when you can have Temple Spa outside Moate, county Westmeath? And your child, Grace, is being looked after by granny & pop.
(For background, see the first two parts of this here, and here.)
There we were in the coffee shop in Shannon Airport: "Helpless. Angry" (journal note). The Wiffe came to the rescue. She sent me to buy the Bridgestone 100 Best Places to stay in Ireland 2008. We first considered four places
Moy House, outside Lahinch, Co Clare
Drumoland Castle, not far from Shannon
Cregans Castle, north of Lahinch, Co Clare
Glin Castle, Co Limerick
and quickly eliminated all but Moy House. Then I went off to tell RyanAir we wouldn’t be taking up their offer of a flight from Dublin to Barcelona at 1830. We’d stay in Ireland.
When I got back, the Wiffe presented me with two places I’d never heard of (in parts of the country I’d never lingered in).
The Old Convent, Tipperary
Temple Spa, Westmeath.
She phoned both. We picked Temple Spa because it was a smidgen cheaper (E390 against E430 for b&b x2 + 1 dinner) and had a highly recommended Spa. Gradually I enjoyed considering what we’d do; gradually let go of the disappointment and anger. I even bought a newspaper and read it. I engaged with the real world rather than the one that might have been.
In a nutshell, Temple Spa was a knockout.
Fabulous from beginning to end. I relaxed, did little but look around me, took a few photographs, wrote more of the characters for my next play, read about Irish writers, ate lovely food, drank loads of water, had one jacuzzi, went to one relaxation class, two memorable walks, and had one memorable conversation. The Wiffe had several treatments (extra charge and well done she said) and went to some excellent yoga and relaxation classes (no charge). We got on very well. Otherwise it was wonderful.
Go there and live it for yourself.
I’ll try to tell the story in pictures…
The way in…
Reception (two receptionists on duty)
The guided walk with Declan Fagan (proprietor and spirit of the place)
My favourite photos from the weekend…
and the image I carry inside after a stupendous two days
(How strange I’ve concentrated on the spiritual side of the place rather than it’s excellent food and comfort. It might mean that I see food and comfort as ephemeral, and the spiritual as substantial?)
PS : There’s a lovely pub, Egan’s and restaurant (The Moate & Bailey) down the road near Moate where we had fine Guinness and great steak on Friday night - so you can get out for a bit of the ordinary world at its best.
I’ll be going back to Temple Spa as soon as I can.