On Wednesday 24th September I finally left magical Meath and headed West to Loughrea. Co Galway to meet Jenny Cooper part of the amazing team at Slieve Aughty Centre, an Eco guesthouse, activity centre and organic kitchen created by Dutch Mother and Daughter team Esther and Merel Zyderlaan.
Having seen some images on their website beforehand I was expecting a Morroccan influence in the decor but such creativity and attention to detail in the furnishings was still mind blowing when I got there. Opulence, Intricacy, Creativity, Magical..These are the words that spring to mind when trying to describe the interiors at Slieve Aughty Centre.
I met with Jenny Cooper who manages the marketing and day to day administration of the eco house and she gave me a grand tour of the setting. Slieve Aughty Centre is much more than an eco friendly place to stay – it offers information on guided and self guided walks in the areas with a nature hut open to the public and full of information and maps of the forest trails.
They run regular events such as creative workshops both for adults and children – their art room is amazing – I want one! It’s a popular venue for childrens’ birthday parties where they can let their imaginations run wild and take home something that they have made and decorated themselves.
Slieve Aughty Centre grow as much of their own produce as possible – all organically, and what they don’t grow they outsource from local organic producers. While I was there I met some lovely German girls who are on a working holiday whereby they work 4 hours a day Monday to Friday in return for affordable accommodation, great food and of course the opportunity to enjoy horse trekking, walking, attend workshops etc.
The ethos at Slieve Aughty Centre is to mix and mingle thus visitors are encouraged to sit together at mealtimes and get to know one another. Of course if anyone prefers to eat alone that’s fine too but just think of the potential new friends you could have made!
Weddings and celebrations are also very popular at Slieve Aughty Centre with couples tying the knot in their personally decorated pergola, surrounded by friends and family and usually ending up around the campfire till the morning light!
The rooms all have verandas with many of them linking to one another so that friends (both old and new) can join up for a relaxing glass of wine in the evening or enjoy an organic breakfast in the morning!
Visitors can pop by anytime for a coffee or join them for their buffet lunch at 2pm and dinner at 7pm. It is best to book in advance as they cater for the expected to avoid food waste so do give them a bit of notice especially if there is a group of you planning to visit.
Anyone can avail of their guided walks plus as they have a permit to use the surrounding Coillte woodlands which they use for the Slieve Aughty Horse Treks, local horseriders can also avail of this.
Slieve Aughty Centre has 9 bedrooms all uniquely furnished and two Eco Cabins so they can accommodate up to 32 people sharing. Their Weddings are usually intimate affairs and accommodate 70 for a sit down meal in their fabulous dining hall with extra space for the after party in the garden.
If your in the area why not pop in for a look and enjoy a coffee or a cup of tea on the veranda. You’ll wonder why you never visited before!!
Listen to our ‘Cuppa Tae’ Chat here: https://soundcloud.com/ecoactive/the-three-towers-ecohouse
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