Q1. How far are you from Medieval Carlingford?
Although it may look like we’re in the open country we actually have the very best of both worlds – we have 12 acres of walled gardens & horses fields – and just 30 seconds – a treelength – outside our walls is the Medieval gate into Carlingford – the Thosel – which dates from 1450. All the shops, boutiques, cafés, restaurants, pubs and other things to do are within an easy 2-minute walk.
Q2. With respect to Covid-19, we’re cautious about going away.
We’re a fully restored Georgian House – as one nurse who recently stayed with us commented – “we chose to come back to you because we know you’ve high ceilings and just 12 bedrooms.”
There are many aspects about Ghan House which has helped us get through the open times in-between the lock-downs;-
We have just 12 bedrooms with only 4 in each part – 4 in the main house and in our garden bedrooms – just 10 metres to the side of the house – 4 upstairs & 4 on the ground floor.
Our restaurant is in the drawing room – which is a large room, again with high ceilings and the tables are very socially distanced.
Our staff have completed the Covid-19 safety course and as well as leaving a smile in each bedroom once thoroughly cleaned and changed, each room has had the benefit of our sanitising fogging machine.
We only look after guests who stay with us or who book into the restaurant – our bar is open to just these people & we are happy to serve you in the lounge or whilst you are enjoying the views outside in the gardens.
Q3. We love to walk – give us some ideas please – without having to get back into the car!
1. Dip your toes in the sea in Carlingford Lough – just a stone’s throw from our gardens, then after 2 hours following the marked trails, you’ll be on the top of Carlingford Mountain – Slieve Foy – 1,932 ft (589 metres) above from where you dipped your toes. Slieve Foy is the highest mountain on the Cooley Peninsula – stunning views of the mountains of Mourne, Carlingford Lough and Slieve Gullion. In addition, on this mountain & others on the Cooley Peninsula – there are many more marked trails. Also seek out the pre famine deserted village (40 mins from Ghan House front door) – and megalithic tomb. For guided walks on the mountain there is no-one better than Clodagh at Anam Tours here in Carlingford +353 (0)86 387 3964
2. Walk past Carlingford harbour right in front of Ghan House towards the Marina (10 mins) – where Carlingford Greenway starts – beautiful walk along the side of Carlingford Lough to Omeath (6km) – and stop at Café Rosa in Omeath for a well-deserved lunch!
3. Borrow some of our wellington boots & walk 200 metres to the Sailing Club – then walk out – on a receding tide, when it’s nearly out – on the seashore – right up to the waters’ edge – smell the seaweed, listen to the wind & the tide & enjoy the stunning views. Return before the tide does!
4. Take a guided tour of Medieval Carlingford – run by Clodagh – as above & the Heritage Centre 042 937 3888 (just behind Ghan House) – well worth it when you first arrive to get acquainted with the ancient history!
5. There are many more walks – we’ll tell you when you’re here!
Q4. One of us is not great on our feet and we bring a wheelchair away now wherever we go – how user friendly is Ghan House & Carlingford?
We are a listed Georgian House with many advantages & some disadvantages re accessibility;
One of our ground floor garden bedrooms has a bathroom that has a wet room shower & is easily accessible.
Although the bathroom & bedroom is not a designated ‘easy access friendly’ bedroom, we have had guests who require this level of accessibility stay with us & stayed in this bedroom and have appreciated what we have done. The main house & garden bedrooms are approx 10 metres apart, gravel driveway & cobblestone entrance to the front doors.
There are no steps or big slopes between them.
The main house, being a listed Georgian House, does not have a lift. However, we are very lucky in that the lounge, bar & wide door loo are all on the ground floor. Indeed, being Georgian, all doors are very wide.
We can also accommodate breakfast on the ground floor, with advance notice.
And the restaurant can be on the ground floor too – with advanced notice.
In addition, one of our private dining rooms is on the ground floor.
Medieval Carlingford is just a tree length away from our walled gardens – and is mainly on level ground. Indeed – just 1/2 mile outside Carlingford the Greenway begins – along the old railway line – away from the main road – and hence only has very gentle inclines and great for prams, older & younger people, wheelchairs and bicycles.
Like our driveway it is gravel and suits everyone.
Q5. What is the history of Ghan House?
Built in 1727 by William Stannus, Ghan House is a fine example of an early Georgian House. The drawing room has a corbelled rococo ceiling – said to be more ornate than what it should be – it was decorated by 2 Italian plasterers travelling Ireland at the time of construction. It has been in approx. 4 different families in over 250 years – and came into the ownership of John & Joyce Carroll in 1991 – when the house was in a perilous state after years of overall neglect. Nowadays, the house is as close to the original as can be – fireplaces, architraves, doorways, ceilings, walls – have all been lovingly restored resulting in Ghan House being recently listed by Louth County Council;
“finely-balanced elegant classical proportions, is a handsome representative of architectural developments during the Georgian era. It retains a large amount of original and early fabric, including handsome boundary walls, corner tower and carriage arch.”
Q6. Why is it called Ghan House?
We’ve been told – ‘Gahann’ is an old Irish word for ‘little or poor piece of land by the sea’ – and apparently down the years the word was changed to Ghan. If anybody knows any different – please let us know!
Q7. We love history – say within the last 1,000 years - what is there to love?
Start off in Carlingford – it’s not called Medieval Carlingford for nothing – The Vikings loved it here just about 1,000 years ago, King John’s Castle was built in 1210, The Dominican Priory from…, Taaffe’s Castle from…., The Mint from….. The Thosel (old town gate) from 1450…., remainder of the town wall……, Ghan House 1727. All within 2 minutes walk from Ghan House. See Q11 for tour details.
Ancient Celtic High Crosses (best in Ireland) – 1452 at Monasterboice (just 2 mins off junction 11 on M1 motorway) – car park & loos.
Q8. We love ancient history – like over 1,000 years ago – where do we go?
Seek out 2 of Ireland’s World UNESCO Heritage sites – 5,000 years years old burial site of Newgrange & more interesting – Knowth – follow signs from junction 9 on M1 motorway – 45 minutes from Ghan House – also visitor centre, cafe & loos.
The Giant’s Causeway in Co. Antrim is a 135 minute drive – also visitor centre, cafe & loos. For a longer scenic route – cut across onto the A43 from the M2 north of Belfast and head to Cushendall & then follow ‘Causeway Coastal Route’ to The Giant’s Causeway.
Also, well worth a drive is Trim castle & nearby Hill of Tara (65 mins drive). Just 20 minutes’ drive are The Healing stones at Faughart – just off junction 18 of the M1 motorway – signposted to Faughart.
Slieve Gullion https://www.ringofgullion.org/things-to-do/slieve-gullion-adventure-playpark/
Just a 20-minute drive is Slieve Gullion which has a multitude of activities on offer – a wonderful one-way forest drive with magnificent views, a children’s’ adventure playground, fairy walk, café, plenty car parking and walk to the summit of Slieve Gullion (park at the 2nd car park) – where you will see 2 ancient burial sites and the lake where according to legend if you swim in it – your hair will turn grey!
Q9. We have kids, what at Ghan House is for them?
A number of our bedrooms have a single bed as well as a Queen or King Size bed.
One of our bedrooms has a Queen Size bed and 6ft long & normal single bed width bunk bed.
And if you have a teenager (or older single parent) – then we have a single room with a single bed – perfect if they’re wanting their own space!
All bedrooms can take a carrycot (we have a few).
And for dinner – we can either look after them – half portions/half price or we’re happy to do something simple such as chicken/sausage & chips.
One of the drawers in the front lounge has various games & books suitable for most of them!
And our walled gardens are perfect for supervised Hide & Seek (I have a 10yr old!).
Q10. My partner is just over 6 ½ feet (2 metres) tall and can never find a place with a big enough bed – can you help?
How does a mattress over 5 ½ ft (1.7m) wide by 7 ft (2.15m) in length sound? – Our Superior King Size bedroom has a half tester bed with a mattress this width and length. Ceiling height is this room is approx. 12ft (3.5m)– so everything should be just fine!
And for those just a little shorter all our double beds are Queen Size – 5ft (1.5m) x 6.5 ft (2m) in length – or larger.
Q11. We both (or all of us) love to cycle, but it’s a pain strapping on the bikes to the back of our car whenever we go away – can we hire bikes – good bikes?
Oh yes! In Carlingford we have 2 bicycle hire centres – both have normal & electric bikes, kids bikes & baby buggy trailer as well as mountain bikes. Contact, in no particular order;
Joie or Richard +353 (0)87 992 1559 at www.onyerbike.ie
or David +353 (0)87 173 0653 & use Promo Code; GHAN10 when booking with them online to receive a 10% discount!(& show David your Ghan House room key)http://www.carlingfordgreenwaybikehire.ie/
Q12. Where can we cycle?
Both the above websites have suggested routes – of which The Carlingford Lough Greenway is just one of them – along the side of Carlingford Lough – a dedicated cycle/walk/pram/wheelchair route along the side of Carlingford Lough – stunning!
Across Carlingford Lough is Kilbroney Park, there are many more off road tracks which could keep you occupied for days.
Q15. I’m planning a 40/50/60/70/80/90th family/friends get together – there’s about 16 to 19 of us. Can you help?
Certainly! What would be perfect for you is to take over all 8 of our garden bedrooms just 10 metres to the side of Ghan House. It’ll mean it’s just you and your family members/friends in one building. All bedrooms are 4* standard, same style as the main house and all have bath & power shower en-suite – except for one bedroom on the ground floor which has an easy walk in ‘wet room’ shower.
4 garden bedrooms have a Queen Size bed, 3 bedrooms have a Queen or King size bed & single bed and 1 bedroom has Queen Size & bunk beds. All rooms can accommodate a carrycot if required.
In addition, we have a gorgeous private dining room in the main house which seats up to 20 guests on one long, wide table. Music can be streamed from your ‘phone in this room if you wish.
And if your group is more than this – we have an addition 4 bedrooms in the main house – and a bigger private dining room!
Q16. We’re a family group/group of friends/corporate group – what ideas do you have for us to do at Ghan House?
i) How about a hands-on Cookery lesson for approx. 3 hours in the afternoon, off to your rooms for a freshen up & return for a feast of your very own cooked food, in your own private dining room – finished off & presented by the chef who taught you!
ii) How about wine-tasting in the afternoon. You’ll get to taste, for instance, a sparkling wine, 3 whites & 3 reds – maybe new world v old world or the classics or new varieties.
iii) What about afternoon tea in the walled gardens or in front of the log fire?
All the above will need to be booked in advance please.
Q17. We’re a family group/group of friends/corporate group – what ideas do you have for us to do in Carlingford?
Carlingford has many activity providers across a whole spectrum of interests to satisfy most group requirements;
Land & mountain; Guided walks up the mountain – with the local history & mythological history thrown in – native Clodagh at Anam Tours will lead the way +353 (0)86 387 3964
Clodagh will also lead history tour of the narrow streets of Medieval Carlingford as will the local Heritage Centre +353 (0)42 937 3454. You may be able to get to see inside King John’s Castle also!
3 options for boat trips;
i) Shane at Louth Adventures on solid Dutch tug boat ‘Brienne’ – licensed for 8 people, from Carlingford Harbour www.louthadventures.com
ii) Paddy & Marie motorised catamaran ‘Discovery’ – which is wheelchair accessible, from the Marina here in Carlingford – licensed for 10 people. Awaiting contact details!
iii) Jacqueline & Padraig at Infinity Boat Tours – 2 high speed ribs – licensed for 6 people each, from Carlingford Harbour www.infinityboattours.com
i) David at Escape Rooms here in central Carlingford +353 (0)87 173 0653 www.escapehq.ie – we’ve done it and loved it!
ii) Bicycle hire;
Carlingford Greenway Bike Hire David +353 (0)87 173 0653 & use Promo Code; GHAN10 when booking with them online to receive a 10% discount! (& show David your Ghan House room key) http://www.carlingfordgreenwaybikehire.ie/
On Yer Bike Joie or Richard +353 (0)87 992 1559 at www.onyerbike.ie
iii) Skypark (www.skypark.ie) – just over 1 km outside Carlingford is a world class facility suitable for everyone from 1 metre tall – high ropes, low ropes, footgolf, crazy golf, electric cars, archery & much much more – day passes available or by the individual activity. Also talk to Carlingford Adventure Centre (www.carlingfordadventure.com) in the heart of Carlingford for a host of other ideas including a zipline through the forest and canoe hire.