Monday, June 15, 2009

Avarest Bed & Breakfast

I was exhausted.  After 20-some hours of travel, I was exhausted, and I was really looking forward to a good shower, a cup of coffee, and just being off of the plane.  I had made arrangements to stay at Avarest Bed & Breakfast in large part because it is about 10 minutes away from Shannon Airport (SNN), but Avarest’s charms extend far beyond its location.

We pulled up and were greeted by Deirdre, the proprietor.  Deirdre is chipper, helpful, and matter-of-fact – truly a gem in the world of B&Bs.  She showed us around the property – a beautiful home where she both runs the inn and raises her family.  Indeed, the B&B has a beautiful yard with lovingly-tended flowers and play equipment for the children, too.  There is a sweet little dining room for the B&B guests as well as a comfortable sitting room stocked with a TV, computer, fridge, icemaker, and the makings for tea or coffee at all hours.   

The Gypsy’s Essentials
  • The Shower: fantastic!  Great water pressure, big enough to maneuver in, and clean towels.  
  • The Bed: very firm, but comfortable
  • The Green Report:  there’s a clothesline in the back yard, and we watched Deirdre hanging out the laundry to dry in the sun.  The towels and sheets all smelled so fresh, too!  Additionally, the B&B has a compost pile out back. 
  • Internet Access: free WiFi and a free computer to use in the common room (the common room computer is very slow, however).
  • Children Welcome:  indeed!
  • Breakfast: included with the price of the room.
  • Price: Very Reasonable (Summer 2009 rates: €35.00 - €60.00 per person). Reductions for children sharing a room with adults.  Breakfast is included.
We stayed in the Primrose Room which featured a double bed plus a twin.  The room was generously-sized and spotlessly clean.  In fact, I’d say this is the cleanest B&B I’ve ever stayed in – no dusty chotzkies or silk flowers to be had here (and I didn’t miss them).  All seven guest rooms have en suite baths, and the shower was fantastic.  Additionally, there’s a common bathroom off the hall with a tub/shower combination.  That was particularly handy in the morning when I was awake long before my travel companion.  There was plenty of room for our luggage, too.  One note:  all of the guest rooms are up a steep flight of stairs. 

We stayed awake as long as we could and finally fell into bed about 5 pm.  I slept for more than 12 hours straight and didn’t hear anything despite having the windows open in our room.  Avarest is located in a residential neighborhood, and when I woke, the birds were chirping, the sun was rising, and I felt like a new woman.  There were other guests at the B&B, but the building was purposefully constructed with concrete floors to deaden noise.  I did not hear their comings and goings at all.  Indeed, until I went down to breakfast, I thought perhaps we were the only guests. 

For breakfast Avarest offers several choices including a full Irish breakfast, pancakes, and fruit and yogurt.  I opted for the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, which was delicious and substantial.  We enjoyed breakfast with the other guests – couples from Connecticut and New Zealand.  Both couples were using Avarest as their home base for week-long stays.  They had clearly become attached to proprietors Deirdre and Freddy as well as their three young children.  As they set off for their day’s excursions hugs and travel advice were freely dispensed. 

Deirdre and Freddy have three children who love to play when other children come to stay.  Avarest’s backyard boasts a swing set, trampoline, and a large grassy area perfect for games of tag. And, as Deirdre says, “it is different coming to a family with kids.”  She hopes her guests feel comfortable knowing that the building was constructed with families in mind.  Indeed, the Avarest often hosts large family gatherings as generations travel together and find the B&B to meet all of their needs. 

The Avarest also works to accommodate early arrivals.  Many flights from the US arrive early to mid morning.  Before your departure, email your flight information to Deirdre.  She will work to have a space for you to put your bags and to freshen up if your room is not quite ready.

Whether you are beginning or ending your trip to Ireland, traveling alone or with your entire family, the Avarest B&B is a cozy and comfortable place to land.

The Details:
Avarest Bed & Breakfast
Hurlers Cross
Bunratty, Shannon, Co. Clare, Ireland
+353 61 360278
info (at) avarest (dot) ie
Twitter: @Avarest

Getting There:
There are several direct flights each day from the US into Shannon.  Cab fare from Shannon Airport should only be €12-15.  Deirdre offers a tip: give the written instructions from her website to the cab driver as many of the airport drivers are not locals.  Should you rent a car, there is plenty of free parking at the Avarest B&B, too. 

Deirdre was very sympathetic to our bedraggled and sleep-deprived condition, but she also knew that we needed to stay awake.  She recommended that we drive just 3 miles away to spend the afternoon at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

When we asked about where to eat, she was also most helpful.  There are several restaurants around the castle, and she recommended Durty Nellie’s if we wanted to drink in the evening (we didn’t), and the Creamery if we wanted pub food any time.  We took her suggestion and had a delicious lunch in the pub.  I enjoyed the fish and chips, a Diet Coke, and a cup of coffee – all for €13.  The fish and chips were perfect – crispy and light.  In addition to pub food, the Creamery has a white-table restaurant upstairs for lunch and dinner.  You'll find Durty Nellie's directly across the road from Bunratty CastleThe Creamery is just down the road a bit between the Blarney Woolen Mills and the Bunratty Castle Hotel


Rena said...

Sounds wonderful!

Dave said...

Friendly people, the best B&B you have ever been to and perfect Fish & Chips right down the road at an Irish Pub. Is this the travelers version of "Field of Dreams?"

Erica said...

Great review. Really like the new name and look of your blog by the way!

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