Mornington House stands a little apart from the tiny village of Multyfarnham, deep in the Westmeath countryside. Set back from the road by an acre or so of gardens, rolling up the drive to this place feels like taking a dip into the 1930s. It’s not for those seeking glossy interior design and state of the art equipment: it’s proudly old-fashioned. Rooms have shelves of books, including huge sets of encyclopaedias, rather than TVs; brass bedsteads and wooden dressing tables.
Guests eat together house party style at a long, polished dining table after gathering in the drawing room for drinks. Candlesticks, chandeliers and family portraits adorn communal rooms (most with open fires and carpeted with oriental rugs). There’s an air of used elegance, and the antiques are there to be used rather than simply admired.
Cooking is done by owners Anne and Warwick, and is wonderfully hearty – their Guinness stew is a firm favourite with guests. Whenever possible, ingredients come straight from the walled garden and local suppliers. It’s worth checking that you’re staying on a night when dinner is served: the O’Haras take occasional breaks from cooking. According to reports, they’re wonderful hosts: warm, welcoming and full of stories about the building which has been in their family for hundreds of years.