The Story of Shamrock Arms

THE THEN AND THE NOW (2005 – 2020)

I can still remember quite clearly my wife presenting to me an advertisement that appeared in the Sunday Times Newspaper which said something along the lines of – ‘Pub and Restaurant for sale in Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga.  Ideal opportunity for a retired couple’. Well let me tell you that my immediate response was to say to her something that I cannot put down in words as it may offend some – but in essence the message that I was trying to get across to her was – ‘you must be joking  – who would ever want to live in a place like Waterval Boven. .

This was way back in 2005. We had been on the lookout for a Bed and Breakfast type establishment to purchase in the Johannesburg area. The thought of moving  to Waterval Boven certainly didn’t appeal to me at all for the simple reason that I had already embedded in my mind a negative impression of the place. And that is because I use to pass by Waterval Boven on numerous occasions on route to Nelspruit/Mbombela when I was working for a bank and often thought to myself –‘what sort of person would want to live in a place like that. Not me. That’s for sure.

Shamrock Arms

Anyhow this all happened around about the  Easter holiday period and I suppose one could say now ‘ as luck would have it’ I had arranged to play in a bowls tournament  in Nelspruit at the same time. My wife who I must say had a ‘good feeling’ about the offer – was able to convince me that there was nothing to lose by stopping over on route to Nelspruit to see what the place was all about. And so, we arrived early one Friday morning with the intention of having breakfast there and certainly for me I was not feeling too optimistic about any positive outcome – re purchasing the place.

positive outcome – re purchasing the place.

It really is difficult to explain my immediate reaction on seeing this historical building that was the restaurant and pub. I suppose one could equate it to something like – ‘love at first site’. It is truly a magnificent building.

That day was the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. We both knew the place was meant for us and literally within a couple of weeks the sale was finalized.

Our move to Waterval Boven took place on the 26 June 2005. Again, I can clearly remember stopping the car just before entering the village and my wife and I doing a ‘Burning Prayer’. A simple ritual of listing on paper everything  we desire and feel going forward and then setting it alight and releasing it into the universe. Much of what we had listed on the paper has come to fruition.

Many years have gone by and I am still resident in Waterval Boven and loving every moment of it.  Unfortunately, my wife passed away in October 2018 and I know that her time in Waterval Boven was something very special in her life.

Shamrock Arms
Shamrock Arms
Shamrock Arms

Isn’t it ironic that in the ‘then’ and in comparison, to the ‘now’ my whole mind set of Waterval Boven has completely changed? I am sure that had my late wife and I had known  what we know today about this wonderful little village– we would have moved here many more years before we did.

Yes, the town is in  need of a little  bit of tender loving care, and we are working on it, but the bottom line is – I don’t think I want to live anywhere else.

I love the lodge and for me it is a privilege and a pleasure  to be able to interact with so many wonderful people from all parts of the world who have chosen to spend some time with us at the lodge.