The Lanesborough Arms Hotel opened in Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh 200 years ago, in 1820 and is testament to the prosperity of the area at the time. No longer, however. Of five bays and three storeys with a free-standing Tuscan porch, it closed for business some time ago: a fire believed to have been started deliberately caused major damage in 2016. Today the building is in poor shape, and reflects the decline seen in many small towns across the island of Ireland even before the start of the present pandemic.
The Lakeside Manor Hotel is located on the shores of Lough Ramor about a mile south of Virginia, County Cavan. So what bucolic prospect are guests offered from their windows? Nothing more enticing than an expanse of pock-marked tarmac. And what, incidentally, is so manorial about the building’s remorselessly utilitarian design?