Let us take you to Breac.House, a modern retreat at the far edge of Ireland.
Owners Niall Campbell and Cathrine Burke really have brought out the best of Donegal. From the striking Horn Head location to the bespoke breakfast served, guests are immersed in all that this part of Ireland has to offer. They combine traditional and contemporary, to showcase the modern day luxury this part of the world has to offer today’s discerning travellers.
The couple wanted to blend the house with the fabulous landscape and worked in conjunction with award-winning MacGabhann Architects on the design and a team of talented local tradesman brought the building to life. The end result is a guest house that is spacious and striking while being extremely sensitive to the landscape.
As the couple explain, ‘Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the spectacular Derryveagh mountains, it was important to us that the structure sat comfortably within the landscape rather than imposing itself upon it. This is achieved in a number of ways, not least with a nod to the low slung linear form of the traditional long house farm buildings which have been commonplace in the region for centuries. The angular profile of the slate roof is inspired by the iconic Muckish mountain which dominates the surrounding landscape. Critically, the use of the traditional vernacular materials, predominantly wood and stone, throughout the house helps connect Breac.House with the Donegal landscape outside. The simple, almost monastic, aesthetic is also designed to create an atmosphere of calm serenity where guests can be at one with nature and themselves.’
Throughout the house, the work of talented Donegal and Irish makers is firmly part of the experience. As the couple explain, ‘It has been one of the great joys of the project to work so closely with so many makers, some just starting out and some representing the very best of Donegal’s craft heritage. From weavers to textile manufacturers, furniture designers to soap and candle makers, print artists, joiners and wood turners, the joy of this experience for us is the absolute connection between every element of the Breac.House guest experience and our friends and neighbours.’
The end result is a space filled with luxurious natural materials and products from the surrounding area. For example, they have artwork and other accessories by sustainable Irish design company Superfolk and the Donegal tweed used throughout the house is made by one of Donegal’s legendary handloom weavers, Eddie Doherty. Eddie’s tweed can be seen covering the oak sofa designed by Irish furniture designer Simon O’Driscoll in the living room and on cushions throughout the house. All of the crockery on which breakfast is served is made by Dunfanaghy pottery shop Muck ’n’ Muffins and McNutt of Donegal based in nearby Downings designed and created the Irish linen sauna towels. There are many more which we don’t have space to mention here, but this really is a beautifully curated interior.
As well as sampling the best of Irish interiors indoors, guests are also treated to the best of what Donegal has to offer outdoors. Breac.House’s unique location is unrivalled and the peninsula, part of Sheephaven Bay, is classified as a special area of conservation. The house has been carefully designed to make the most of natural beauty that surrounds it and large glass windows and a private terrace offering spectacular views that span beach, lake, mountain and sea.
For guests wanting to enjoy the great outdoors and see more of Donegal, from the moment of booking, Niall and Cathrine start working to ensure that your stay will be unique and specifically tailored. They can arrange activities or just advise on how best to enjoy your time.
Within a short radius of Horn Head you have the village of Dunfanaghy with surrounding beaches such a Marble Hill and Killahoey. Or how about Ards Friary and adjoining Ards Forest Park, where you can wander and explore for miles! The coastal walk from the Shell beach at Ards Friary round into the Forest Park offers some of the most beautiful views in the country. You won’t want to miss the beauty of Glenveagh National Park and then there are the iconic mountains Errgial and Muckish to be explored too! You can horse ride, cycle, surf, swim, fish or golf – there really is so much to see and do for everyone, whatever the weather.
While out and about you will also see shops selling local craft and foodstuffs and galleries full of local art for you to browse and purchase as a reminder of your time in Donegal. There are cafés and restaurants serving the best local produce or why not head to the Olde Glen, one of Donegal’s oldest bars for a pint of Guinness.
Whatever you choose to do, you are guaranteed a leisurely start to the day, with breakfast discreetly brought to your door every morning via a specially designed hatch. The couple serve their own homemade bread, pastries, butter and yoghurt together with local produce such as organic smoked salmon and seasonal fruit. For lunch, you will be supplied with a backpack full of homemade picnic goodies to enjoy wherever you are.
Then, after a day out, you can enjoy your own private outdoor sauna, an indulgent soak in a seaweed bath or the ability to reach for a book from the library and read fireside in the lounge.
If you love exploring the rugged landscape of Donegal and appreciate the best that Ireland has to offer when it comes to design, craft and food, then you really have to experience this stunning location for yourself. breac.house