Step through the door of this 1863 country house and feel instantly at home. Bobbie is relaxed and charming and will usher you into the drawing room to a soft sofa by the lovely fireplace for tea and a chat. Up the creaky stairs are bedrooms full of character with a carved 16th-century four-poster, interesting antiques and peaceful views of the Blackstairs Mountains. The best treat of all is breakfast and dinner at the big old table in the red dining room with acres of polished silver displayed on the sideboards. Bobbie, an award-winning – yet modest – cook and an exponent of Slow Food, uses locally sourced meat, cheese and organic veg from her weekly delivery. There’s a heart-soothing walk by the nearby Barrow river, or you can hire bicycles and explore the sunny south-east where it’s said the climate is as gentle as the hills. Visit the diminutive medieval church at Killoughternane, you’re not far from Wicklow and Kildare too. Head back to flop in front of the telly or get stuck into a good book in the memorabilia stuffed study. Guests adore this place.