Pippa Middleton’s break in west Cork: crisp sambos at midnight

Celebrity couple treated ‘just like any other guests’ at €150-a-night Glengarriff hotel

Pippa Middleton and  husband James Matthews: stayed at the Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff,  for the wedding of  college friend Camilla Campion-Awwad to Oliver Jenkinson. Photograph:  Provision

Pippa Middleton and husband James Matthews: stayed at the Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff, for the wedding of college friend Camilla Campion-Awwad to Oliver Jenkinson. Photograph: Provision

 

Tayto crisp sandwiches at midnight and a picnic on sub-tropical Garnish Island were some of the highlights of a weekend in west Cork for Pippa Middleton and her new husband James Matthews. The recently returned honeymooners were guests at the wedding of her college friend, Camilla Campion-Awwad, to Oliver Jenkinson, known as OJ.

The venue for their stay remained something of a secret until the last minute when they arrived at the €150-a-night Eccles Hotel in Glengarriff. They had been expected to stay at the five-star Park Hotel in Kenmare, where some of the bridal party were staying in refurbished €450-a-night rooms, but the UK press had gotten wind of their plans and were outside the Eccles hotel. “The phone went down, we were so busy on Saturday,” said the general manager Aileen Hanley.

“The bride’s family had booked out the whole hotel and our 66 rooms were allocated to about 100 guests. We had some pseudo names on the room list and when Pippa and James walked in we were delighted. They had the bridal suite with lovely sea views, ” said Ms Hanley.

“It was lovely to be hosts to the wedding party and Pippa and James said the hospitality and friendliness was lovely for them and they were treated like any other guests. They thanked all the staff,” she said.

Ms Campion-Awwad’s mother Constance is from west Cork and the family have a holiday home there. They regularly visit the area and are well known in the Eccles Hotel. The hotel was central to the wedding plans, with staff getting involved driving guests around and planning outings over the weekend.

Eccles hotel, Glengarriff. Photograph: eccleshotel.com
Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff. Photograph: eccleshotel.com

Guests arrived from Friday and casually dined around Glengarriff that evening. On Saturday morning there was time to explore the beautiful west Cork village. Guests took bicycles, went swimming in the Blue Pool, to the nature reserve and some managed to catch the Lions match in the local pub.

Guests returned to the hotel for an arranged lunch in the Garnish Restaurant before taking buses, cars and taxis to the wedding at Sacred Heart Church, Glengarriff. The wedding dinner was in the grounds of Derrycreha House, the family’s Cork home, complete with with a marquee for the occasion.

Trickling back around midnight, the guests were met with sandwiches and crisps at the Eccles Hotel and nightcaps. The next day, chef Mick Davy catered an alfresco picnic on Garnish Island. The weekend weather was stunning and unlike other days, the guests reported no sign of the fierce west Cork midges.

The 64-bed Eccles Hotel has operated in Glengarriff for more than 250 years. The commanding views over the bay make it a popular holiday hotel. It was a favourite with actor Maureen O’Hara, who loved to sit in a particular chair enjoying the view. The chair is still there and called Maureen’s chair. Other famous guests over the year included George Bernard Shaw and WB Yeats.

The hotel changed hands last year and is now managed by Wild Atlantic Way Hospitality Management under the steerage of general manager Aileen Hanley, formerly of Bellinter House. Rooms in July cost from €150 per night

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