Showing posts with label Manning's Emporium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Manning's Emporium. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Islands in the Sun. Ferries and Food in West Cork

Islands in the Sun
Ferries and Food in West Cork
 It was sunshine all the way for last week's two day excursion to West Cork. It looks as if there is no shortage of sunshine this week either.


Once we knew the weather was “settled” we determined to re-visit two islands, Garnish near Glengarriff and Sherkin near Baltimore. West Cork of course has many more islands and most have a ferry service. Check here for island and ferry details and do look out also for the Ten Island Tour.

Our base was the Celtic Ross in Rosscarbery but Garnish was our first destination so we took the R585 via Crookstown and headed off down on the old Bantry line. On reaching Kealkil, where our road joins the R584 from Macroom, we felt the need for a quick pit-stop as we did have a specific time for the boat from Glengarriff.


Italian Garden on Garnish
At the junction we spotted a board saying Cully & Sully Soup and Brown Bread for three euro. The Gala shop, also the Post Office, is right there and, within minutes, on the seats outside, we were tucking in to a tasty lunch, great value too.

On then to Glengarriff where we caught the ferry (€10.00) from the Blue Pool to Garnish. But first there were a couple of stops to see the many seals basking on the rocks around Seal Island. Lots of close-ups taken!

Garnish (€4.00 entrance) is an amazing mixture of gardens, arboretums, clock tower, Italianate buildings, even a Martello tower and will look even better in the weeks and months ahead as the trees, shrubs and flowers put on their summer show. Great views too over the bay and mountains.
Dessert at the Clonakilty Hotel
Back then on the ferry, and again a stop, this to say goodbye to the seals. Next call was to Manning's Emporium for a cool drink and a chat with Andrew. Manning’s will of course feed you, and feed you well, but we had a dinner date that evening. Soon we were making our way through Bantry and Skibbereen and then we got a lovely warm welcome as we checked into the spick and span Celtic Ross.

That evening’s dinner was in the restaurant of the Clonakilty Hotel, very enjoyable too. Afterwards we spent a hour or so in the Celtic Ross bar sipping a pint or two of Franciscan Well’s Rebel Red, available on draught.

After a hearty breakfast we were off on another island trip, making the short journey to Baltimore to connect with the ferry (€10.00) to Sherkin Island. We thought we'd be the only passengers until a large bus parked up and some forty Italian students joined us. You’d be hard pressed to find a more well mannered, well behaved bunch.
Horses graze on Sherkin.
 Like Garnish, Sherkin is noted for its peace and quiet. Some good walks too that we enjoyed though again the place will look better in a month or so when the fuchsias are in full bloom. We made our way back towards the ferry point as lunch time approached and called up to the nearby Islander’s Rest where we got one (well two) of the best fish and chips ever. Hake was used and it was so well cooked.


I don't know how many of you know about the pirate raid on Baltimore by Algerian pirates in June 1631 when 107 locals were taken away to be sold into slavery and never seen again. You can read all about it and indeed see some artifacts of the time in the newly restored Baltimore Castle (also known as Dún na Séad). More history too in this recently restored building that started life in the 13th century. An interesting visit (€4.00) and from the top you get terrific views over the town and the harbour.


Beach on Sherkin
Off then towards Rosscarbery again, this time via the villages of Glandore and Union Hall (where you see from the memorial to those drowned at sea that it isn't always as nice as it had been to us these two sunny days).

Dinner that evening was taken in the hotel dining room. With chefs of the calibre of Graeme Campbell and Alex Petit, we were expecting good things and that’s exactly what we got. The highlight was my main course of local pork belly served with a White Bean and Chorizo cassoulet. The pork comes from the Allshire’s nearby and is only available here. Well worth a detour.


Fish & Chips at Islander's Rest
 Indeed, our final visit on the following day was to Caherbeg to see the free-range pigs and have a chat with Avril about her busy life in food. It turned out to be a lovely visit, memorable for many things, including a lunch of her special Black-pudding lasagna! And the sun was still shining as we headed east and back to the city.
Somebody's shopping arriving on Sherkin!





Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Two Special Days in West Cork. Bantry a Perfect Base

Two Special Days in West Cork
Bantry a Perfect Base
Bantry Library in the morning sun
Just back after two spectacular days in West Cork, two days when the sun shone non-stop. I drove through picture perfect scene after picture perfect scene: the sensational azure blue of the ocean and inlets, the bright yellow of the furze bushes. Just perfect. Lots of brown too, a relic of the winter, yet even that contained the promise of coiled up green waiting to shoot out to enhance and complete the picture in the weeks and months ahead.


First stop was Ballinascarthy, to take a look at the cross-roads memorial to Henry Ford, a full size model of the car-maker’s famous Model T. The slogan for this car, and for the stout of the same name now being sold by Black's Brewery of Kinsale, is: You may have any colour you like, provided it is black! The nailed-down Ballinascarthy model though is not black but a shiny silver. I suppose not too many would stop it were black.


Dunlough Bay
Next stop was the seaside village of  Schull with its lovely setting between Mount Gabriel and the sea. And just by the car park over the harbour, you'll find a cafe called Cois Cuain, perfect for a snack and, a tip, they have fantastic coffee here, Maher’s of course.

We continued west - we weren't taking the direct route to Bantry! Soon we were passing through Ballydehob and then lovely Goleen, heading for Mizen Head, Ireland’s most south-westerly point. A temporary cloud changed the light just as we arrived but the visit was brilliant. If you go out to the lighthouse - there is a reasonable fee - be sure and take the fenced path (with helpful hand-rails) up to where you can see the spectacular Dunlough Bay, probably even more spectacular on a bad day.
Model T
Time then to head to Bantry, via Durrus. Our base was the Maritime Hotel. And an excellent place it is, with very courteous staff, from reception, to bar to breakfast. Comfortable spacious rooms here, all with a view over the harbour. And breakfast is good. There is a hot buffet but here it is regularly refreshed. And you have the usual juices, meats and cheese too, and breads of course. No shortage at all. The long low rise hotel has its own underground car park and that, with a lift up to reception, is very convenient. Recommended.

There was a still an hour or two left of the afternoon and the regular Friday market was winding down as we strolled up the huge impressive square where statues of St Brendan and Wolfe Tone stand.
Barleycove, on the way to Mizen Head
We were heading for the Evans sweet shop (great photo here by Nicolas O'Donnell), a shop that is one hundred years old. We joined the small queue. The woman just ahead of us was buying hard liquorice sweets for “a suck” that night. Then three young girls were next but they very courteously indicated that we should be take their place in the line. We declined but, seeing the kids were possibly still making up their minds on what sweets to buy, we did take up the option.

After a lovely chat with Jennifer who has been here for many years, we decided to buy some clove rock cubes.  “They are very fresh,” she said. And so we left with  a small bag, nostalgia for just a euro. We should probably have bought more as she had a great choice of old time sweets including Bon Bons, Raspberry and Custard, Pear Drops and more.
Market in the square in Bantry
Dinner, and a good one it was, that evening was in the Fish Kitchen. They are building their craft beer list there and we sampled a few and, later, across the street at Ma Murphy’s Pub - you go through the grocery store to get to the bar - we enjoyed some draft Green Bullet by the Mountain Man. Back in the lovely bar at the hotel, with a singer (Neil Young and JJ Cale songs mainly) on duty, I had a very impressive bottle of Galway Hooker Pale Ale. Great label design on that one.

The morning was cool enough as I strolled out to the pier and had a chat with a guy stacking full fertiliser bags in readiness for the Whiddy Island ferry. Then we drove off up the road to Manning’s Emporium in Ballylickey where Andrew told us of their plans for the season ahead, exciting plans too with an expanded restaurant service (serving local produce) and Culture Kitchen tours on the horizon with Val Manning as guide (should be fun!). We’ll bring you more details shortly when arrangements are further advanced.

Nostalgia for a euro
After the coffee, it was back to the car and on the road west. More of the spectacular blue water as we passed through sunny Glengarriff and headed for Adrigole and the Healy Pass. We stopped halfway up the winding road and immediately a car that had been behind us pulled in and the man got out and asked us if we needed help.

Healy Pass
Copper mines reminder
We didn't, we were just going to take a few photos. But then quite a chat ensued and question after question followed and I reckon he found out more about us - ages, children, and more - than any internet investigator would. The elderly man, a local sheep farmer, was also volunteering info about himself and we enjoyed the chat. Soon, he was back in his car and speeding up the windy road, leaving us well behind!
At the top, we paused again, this time for quite a while to drink in the amazing views of the mountains, the lakes and the sea inlets beyond. Amazing place. Then we dropped down into Kerry for a while before turning left on the Ring of Beara Road and back into Cork. And one word of advice. Do take that windy, up and down road that hugs the coast and do stop and enjoy the views.

 We passed through Eyeries and Allihies (above) and their colourful houses. Near Allihies, you’ll see remains of the copper mining industry and there is a museum and cafe in the village (it opens from April). And, of course, that amazing blue was out there to our right all the time, the frame changing from bend to bend. Our final stop was in Castletownbere itself and here we walked along the pier where many large fishing boats, not all of them Irish, were docked.

Ring of Beara
 Time now to begin the journey home, retracing our steps back to Ballylickey and then taking the road that takes you through Céim an Fhia, Ballingeary, Inchigeela and its lakes, past Toonsbridge and its famous buffalo and dairy/shop, past the magnificent Gearagh and onto the Macroom-Cork road.
Boats in Bantry
 Hunger was setting in now and we turned left to Macroom and the Church Lane restaurant. We had a lovely early dinner here and saw that they too have craft beer on sale, including one from the local 9 White Deer Brewery. Irish craft beer is certainly on the up.


About forty minutes later, we were back in the city after a brilliant two days in the west!



Our Bantry base
See also: Bantry's Fish Kitchen

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

24 hours in Kenmare

24 hours in Kenmare
View of Kenmare Bay from the Sea Shore guesthouse
An unexpected call led to a quick decision to head for Kenmare for a recent overnight stay. No rush on the way down so we took the “long” route: lunch at Manning’s Emporium and a trip around the Beara Peninsula.


Kenmare Bay
The Sea Shore, a well named guesthouse, just about a mile from the town, was to be our overnight base. We got a terrific welcome from Owen on check-in and a welcome cup of tea before we even thought to ask for it. Met his wife Mary Patricia at breakfast in the morning, quite a breakfast I might add, and she filled us in on places to visit and so on.
Kenmare town
Of course, we had been out the night before for a meal, this at the well known Lime Tree. Many of you will know of this restaurant over the years but did you know that it is now owned and run by one of its former chefs Michael Casey?
The Lime Tree
It remains a top class dinner venue. My starter was the Oak Smoked Kenmare  Salmon with celeriac and apple remoulade and a caper and red onion salsa. Excellent also was the Warm Sneem Black Pudding salad, served with crispy fried potato cubes, apple compote and blackberry vinaigrette.

Duo of lamb
On then to the mains. Mine was the superb eye-catching Duo of Lamb: a mini shepherd’s pie (served in its own pot) and a rack of locally sourced Kerry lamb with a confit of garlic and thyme juice, all served on a board. The other main course was also top notch, also so well cooked, and it was Pan-fried breast of Skeaghanore free range duck with a rhubarb and ginger chutney, apple and a cassis jus.

On the following morning we visited Bonane Heritage Park which is crammed full of archaeological sites of all descriptions, including a Stone Circle and a Ring Fort, all within easy walking distance. Amazing.

Nearby also is the Lorge Chocolatier and that also is worth a visit. Soon we had a bag full of chocolates, nougats, marmalade, honey and other foods. All great, though I didn't realise 'til later that the honey came in a plastic jar!



We didn’t touch the chocolate at that point as we had a lunch date at the Boathouse in Dromquinna. This restaurant is on the northern bank of Kenmare Bay, quite a setting. It is a lovely spot and they do excellent food there. The same menu runs from 12.30pm until closing.

CL very much enjoyed her starter portion of  Mussels in a gorgeous white wine cream sauce while I was delighted with the Potted Crab Mayonnaise, with crispy capers and tortilla chips. Off to a good start then.

Next up for me was the mains portion of mussels and I wasn't disappointed. CL’s choice was the seared fillet of Hake and this too was top notch, looked very well and tasted even better. 

Just time for dessert then (before heading to Killarney for a family visit) and this was the spectacular Boathouse Knickerbocker Glory. Try it sometime! And do try Kenmare, well worth a visit, even if for just twenty four hours.



Stone circle at Bonane



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On the way west? Fill up at Manning's!

If you're heading for the Healy Pass, call to Manning's in Ballylickey to fuel up.
Full story and more pics here

Friday, March 25, 2011

FRIDAY’S FOOD SHORTS

FRIDAY’S FOOD SHORTS

It's back! The return of the famous (or infamous) Mannings Emporium Food & Drink Fair, will take place on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June. Mark it in your diary for a fun filled weekend of food and drink tastings, live music, cookery demonstrations, food quizes and much more.
Gourmet food shop, deli & cafe.

Manning's at Blarney Farmers Market
Manning's is a West Cork " food mecca with the best artisan produce in the area, wide selection of irish and continental farmhouse cheeses, a range of wines from around the world and an array of other artisan goodies!" Open daily 9am - 7pm. More info here  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mannings-Emporium/125428607483109

Nash19Cork, perhaps my favourite day-tiem restaurant in Cork also have a fantastic shop. One of the latest products here is Organic Belgooly Buttermilk from John and Mary Cronins Farm. "We used it in our pancakes"...http://fb.me/KjFBQDu3

Ben & Jerry’s newest flavourCoconUtterly Fair has mouth-watering chocolate ice cream with a rich coconut swirl and chocolate covered caramel crunch clusters. In 2010, Ben & Jerry’s announced it would convert all of its ice cream to 100% Fairtrade, by using fully Fairtrade ingredients by year-end 2011 and the crew are right on track with CoconUtterly Fair.

Made with four Fairtrade Certified ingredients including vanilla from Madagascar, sugar from Belize and cocoa from the Dominican Republic, Coconutterly Fair is certainly the fairest of them all. On top of that, Ben & Jerry’s need for Fairtrade Certified coconut provided the first Fairtrade customer for Acopagro, a Peruvian farmer cooperative. That’s sure to leave a sweet taste in your mouth!

Inch House, Country House & RestaurantHello everyone, What a great week for Inch House. We have just found out we have won a Bronze medal for our Black pudding at the Boudin Festival in France last weekend. We are absolutely thrilled!!! Well done everyone!”