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Summer time finds us in Blairs County, dipping
into some gorgeous salads and sipping ( maybe even gulping!) some terrific
craft beer in the gardens of Blair’s Inn.
Don't know of any other restaurant where you
get a Beer List as a separate offering from the Wine List. And they have some
fantastic beers to choose from. A couple from Dungarvan Brew Company on cask, the
hugely popular Howling Gale Pale Ale from Eight Degrees along with Friar Weisse
(a favourite of mine) from Franciscan Well on draught and loads more in bottle.
Cashel Blue and Roasted Pears
Top beers in bottle include the tasty West
Kerry Brewery Blonde Ale (known as Beal Ban) and don’t forgot you can also have
the ace Stonewell cider (dry or medium dry) in bottle from the Nohoval Brewing
And then there is a star studded line-up of
imports, including a couple by Brew Dog
and Sierra Nevada from the US. There is a “jokey” presentation employed by the Belgians
that make Brugse Zot Blonde Ale but the brewers aren’t clowning around and this
6 per-center is a serious gem and highly recommended. Really enjoyed that one.
Oh, I almost forgot. We did go there for the
lunch. And we weren't disappointed on that score either. Those Oysterhaven
mussels, neat and tasty, are delicious, especially with that White Wine and Garlic Cream Sauce.
Copper Coast Ale
from the cask!
It was super hot in the Blair’s Inn kitchen and still
the team came up with the goods. Absolutely thrilled with my mains: Warm Salad
of Cashel Blue Cheese and Roasted Pears. CL took the cool route and she was
impressed with the Cold Meat Platter of the Day (mainly chicken and O’Crualaoi’s
corned beef) served with salad, pickle and their own gorgeous Chutney.
What better way to finish off this delightful
summer lunch, eaten as the little river bubbled along at the end of the garden,
than with a bowl of luscious strawberries!
Now stop clowning around with my Brugse Zot.
Wonder if Mr Bradley has some of those in North Main Street!
All the hanging baskets and window boxes were catching the sun as I
landed at Blairs Inn in Cloghroe yesterday for lunch.
Blairs bills itself
as a traditional pub and restaurant and is popular with tourists and locals
alike. It is regarded as one of the top gastro-pubs in the country and you’ll
be well fed here.
Dishes in Blairs are quite substantial, so we skipped the starter and,
while waiting for the mains, enjoyed a bottle of that splendid Stonewell cider
(€5.50) from Nohoval. The Braised Shank of Lamb on a basil mash, served with a
Redcurrant and Rosemary jus, arrived and looked good in the dish.
Then another dish arrived! With the vegetables: turnips, broccoli and
carrots, all cooked to perfection. And that wasn't all as there was also some
top notch baked potatoes (smooth roosters) there. Quantity for sure and quality also.
Took my time with that lot but there was zilch left on the main plate
and that pleased our hosts no end. Service, with asmile,was excellent and courteous and no pressure to take dessert or coffee. Beyond
me, in any case.
The bill, for two lamb and two cider, came to €46.90.
BLAIRS INN Corned Beef and Cabbage. As a starter! Yes
and it proved a really tasty beginning to an excellent weekend meal at Blairs Inn.
What a menu they have there. If you combine the pages from the bar and restaurant
menus, I reckon you could be eating there for a year and still have combinations
And then there are the drinks. There is an excellent wine list, for sure. But also lots of local (and international) drinks including
craft beers from Dungarvan, Carlow, Eight Degrees (North Cork) and the new
cider sensation Stonewell by the Nohoval Brewing Company.
After a big welcome and a chat with Richard we sat down in the cosy
restaurant – they also have a lovely garden dining area – to go through the
My starter was a Warm Tian of O’Crualaoi’s Corned Beef and Cabbage with
a creamy Parsley dressing (€7.70). If you get out there, you should really try
this. The beef, supplied by the well known Ballincollig butcher, was spot-on as
was everything else in this well presented cylinder shaped offering of good local
Then on to the main course: Pan fried fillets of Sea Bass on a Chorizo
mash with a sundried tomato and rocket dressing and a side plate filled with vegetables
and another with gratin potato, both done to perfection. Again, another
And a big plateful. Indeed, both starter and mains were quite
substantial, so much so that I had to forego the dessert.
They helpfully suggest, on the menu, various drinks with each course; the tips for me
were a wheat beer with the starter and a dry cider with the fish. I was in the
mood for wine and settled on a bottle of their highly recommended an excellent Hopler Gruner
Veltliner (Burgenland, Austria) 2009 (€26.95).
You get a great welcome here and also help and advice. Quite a few tourists
make their way here and they must be impressed with the local knowledge that
the owners and staff so freely dispense.
Lovely food, lovely place and lovely people. A return visit is on the
cards. And not just for me.