“Francis Brennan was horrified by my bag of Skellig Rangers gear”

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As Francis and John Brennan touched down in South Kerry, the star wars puns sped through the air like spaceships.

Dynamic duo At Your Service were on a mission to help Lorraine Casey and Henry Hunt, owners of The Smugglers Inn, shine their business in the latest episode of the RTÉ One series.

And celebrity genre stars were literally bumping into these newly painted and carpeted hallways, as Lorraine’s brother, hugely popular Cork-based comedian and actor Bernard Casey (BernardCasey), met Francis and John Brennan when he and his partner Laura were the first guests. to try out the new-look hosting.

“It was the first time I had met Lorraine in six months due to the lockdown,” says the comedian and actor, who is currently visiting venues across Ireland on his popular rural pub crawl.

Lorraine Casey and Francis Brennan.
Lorraine Casey and Francis Brennan.

Bernard warned his fans on social media this week to keep an eye out for a “goofy cameo” on the episode.

“Francis Brennan was horrified by my Skellig Rangers gear bag. He was so disgusted with my gear bag that they cut us out of the final edit,” the artist joked.

On the other hand, Bernard was super impressed with the transformation and praised everyone involved for what he described as “a superb renovation”.

Lorraine Casey and Henry Hunt with Francis Brennan.
Lorraine Casey and Henry Hunt with Francis Brennan.

And there were many other stars of this show, including the interiors as well as the indoor-outdoor living area.

This was thanks to a rogue element introduced by Henry.

In addition to creating 15 rooms during the development and renovation with Lorraine, Henry, a chef, decided to build a brand new patio where he planned a veritable fleet of pods to eat.

He blithely confessed to viewers that he hid this item from John and Francis because he feared “they would talk me out of doing it”.

The Brennans conferred at the time. “It will be like Star Wars in Waterville,” Francis said, while John made dire predictions that the Atlantic winds would blow the supernatural structures out into the ocean.

The colors of the rooms reflect the Wild Atlantic Way.  Photo: pawelnowak.ie
The colors of the rooms reflect the Wild Atlantic Way. Photo: pawelnowak.ie

But luckily they were wrong. “The pods have been such a hit,” Lorraine tells me.

“Last year it was all about outdoor dining, we had the location for that on the beach, we took the opportunity to get them, and they proved to be very popular. We still have them.

The domes turned out to be a success, says Lorraine.
The domes turned out to be a success, says Lorraine.

As for that prophecy that the pods would be blown?

“Waterville wouldn’t be Waterville without the wind, even on a nice calm day, so they’re sealed to the patio and bolted down tight,” says Lorraine.

Of course, as it is the land of the Dark Sky Preserve and as the homeland of star warsSkellig Michael, is nearby, the pods fit perfectly. “We all have twinkling stars,” confirms Lorraine.

“The pods are extremely popular with people celebrating special occasions, such as birthdays, and for outdoor dining. They are such a great addition and tick so many boxes.

The revamped interiors also ticked all the boxes for Lorraine and Henry.

Edit Design Studio, co-founded by Nathalie Vos and Justina Gruzdyte in Kenmare, played a key role in the facelift.

They were the designers who helped renovate the Brennan brothers’ latest venture, the Lansdowne Arms Hotel in Kenmare.

Justina Gruzdyte and Nathalie Vos, editdesignstudio.ie.  Photo: pawelnowak.ie
Justina Gruzdyte and Nathalie Vos, editdesignstudio.ie. Photo: pawelnowak.ie

The designers arrived to see a restored farmhouse that had long been associated with five generations of one family and were thrilled to “reinvent it as a ‘chic seaside boutique inn’,” says Nathalie, who adds that the he story behind the name was particularly intriguing: “The native Irish were banned from trading with other countries and so smuggling became the order of the day in small coastal areas of the county like Waterville.”

Its award-winning gourmet restaurant had been fresh local produce and seafood since 1979, and rooms were added in the 1980s. “We had 15 bedrooms to work with, and so to add to the ’boutique feel “We gave each room its own identity and character,” explains Justina.

The colors of the rooms reflect the Wild Atlantic Way.  Photo: pawelnowak.ie
The colors of the rooms reflect the Wild Atlantic Way. Photo: pawelnowak.ie

“With much of the budget having to be spent on updating structural and maintenance work (insulation, soundproofing, rewiring and plumbing), we had to be smart in keeping the design simple without compromising our desire to create rooms that would give the impression of a rural and wild getaway by the Irish seaside!

“We went bold with patterns, prints and colors and used the Irish wild Atlantic landscape and seascape as inspiration.”

They featured a mix of off-the-shelf and bespoke parts and joinery designed by Edit Design Studio.

A renovated room at the Smugglers Inn.  Photos: Pawel Nowak, pawelnowak.ie
A renovated room at the Smugglers Inn. Photos: Pawel Nowak, pawelnowak.ie

“It was wonderful to bring in interior designers,” says Lorraine. “They just got the vibe of the place.

“They used all the old furniture and created mood boards, using bright colors, bold wallpapers.

Edit Design duo used earthy and sea-inspired tones. Photo: Pawel Nowak, pawelnowak.ie
Edit Design duo used earthy and sea-inspired tones. Photo: Pawel Nowak, pawelnowak.ie

“They made the rooms as Instagrammable as possible. They took the colors of the Wild Atlantic Way into account and tried to use them as much as possible, in cushions, wallpaper, and we have pictures of seahorses and fish , and there was just so much attention to detail.

We are pleased. There’s no way we would have found these color schemes ourselves. We were in good hands.

As for Lorraine and Henry’s happy space in the newly renovated building?

The newly renovated interiors of the Smugglers Inn.  Photos: Pawel Nowak, pawelnowak.ie
The newly renovated interiors of the Smugglers Inn. Photos: Pawel Nowak, pawelnowak.ie

“The upstairs living room is beautiful as it overlooks the beach,” says Lorraine. “The interiors here are relaxed, with electric blue sofas and mustard seats. You just feel like you can bring your drink up there and watch the sunset.

Work started in January 2021 and they reopened in July last year. It was a tough few months given the Covid-19 restrictions, but local labor helped get the job done for Lorraine and Henry, who during the renovation were also caring for their young daughter, Catherine, and have since welcomed three-month-old Lily.

  • You can see this episode of At your service on RTÉ Player and the series airs on RTÉ One at 9.35pm on Mondays
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