The Moy House is private but not secluded. You can see homes around you and even the small surfing town of Lahinch is within walking distance, but from the moment you turn off the main road and onto the narrow, winding driveway up to the Moy House, you feel miles away from the rest of the world. You are centered between the engulfing green hills, bracketed throughout by the typical grey stone fences and dotted with quaint cottages, and the Atlantic Ocean, crashing dramatically into the kind of rough, rocky shoreline you would expect from being so close to the Cliffs of Moher. This is the Ireland you’ve dreamt of, and the serene Irish experience that most people covet when making plans to visit the countryside.
I’m getting ahead of myself; let me take a step back.
We avoid B&B’s. Personally, I have a fairly significant phobia for most of them. I have an entire rant prepared to explain all the horrors of B&B’s, but that can wait. This story is about the Moy House, a magical place nestled in the rolling green hills of western Ireland, just a few miles away from the can’t miss natural spectacle that is the Cliffs of Moher. So many people visit the Cliffs of Moher as a day trip from Dublin, which is a shame. Spend some time here; soak it in! We highly recommend staying one night at the Moy House either before heading back to Dublin or as part of the popular “circle route” taken around Ireland by most tourists. I’ll have more details on that later when I post my full itinerary and recommendations for Ireland (spoiler: Killarney and the surrounding area should be your #1 priority).
The reason I bring up my distain for B&B’s is I don’t want anyone else that might read this to discard the possibility of staying at the Moy House due to its size or resemblance to a B&B. TripAdvisor® currently has the Moy House in their “B&B” category. Make no mistake; this is a five-star hotel…just smaller. There is a fine line – a very important line for me and my phobia – between a small, luxury hotel, even those with just a few rooms (the Moy House has nine), and a true B&B. We make an effort to seek out at least one property like the Moy House on each trip. A small hotel, one with character and charm, typically in a more remote location away from tourists and city crowds, with well-appointed and luxurious rooms that, in a vacuum, outshine the standard accommodations even at the very best five-star hotels. There are no shared bathrooms or shared (family-style) tables at breakfast, and no feeling like you’re a guest in some stranger’s house. Our entire stay was utterly private, luxurious and peaceful.
Prior to our arrival at the Moy House, we had a very full day planned. We had an hour and a half drive from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher, a 2-hr hike planned, the intent to have lunch in Doolin’, which we had read was a precious little town, and then off to the Moy House for the evening. The driving and hiking part of the day will soon have their own blog post so that I can take the time to describe them properly, but for now I’ll skip ahead to our arrival at the Moy house around 3:30pm, which gave us plenty of time to enjoy the property.
After our breathtaking hike along the Cliffs of Moher, we were in the kind of mood an athlete must have after winning a big game. We were both spent, our faces windblown dry and red from the hike, but we were also still coming down from the natural high and feelings of awe and accomplishment from the day’s activities. We were aggressively relaxed, and we already knew that today was one of those special travel days we’d always look back on and remember. Little did we realize the day was not through with us yet.
After checking-in, we made a quick walk through the Moy House on its beautiful, original wooden floors to admire its décor and charm. We wondered into the stately honor bar area, and I gave myself a generous pour of a top shelf option while then ordering my wife a glass of tea. The tea arrived moments later, presented on a lovely, decorative tray with all the accoutrements, and we headed back to our room to relax and enjoy the moment.
About that time, we heard the wind pick up and the sky began to darken, as a powerful looking storm appeared on the horizon. The area where we had been hiking in the sunshine just a few hours earlier was now ominously cloaked in darkness, but with a beautiful orange sun peeking through sporadically.
Both fortunately and by design – as I had researched pictures of the rooms at the Moy House – we had intentionally reserved the Well Suite, which I believe is their nicest suite. While I’m sure all their rooms are lovely, if you go through the effort to make it to the Moy House, I strongly, emphatically recommend taking that final step and making sure you have the Well Suite reserved! The name is from the water well you can still see when looking down at your bathroom floor. It’s interesting and unique, but by far it is not the highlight of the room nor is it why you should insist on booking this room. In front of the wonderful king bed and large, cozy fireplace, is a private sunroom just for you with gorgeous wooden floors, large comfortable chairs, a television you’ll never even think about turning on, an enveloping couch, and, most importantly, floor to ceiling windows to remind you that the ocean is right at your doorstep. I mean this literally; as you also have a door directly from your sunroom onto the property’s back yard so you can relax outside or walk down to the small beach.
While the sunroom is what makes the Well Suite special, the bedroom area is very nicely appointed, having been fully renovated in a French country style, with a King size bed fitting comfortably in the room also highlighted by a large fireplace. There was also plenty of space for luggage and jackets in the room’s private entry foyer, which was nice as it kept the main room and sun room clutter-free.
We sat in our luxurious and charming sunroom, protected from the elements but feeling immersed in the storm and surroundings due to the openness of the room. As the rain and lighting kept changing the perspective but not the magnificence of the view, we could hear the wind softly accompanying the Enya soundtrack we had turned on while sipping on our drinks. We weren’t on our phones, we weren’t watching tv, we were in the moment. It was one of those perfect travel moments.
We sat there for at least an hour, which the GoGoGordon’s practically never do, periodically saying a few words to each other about the view, sipping our drinks, and, yes, eventually jumping on the WiFi just a bit here and there to check our phones, but truly just doing our very best to soak in the moment and decompress after the day’s events. I tried to find a way to appreciate where I was. Somehow we were sitting there, in another country, far from the tourist zones, inside this secret-garden-luxury-display-box of a hotel room which, despite being engulfed in ocean, storm, color, wind, and music, ultimately provided a distinct feeling of peace.
The next morning, we put on some sweats and made our way to the breakfast room. At this point, the Moy House didn’t need to do anything else to impress us, but it did. There was no buffet in site, no metal containers of lukewarm eggs, no messy waffle makers, and certainly no cereal boxes or small refrigerators full of Yoplait®. Walking into the Moy House breakfast room is like walking into a fine dining, farm-to-table restaurant. The menu included a number of classics, all cooked fresh when ordered, and all featuring locally sourced ingredients. Add fresh roasted coffee, a nice selection of house teas, and then picture it all being enjoyed from a white tablecloth table in a small room overlooking the ocean, and you’ll see why breakfast just adds to the splendor of this sensational property.
If you’re making your way around Ireland, Go!Go!Go! to the Moy House, book the Well Room, stay for breakfast, and whether you have a storm or all sunny skies, I promise it’ll be one of your more memorable hotel (not B&B) stays.
(C) 2018 GoGoGordons; All pictures and content are property of Abram Gordon