It took just a couple of spotty dog beds and a stack of pink and blue water bowls to make us fall in love with Lough Eske Castle.
And by us, I mean myself, my husband, and our two miniature schnauzers, Brody and Lucy, who were very excited about their first proper ‘staycation’ in picturesque Co Donegal.
This stunning 15th century castle is nestled within a 43 acre estate on the shores of the lovely lough it takes its name after, and is just eight kilometres from Donegal Town.
For us, our needs were straightforward; a cosy space to stay where our dogs could settle happily without bothering any of the other guests, and spacious grounds for the four of us to enjoy some lovely walks.
Both evenings, we revelled in the quiet solitude of the grounds, as we let our companions off the lead, safe in the knowledge that they could come to no harm.
They had a ball as they jumped through the grass and explored some of the glorious woodland walks, and we enjoyed the crisp Co Donegal air as much as they did.
Needless to say, we were also thrilled with our accommodation. We were staying in one of the Garden suites in the courtyard rooms; formerly the servants’ quarters on the original site, they were created during the restoration of the castle in 2007, and still maintain the original castle walls. Our suite was huge; the living area included a sofa and armchair, 32 inch flat screen TV, coffee and dining tables and chairs, and two dressing tables, with mirrors dotted around the room. We also had a Spanish gas fire, four poster bed, walk-in wardrobe, complete with robes and slippers, and mini bar.
The four of us had so much room to get comfortable in, and leaving the dogs behind while we went to dine in the main hotel, or make use of the Spa, wasn’t a problem, as they were happy to stick their wet little noses against the glass of the patio doors and watch the world go by whilst they waited patiently for our return.
Speaking of dining, we enjoyed two days and two nights of dinners and breakfasts that were amongst the best we have ever sampled. We also explored the local area, stopping at Rossnowlagh Beach and Murvagh Beach for a few glorious dog walks. Back at the hotel, we prepared for our final evening at this wonderful retreat, where we had enjoyed a break that provided the perfect mix of fun and frolics for our beloved dogs, and relaxation for ourselves.