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Jil­lian Bol­ger vis­its a five-star Omani re­sort set high in the moun­tains

Mer­chant Ivory in­te­ri­ors, roar­ing fires and sweet lit­tle foodie finds make for the per­fect overnight es­cape out west.

THE MOOD There’s a line of well-worn wellies to greet us as we push open the heavy oak door of Dro­moland Cas­tle. Be­tween these and the invit­ing smell of a burn­ing log fire, it doesn’t take long to re­alise there’s re­fresh­ingly lit­tle pomp go­ing on in this old-world cas­tle ho­tel, de­spite the im­pres­sive drive­way wind­ing through 450 acres of im­mac­u­late grounds, com­plete with golf course and lake. We’re prepped for stuffy, but find per­son­al­ity in­stead – mainly in­jected by the ebul­lient staff, most of them lo­cal, and all seem­ingly cut fresh from the Fran­cis Bren­nan cloth. THE BEST BITS The pris­tine damask throw on the four poster bed; the view of the lake from the din­ing room win­dow; the hot stone mas­sage… all great. But it’s the foot-deep cush­ions on the draw­ing room so­fas that win the ul­ti­mate com­fort crown – I sit, sink, and never want to leave. WHO TO BRING Hem­ing­way would love this place, mostly for the deca­dent cock­tail bar. Orig­i­nally the an­ces­tral O’Brien fam­ily’s for­mer li­brary, the room is oc­tag­o­nal in shape, with rich-toned walls and cosy win­dow seats over­look­ing the lawn, plus tempt­ing high stools at the bar, where you can watch the mixol­o­gist mas­ters at work. WHAT TO BRING Pack your fin­ery for din­ner in the ele­gant Earl of Thomond Restau­rant, but make sure to throw the run­ners in too to ex­plore the wooded path­ways and lake walks around the es­tate. There are bikes, boats and birds (of prey) to bor­row too if you’re so in­clined. THE AREA Don’t miss the op­por­tu­nity to call into Lit­tle Fox in nearby En­nisty­mon to feast on Ni­amh Fox’s colour­ful, vibrant food in a char­ac­ter­ful, ca­sual set­ting. Or head a lit­tle fur­ther, about an hour’s drive, to visit the Cliffs of Mo­her or stop by Sadie Chowen’s bou­tique Bur­ren Per­fumery to bring home a bot­tle of some­thing de­li­cious from her or­ganic At­lantic Coast range. THE DE­TAILS Dou­ble room B&B, from €270 per room, Dro­moland Cas­tle, New­mar­ket-on-Fer­gus, Co Clare, 061 368144; dro­moland.ie. Lizzie Gore-Grimes

Lit­tle Fox

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