A Touch of the Spanish Blarney – Casa del Irlandes
Rubielos de Mora, in Teruel Province, (not to be confused with nearby Mora de Rubielos), is one of those wonderful Spanish villages that seem forever set in Sunday afternoon mode. In the narrow, twisting medieval streets within the walls of the historic centre you may see the occasional granny pulling a wheeley basket and you know it’s rush-hour when a cat gets up to stretch its legs after a couple of hours doze in the sun. The town may not be as famous as its near neighbour Albarracín, but it is arguably as pretty and intriguing, with its narrow medieval streets and stout civic/ecclesiastic architecture
When Irishman David Maddock hauled a wagon load of his family’s goods and chattels from Belfast to rural Teruel in 1997 he expected to spend the next year travelling Spain with his Spanish wife Sylvia and their two-year-old daughter Carla. Travel he did – but only as far as next-door-but-one to his father-in-law’s garage where the furniture was being stored, because Sylvia had done the inevitable, seen a village house and fallen in love with it.
Many of the houses in the village are almost Tyrolean in their appearance, with their overhanging roofs and wooden balconies, and it is in one of these that Sylivia and David have created their delightful casa rural, incorporating the style and hospitality of the two nationalities.
The rooms are cosy and colourful with lots of light, mainly furnished in pine and with a beautiful Irish dresser that reminds them of their years in Ireland. If David takes a liking to you, and he seems to take a liking to everyone, he might invite you into his ‘glory hole’ a wonderful kitschy little bar full of Irish memorabilia – the perfect place for the ‘craic’. Staying at Casa del Irlandes is almost like having a couple of days with pals because the couple will go out of their way to make your stay an enjoyable one, not just in their home but with their extensive knowledge of the area and the best things to see.
And a lovely place to come home to it is; the house, the village and the beautiful countryside. A short drive away are the ski-slopes of Valdelinares (it gets very cold in Teruel during the winter months!); during summer months there are 500 kilometres of way-marked footpaths to explore or dozens of tiny, undisturbed villages if you prefer to travel by car; during July and August there’s a fiesta practically every week and through the spring and autumn the surrounding mountains are a naturalists delight.
Sylvia and David know all the best walks of for every level of expertise, as well as places to fish, to visit, to sample the top quality locally produced jamon de Serrano or the much sought after truffle, or just to sit and relax.