Things to do and News in Dingle

Easy Food

A lovely article on Castlewood and Dingle Peninsula in this months Easy Food Magazine.

dingle article easy food

Paintings at Castlewood

We have many works of art throughout our guesthouse and I particularly love those painted by my mother Irene Woods, which are closest to my heart. One of my most enduring memories as a small child is of my mother’s easel in our kitchen at home on the Cooley Peninsula in Co. Louth. My parents have an old farmhouse and the heart of the house is the kitchen with the Aga. My mum is self taught and started painting as a teenager. She continued even when she had four small children and a farm to run with my Dad. She works in oils and gets her inspiration from the beautiful countryside, which she lives in. Most of her works are landscapes but I really love her pictures of animals as they remind me of home and of my childhood.

I am lucky to have some pieces that she painted especially for me; the Hay Stack depicts my father and grandfather and how they used to do hay years ago. Another favourite is “Home my Lovely” which is a fabulous painting that hangs in our stairwell and so many people comment and admire it.

paintings at our Dingle b&b

painting at our Dingle B&B

Buffet at our Guesthouse

The Breakfast Buffet at Castlewood house is famous - we are always looking for new ideas and trying out new things. To name but a few, we have home cooked breads, stewed apple with cinnamon, slow poached pears in red wine (this would also make a lovely Christmas dessert), poached peaches in vanilla, a lovely dish of oranges in a light caramel sauce, the old childhood favourite of stewed rhubarb, plums poached with Star Anise, a selection of Irish Cheese including Maya Binders famous Dingle Cheese’s, and last but not least Brian’s Bread and Butter Pudding!

castlewood breakfast buffet

Breakfast at Castlewood

brian heaton At Castlewood House every dish on our breakfast menu is cooked to order by Brian to ensure that you are getting the ingredients at their very best. We try to utilise as many locally produced products from the Dingle peninsula as possible.

We are delighted to be in a position to champion our local products, including Ted Browne of Dingle's amazing smoked Salmon, O’Mhathuna’s Kippers which just have to be tasted to be believed, Maya Binders delicious Dillisk Cheese and Jerry Kennedy’s Award winning sausages to name but a few.

We also have a huge selection on our buffet and we will bring recipes and photos on all these very soon...

View our breakfast menu.

Best Value Hotel Award

We are delighted to have been announced the overall winner of Best Value Hotel at the National Hospitality Awards! The standard was very high and we are thrilled to have been a part of this years event.
best value hotel ireland Picture of myself receiving the award from Mark Kelly of Madison Publications. national hospitality awards

Room 10

Room 10 in Castlewood b&b, dingle

The minute I saw this furniture I knew that it would be perfect for our Junior Suite – it has an Indonesian influence and is rather majestic. The teak furniture is quite masculine so I wanted to soften it with vibrant reds set against crisp white cotton. The cushions were a surprise find in a favourite store and they bring the bed coverings to life.

My sister Susie was in Thailand on her honeymoon and she brought me back the figure of Buddha and I found this room the perfect spot for it!

I bought the pictures by the bed just after I bought the furniture and I think they compliment it perfectly. We continued the same theme through to the bathroom and the Villeroy and Boch sink is my favourite in house. The wenge accent tiling finishes of the look.

room 10 accommodation dingle

Room 3 and its Beginnings

The very first room that we decided on is Room 3, my girlie room. I saw the beautiful French furniture one day in a magazine and managed to source it in Ireland. The bed, armoire and dressing table just looked perfect when they arrived and ever more so when they were in the room. Then began the task of really making it romantic.

I bought these plates from a friend of my mums who used to run an antique shop. We called in one day and I asked her if she had any pink and white plates – she said she didn’t in the shop but to give her two minutes. Low and behold she arrived back two minutes later with three pink and white plates – they had been hanging on her own wall!

The bedroom chair is Victorian and I bought it at an auction in Co. Meath one night – it is so comfortable to sit in because it really supports your back. I love it because it is so feminine and really evocative of a bygone era.

The cream and pink soft feel of the room is very feminine and we then decided on the pictures and the funky cushions to add a bit of character and to make the room more interesting.

Opening Our Dingle Guesthouse

When anyone tells me that they are planning on going it on their own and starting their own business I immediately get a sense of trepidation for them. It is difficult to prepare for all the unexpected challenges that are faced and the entire change of lifestyle that comes with it.

Brian and I graduated from Catering Colleges in Galway and Dublin and met while we working in Ashford Castle in the early 90's. We decided to open a bed and breakfast and had very definite ideas of how the house should look and knew the "feel" we wanted. I consider us fortunate to have shared a singular vision as this really helped to keep us focused.

One thing that consumed much of our time was the planning of room layouts. While this was important from a commercial aspect, we wanted to provide our guests with spacious rooms as part of that "feel" I mentioned. Small rooms were never part of the shared vision and it was admittedly quite enjoyable to plan out the most central part of our guesthouse.

Shopping for furniture and accessories to fill our new accommodation was even more enjoyable! We wanted a mix of new and older pieces. Needless to say my Mum and I were in shopping heaven going to auctions all over the country seeking antiques and collectables! Week by week we watched our hoard of furniture and "stuff" grow until finally the house was finished. It was time the builders moved out and we could move in. The time had come to put it all together, just like one huge doll house!

We literally had one week before our first guests were due to arrive so it was an exhilarating and exhausting time. I do recall washing our new delph at 4 am one morning because I couldn’t sleep. As opening day grew closer we were really nervous that we had done the right thing but then the great day came and we haven’t looked back. So I suppose my advice to anyone thinking of opening their own business is go for it and take that leap of faith. In our own case we had a dream and were lucky enough to be able to make it a reality.


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