain of its exact date, it may once have been two 17th century houses which were then converted to one, Georgian style. As its original, elegant windows pre-date 1815, we can but guess at its venerable age.
For single visitors there is a choice of two elegant bedrooms: The Grey Room or The Red Room. The Grey Room is more feminine in decoration (though men have enjoyed it too!) with a French style canopy bed and antique fashion prints on the walls. Interesting visitors who have stayed include a noted Australian poet, a renowned Irish Jazz pianist, and an Austrian flautist and composer who plays in concerts around the world.
The Red Room has a more baronial style, with an oak bed and furniture, tapestries, period prints, brass rubbings and other artwork. The washhand basin is Moroccan copper. An Everest-summiting, Irish mountaineer stayed in this room, as have various distinguished writers and poets from Ireland and abroad.
The two rooms share the bathroom with its antique bath. It was the second bath with running water, installed in Birr in the 19th century, and restored to its bright, original colours when the present owners bought the house. However, when a tranquil 'extended stay' is booked for one person, then only this booking is taken and the bathroom is only for the use of the one overnight visitor. It is only shared if a second visitor books to come with the first.
In the evening, visitors are offered a welcoming drink - one of local Wild Food Mary's delicious liqueurs, by the drawing room fireside. In each room there are some of the lovely extra touches provided: apart from the vintage dressing gowns and Moroccan slippers to step into, bottled spring water and good chocolate, tissues and silver clothes brushes, as well as some pencils and paper for sketching or writing.
*** No need to get dressed for breakfast! Breakfasts are served at a leisurely pace, brought up to the guest wing from around 9.15am (onwards 'til 11.30ish). For one-night stays in the single rooms, the breakfast offered is the lighter version, of two courses include healthy cereal, local organic milk and organic yoghurt or fruit plate and fresh juice, as well as choice of tea or coffee with a fresh croissant, scone, or delicious wholewheat bread fresh from the bakery. A third course of a cooked breakfast is an option. Not necessarily the usual sausages and rashers but a varied and unusual offering, from fishy to veggie and meat free as well as Vegan. Eggs will always be free range hen, but sometimes duck or quail eggs are available.
There are no televisions but plenty of books, on a very wide variety of topics. If it isn't visible, just ask and we may have a book on a subject that interests you. We have a large collection of DVDs and videos for viewing - from 'Hollywood' to foreign fillms; costume dramas to comedy.
*** Whilst the rate-per-room is as shown, it is possible for two single people to request a special rate when bookings are for two people, staying 1, 2 or 3 nights. However, it is an ideal place for the solo traveller and sightseer who would love to have the ultimate in rest and relaxation, or recuperation-time for gathering thoughts; creative time for writing; strolling, sketching or more activity with mountain walks.
* REFLEXOLOGY - A treatment-massage of the feet by a superb practitioner of this healing, holistic art, Brenda. She can come to Brendan House with all that's needed, from the reclining chair to her homemade oils. The treatment itself lasts for approximately 50 minutes - with a necessary few questions at the beginning. Cost €55.
(Or alternatively, attend her treatment room in Clonfert - cost €40 - and pay a visit to the ancient Clonfert Cathedral, etc. afterwards.)
* Hacking on horseback along Slieve Bloom trails. (Check cost ahead at booking time)
* A short or longer guided walk in the Slieve Blooms, with a picnic lunch. (€35 - €50)
* Experienced walkers may borrow local maps for delightful loop walks, and more. Flask of soup or coffee offered for no extra charge.
* An holistic treatment at Salann na Talún, Lusmagh. This is around 12 km from Birr. (There is a lovely bird hide on the way back, for bird watchers to view the migratory flocks on the Callows in Winter.)
Whilst there are a number of treatment options for which costs need to be requested, Maureen offers superb massages for approximately €50.
To avoid undoing the relaxing experience, we can arrange a taxi to collect and return visitors to Birr.
* An excellent spa treatment at Secret Essence - a few paces away from Brendan House, on Main Street. All sorts of delicious facials, heated stone-massages and much more, from nail-work to waxing too! Audrey may need advance booking of at least 10 days to 2 weeks.
* Art: Tutorials 'en plein air' with noted landscape artist, Jock Nichol - painting and sketching for a morning/afternoon or full day. Usually in the Slieve Blooms, woodlands in the foothills, or other lovely wild and peaceful locations in the area. (Enquire about his fees...but around 60 euros per day.) Other art tutorials may be possible too.)
OTHER POSSIBILITIES....for exploring a wider area of this lovely region .
Of ‘THE MIDDLE KINGDOM’
Gardens and houses open to the public, music nights at pubs or at Leap Castle....
One of many good things about this elegant, fascinating small town is that it has a range of lovely shops, a beautiful theatre, town walks and parks, and is close to the Slieve Blooms for wilder walking. It has a strong arts and science heritage and culture. Around 80% of County Offaly professional artists live in and around Birr in the present day and in the past, there have been many remarkable people associated with Birr.
[More to come in this overview, but I hope it encourages visitors to make the trip, as well as to stay. Just send a message to ask questions.)
Tipus de propietat
Bed and breakfast
Birr, County Offaly, Irlanda