Vanessa Charron and Matti Schulz admit that some people are still perplexed that they swapped city life in Canada for the more rugged – and remote – Beara Peninsula.

“They ask us, ‘Are you not lonely?’” says Matti, smiling. “And then you just tell them you’re living your best life. I’d never want to change it.”

“It” refers to Mossie’s: the lovingly restored 19th-century guesthouse on seven acres that Matti and Vanessa came to run in 2019 as something of an adventure, but five years later, has become their home, and where they are steadily putting their stamp on rural tourism.

But first things first. What brought this young couple to west Cork? Well, you could say it was a good, old-fashioned, love story.

Canada to Cork

In 2018, Matti – who is from Stuttgart – left his job with a fruit and veg distributor in Germany to travel Canada on a year-long work visa. Arriving in Vancouver, he met Vanessa, who is originally from a small tourist town in Quebec, but has worked in hospitality all over the globe.

The pair dated for a week, before saying goodbye as Matti was due to move on to Toronto. But?

“On the way to Toronto, I already booked my flight [back to Vancouver],” says Matti.

“I was in Toronto for five days and after four days, I couldn’t wait, and I just called Air Canada and I re-scheduled my flight and I came one day earlier.”

“And I didn’t know that,” says Vanessa, laughing. “[Until] he actually knocked on my door!”

Deciding to make a go of things, the couple soon moved in together on a small island off Vancouver, where Vanessa continued to commute to the city where she ran a café; while Matti worked as a groundskeeper with a local lumberjack, as well as taking a job in a tapas restaurant.

With the clock ticking on his visa, however, they had to make a choice: go their separate ways or move to Europe together, preferably to an English-speaking country.

Mossie's pictured prior to its renovation

“So, Matti said, ‘What about Ireland?’” Vanessa continues, explaining that as a Canadian citizen, she was able to avail of a two-year work and travel visa to move here.

Initially, they explored the idea of WWOOF-ing (working on an organic farm in exchange for bed and board), or moving to one of the cities to work in hospitality. But while visiting Matti’s family in Germany en-route, he just happened to mention their tentative plans to an old friend.

“And he said, ‘My uncle owns a B&B in west Cork and they’re looking for people to run it,’” recalls Matti of this unexpected twist of fate. While they knew nothing about the area, Vanessa reckoned they should go for it.

“I thought, ‘At least we have a foot in the door,’” she recalls reasoning. “I said, ‘Let’s do it for a few months and if we don’t like it, we just move on.’”

Local produce is celebrated on the breakfast menu at Mossie's. \ Kate Bean

Creativity equals happiness

The property in question was Mossie’s B&B – named after a previous owner – located close to Adrigole.

Once a parochial house turned farmstead that had fallen into ruin, it was renovated in 2000 by a couple called David and Lorna Ramshaw as a restaurant and guesthouse, before being sold a decade later to the current owner, Hanno, a German man who loved to holiday in west Cork.

Although various people had run the business over the years, when Vanessa and Matti arrived in July 2019, they were blown away by the potential to create something special with their signature style.

While the outbreak of COVID-19 scuppered some initial plans, the lockdowns actually gave the couple the chance to tackle work in the garden and begin refreshing the interiors. Vanessa successfully applied to extend her residency and before long, Mossie’s began to feel like home.

Matti and Vanessa have been putting their own stamp on Mossie's; for instance, with this new look for the "Italian" room. \ Vanessa Charron

The Ulusker Room at Mossie's Guesthouse. \ Vanessa Charron

“Even though it’s not our place [property] here, it’s our business and we love it: it’s our life project now,” says Vanessa, smiling. “We have a lot of freedom. That turns into a lot of creativity. That turns into a lot of happiness,” agrees Matti.

Escape to Mossie’s

There are two ways to escape to Mossie’s. The first is the guesthouse itself, which has five individually-styled bedrooms; such as the luxurious, light-filled ‘Ulusker’ suite or the most recently-renovated ‘Italian’ room with its elegant mix of antique and upcycled interiors.

Other features include the welcome lounge with its blazing fire and honesty bar and moody library for late night chats; but breakfast is also a star attraction, whether it’s Vanessa’s homemade fruit compotes, a full Irish featuring the best of west Cork bacon and eggs or vegetarian choices like avocado toast.

Service is described as “spoilt, but not stuffy”, with personal touches like bouquets of fresh blooms grown by Vanessa or antique silverware brought from Matti’s grandparents’ house.

“Our goal is just that people feel the comfort right away, and they feel at home and at peace,” he says.

For those who prefer a self-catering experience, however, the property also boasts ‘Hanno’s Workshop’: an extraordinarily-renovated space reminiscent of a New York loft conversion, with its brick walls, exposed copper piping and fun features like a mezzanine accessible via a scissors lift.

Slow travel

Due to its location, Mossie’s is off the beaten track: but that has become part of its appeal.

Most guests are Irish in their 30s and 40s, drawn no doubt initially by the property’s Instagram appeal that is expertly curated by Vanessa, but also by the chance to slow down and disconnect: there are no TVs, limited wi-fi and a minimum two-night stay to make the most of the Beara Peninsula.

“Beara is always overshadowed by Dingle and places like that – and thank God, in a way, because you wouldn’t want it to be as busy as the other places – but there’s so much to offer,” says Vanessa. “People just don’t know about it.”

Mossie’s can also be rented as a whole for family gatherings, and last year, hosted its first intimate wedding reception for 12. Vanessa and Matti always have some project on the go – currently they are installing a sauna-and larger works are planned including a new roof, windows and painting the exterior.

Days are long: they usually rise at 7am to prepare for breakfast, and are on the go until 10 or 11pm at night caring for their guests.

But these rising stars of rural tourism would not have it any other way.

“You work hard for this place; and you get to share it,” says Vanessa. “It’s so rewarding.”

Rates at Mossie’s range from €150-€170 per night for two people sharing including breakfast, with a minimum stay of two nights. Rates for Hanno’s Workshop vary, eg €215/night for a two-night stay. Visit or follow on Instagram @uluskerhouse

Mossie's guesthouse is situated on the Beara Peninsula, close to Adrigole. \ Kate Bean

Beautiful Beara

Vanessa and Matti share 10 ways to explore Beara and beyond.

1. Walk or cycle The Beara Way: a 206km loop that starts and finishes in Glengarriff.

2. Drive the Healy Pass for staggering heights, sensational views; and seriously non-plussed sheep.

3. Take your breath away with a trip to the Bull Rock with Dursey Boat Trips.

4. Visit Derreen Gardens: 60 acres of woodland walkways, sea views and subtropical plants, with great coffee and homemade treats in summer.

5. Just over the Cork-Kerry border, Gleninchaquin Park features an adventure-worthy mix of woods, lakes, and hikes into the hills, as well as acting as the gateway to the historic Uragh Stone Circle.

6. From burgers and pizzas to French crêpes, eat your fill from the food trucks parked next to Quill’s in Glengarriff.

7. Browse Bantry market every Friday for farm-fresh produce, handmade crafts, clothes, vintage shopping and more.

8. Pause for a breath at the Dzogchen Beara Buddhist meditation centre.

9. Spend a sunny day in Allihies with its sandy beach, brightly coloured village and historic copper mine museum.

10. Catch a boat to the paradise of Garnish island, with its immaculately maintained gardens; or alternatively, hop on the

historic cable car to unspoilt Dursey Island.

Behind the scenes

In 2023 at Mossie’s, Vanessa and Matti:

  • Welcomed 679 guests

  • Made 615 breakfasts

  • Served 1,845 croissants and 729 breads

  • Made 976 beds

  • Washed, dried and folded 2,142 towels

  • Made 516 arrangements of flowers

Read more

Finding her way home at Aughry Yard

Beara: all things bright and beautiful