The following are just some comments of those who have enjoyed the Laurel Villa Magherafelt experience:
“Far, far more than a lovely place to stay” Deirdre Mc Quillan Irish Times
“A place with a soul and delightful hosts” Marie Jordon France
“Beautiful house, lovely hospitality” The Lagan Family N. Zealand
“Thank you for helping me find long-lost relatives” Michael Plats U.S.A.
“A little cosy museum” Jolande Borremons Belgium
“A warm welcome, a comfortable bed and the best breakfast for ages” Linda Bryans U.T.V.
“Heavenly!” Margot Torr London
“Beautifully decorated, warm and comfy, with art and poetry in every one, you can take your pick of which might best feed your soul. With hospitality such as this, and knowledge and passion to back it up, I am not surprised that Heaney gave a poetry reading here not so long ago. He always has a great instinct for the real thing when he sees it.”
Catherine Mack in the Irish Times Travel Section
“A field day for Seamus Heaney fanatics” Christopher Somerville in The Observer Travel Review
“A calm aesthetic haven in a busy mad world!” James Kater Australia
“The host – engagingly resourceful
The hostess – charmingly special
Seamus Heaney – infusingly spiritual
Our stay – regretfully so temporal” Jim and Win McPhee, Canada
“You can tell there’s something unique about this guest house before you even step in through the door” Orla McNicholl, Derry Post Newspaper
“Thank you for the perfect stay” Jennifer and Jonathon Collins England
“Relaxing, restfull environment … splendid hospitality” M.Mc.Cann Edinburgh
“Understated elegance!” Carl Simpson Scotland
“Tearmann na hEigse – where Heaney keeps your spirit level” Cathal O’Searcaigh
“What an wonderful experience to travel across the world and be able to stay in what had been my father and grandparents family home and then what a real joy to find it all so beautifully and elegantly restored in line with the way I think my grandmother probably had it. I feel she would have shared my delight to see that you have done such a wonderful job with the restoration. Thank you both so much for all your work and effort – it is very much appreciated. I really don’t know quite how to express the appreciation I feel for the effort Gerardine and Eugene went to, to make this visit – a return to the family home of my father and grandfather (Dr. Hunter) – so special. Thank you seems so inadequate for the very special welcome and experience – a real joy to be here!”
“In 2009 I won the commission to make the ‘Turfman’ sculpture in Bellaghy to celebrate Seamus Heaney’s 70th birthday. This gave me a chance to live in Laurel Villa for three nights and found a shrine to Seamus’s achievements with a superb illustrated collection of his works. You don’t need to read the newspapers at breakfast when you can read and contemplate the poetry on the walls. But be warned! The fresh home made scones are addictive and as warm as the hospitality. Many many thanks.”
“Happy to meet … sorry to part” Carm Johnson Canada
“Not Hilton, not Mandarin, not Ritz … even better!” Peter Muntener Switzerland
“A wonderful experience and inspiration. Great energy here” Linda Hanna Belfast
“This is the best I’ve ever stayed in (and I’ve stayed in a lot)” Martin Hancock London
“Thank you so much for the tour you gave me of Heaney country. It was the best part of a marvelous exposure to Ireland” Carolyn Johnson U.S.A.
“Nothing superficial or phony here. Added a personal feeling for the country and its people” Joanna Lane Scotland
“A wonderland of literature, good food and good company”
Anne Hailes Irish News journalist
“As a teacher of Seamus Heaney’s poetry, I feel I must revisit his local area regularly.
Eugene’s guided tours and Gerardine’s warm welcome are an essential part of my life. I get a real sense of place here”