At times, I tend to get a little homesick. I think everyone does. Even as adults we all want our mothers to look after us when we are not well.It is the care that nurses us back. Last week, I took a very brief trip home but it was indeed a whirlwind of a trip. Behind the scenes here in Dallas, some really exciting projects are in progress, so I could only spend 5 days in Ireland.
I spent 2 nights in Dublin. This time I chose to stay in a smaller hotel, namely 'The Pembroke Townhouse'
Situated in the historic Georgian district, this little gem beckons you to stay.
I could write about the hotel describing it's interior and exterior but this does not really tell you anything about the experience. It was the hospitality I received from one person in particular that made it feel like home for me. I have been following 'Pembroke Townhouse' on Twitter for some time now and it is operated by Fiona Teehan, the manageress. If they ever have someone else manage that social media account, believe you me, I will know! Why? Fiona's hospitable touch extends through this social media outlet, just as much as it does in person. She cares about people and their stories, sharing and interacting with them. Fiona also 'Loves' food. She cares about family recipes and she cares deeply about ingredients.
Upon arrival at 'Pembroke Townhouse' perched upon the reception desk, a home made chocolate buttermilk cake,recipe courtesy of Darina Allen, 'Forgotten Skills of Cooking', awaits you. Neatly stacked plates, pastry forks and freshly squeezed lemon water greets the weary traveler. I could not resist. A morsel of this moist cake will melt the coldest of hearts!
Have we forgotten about hospitality and what it really means? I tend to think we have. I visited other places in Ireland that had 5 star ratings and ate in restaurants where customer service was not on the menu. My early days, before kids, was spent working in hotels, from reception and reservations and eventually sales and marketing for a major hotel chain. I do understand this industry, it's occupancy figures and rating standards. We award stars based on 24 hour room service, health & fitness, concierge, in room amenities and much much more. All the things we want. What about the things we need? Remember the fable 'The Emperor's New Clothes' where the king was walking naked down the street and everyone told him he looked wonderful because they were supposed to. One little boy simply exclaimed 'But he's naked'.
NAMA is the 'National Asset Management Agency' in Ireland formed by the Irish Government in 2009. It is this agency that is propping up large hotels and keeping them afloat. These hotels are EMPTY people. Lets do what that little boy did and call it what it is. I have called my blog 'Rachel Gaffney's Real Ireland' and this is indeed REAL. It is the small family owned hotels, producers and manufacturers that need our help. They are working hard doing what they do best. These are the people that give us what we need. Just like we need food, sleep and light, we also need love, care and kindness. It is here in this lovely terraced Georgian hotel that you will find what you need.
It is the care and food that warms our hearts. There is not a marble floor or indoor heated pool that could make feel as welcome as a slice of home made chocolate cake. For breakfast, I discovered that they bake their soda bread every morning. They lovingly stew fresh rhubarb for you to enjoy with organic yoghurt and home made granola. Fresh herbs are grown in pots outside.
When you are next in Dublin, make sure you stay at 'The Pembroke Townhouse', ask for Fiona Teehan and tell her Rachel Gaffney sent you!
She will welcome you home........