A holiday at Ashbrooke House, Fermanagh
"Ashbrooke is the most comfortable and spoiling of country houses..."
I booked onto Nick’s drawing and painting course at Ashbrooke House not knowing either the teacher or the venue, but had one of the best few days experienced on a residential Art course.
Dividing the aspects of my time there into the venue, hospitality, teaching and people, I have to give each a five star review. Ashbrooke is the most comfortable and spoiling of country houses, beautifully decorated and cosseting, set in a beautiful rural landscape. Chris and Amanda are superlative hosts, kind and thoughtful. The food was just so good, freshly made every day and Amanda is obviously a great cook. Nick Bashall was a thorough, articulate, and inspiring teacher who also made us laugh - an essential quality when one is struggling to create. He is positive and encouraging and not at all intimidating. Students of all levels made progress and learnt a unique way of seeing a subject. We were a very happy group from various backgrounds and both amateurs and more experienced artists enjoyed each others’ company immensely with much discussion taking place within the studio and during down time.
I feel very fortunate to have stumbled across such a place but of course it is the people who always make these times so wonderful.
"Altogether, a most instructive, uplifting, inspiring and enjoyable experience."
Our painting course with you at Ashbrooke has been a truly unique experience - far more wonderful than one could have imagined. In fact, absolutely wonderful in every way! That sounds a bit over the top perhaps, but exactly how I think we all felt. Nick and Bea are the most patient and kind of teachers. They were always so very enthusiastic and positive and all their advice and instruction was so clear, constructive and very inspiring. I think we all felt on a creative high the whole weekend!! It was a great privilege to watch Nick painting Lara and Richard and to marvel at how his portraits evolve so quickly and apparently so effortlessly. The master working miracles. I think we all learned a new perception of the world - dark and light and no lines! Altogether the whole experience was a revelation.
You looked after us so wonderfully- from the cottage pie to the lemon cake and all the other mouthwatering meals and the lovely glasses of wine! It was all so delicious and so relaxed and unhurried. Behind the scenes, you must have been so busy but one would never have known at all. You made us all feel so very welcome and at home and completely at ease. It was lovely too, to meet lots of new people and to have such interesting and relaxed chats in such an elegant and comfortable environment with such beautiful views in all directions.
It has altogether been a most instructive, uplifting, inspiring and enjoyable experience. Thank you all so very much for a marvelous weekend which we will always remember with great pleasure.
"A very special experience indeed!"
My recent visit to Ashbrooke House for Gareth Reid’s fantastic 5 day portraiture course was a truly wonderful experience! I absolutely loved every minute. Amanda and Chris are such warm and lovely people and welcome you with such a friendly and attentive manner that you feel at home straight away. The food is so delicious! The rooms and setting are beautiful and above all, the people were just fabulous.
Gareth is a really lovely person, and such a kind and sensitive tutor, always making sure that every student is included equally throughout the whole week, and happy to chat and pass on things from his valuable experience and expertise. With a different sitter each day and excellent tuition and demonstrations from Gareth, it was noticeable the improvement by all in the group by the end of the course and we had such a laugh too! All very inspiring!
I would so love to return to Ashbrooke House, it is a very special place and I felt very fortunate and blessed to be there with the combination of Gareth as a tutor and Amanda and Chris and all their fabulous team, they really do compliment each other beautifully and it makes for a very special experience indeed!
"We will be back."
Ashbrooke art course was an absolute joy from the first warm welcome from Amanda to a massive hug goodbye at the end
Nick and Bea were very patient with their teaching and very inspiring to watch in their demonstrations.
We met really lovely fellow artists and enjoyed their company enormously while munching on Amanda’s delicious food which kept appearing at regular intervals. Both Christopher and Amanda are a joy to be around and are both two two of life’s radiators.
Ashbrooke House, itself, is very comfortable and set in the most beautiful parkland.
What more can I say except a huge thank you for a wonderful holiday and yes WE WILL BE BACK...
"My idea of heaven"
Thank you SO much for such a brilliant opportunity to study with Nick. What a lovely man, and inspiring artist. I got so much out of the weekend, and much of the experience was down to your wonderful hospitality. I think that the two of you went above and beyond to ensure your guests comfort and you both made it feel like a family house party and not just a course. Devine home cooked food, comfortable rooms, children, lambs and even a small goat! My idea of heaven. I hope that you will keep me in mind for any other art orientated weekends as I would love to return. I wish you all success with future events - you have such a great thing going.
"Completely blown away by the whole experience"
I hope you had a good rest after all your hard work and absolute diligence in making our whole stay at Ashbrooke House so perfect.
I know my family were completely blown away by the whole experience as of course I was also!
"Great location, great painting, great company."
I recently had the complete pleasure of attending a three-day painting course at the beautiful Ashbrooke House. The accommodation is exceptionally comfortable and we had the most delicious food and were completely spoiled by Amanda and Chris - wonderful hosts!
The course was everything I hoped for and more. Suitable for an artist of any ability. Nick Bashall is a wonderful instructor, patient and good humoured! I feel that I have learnt so much that I can continue to use in my work.
I loved every minute, including the company of the other artists and the stories shared.
I can't wait to go back.
"...one can think, dream and loose oneself."
Wow! What a fantastic few days I had at Ashbrooke, the most beautiful Georgian house set within the most picturesque landscape of rolling hills and ancient trees. The house has been exquisitely restored by Amanda who has created such a relaxing and warm homely environment. Beautiful rooms where one can think, dream and loose oneself, forgetting the trials of life left behind somewhere.
I took part in the first art course with the prestigious portrait artist, Nick Bashall with his assistant Bea, who taught us the fundamentals of traditional drawing. It was a very intense few days and we all learnt so much, in awe of the brilliance of the Master!
The food that Amanda produced seemed unending and quite sublime. Everything freshly prepared and delivered just when it was most appreciated. Those Portuguese custard tarts are to die for!
I cannot recommend Ashbrooke House more highly for a place to run a course or partake of a course and I hope there will be many more so that others can benefit from the magical experience all superbly hosted by Christopher and Amanda.