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In Person:

In replying to readers’ letters I always conclude by saying if you are in Ireland in County Roscommon let me know, come on over, and I’ll buy you a pint. This has changed, but if you are on Saltspring Island BC the offer stands.

Now we have moved back to British Columbia, a beautiful part of Canada, I may not be able to stand anyone a pint in Ireland, but a number of readers have written and inquired if I can recomend places to stay near my home.

There are many wonderful hotels in the cities of Vancouver and Victoria, too numerous to select single ones because people’s tastes and needs vary, but recently we have found an absolute gem half way up Vancouver Island’s east coast.

Painter’s  Lodge in Campbell River and its sister lodge at April Point on Quadra Island are in easy travelling distance of Vancouver by ferry and car or by float plane and about a three and a half hour drive if you are coming from Victoria. A free water taxi runs from Painter’s to April Point.

The rooms in the main lodge or in spacious houses are very comfortable. Legends Dining Room with its views of Discovery Passage and Quadra Island has charm and a delightful yet reasonably priced West Coast Cuisine menu. The Tyee Pub and Fireside Lounge offer simple dining and are refreshingly free from overly loud piped music.

The waters here are world famous for sports fishing. We took three salmon on our last guided trip, but did not have time to sample the Tyee Pools where only fishing from row boats is permitted but Tyee salmon in excess of 30 lbs are regularly taken.

Patrick and salmon

Patrick with salmon he caught on last visit to Painter’s Lodge.

And this is just a teaser to whet your appetite. Adventure tours, whale watching, kayaking, and tours of ocean rapids are all available.

From front desk to fishing guides the staff are welcoming, knowledgable, and always cheerful. We will be going back soon.

Painter’s Lodge can be contacted at:

1-800-663-7090 from anywhere in North America, at + 250-598-3366 from Europe or at

And if you happen to be there and recognise me, I’ll keep that promise to buy you a pint.

For folks who do visit Roscommon and run into you’ll need a place to stay. The pub on the video, Donnellan’s, had a great B&B but unfortunately closed this January. May I recommend Kilronan Castle a rebuilt Gothic revival castle on the shores of Lough Meelagh near Ballyfarnon and 10 miles where I used to live in Cootehall? You can contact the castle at or +353 71 96 47772 and me by e-mail.
I look forward to seeing you and sharing that pint—and remember the toast,
‘to your health’ in Gaelic is sláinte, pronounced, ‘slawnchuh’.

A little further from Cootehall, in County Sligo, is one of our favourite retreats, Cromleach Lodge, +353 7191 65155. This four star hotel is a gem set in tranquil hills above the sparkling waters of Lough Arrow. The Bricklieve Mountains stand purple and majestic on the skyline. Cromleach has been Ireland’s hotel of the year and under the steady guidance of executive chef Moira Tighe, herself an Irish chef of the year, the kitchen provides meals of such outstanding quality that the restaurant has also been honoured as Irish Restaurant of the year. If you stay there let me know. If I’m up north, the pint’s on me.

Or I may be in the north. Many readers who write say they are unfamiliar with Northern Ireland, but now the troubles are over intend to visit. You won’t find Ballybucklebo described, but you will be able to stay in North County Down and see the beautiful countryside on the shores of Belfast Lough where Doctors O’Reilly and Laverty practiced.

Six miles from Belfast a house built in 1876 and which was once a bishop’s palace is now one of Ireland’s premier hotels. Doctor O’Reilly has taken Kitty O’Hallorhan there for dinner. If I’m up north on one of my frequent visits I’ll be staying at the Culloden Estate and Spa (+44 28 9042 6777) or If we don’t connect in Cootehall and we meet in the Culloden ( —the pint is still on me.

For interviews or for more information:
Alexis Saarela
Forge Books
T: 646-307-5406
F: 212-982-2862

Tor-Forge (publisher) website

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