Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Rathmullan House in Donegal is a magical lakeside country house hotel offering the chance to get off the beaten path and experience authentic Ireland. Fabulous hospitality, plenty to do and delicious slow cuisine make Rathmullan House a true hidden gem.
At a Glance
Wonderfully atmospheric and historic country house hotel
The warmth of the hospitality – this is what Ireland is all about!
Magical off-the-beaten-path location in the wilds of Donegal
Offers an authentic insight into Ireland’s most traditional corner
Gorgeous grounds, and activities from horseback riding to wild canoeing
To start planning your vacation to Rathmullan House
If you have a yearning to experience the real Ireland, away from the endless paddywhackery of leprechauns and Riverdance and four-leafed clovers, then County Donegal at the top of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is where you should head. And tucked away in a remote wooded corner of Donegal above the shores of Lough Swilly - a magnificent sea lough where, in the words of W.B. Yeats, the 'peace comes dropping slow’ - is Rathmullan House.
This early-Victorian country house is one of Ireland’s most atmospheric hotels, offering an inimitable welcome and a rather fine restaurant as well, making it a magical base for exploring the wilds of northern Donegal and spectacular Glenveagh National Park. Owned and run by the Wheeler family since the mid-1960s, Rathmullan House is just steps from a sandy beach and right by Rathmullan, one of Donegal’s prettiest villages. It is hard to imagine an atmosphere that is friendlier and more informal, and the whole team here will really take the trouble to get to know you personally and look after you. When you leave, it will be as friends.
The 34 en-suite bedrooms, divided between the main house and a newly added wing, are havens of taste and calm. Each is individually decorated with hand-picked antiques, some coming with four-poster beds, and all are full of period charm. The main house itself consists of a series of interconnecting living rooms, including a library and a bar with large sofas, crackling fires and, in summer, a cellar bar and terrace – all made for enjoying camaraderie with your fellow guests.
Rathmullan House’s award-winning Weeping Elm restaurant is presided over by slow food guru Kelan McMichael, whose team will tempt you with a daily changing menu of seasonal delicacies that might include fresh-caught hake and dry aged beef. Many of the ingredients are grown organically on the estate.
Outside you can inspect the walled kitchen garden and rose beds, stroll down through the trees to a two-mile stretch of golden sand, linger in the heated swimming pool or play a few sets of tennis. If you are feeling brave, jump into Lough Swilly for a refreshing swim, take a sailboat out for the day or explore the shoreline on a guided canoe trip. If you prefer, why not let the staff arrange a gallop on horseback along the beach? Families will be happy to know that children are made extremely welcome, and there is a special kids’ room with DVDs, games and toys, and even children’s cookery classes for budding young cooks.
There are a number of walking and cycle routes giving you a chance to explore one of Europe’s most unspoiled landscapes, including the continent’s highest cliffs at Slieve League and the hauntingly beautiful Glenveagh National Park. And before you leave, be sure to head into Rathmullan itself one evening to experience The Beachcomber, one of Ireland’s most authentic pubs, where the traditional Irish music and serenely beautiful views are equalled only by the craic.
There are 34 en-suite bedrooms at Rathmullan House, each is uniquely decorated with antiques, some Superior rooms featuring four-poster beds and balconies, interconnecting rooms and even a pet-friendly bedroom which is adjoining a normal bedroom. There are five categories of room, single rooms, superior rooms, standard rooms and a family friendly option where up to six can be accommodated with two bedrooms and a family-sized bathroom. All rooms offer views of Lough Swilly or the gardens at Rathmullan, complimentary WiFi, walk-in showers and baths and all standard amenities for a comfortable stay. Superior rooms are also available on the ground floor for better access, with a patio.
Younger guests are welcome at Rathmullan House and can be accommodated in the family-friendly suite. For families with young children dinner is served between 6pm and 7pm and there is a children's menu. Rain boots, buckets and spades are available from reception and a children's room available for play and watching a selection of DVDs from the hotel's collection.
From exploring the grounds and gardens, swimming in the heated pool, holistic beauty treatments, two tennis courts or relaxing in one of the four lounges available at Rathmullan House (including kids free zone) there are facilities to suit all moods.
The facilities at Rathmullan House are such that should you just want to stay within the grounds there are activities you can partake in, however venturing to the charming and ancient harbor village of Rathmullan itself is just a short drive, as is Glenveagh National Park with its wonderful gardens and castle and Ireland's highest cliffs at Slieve League, boasting impressive coastal views and golden beaches.
Location & Directions
Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Rathmullan House is located near the village of Rathmullan on Lough Swilly in northern Donegal.
When to go
It is very difficult to predict the weather in Ireland - in the summer from May to late September is generally seen as the most pleasant time to visit. Rainfall is difficult to predict - but Ireland does not receive as much as many are led to believe! In the winters, temperatures do fall, but there is nothing better than finding a remote pub with a roaring fire to sit beside after a long walk in the country.