Showing posts with label Lismore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lismore. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.

Ardmore. A Gem on the Waterford Coast.
Breakfast at Cliff House
Ardmore is a gem on the Waterford coast. Fortunately, one the generous Deise folks don't mind sharing. Generations of people from neighbouring counties have made Ardmore their summer destination for its beaches, history, walks and the nearby mountains.


We headed there last Friday, the fabulous Cliff House Hotel above the village our final destination. But, as usual, we had a few stops and detours. First halt was in Youghal. It is not looking its best at the moment and hopefully the paint and brushes will be out and used before the season starts.
Ardmore

But there is no shortage of eating places here, well known like Aherne’s or newer and more casual such as Clancy’s. We were looking for a light lunch and Sage (not related to the restaurant of the same name in Midleton) had been recommended. It was bright and busy and I enjoyed my quiche and salad there. Details here.

Plan then was head to Helvic and work our way back through the Rinn gaeltacht. The fishing boats gathered in the harbour were a bit like some of the shops in Youghal, looking the worse for wear, but then the boats and the seaside towns (there are still sandbags in Youghal) have been through some horrendous weather in recent months and we are all hoping for better to come

Youghal

It was sunny and windy when we arrived in Helvick and now the rain made its appearance. So we wasted little time as we drove through Sean Phobal and so on, past the familiar beach at Ballyquin and on to Ardmore itself and up to the Cliff where a warm welcome awaited,a brolly held open even as we stepped from the car (a hint of the excellent service to come).


Soon we were installed in our room with a view and quickly made our way to the fabulous swimming pool, equipped with sauna and steam room and which also enjoys a great view over the bay.


Helvick

When the rain died down, we walked down to the town (to work up an appetite!) and made a loop back that took us past the famous round tower built in the 12th century. St Declan was here in the 5th century and his name is associated with some of the walks. Many (including a loop around the cliffs) start by the hotel and the staff there will give you all the information you need and indeed will provide a guide if necessary.


Your excursions from Ardmore needn't be confined to the coast. You may head for the nearby mountains. Mahon Falls is one of the attractions up there. If you want to do some shopping, then Cork and Waterford are each about an hour away while the lively towns of Lismore (for its castle and heritage centre) and Dungarvan are much closer.
Lismore

The Cliff House has some fantastic facilities though the outdoor dining areas were out of bounds last weekend! Do take time to explore. You will find quite a few books in your room but there are many more in the spacious and comfortable library which has one of the best views because of its height. The hotel is also unusual in that when you enter from the parking area, you are already on the fifth floor!


We enjoyed a memorable dinner there that Friday (details here). It was dark at that stage so we weren't able to take in the view but we did get it in the morning at breakfast, a very enjoyable breakfast I might add. In between, there was a call to the bar. An extensive menu of drinks here, as you'd expect, and delighted to see a terrific selection of Irish craft beers (and cider) on the list.
View from Cliff House room

Saturday was quite a decent day and we headed east to Portlaw (Waterford) and Turkstown (Kilkenny) to visit relations. Indeed, we visited Kilkenny, Waterford and then Tipperary in quick succession as we made our way home via Clonmel, Cahir and the M8. Only problem: what would we eat for dinner? The answer was in the freezer, the second portion of a curry made with Green Saffron’s Tikka cook-in sauce. Not quite Michelin! But just perfect.  

Looking towards Ardmore from Cliff House library






Monday, August 13, 2012

Lunch Treat at O’Brien Chop House


Lunch Treat at O’Brien Chop House
 Having worked up an appetite during an amazing sunny morning on The Vee, we dropped down to Lismore and sought out O’Brien’s Chop House for lunch. Best decision of a very good day in the area! The lunch, in the garden, was top drawer. Local food - they get their meat from McGrath’s on the main street - served simply, as they say themselves. Simply superb!
 We got a lovely greeting from Richard Reeve and his friendly and efficient staff and were soon at our table, under the dappled shade of the garden trees. A really smashing facility and what a pity it hasn’t seen very much use this grey summer. Still, they have plenty of seats indoors and indeed many were taken up for lunch.


One of our starters was the Apple & celery salad with toasted hazelnuts, Cashel Blue and a yoghurt dressing (€7.90). It wasn't mine but I did get a few samples and it was gorgeous, a brilliant combination of textures and flavours, really well balanced. Very pleased too with my own choice: Ballyvolane saddleback pork terrine with pistachio and pickles (€8.90). Looked well and tasted well.

We both agreed on the main course: fillet of Hake with sea vegetables and a lemon/butter sauce (€21.90). The Hake was cooked to perfection and the sauce and vegetables were an apt accompaniment. The sea vegetables were brilliant, comfortably crunchy and with a robust taste. Oh and we also got some tasty spuds! Highly recommended, if you get the chance.




With the sun beating down, the rosé was always a likely wine choice. O’Brien’s have a gem: Artadi Artazuri Garnacha 2010  from Navarra, €7.25 per glass, also available in 150ml pitcher, 250ml pitcher and full bottle.

But the drinks highlight for us was the Elderflower Bellini (€7.95). The Prosecco provided bubbles galore and there are inviting scents and flavours via the Elderflowers. Well worth a try!


Saw the Badger and Dodo  logo in the bar on the way in, so guessed the coffee would be good. It sure was, sterling stuff. Excellent way to finish off an excellent meal.