Mullingar Park Hotel

 In Blog

Grandma on Tour

Mullingar in Co. Westmeath is not that well regarded as an Irish ‘hot spot’ for heritage, but that’s where a person would be very much in the wrong. Near Mullingar is an amazing place called The Hill of Uisneach, which is, in my humble opinion, one of the most treasured places in Ireland for our unique heritage. I have written about this before where I eulogise about the Catstone, a six metre, 30 tonne limestone boulder known as the ’Umbilicus Hiberniae’  or ‘Axis Mundi’ The Sacred Centre of Ireland.

So it comes as no surprise that I decided that Mullingar would be a perfect location for one of my Grandma on Tour excursions. I chose my hotel very carefully as it had to tick a lot of boxes with my fellow companions ranging in age from 7 years to 14. The Mullingar Park was thus duly booked for a little winter adventure.

On arrival all four of us were pleased with the main lobby, a very generous space with lots of places to sit and while away the time just watching life go by. Our next nice surprise was to see the General Manager, Matt O’Connor, out front welcoming guests and keeping a weather eye on everything else. I have rarely seen a General Manager with such a strong work ethic and his staff took their lead from him. They were all so pleasant and chatty and appeared very happy working there. This was in contrast to another (unnamed) hotel in Galway that I stayed in a few months ago where I encountered the most extraordinary practice of seeing (and hearing) delivery trucks parked with engines on at 6am outside my window to be joined by a glass recycling truck! When mentioned to the Reception staff the reaction was that of disinterest, so I won’t be returning there anytime too soon.

Getting back to the Mullingar Park Hotel our party were allocated two interconnecting rooms for our visit, which was a massive hit with the younger folk. There were no squabbles, whinges etc. about who was sleeping where so a sigh of relief all round. We then embarked on our mission which was to check out the swimming pool. There are excellent changing rooms, spotlessly clean and my only shock was self inflicted when I didn’t realise that I had chosen a cold shower cubicle for the pre-swim compulsory shower. The pool was a very nice sized one with lots of other families enjoying it as well. A beady eyed member of my group spotted some nearby foot baths and the resulting foot bathing activity was a huge success.

Dinner that evening was in the Horseshoe Bar as we wanted a less formal meal than in the Terrace Restaurant. The bar offers a walk in service, so not available for pre-booking. I was a bit dismayed to see it full when we arrived before 6.30pm. We were initially given an overflow tiny table, clearly not really suitable for four people. However, we were able to move tables before our order arrived so it ended up well. Again it was the staff who rose to the occasion and made sure we were looked after. We ended up having a large round table where everybody had a view of the room. I was very taken with the décor which had well placed red brick pillars interspersed throughout the area. This combined with some calm downlighting had the effect of making the room both cosy and attractive whilst still retaining a modern edge. We all enjoyed our meal and thankfully my battered cod was very good quality and the batter not one bit greasy, which is a pet hate of mine.

The final part of the evening included a competitive game of Ludo, which had all of us hunting periodically on the floor for the missing dice after particularly energetic throws!

We enjoyed a superb breakfast the following morning which my companions gave the thumbs up to, and currently ranks as one of the top scores so far. Be aware that if you want to visit The Hill of Uisneach you must book in advance on their website as it is a working farm.

Hotel details as follows: Mullingar Park Hotel, Marlinstown, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Website: E mail:

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