From the Irish Daily Mail’s “YOU” dated 18 August 2012:
THE LADY OF THE MANOR
VERITY BUTTERFIELD, was living in England when she inherited Lough Bawn House in Co. Westmeath. This year she opened four rooms in the house for bed and breakfast.
“The house was built in 1820 by my great-great-grandfather, George Battersby, a high court judge who had lots of children. Another George Battersby inherited it: he had six children, and my grandmother was the eldest daughter after three boys, who all died. Eventually the house came to my sister and I.
I was living in England, running my own catering company, and busy with my four daughters and 11 grandchildren. But I thought, there is no way I can sell it, so I’m going to have to come back. This is where I feel happiest: it’s my home. When you have been brought up in one place, you just want to return to your roots. Also, it’s a very special place, with a wonderful atmosphere.
I dipped my toe in the B&B waters at the end of last season and this year, after being passed by Fáilte Ireland, I started in earnest in March, charging €110 a night per person for the double room with en-suite (or €85 for single occupancy), and €100 for the twin or small double room with separate bathroom (or €70 single). The dining room overlooks the lake so you can have breakfast looking out over one of the clearest lakes in Ireland, Lough Bawn. I try to make sure that breakfast is a little special: guests get the full Irish, along with fresh fruit compote and bread, granola and cereal that I’ve made myself .
Looking on from outside will be the peacocks (I have 13 or 14 of them), dancing in front of the dining room window. Guests have been known to leave their breakfast plate and run out to them!
After breakfast, you can swim (we have a diving board by the shore) or go fishing for rainbow and brown trout: we have a boat and I can organise a day’s fishing licence. I have a garden that I’m very passionate about, and people go for walks in the woods and hills behind the house. All I want is for people to come and relax and sit by the fire, relaxing as they read the paper and have a nice tea.
There’s a long driveway up to the house and, when you get here, you can’t see any other homes – we’re tucked away, surrounded by about 250 acres of farmland, with largely unfettered access to the countryside. Already, we’ve had guests from the States, France, all over the place… quite a mixture. But I would love to see more Irish people. I’d love to get to the point where Dubliners head down to us when they want to get away for the weekend. You see, the house envelopes you in a warm, cosy kind of way. As my mother always said, it’s a healing sort of place.”
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