An enterprising grandfather who exported railway sleepers to England is to be thanked for the antiques here: rather than use conventional ballast for the return boat journey, he brought back mahogany furniture. The Arthurs, a warm and attentive family, are justifiably proud of his collection and put it to full use in every room – even the bedroom tea cups are antique. This extraordinary man also bought the local workhouse, knocked it down and used the stone to build Sallyport in 1932 – you can see the worn stepping stone in the hall. Good Irish art enlivens the walls, and books, chess and dominoes the sitting room. Downstairs is reassuringly old-fashioned with swirly carpets; bedrooms are upstairs off a wide central landing and have silk bedspreads, big baths, lots of light… not a hair out of place. Views stretch over the orchard to Muxnaw and the Caha mountains, the gardens run down to the river and golfers are happy; the golf course is a short walk. Breakfast menus include smoked salmon, staff are delightful and Kenmare is a pretty town with lots of life. Explore the Ring of Kerry and, better still, Beara.