Paddy Foyle is a celebrated mover and shaker in this rapidly-getting-very-hip little seaside town, where he was born in room 12 of Foyle’s Hotel. He is also the owner of the stylish Quay House, down on the harbour wall where the fishing boats tie up. A natural interior decorator, he has the boldness and panache of a set designer: the house, built in 1820 for the harbourmaster, is a stage for his fanciful ideas and outbursts of colour. You have the distinct sense you are in a production of some kind – is it an opera? a film? – as you pass through the wondrous rooms. A favourite theme is Scandinavian: washed-out, distressed paintwork; plenty of grey and Nordic blue; wooden panelling; striped fabrics. One room is a riot of blue toile de jouy; there’s a Napolean Room at the top of the house; another has a frieze of scallop sea shells. It’s pretty; it’s fun. But Paddy is a restless pacer, always moving on, so expect changes. He’s already stuck a bay on to the old flat-fronted house, bought the place next door and turned it into studios.
On a recent visit we were once again enchanted by the originality of the place, and found Paddy as full of charm as ever. A must if you are in this part of Ireland, and well worth a detour.