Monday, May 7, 2012

Mona Best

Bridge House B&B, Skibbereen

Mona holding court in her lounge

Mona Best, mine hostess of ‘The Bridge House’, a Bed & Breakfast establishment in Skibbereen, Ireland is an extraordinary character who has transformed a generally nondescript  boarding house into what has been described in the ‘Irish Times’ as, ‘…...the most unusual B&B in Ireland’.  In my experience it is the most extraordinary in all of Europe.   Externally, the building although displaying signs of having been given more than a little thought,  belies all of which lies within; a fantastic collection of objects to which Mona has, over many years, gathered in and now has displayed in most unlikely juxtapositions on every surface, both vertical and horizontal, throughout her home. 
Everything in this museum of a place was, although occasionally shocking,  a charming surprise.   In my room I find, carefully arranged on the bed, a book, “Visitors from Hell”, or some such similar title.  On top of the book an artificial snake has been coiled!  A fully dressed mannequin stands guard over my door, another stands guard over a bath; beyond a half-landing window a huge imitation reptile snarls to be let in.

The breakfast table was a work of art.  Particularly attractive was the turned wood butter tray; a curl of rich yellow butter topped with the complimentary coloured deep purple flower of a pansy.

Mona herself is a warm open soul who has known adversity in many forms but who adamantly refuses to allow the past to stand in the way of a full present.  She is the kind of carelessly independent person that I feel better for, albeit briefly,  having known.

Somewhere under here there was a bed!
Room service?

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