My husband and I had visited Ireland twice previously but wanted an opportunity to "live the Irish life". We were looking for a location that was in the country, allowed us to take day trips in any direction, and yet was affordable given the extended period we were contemplating. We arrived in late August 2017 for a ten week stay. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Belturbet, and are planning to return to the Erneside Townhouses later this year.
Belturbet is a small farming town astride the River Erne. It was once the site of an English fort but now the 200 year old bridge is the most visible reminder of that period. The old bridge is picturesque and can be seen from each of the Townhouse units. Just a short stroll, literally across the street, is Turbet Island, an enchanting walk and magical adventure.
The town has a small grocery store at each end and one on the "diamond", a coffee house, two pharmacies, a railroad museum, butcher shop, restaurants, and an assortment of pubs. We liked Flynn's, which is around the corner from the Townhouses, and the Widow's Bar, where Sunday night bingo was a kick, but there are a number of other pubs in town and each has its own personality.
The townhouses were a good value. They were clean and are in the process of being slowly updated: a new washer and oven had been installed just before we arrived. A new freezer was delivered just after our arrival. Our unit was well stocked with pots, pans, baking pans, linens (tablecloths, place mats, kitchen towels, rags, towels, sheets, etc.). I'm into baking sweet breads and meatloaf, both of which require bread pans. When Anthony, our landlord and owner, learned of this he immediately arrived with bread pans the next day.
While the town, people, and our home was delightful, by far the most exceptional feature about the Erneside Townhouses is the owner Anthony Vesey. He is known by most of the town and surrounding areas because of his many activities and involvement. Just mentioning you are staying in his units becomes a conversation starter. He goes out of his way, though he thinks it’s just normal, to be gracious, welcoming, and well, Irish.
Our first encounter is when he met us at the Lissenhall Veterinary Clinic, which is where our cat was sent after being flown over from the US. Anthony drove into Dublin to pick us up: cat, baggage and two weary travelers. He fed us lunch at the local pub, and then showed us our new apartment. He walked us through our unit, and made sure we knew how each “quant” Irish fixture worked. Some we were familiar with, others were less intuitive – such as turning on the water heater with a switch in the hallway, and clothes drying racks in the closet. I learned later, very Irish. While the units are definitely “lived in”, we felt immediately at home, comfortable to re-arrange furniture, and settle in.
That first week Anthony had that lovely “host” ability to be there, check in when we had questions, and also provided us space to get acquainted with our new home, settle the cat, and explore the town. Anthony was a great source of information about local attractions, transportation options, and drove us to the large supermarket in Cavan when he was going into town.
Belturbet provides a range of hiking trails, which we took full advantage of. There is also, just up a short hill, access to local buses from pretty much any area you want to go (either East to Dublin or West to Donegal). We also took weekend road trips by renting cars obtained through Enterprise Rent a Car in Cavan. Great deal, and they come and pick you up in the town. Of course Anthony turned us on to this service. We took one three-day adventure in Wicklow, spending several nights there. Anthony took special care of our cat while we were away!
Needless to say, when we arrived Anthony was our landlord and owner; when we left he was our dear friend. We can’t wait to return in late 2018 to renew our friendships with Anthony, our friends in Belturbet, and snuggle into the Ernside Townhouses, our home away from home.