Showing posts with label Killarney Brewing Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Killarney Brewing Company. Show all posts

Thursday, April 19, 2018

36 hours in Killarney: Local Brews - Torc - Reidy’s Pub - Noelle’s Retro Cafe. Much more.


36 hours in Killarney 

Killarney Brewery - Torc Mountain - Reidy’s Pub - Noelle’s Retro Cafe. And more to see and do.

The Killarney Brewing Company has certainly made headway since it started a few years back, its products available in many of the local pubs and hotels. You’ll find it on the Muckross Road, less than a ten minute walk from the Main Street. 

There is a spacious bar here and there was a quite a good crowd in, many of them overseas visitors, when we called during a recent wet Thursday afternoon. Tours are available but you are also welcome to sit down and have a drink. Pizzas are also on offer and sixteen euro will bag you a pizza and a pint.

Torc Waterfall
We shared a paddle. A glass, somewhat less than a half pint, of their Red Ale, their IPA and the Extra Stout, costs a reasonable seven euro. 


In the nod to the local wildlife, the red ale goes under the moniker Rutting Red. Their take on an American style IPA is called the Scarlett Pimpernel in honour of local hero Fr Hugh O’Flaherty  - you’ll see his statue and read all about him at his memorial alongside the Plaza Hotel by the entrance to the park.

But it was the Casey Brothers Extra Stout (6% abv) that got our vote and we promptly ordered more of that. With some of the famous Flahavan’s Oats included, it is a smooth customer with an Espresso finish. Highly Recommended. 

Reidy's
It is named after the Casey brothers from County Kerry who had huge success as rowers away back in the 1930s. The most famous, Steve (“Crusher”),  was undefeated World Wrestling champion from 1938 through 1947. Extra indeed! But don't worry. Treat this smooth stout with the respect it deserves and you’ll go the distance too.

In Killarney on a wet day? Well, you may visit the big houses, Muckross and Killarney, and the brewery and more. Another good place to go to, certainly early in the year, is Torc Waterfall, as the flow will be at its very best. Despite the odd heavy drop finding its way down the back of my neck, I very much enjoyed the visit up the steps, past the lichen covered trees and into the soft mist of the falls. 


On a good day, you could follow the Old Killarney Kenmare Road and then follow the walk up Torc Mountain  . The views of Killarney and its lakes are stupendous. Well worth the effort.

Big Houses. Small Houses.

Fr O'Flaherty - the Scarlett Pimpernel
On the tours of the big houses, Muckross and Killarney, you’ll always here about the owners, the landlords, their families always named. But the tenants, labourers and servants are not. The big names may be gone from Killarney, but the families from the small houses, the cottages and gate-lodges, are still going strong, many of them involved in the care of the National Park, its flora and fauna. 

Indeed, they have quite a sense of belonging and duty. As Walter Ryan Purcell, a Regional Tourist guide, told me during the visit, they “get the park” and are always alert for anything, a zip-line for instance, that might harm the nature of the park. Why not remember them the next time a building is renovated.


I had linked up with Walter for a coffee at the amazing John M Reidy's  on Main Street, Killarney. The entrance(s) are confusing. Is it a bakery, a general merchant, a sweet shop? Basically, at least since its “second coming” late last year, it is a pub cum cafe. Loads of nooks and crannies, lots of memorabilia, outdoor areas too (a great place to be when the music plays in the evening), outdoor areas that can be screened off from the cool and the rain by substantial awnings.

Already it is drawing in some big names - musician Niall Horan chilled here recently. Killarney has always drawn big names, especially those of the film world who were regular visitors to the big houses such as Killarney House. Even that very evening, ex Taoiseach Bertie Aherne had the table next to us in The Brehon’s Danú Restaurant.

After Reidy’s, Walter took us down a narrow lane (almost directly opposite) to see Noelle’s Retro Café. She has an old bike parked outside. It is not as sprawling as Reidy's but again, there are quite a few rooms here, more than you'd expect and one at least is given over to the vinyl era. 

Boxes and shelves of long-playing records in abundance and indeed you may play them here on a turntable. Someone did point out that ear-phones are also available. Pretty good coffee here and pastry is also available.  This quirky Retro Cafe serves Breakfast, Brunch, Coffee, Teas, Homemade Pastries, Smoothies and is open seven days a week (9.00 to 6.00).

Walter, by the way, told me that the lovely Deenagh Lodge (where we met him and his lovely team last November) is due to have its seasonal reopening at the Easter Weekend.
Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms
Dine and smile: Deenagh Lodge
Visit: 

Crag Cave: http://swissroll07.blogspot.ie/2016/11/crag-cave-underground-in-kerry.html 
Visiting Killarney's Big Houses


Monday, April 9, 2018

Dining and Staying in Killarney’s Brehon Hotel

Jack McCarthy's Blackpudding Bon Bons

Dine and Stay in Killarney’s Brehon Hotel
Spiced salmon
The Brehon Hotel on the Muckross Road was our base for a recent two night stay in Killarney. Dinner at Danú, the hotel’s restaurant, was included and it was a good one. It was a set menu, part of the package, so not A La Carte. Still, we had three or four choices in each section.
A familiar name, ex Taoiseach Bertie Aherne, was at an nearby table and another familiar name, Jack McCarthy, popped up in the starters. His Black Pudding Bon Bons came with a mango sauce, nasturtium salad and red onion. CL enjoyed that well cooked, well presented dish. I got off to a flier too with my Spiced Salmon, Yuzu yogurt, pear, lime and cucumber.
Hake


It is a very comfortable split-level room, divided in various sections, and service was pretty good all through. No delay at all and soon we were on to the mains. My pick was the Mushroom Ravioli with a wild mushroom sauce. Not bad at all and we both enjoyed a nice side of vegetables. CL probably had the better of the mains with her Pan-fried Hake with pickled carrot, sage and lemon crumble.
Mushroom Ravioli



Desserts were part of the deal and we enjoyed their Cranberry Crème Brulée (with vanilla ice-cream and biscotti) and Roasted plum (with vanilla ice-cream, pepper and almond salsa).


Dropped into the bar, more a food than a drink venue, after that and saw for ourselves the very limited choice (Guinness associated) of beers on draught. Still, the Killarney blonde proved good company. On the second evening, I spotted an old friend, Bertha’s Revenge gin, and passed a late hour sipping that delicious drop (€17.20 for 2 gins and one TH tonic).


Crème Brulée 
While the hotel looked a bit gothic on the outside in the dull wet weather, like us all it will brighten up as the Spring comes in bringing green life to the creepers that will partially cover the exterior. The interior, with its soaring foyer, is eye-catching. Rooms are comfortable and have all the facilities you’ll need. Service is excellent and you’ll get lots of smiles and hellos in the corridors and public spaces as you come and go.
Plum


They also serve their breakfast in the Danú. The buffet is the main feature with hot and cold sections and plenty of choice. One thing about the buffet is that you can pick and choose and limit the size of your Full Irish! Extend it too of course if you are so inclined at that hour of the morning! 


We picked from the buffet (as most people seem to do) on the first morning and chose from the Kitchen List on the second. The list includes familiar breakfast items such as porridge and Eggs Benedict, less familiar like minute steak, but my choice was the plaice, the very tasty fish of the day, and I was off to a good start!

See also
Quinlan's Seafood Bar Killarney
Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder
Visiting Killarney's Big Houses
The Yew Tree at The Muckross Park Hotel
36 Hours in Killarney, inc Killarney Brewing

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Game On at Blairs Inn


Game On at Blairs Inn
Venison casserole

The crew in Blairs Inn in Cloghroe are always game for a laugh, summer or winter. But this time of year, four-legged and feathered game is in season and is served up in many delicious ways by the kitchen of this renowned country pub, a few miles from Cork City and Blarney.

A laugh and a smile are guaranteed here, directions too if you’re a tourist seeking the next beauty spot or watering hole; they’ve even been known to change a wheel for a customer. 
Pheasant

Not that you’ll ever be in a hurry to leave the pub. In winter, the fires are burning and the company's good. You’ll get the same company in the summer in the garden by the little Sheep River. And it’s also a terrific place for craft beer, one of the first places in Ireland where I was given a multi-page craft beer menu to choose from.

The craft beer is still going strong here and, indeed, the beer I had for lunch was something special. It is a Gluten Free stout, Stag Saor*, and is on draught, Ireland's first. 

GF and on draught
Richard Blair, one of two brothers now running the pub, told me of a satisfied customer of a few days earlier. A coeliac, the man hadn’t drunk stout, his favourite tipple, for twenty years but, having sampled the Star Saor, left Blair's Inn with tears of gratitude.

I had noticed they were using the Ballyvourney stout in my Venison Casserole so, of course, I ordered a pint. And it proved a great match for the rich casserole of Wicklow venison (16.95) which was served with a side dish of root vegetables, some broccoli too and a big baked potato! Great stuff.

CL was eagerly tucking into her Wild Irish Pheasant (half!), with aromatic gin and juniper stuffing, mushrooms and a red wine sauce (16.50). Another superb dish. Thought she might have had a G & T with this but no she settled, quite happily as it turned out, for the Scarlet Pimpernel by Killarney Brewing.

Lots of choice here, including the corned beef dish for which the Blairs are well known. Meat features strongly but, in fairness, they have no less then three fish dishes in the mains as well. Beside, they have one-plates meals (including a massive Wagyu beef burger), and there are salads, baps and open sandwiches.
Bluebell goats

Good choice of starters too though both of us went for cheese based dishes. Having tried, unsuccessfully, to milk one of their goats earlier in 2017, CL has a soft spot for Bluebell Falls so no surprise that she picked a warm tartlet of the cheese, with creamed leeks and smoked salmon, a terrific flavoursome dish for €8.65.
Gubbeen

For the same money, I enjoyed a lovely salad of Gubbeen and seasonal leaves. Very pleased with that one. Indeed, very pleased with the meal overall as is consistently the case here.

* Saor is Irish for free and producers, 9 White Deer from Ballyvourney, already have a full set of Gluten Free beers in bottle.
Another venison dish, this from the evening menu.
Cloghroe
Blarney
Co. Cork
Tel: (021) 438 1470



Friday, November 11, 2016

Enjoyable Stay At Cahernane House Hotel

Enjoyable Stay At Cahernane House Hotel 
Killarney Gem

A superb dinner in the Herbert Room of the Cahernane House Hotel in Killarney was the highlight of a recent stay there. Breakfast wasn't bad either! You could say head chef Paul O’Connor made a good impression.

Indeed, we had nothing but good impressions during our visit, starting with the long tree-lined drive from the Muckross Road down to the late 19th century building in its superb location near the lakes. The native red deer passed slowly beneath our windows, just before dusk and just after sunrise.
Regular visitors

Our room was spacious and well-equipped. And the bar is a gem, situated in the original wine cellar. That high-ceilinged Herbert Room is another gorgeous spot, used for both dinner and breakfast, and there are some lovely public rooms as well, one with a fountain flowing. And the courteous staff were both welcoming and helpful.

Back to our dinner then and, as we studied the menu (five courses for €50.00), we nibbled on some delicious breads and dips. Quite a long wine list there too, a good variety of styles, grapes and countries. In the end, we picked the Prinz Von Hessen Riesling (34.00) and we were very happy with that!

After a tasty amuse bouche, the starters soon arrived. Mine was the Pan-seared Castletownbere scallops, cauliflower, black pudding and samphire. Nicely presented and well appreciated! Ardsallagh’s goats Parfait with Beetroot, basil and balsamic was CL’s choice and she too opened with a winner.
Scallops

Next up was the middle course. I was thinking sorbet and indeed it was one of the three choices listed. I thought the other two would be very small but either could have passed for a starter. And they were both excellent. One was Pan-seared Mackerel, heritage potato, fine beans, black olives, the other a Garden Salad of Pickled Pear, truffle ficelle, and smoked bacon crumb.

That pan was busy again for our mains. I love Turbot and the affair continued with a slightly spiced and throughly lovely dish: Pan-seared Turbot, Chestnut mushroom, girolles, truffle and Savoy cabbage. Great mix of flavour and texture, the fresh fish cooked to perfection and much the same could be said about CL’s Pan-seared Cod, artichoke, hazelnut textures, raisins and brandade.
Dessert

Our confidence in the chef and his team was building all the time and we were looking forward to dessert. We weren't let down! Far from it. Presentation for my Crème Brûlée was outstanding as was the dish itself: Passionfruit Crème Brûlée, with raspberry sorbet and pistachio tuile. CL’s classy treat was Blackberry Choux (choux pastry, blackberry curd, marshmallow gel and wild berry creme fraiche).

We would, of course, be back in the Herbert Room for breakfast, for one of the very best breakfasts around. Full Irish yes but many great choices. Don't want to bore you with too many details but one to watch out for is the Pear, Brioche and Cheese, a mouth-watering morning treat of Grilled Vanilla Poached Pear, Toasted Brioche and St Tola Goats Cheese curd.
Breakfast Pear, Brioche, Cheese

We also made a couple of calls to that unusual Cellar Bar, making ourselves comfortable in the capacious armchairs. They have quite a selection of drinks here, lots of Irish spirits including local gins (among them Blackwater and Bertha’s Revenge) and the craft beers by Killarney Brewing take pride of place on the counter.

I just felt the need to continue my research in these comfortable surroundings. My favourite whiskey was undoubtedly the Jameson Black Barrel, rich and full and with an reverberating long finish, another gem in the range.
Breakfast bagel: smoked salmon, scrambled egg.

Killarney Brewing tell some tall yarns but the beers are pretty good too.We had been surprised by the red colour of their IPA but that Ale is named after a local hero who was known as the Scarlett Pimpernel. In any event, it was the Devil’s Helles Lager that caught the attention and the taste buds of CL. Had to check that out then and that made the verdict unanimous. Clean and crisp with a hint of hops, this is a good one.
Cellar Bar

After our final breakfast, it was time to settle up and say farewell to Cahernane House with a promise to be back. It is a great location to enjoy Killarney. And no bother either about going further afield. We visited Crag Cave in Castleisland. Valentia Island was our furthest trip while the nearest was Torc Mountain (where we managed to get to the top). No doubt the good food helped, not too sure about the drink though! 




See also:
The drive down

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Don't you know you’ll get piles? The Fantastic Dingle Taste Trail.

Don't you know you’ll get piles?
The Fantastic Dingle Taste Trail.
Fenton's Fizz
“Would you ever get up off the cold street. Don't you know you’ll get piles. At least couldn't you put your jacket under you?” 

We two were sitting (on seats) in the closed Dingle street, outside the An Canteen door, enjoying a beer with another couple. But one of the four was sitting on the street surface, as there were no more seats, when a young Irish Mammy came along and started on him. It was a laugh a minute for a while after that as the young woman sat near us and the banter continued. Only in Ireland. Maybe only on the Dingle Taste Trail. Priceless. And no ticket required! 

We had spent a few hours on the Taste Trail.  It was time for a drink and one of the best places for craft beer and cider at Dingle Food Festival, anytime really, is An Canteen. Got a great welcome, including a tasty beef sandwich, from Brian and Niall and a smashing pint of Indian Pale Ale from Andrew of Killarney Brewing Company.

Raclette (also Fondue) at Little Cheese Shop
That Ale by the way is called Scarlet Pimpernel in memory of Killarney man Fr Hugh O'Flaherty who saved 6,500 people during WW2. A glass of the regular Golden Spear Blonde Ale also got the thumbs up.

The Taste Trail at the annual Dingle Food Festival is one of the very best. The quantity of choice is amazing as close to 80 outlets take part, officially! And the quality, while it can vary, is mostly of a very high standard, sometimes really top class. And the value per bite is incredible. A book of  tickets can be bought at any of the participating outlets and in the festival office and then you can go and sample wine, beer, whiskey, fish, meat, pizza, desserts and more.

We enjoyed our few hours on the trail on Saturday afternoon and had some memorable stops, particularly at Fenton’s, Out of the Blue and finally at An Canteen. There was a big delay at our first port of call as the Fish Bar on the Marina seemed surprised by the massive crowd that turned up for their Tandoori Prawns on a skewer.
Waiting at the fabulous Global Village
But there was no problems with queues elsewhere. Yes, there were queues for sure but all moved quickly along. There was one other disappointment though in that the Liam O’Neill/Derry Clarke charity event at O'Neill's art studio was unavoidably confined to Sunday.

Fenton’s had a massive line, out on to Green Street, through the full length of the restaurant, right into to the back garden. But it moved along nicely and soon we were sitting down eating a couple of delightful organic Dexter Beef sliders and then sipping a Sloe Gin Royale Pink Fizz.

The drink was a mix of gin, made from locally foraged sloes, and prosecco. A wee amount of the red gin was poured in first, and then the prosecco was added to change the colour to pink. But the big kick remained in the bottom of the flute and that last mouthful was an ambush of liquid delight! By the way, all this (beef plus fizz) cost us six tickets (12 euro worth).
Music on the trail
More top class stuff to eat and drink at Out of the Blue. They had a few choices but we went for the two ticket option: Roasted halibut fillet with steamed smoked cod, rocket and toasted hazelnut pesto, roasted red pepper and garlic pesto, and celeriac mash. And that was washed down with a small glass of Verdejo (just one ticket).

The Boatyard next door had their tables out in the sun and here we stuck with the fish theme, a lightly spiced Fish Curry.
Fenton's (top) and
Out of the Blue


Up along Green Street after that and down Main Street heading for Orchard Lane to see the Trade It exhibition that featured producers from all over Europe, from Poland, Finland, Spain, UK and Ireland and more. It was scheduled for 2.30 to 4.30, but my jaw dropped when we arrived at 3.30 and found an empty tent. It had all finished up. I had really been looking forward to that.

Still there were plenty of market stalls in the Lane and we had a few samples of various foods, including a marvellous Goats Cheese from Helen of Knockdrinna. And then we had a little bonus when Chef Marc Murphy of the Dingle Cookery School gave a demo (how to cook hake) at their stand.

Next, we headed for An Canteen and that hilarious meeting with the Irish Mammy!



Mark Murphy demo