A MURRISK B&B owner was given the unique distinction of being name ‘Bean an Tí of the Year’, an award that celebrates exceptional commitment and hard work by an individual proprietor of a first-rate hospitality establishment.
Margaret Gill of Bertra House B&B in Murrisk was presented with the AA Ireland ‘Bean an Tí of the Year Award’ for 2011/2012 by Minister of State at the Department Transport, Tourism and Sport Michael Ring.
Margaret and her husband, John Joe, have been running the idyllically situated Bertra B&B in the tranquil village of Murrisk for the last 26 years while also raising her three children, who are now fully grown.
Originally from Knockmore near Ballina, Mrs Gill is described as ‘great fun’ and ‘a gifted story teller’ by her guests at Bertra House, which boasts spectacular views of Croagh Patrick to the south and Clew Bay and Achill Island to the west.
“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,” Mrs Gill said.
“This award is a reflection of the high standards we at Bertra House continually bestow upon our guests. It also encouragement 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.”
Mrs Gill’s warmth, kindness and efforts to make guests’ stays as enjoyable as possible sets Bertra House apart from other B&Bs, according to AA Inspectors, who describe it as a ‘special house where standards surpass expectation’.
“Bertra House is a real gem and small business owners like Margaret are a vital part of the Irish Hospitality Industry,” said Brendan Nevin, CEO of AA Ireland. “Margaret is a superb ambassador for Irish Tourism and we’re delighted to honour her as an individual with this well-deserved award.”
Bertra House is a firm favourite with hikers who can enjoy a piping hot shower in their bright and airy bedroom at the end of the tough Croagh Patrick climb. Mrs Gill has even been known to go the extra mile and dry the clothes of rain-soaked walkers.
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. Mr 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.