Meet your hosts | Regina & Jim Hopkins
Regina & Jim Hopkins are the proud owners of Kingstown House B&B, it’s a long established family home within the town of Clifden, County Galway.
What are the hidden gems close to your home?
We find a drive on the “Bog Road” across the Roundstone Bog to be truly unique and a real gem. - The Roundstone Bog is one of the largest bogs in Ireland. One can experience its magnificent scenes and beauty by taking the R341 out of Clifden towards Ballyconneely approximately 4km to the Ballinboy Bridge, and taking the left fork onto the Bog Road, signposted to “Cashel”. It’s somewhat desolate, yet the scenery is stunning - it is wild and wonderful beauty. We especially enjoy taking a drive in the evening as the setting sun beams into the mountain-side and tends to light up and highlight the Twelve Bens or Pins (mountains.)
If you enjoy beaches, there are two gorgeous beaches – “Dogs Bay” and “Gorteen” approximately 3km beyond the village.
What are your favourite guest stories?
To be honest, we meet so many lovely guests and the ones who stay on of a few nights you generally get to know a bit better. Hard to pick out only one or two, but here are a few which stand out to us.
A couple from Belgium arrived to stay with us for 2 nights on Good Friday. They asked why all the pubs were closed. And then they were really amazed when we told them that they wouldn’t even be able to purchase anything alcoholic in any of the supermarkets or shops. At first they couldn’t believe it. I can remember them saying “Yes I understand, but this is Ireland!” It was just their sense of humor. They were very lovely people...
A French couple who run a B&B in France, usually visit us in November or December. They love the smell of turf and as they come on Brittany Ferries, we normally give them a small bag of turf. They treat us as if we just gave them a small bag of gold....
A Swedish usually stay with us almost every September. I’ve yet to experience it but we’ve been told Lars sometimes sings in the pub. They will be here this year for Clifden Art’s Week, so we hope to see a live performance by Lars. We always receive a Christmas card from them and always nice to have them stay with us.
What is your signature dish?
I used to work for the Hyatt Hotel in Washington DC, so I use some of the things I learned there. I make my brown bread in the form of scones and serve them with toast and homemade jam. People compliment and seem to like Jim’s “American Style” pancakes.
We make our own homemade jam which we use for ourselves and our guest. We grow black and red currants in the back garden and use them in June to make jam. We pick blackberries for make jam in August, in the local area, some of them from my Uncle Andy’s farm where my Grandmother use to live. While we make some of the jam ourselves, to fully disclose – a good portion of it is made by my Mom – long may it continue...
Is there historical about your home?
A 1926 photo clearly show the buildings which are now Kingstown House B&B. It was actually two houses which now make up Kingstown House. My father Joseph King, purchased the property in 1956. He renovated the house and had it finished and had it ready to move in, prior to marrying my mother in 1964. My Mom was recruited by the Irish Tourist Board to make rooms available for visitors and run it as a B&B. So I grew up in a house served as a family home and a B&B. When my parents were thinking of selling Kingstown House in 2006, I came back to Clifden from America with my husband Jim. We ran the B&B for 2 years until we purchased the property from them and officially took over in 2008. Happy to be home...
Have you ever had any famous guests?
Carole Coleman (journalist)
Michael Kitt (Leas Cheann Comhairle)
Robin Wright (actor)
While it is always exciting to have famous guest stay with us, we are probably not really a celebrity-type B&B. The regular people are our bread and butter. We try to look after all of our guests as well as we would look after the more famous ones....
What is your favourite thing about Connemara?
I’d have to say, that my favourite thing about living in Connemara would have to be the picturesque scenery and landscapes. In the daily running of our B&B and looking after guest it is sometimes easy to get stuck in and miss “the forest for the trees.” Although we probably don’t do it often enough, it is important to get out of the house to take a step back, and literally have a look at the big “picture.” A simple drive in Connemara can be an amazing experience – for we truly live in a magical and mystical place!
When not looking after our guests what do you like to do?
When not looking after our guest, we really like to experience and enjoy the opposite side of tourism and be the guest, as opposed to the host. We very much like to travel. In recent years we were to eastern France, Switzerland, Croatia and Italy.
My cousin is getting married near Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, so we’ll close down for a few days to enjoy the area. And we are planning on spending Christmas in the States visiting Jim’s family.
What are your top 3 attractions in Connemara, Co. Galway?
We recommend and try to get our guest to consider these attractions:
Sky Road - a stunning scenic route along the Wild Atlantic Way which highlights the beautiful and rugged scenery of Connemara. It is about a 10km loop which reaches a height of approximately 215 metres and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
Kylemore Abbey – The story of Mitchell Henry, who had Kylemore Abbey built is both a love story and a Greek Tragedy. I would highly recommend taking the shuttle bus or feel free to walk the 1 mile path which will take you to the beautiful Victoria Wall Gardens.
Delphi Pass – This is a really stunning drive. Approximately 2 miles beyond Killary Harbour and the village of Leenaun make a left hand turn onto the R335 (sign posted to Louisburgh.) It is the pass between the Mweelrea and Sheffry Mountains. At Louisburgh bear right and continue along the R335 along Clew Bay and will pass by Croagh Patrick towards Westport.
Very Honorable Mention: Glassilaun Beach and Connemara National Park
We'd like to thank Regina and Jim for taking part in the interview. For more information on their home you can go to Kingstown House.
Posted: 29 Aug 2014 by
Mel Heron |
with 4 comments
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