Waterford farmhouse scoops prestigious B&B award
A Co. Waterford farmhouse B&B operator was recently presented with the prestigious ‘B&B of the year’ accolade for 2020 at the Georgina Campbell awards.
Olive O’Gorman established Glasha farmhouse, Ballymacarbry, Co. Waterford, with her late husband Paddy on their dairy farm 24 years ago. Olive, who previously worked in a bank, wanted to run an enterprise that would fit in with farming and family life.
“I enjoyed dealing with people and the interaction in the bank. Tourism was taking off at the time and everything was looking very positive. Paddy, who farmed with his late brother John, was very encouraging and helpful and brought people on farm walks,” said Olive.
“I saw an opening for a guesthouse and decided to start it as a hobby. I never thought it would develop to such an extent.”
The Georgina Campbell award judges commended Olive for making the family’s relaxing Nire-side farmhouse into the kind of relaxed country retreat that visitors to Ireland dream of finding, with spacious thoughtfully appointed rooms and plenty of comfy lounging space too.
The adjudicators praised the location which they said is a walkers’ paradise, with Glasha linking the Comeragh and Knockmealdown sections of the Munster Way, and the nearest pub being just three minutes’ walk.
But essentially it’s all about Olive – an exceptionally welcoming hands-on host – she even makes a delicious home-cooked dinner for guests, in the almost forgotten B&B tradition. It’s just a lovely place to stay.
Discover Ireland hails Glasha farmhouse as a luxury 5-star, multi-award winning accommodation set in the beautiful Nire valley.
Olive said that guests relish the tranquil setting and striking scenery. “We get a lot of European guests, from Italy and France, and we had a family from Croatia here recently.
“We have had people from Hong Kong, the US and Canada and we get a lot of Irish guests. We recently had two Irish couples here for the seventh time. We get a lot of repeat business. However, we’re not getting as many English guests as we used to.”
Olive revels in her front-of-house role. “I love meeting people and giving them time. It’s no good having a nice house if you don’t give people time,” she said.
Helping people explore the local area is something she relishes. “I love to tell people what they can see and do locally.
“I would hate for them to leave the area without having seen it and I find people are delighted to be told about the locality. If they are moving on to another area, I also highlight what they can see on the way. I’d love a job with Failte Ireland,” she laughed.
Ireland is a fabulous country and Waterford is very scenic; people don’t know enough about it.
With her sons now running the farm, guests continue to have the opportunity to experience a working farm. “American visitors are fascinated at the way the cows go into the field in a line. People love the clean air, the peace and quiet and all the walks,” said Olive.
“Guests want to get away from the hustle and bustle. We had American guests here recently who told us they couldn’t wait to get out of Dublin – it was so busy.”
Running the B&B blended with family life. “It meant I could help out on the farm. I introduced relief milking on the farm so that we could have every second Sunday off and take holidays. Keeping the business going after Paddy died provided companionship for me. It was absolutely brilliant,” she said.
Many don’t realise the amount of work involved in running a B&B, said Olive, who praises her team of helpers. Closing from December to February provides the chance to recharge the batteries.
“I was thrilled to win the award. I knew we were shortlisted but I didn’t expect to win. It is a great incentive to keep going and I have a lot of bookings for 2020. It is great encouragement for all the hard work. It was nice to get so many good wishes and the whole area was very happy for me.”