Hygge pronounced “Hooga” is a Danish cultural gem. If you haven’t already heard about this concept, prepare yourself! Irish bookshops report that there will be at least eight new book titles on the market for Christmas 2016 all dedicated to the pursuit and practice of Hygge. The Danes have achieved the rankings of happiest citizens in the world and their cultural allegiance to Hygge is deemed as one their major defences against their long dark days and fierce winters. So what is the meaning of Hygge and how can we tap into this powerful Danish cultural export?
Firstly, no precise translation exists but words such as ‘Cosy’ or ‘Homey’ are offered as a means of explaining the term while only skimming the surface of a Danish way of life that holds major cultural depth and significance. The pursuit of everyday happiness through ordinary daily pleasures is a simple attempt at summarising Hygge. Components of Hygge include creating a perfect atmosphere, achieving an abundance of candlelight and soft lighting, enjoying the moment, sharing drama free togetherness, spending uninterrupted hours with loved ones, curling up with delicious hot drinks, warming up after a walk in the rain and embracing inexpensive experiences as moments to savour.
Taking the practice of Hygge and applying it to this winter’s travel pursuits might offer the opportunity to create a break with a real difference. Very often when travelling, time is spent researching the nearest town, planning things to do, deciphering the strength of the local Wi‐Fi and assessing formal entertainment for the family. Many Irish Landmark Trust properties can provide something different, a special place where guests have the opportunity to simply arrive and to be present in the surrounds. For most of us, our days are so action packed that the realities of switching off the phone and completely disconnecting so that we can re‐connect with what matters most might just be the kind of holiday we need.
One Irish Landmark Trust property, ticking this theme of peaceful resting space is the wonderful Tullymurry House in Donaghmore, Co. Down.
Since 1895, over four generations of the McMinn family, have owned and cared for the house. Richard McMinn is the current owner and has dedicated himself to keeping both the history and the building alive through careful restoration and extensive refurbishment. His passion for Tullymurry House is present in every room where beautiful handwritten and printed historical notes are lovingly placed alongside artefacts and photographs so that visitors can enjoy, reflect and share on the lived history of the house.
Tullymurry House has fantastic stove cooking facilities, both an informal kitchen dining space and a formal dining room, which can cater for large communal style eating. It also has an orchard on the grounds where you can collect apples in season for that delicious homemade tart. Imagine yourself arriving with supplies in hand, your favourite recipes and a book and settling in for a a few nights of pure restful tranquillity. It really is an ideal retreat for a group of friends or large family who wish to spend quality time together indulging in the Hygge way of living. If you do happen to forget something there’s a very large Tesco only a few minutes’ drive north at The Outlet near Banbridge.
Uniquely, Tullymurry House has its very own wellness area. There are bathrobes, towels and slippers available to accommodate you as you enjoy the absolute luxury of your own sauna, hot tub and relaxation room. The house is also heated, using pellets, 24 hours a day and there is an open fire in the living room so there is a real sense of “cosiness” and “homeliness’ about staying inside and creating the perfect social atmosphere.
The always friendly and enthusiastic House Manager, Lorraine, will happily guide you through the house, all its facilities and use of the wellness area when you arrive which will allow you to get the most out of the Tullymurry experience. The wonderful Hans Christian Andersen once described how ‘the whole world is a series of miracles but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things’. We hope this autumn offers you a time to be very kind to yourselves wherever you travel or wherever you may be and may you find simple joys in the day‐to‐day moments.