In July 2015 we had the pleasure of hosting Daniel and Majella O’Donnell as part of their B&B Roadtrip for UTV. It was an absolute pleasure to be part of such a wonderful show.
It all kicked off in May when we received an automated application form to apply for the show. At first we were a little apprehensive as to whether we should apply or not. This was the first time something like this was being done and we didn’t think we would get through the application stages. That on top of the fact that Yvonne is a massive fan of Daniel, so meeting her idol was daunting!
We applied anyway and a week later we were called so say that we had progressed through the first round and the producer would come see us for an interview. To say we were delighted to have been selected for this part, would be an understatement. We met with the producer and had our initial interview, which we thought went well but then you never know what they were looking for. We knew we had done our best and were true to ourselves so we were happy.
Not really very much happened about it after that and it was a couple of weeks later when the phone rang again to say that we had been shortlisted! From 150 B&Bs we had been chosen in the top 24, well that was enough for us! They then had to plan the route that Daniel and Majella would take to coincide with the shortlisted B&B’s that the production team wanted them to stop at.
We again waited on tenterhooks and the in the middle of June we got the call that honestly we thought we would never get, Daniel & Majella were coming to stay! We got the date of their arrival and the itinerary, well we couldn’t contain our excitement! What made it worse was we weren’t able to tell anyone as the shows details hadn’t been released yet. Now the fun really started.
Prepping the house for their arrival was fantastic. Yvonne was on cloud 9. We were so honoured to have been selected not only because they were coming to stay in our B&B, but that we were going to be part of this fantastic show highlighting the wonderful B&B’s that our beautiful country has to offer. So often there is a focus on hotels, when the B&B’s in Ireland can offer something that most hotels can’t, which is a friendly, warm, personal homely environment where people feel truly comfortable.
The week of their arrival came and everything was done, we were ready! The day Daniel and Majella arrived was surreal, we still couldn’t believe that they were coming to stay in our B&B. The production team were fantastic and kept us busy doing the interviews. These would be the speaking parts of the show where people would get to know us and what Coolakay House had to offer.
It was such a magically moment seeing Daniel and Majella arrive up our drive and step out, we were so overcome with emotion. Such lovely, warm and friendly people. We showed them into the house and to their room. Yvonne came back downstairs and said ‘Daniel and Majella O’Donnell are in my B&B, never in the 21 years this B&B has been open did I think I’d say that!’
We had the pleasure of showing them around the B&B, the farm and museum which was great. They fed our ponies Coco, Joey and their baby Chloe to which Majella declared to Daniel that she wanted a pony!
Next it was time for their activity, which was a tractor run! Robert has a serious love of vintage tractors and over the years has amassed an impressive collection, all of which he has lovingly restored back to original condition.
Robert had selected the Deutz D40 and Deutz D30 for Daniel and Majella to drive, as he had won awards for the restoration of these tractors. Both Daniel and Majella were very surprised at the thoughts of the tractor race and Majella was extremely excited as she had always wanted to drive one. So after a quick tutorial in the finer art of vintage tractor driving the race was on and Yvonne dropped the chequered flag.
There was great excitement to see Daniel and Majella take off in the tractors and with Majella in the lead. Daniel made a valiant effort to catch up, but the day was Majella’s and she was victorious. Majella was presented with a golden tractor trophy and Daniels calls for a rematch fell on deaf ears! They enjoyed the experience so much they volunteered to drive the tractors back to the yard with crew members also getting involved.
After a quick rest Daniel and Majella escaped to the pod in the garden overlooking the beautiful rolling Wicklow hills to reflect on the excitement of the day. The camera crew had now finished filming and packed up and left for the day. This gave us the opportunity to go for dinner with Daniel and Majella in Enniskerry so they could experience the local food and atmosphere as all our other guests do. We had a lovely relaxing evening chatting away like old friends.
The next morning was an early start and Daniel and Majella had to leave after breakfast. So after signing the guest book we reluctantly waved a fond farewell to our amazing guests, and wished them well on the rest of their adventure.
We had a brief moment to ourselves to sit and relax before the remaining guests came down for breakfast and it then really hit us then that Daniel and Majella had just stayed in our B&B. Wow what an experience. Our remaining guests were eager to hear how it all went for us. We were floating on air with excitement.
Fast track to October 2015 when the first episode aired. We watched in great awe and anticipation of what our episode would be like. The show looked fantastic and it was wonderful to see how the other B&B’s had gotten on and how Ireland was being showcased.
Before we knew it the time for our episode arrived, friends and family gathered around in the B&B and we all got to watch Daniel and Majella O’Donnell stay in Coolakay House. Tears and laughter filled the room and our magical journey had come to a close.