Exploring the Hidden Gem of Ireland: A Small Inn’s Success Story

Though all four guest rooms at Breac House share a subtle and attractive aesthetic, with tan wood, clean lines and comfortable furnishings, it’s the expansive bay, mountain and farmland views from the hillside perch, framed by floor-to-ceiling windows, that dominate the design. There is a small, wooden bench at the window, from which to sit and gaze outside, as well as a terrace attached to each room. (Rooms rent for 355 euros a night, or about $389, breakfast included.) A special two-way compartment allows breakfast to be delivered without opening the door.

These details point to something significant about Breac House: Unlike most businesses the world over, Ms. Burke and Mr. Campbell didn’t design the hotel with a particular demographic or ideal customer in mind. They said they simply built what they thought would be great, and let the customers come if they would.

During pandemic-induced downtime, Mr. Campbell and Ms. Burke added a fourth room to the hotel, which they believe is the biggest they can become while still staying true to their ideal of a hotel run completely hands-on, by them. They have also added multiday chef-driven experiences to replace the one-night pop-up dinners they previously hosted. Breac House visitors can now meet guest chefs not just for a few words after dinner, but over the course of three days, visiting nearby farms together, eating meals and sharing drinks. (The cost for two nights lodging and breakfast, as well as two dinners and excursions, is 2,950 euros for two.)

One dinner I had, cooked by the chef Cuan Greene, 30, who worked at Noma and was later head chef at a renowned Dublin restaurant, Bastable, focused on local products like oysters, turbot, ramson and rhubarb.

Breac House’s success, so evident at this meal, presents a perhaps unsolvable dilemma: How to provide this level of engagement and intimacy to the many more guests who want it, without compromising the essence of what a place like Breac House has created.

But, said Mr. Campbell, “After two years of Covid shutdowns and interruptions, there are much worse problems we can imagine.”

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