Literally translated from Gaelic as ‘woman of the house’, the bean an tí is a unique figure in the Irish hospitality arena.
Typically providing excellent personal attention to her guests, unrivalled home cooking, a friendly, flexible service, knowledge about the best local places to visit and a generous dollop of Irish ‘craic’, the bean an tí is one of the reasons more visitors to Ireland choose B&Bs rather than other types of accommodation.
Margaret Gill of Bertra House B&B in Murrisk, County Mayo in Ireland’s beautiful western province of Connacht, is an excellent example of a first-class bean an tí.
Margaret was recently awarded the AA Ireland ‘Bean an Tí of the Year Award’ for 2011-2012.
The award celebrates exceptional commitment and hard work by an individual proprietor of a first-rate hospitality establishment.
“Bertra House is a real gem and small business owners like Margaret are a vital part of the Irish Hospitality Industry,” says Brendan Nevin, CEO of AA Ireland.
Mrs Gill, who is described as ‘great fun’ and ‘a gifted story teller’ by her guests, says: “I am honoured to accept this award."
“I have been in the hospitality sector for the past 26 years and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and welcoming the variety of guests that have chosen to stay with us."
“This award is a reflection of the high standards we continually bestow upon our guests."
“It also encourages us to maintain our good work long into the future and to continue to present the most genuine and warmest experience to each and every person who passes through our doors.”
Bertra House B&B is ideally placed for those visiting Mayo to climb Croagh Patrick, the famous holy mountain, or to enjoy the many outdoor activities available on the spectacular West of Ireland.
Whatever leisure activity they have in mind, visitors to Mrs Gill’s B&B start the day well nourished thanks to her delicious homemade breads, fruits scones, preserves and hearty traditional Irish breakfast.
Mrs Gill says she is often asked for the recipes for her brown soda breads and fruit scones. However, she doesn’t have any.
She just instinctively knows when ‘the mix looks and feels right’ – an instinct that she evidently also applies to her business.