Sheedy's Restaurant and Hotel was originally a farmhouse where the Sheedy family began looking after visitors to the little spa town of Lisdoonvarna (it has sulphurous springs) in 1855. Recently, however, some bright new changes have taken place: John Sheedy, ex-Ashford Castle head chef, has come home to cook; his delightful wife, Martina, looks after front of house and the wine list and adds her taste for contemporary design. John Sheedy's food is highly acclaimed and the restaurant has been given a completely new look to complement his celebrated Modern Irish cooking. Walls are painted in a moody grey colour called Muddy River. Martina, who used to work at Mount Juliet, has also begun her transformation of the hotel, bringing in help from the nearby Doolin Craft Gallery, renowned for sharp, simple design in wool, crystal, linen and tweed.
  The lobby already heralds the exciting shape of things to come, with shiny wood floor, little curved reception desk, a bit of exposed natural stone, paintwork in gentian blue and terracotta red. She can't wait to get upstairs, where bedrooms are to be upgraded; the priority is to be comfort, she says, but some modern design will be in there somewhere. A place to watch; reports, please.