"Our family's opinion: best rental house ever!"
The Flaherty Family has rented large homes for reunions in many lovely locations, but our gang of 11 unanimously voted Sunnybank House as the best ever! To begin with, the owner Shane O'Grady is as nice as they come and was so accommodating that he picked up my husband and me from the bus stop so we didn't have to walk up the hill with our luggage to the property. Prior to our arrival, he arranged a lovely feast of cheese, crackers, pate, chocolates and wine which was so generous that we didn't have to go out for dinner on the first night. He owns Guys Snug and Bar in town and everyone in the village knows him and loves him.
Shane has lovingly restored this 1820s beauty to exceedingly high standards. There are 11 gracious bedrooms, all en-suite, with comfortable bedding and fluffy white duvets. My husband and I took the 2-room master suite on the first floor and our four teenage grandchildren, ranging in age from 13 to 20, loved being able to pick their own rooms upstairs and switch to others if they wanted to.
There is a magnificently furnished gathering room with room for everyone, a massive fireplace and beauitful views of the village. The kitchen is equipped with every modern convenience including a commercial coffee pot, Nespresso machine, two refrigerators and a new gas cooktop. In the adjacent laundry room, there are two washers, a dryer and an ice machine.The dining room features an elegant table for 16 and there are beautiful rugs, artwork and antique furnishings throughout the house. Prior to becoming a full-time rental, the home was a barracks, a Catholic Girls School dormitory and a popular B&B.
Outside, there is huge pool, outdoor seating, a grill, sauna, tennis courts, lushly landscaped grounds, vine-draped arbor, fish pond, and vintage stone walls. One can't help feeling like a royal as you pass through the massive entry gates and curved driveway with off-street parking for several cars.
But perhaps the best attribute of Sunnybank House is its excellent location on Church Hill Road. It's within easy walking distance of Main Street with its charming shops, lively pubs, excellent restaurants and marvelous SuperValu market with everything from prepared meals to fresh flowers. I didn't have to worry about the grandchildren (or their parents) visiting the pubs until the wee hours and driving home. Everything was minutes away!
To make a special evening even more delightful, we enjoyed a catered dinner prepared by Chef Doirin from Connemara Cooks one night. Superb and so easy on grandma!
Clifden is an excellent base for exploring the Aran Islands by ferry and the Wild Atlantic Way by bike, car or horseback. You won't find a nicer home for a large group anywhere than Sunnybank House. Thank you Shane and Paula from Connemara Rentals -- we look forward to returning to Sunnybank someday!