Lucinda O'Sullivan's Review of the Old Ground Hotel
The Gardening Editor of the up market American magazine, Traditional Home, was visiting Ireland last year and what, of course, would be a gardens tour of Ireland if it did not incorporate the Burren. We then worked our way further down through County Clare and found ourselves in Ennis. "Let's go to the Old Ground." I said. She was flying out of Shannon next day. Well, was I ever in for a surprise. I had been there a few years earlier and I hardly recognized the place. It was, and is, just amazingly beautiful now - like a thoroughbred gorgeous Country House with all the modern conveniences of a Hotel.
The Old Ground was a former manor house built in the 18th c as a private residence. In 1946 with the advent of transatlantic flights into Shannon Airport an extension was built onto the house. Meals were served throughout the night for TWA and Pan Am crews. Next door was the Town Hall, which incorporated a jail and this became part of the Old Ground Hotel.
The Old Ground was bought by Allen Flynn of the Flynn Hotel Group and, oh boy, has it ever had a makeover. It is hard to know where to start for the public areas, drawingrooms, resident’s library, bars are all beautifully draped and furnished. There is a magnificent private contemporary art collection throughout and details like this make such a difference. The bedrooms are beautifully equipped with crisp white linen. the softest squishy duvets and pillows, all mod cons, and cracking bathrooms. Rooms with air-conditioning, seating areas, sound systems and Wireless Internet access are also available. There are plenty of places to eat. We loved their Town Hall Bistro with its stone walls, cool décor, where we had sesame crusted seabass with dill scented couscous which came with an unusual lime and chardonnay butter, and roast rack of Clare lamb with a balsamic and port reduction. You can pop in here all day and have morning coffee and scones or afternoon tea. There is also the more formal red and gold themed O’Brien Room where the food is superb.