Showing posts with label walks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label walks. Show all posts

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Budds Ballydehob for Lunch. Sandwiched between a couple of climbs!

Budds Ballydehob for Lunch.

Sandwiched between a couple of climbs!
Ant activity near Three Castles Head
When I knew I was heading for Schull, I put getting up to Mount Gabriel on top of my list. But, on Saturday morning, we headed south instead from the village with the Three Castles Head the immediate objective. Gabriel would have to wait until the afternoon!

Three Castles Head is in the Mizen area. Having passed through Goleen, you come to a cross where your turn left for Mizen Head and straight ahead for Three Castles Head (which is also signed). There was a cycle race on the road so the trip was very slow.
The Three Castles

You will come to Dunlough Bay and a rough car park. Open (and close) the farm gate and follow the few well placed arrows. Firstly, the walk is on a path across fields and then it gets a little (just) rougher. 

You’ll pass the white buildings, including the cafe, named after the head and open only in summer. A notice requests a voluntary contribution (3 euro is suggested) as you pass through a narrow gate on the farm.
Mizen Head in the distance

I didn't time the walk, but after 25 minutes or so, the three castles will come into view, suddenly. Their situation is quite spectacular and you also have great views over the nearby ocean and into Dunmanus Bay. The three ruins are known collectively as Dunlough Castle and are located at the most westerly point of the Mizen Peninsula in West Cork. You have excellent views also over Mizen Head including its lighthouse structure.

You may continue your walk up and beyond the castles, up towards a cairn on top of one of the peaks. Some detail via an Irish Times article here.  I did go up a little beyond the castle before turning back.

It was coming close to lunchtime but reluctantly I passed the café which had been highly recommended by locals. I had promised myself I'd call to Budds in Ballydehob who, as one of Cork’s cafés of character, were supporting the Cork Summer Bounty Week.

A group of cyclists were having lunch here too so it was busy enough. I read the specials and my server pointed out that most of their produce was local. I picked the salad which featured Lea’s baby carrots and squash, Macroom buffalo ricotta, on a bed of local mixed leaves with beetroot and balsamic purée, walnut and Portobello mushroom.

The carrot was rather a big baby but quite a tasty one, the mushroom was superb as was the ricotta and all the leaves were as fresh as could be. All in all, a lovely summer lunch. CL also hit the jackpot with the Wagyu Beef burger, with local black and white pudding, and smoked Gubbeen cheese. An expresso later and we were on our way to another climb!

We checked with the tourist office as to the best road in to the foot of 407 metre high Mount Gabriel (you can drive to the top) and the man on duty was delighted to tell us as he lives in the area. The “mountain” is well-known for its two radar domes (aviation tracking) on top and lesser known for the fact that, in ancient times, copper mining was carried out here.
From top of Gabriel
Every time I've seen it while in Schull, I had imagined the views from its would be great. Now I was on my way and while some low cloud had intervened the views were still stunning even if the domes and their fences are not and could do with a spruce up.

Back then to our lovely guesthouse, Stanley House, for a break and a shower before heading out for more food!


On the way to Three Castles Head

Friday, May 15, 2015

Staying at Blairscove House. A Perfect Place.

Staying at Blairscove House

A Perfect Place.
West Cork’s Sheep’s Head Peninsula is a special place to visit and in Blairscove House (above) you have a rather special place to stay.

And being in Durrus, it  is a convenient location not just for Sheep’s Head but also for Mizen Head, Bantry, Glengarriff, and the Ring of Beara including the stunning Healy Pass. So much, so close.

Blairscove House is discreetly situated on a small hill overlooking Dunmanus Bay. No nightclubs in the immediate vicinity but if it's peace and quiet you want after a meal at the beautiful restaurant, you’ll get it, maybe sipping a final glass as the sun goes down in front of you.
Above & below: Views from the Loft
There is a choice of accommodation, for couples and families. The owners themselves live in the big blue house which also contains the reservation office. Some of the apartments have views both to the sea and to the landscaped courtyard that often serves as the centerpiece for weddings here.


On our recent visit, we stayed in the Loft, ideal for a couple. It is part of the core complex, sea out front, courtyard at the other side. And, very conveniently, it is just a short flight of steps down to the restaurant! Like all the units, it is very modern, and is fully equipped for self catering and for B & B. We were there for just one night but could have stayed a lot longer!

No shortage of equipment here - we could have done all our own cooking! There was a welcome complimentary drink of sherry. In addition, champagne and white wine were in the fridge and a red in the cupboard; water and milk too!

Breakfast is part of the deal at The Loft as it is in some of the other rentals. The menu is there for you, so you choose one from each of four groups (juice, cereal, “main course”, and tea or coffee), leave it in the restaurant or post in the Cow postbox in the evening, giving the time you want it at.

In the morning, the phone will ring and the breakfast lady arrives. She sets your table, lays out the dishes and your food and then you tuck in. All very convenient indeed. 

The names of the other accomodations are The Piggery, The Coach House, The Smokehouse, Blairscove Cottage and Dunmanus Pier (not adjacent to the main house). Check out the details here.

The house at Dumanus Pier has indeed a rather special situation but don't expect breakfast here as it is some eight miles away. It has its compensations as there are fantastic beaches nearby including Barley Cove and the lively village of Schull is just down the road.
Breakfast is served, top right.
Top left: Porridge, bananas, honey and cream.
Bottom left: Scrambled duck egg with Gubbeen sausage and tomato.
Bottom right: Crumpet, crushed avocado, poached egg and bacon.
The various properties are pristine today but that wasn't the case when the De Mey family took them over in the early 80s. Great credit is due to them as they have created something of a calm paradise here, an oasis in Durrus (which, with Durrus Cheese and the Good Things Cafe), is quite a food hub.


Even in paradise, and even after a hefty breakfast, man must eat of course and all the more so if you have been taking one of the many gorgeous walks on the peninsula, as we did here. And your first stop just has to be their restaurant and bar. We had the most fantastic evening meal there during our all too short stay. The end of a perfect day in a perfect place.


See also (from this trip): Dinner of Delights at Blairscove House

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Randall’s Court. A Star in Killarney.

Randall’s Court. A Star in Killarney.
National Park
Randall’s Court was my base for a recent two night stay in Killarney. Must say I was really impressed with this four star venue. Not just with its location but with the room, the staff, and the service all the way from check-in to check-out. There is some parking up by the hotel but there is an ample under-ground car park just off the road
Heavy duty curtain
 The room was top notch and so too were the well heated public spaces, no shortage of comfortable chairs and lounges. The dining room, split in two, is marvellous, really eye catching. And all over the hotel, there are paintings (even a mural in one part of the dining-room) and objects of old furniture that also catch the eye.
Hotel Terrace and view

Smoked salmon breakfast
Killarney is well situated to do the Ring of Kerry and is not too far away (75 minutes) from the fantastic Dingle peninsula. The hotel, just a few minutes’ walk from the town centre, is quite close to the National Park and its many lovely walks.
Comfort
 Didn’t get to eat dinner here but did enjoy a terrific meal in the Dromhall, the sister hotel next door. Breakfast though gave a good indication that quality and service are high here. You had everything needed for an excellent breakfast, hot or cold, even a mixture, and no shortage of friendly smiling people to help you ease in to the day.
Just in case!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Aherlow House Hotel Spanish Chef. Local Food.

Aherlow House Hotel
Spanish Chef. Local Food.
View from the dining room.

Had a mini-break recently in the spectacularly located Aherlow House Hotel and enjoyed it immensely. Great views and terrific food. Not forgetting the friendly service.

That service started and ended with the reception crew but, in between, was also seen and appreciated in the bar and the restaurant. They serve food in the bar but we went for the appropriately named Treetops Restaurant.

Its huge windows give you a massive view over the Galtee mountains to the south as does the outdoor seating area. But it also dishes out some gorgeous food, much of it supplied locally. On the evening we were there, the beef and lamb came from near neighbour Tom Lewis, the veg was supplied by Eden Growers (Tipperary Town) while the fish came from Atlantis Seafood in Kilmore Quay. Well done to Spanish chef Jose.
Clockwise from top left: Pavlova, Smoked Salmon, Cheeseboard, wine, steak,
duck with fennel, grilled Asparagus & Peppers.

Smoked salmon was available at dinner and at breakfast and that, coming from the Burren Smokehouse, was a delight. Great too to see cheese makers Gubbeen, Cashel Blue and Cooleeney represented.

I had that very Smoked Salmon, with poached Tiger Prawns and a rocket and lemon dressing, for my top drawer starter while CL was also very happy with her gorgeous Grilled Asparagus, Roast Red Peppers and Coriander dressing.

I had some of that Lewis beef in the shape of a Pan Fried Ribeye Steak with Homemade Onion Rings and Sweet Potato Chips. Tender, delicious and cooked as requested. The other mains, another winner, was Breast of Duck with roasted Fennel, Celeriac Fondant, Caramelised Pear with a Honey and Thyme Sauce. Cracking stuff.

Dessert too was well up to standard, especially that Cheeseplate, served with a Tomato and Apple chutney, Celery, Grapes and Artisan biscuits. I enjoyed my Mess of Pavlova with fresh Raspberries and Strawberries and Chantilly Cream.

And the wine came from Spain and quite good it was: La Cruz Tempranillo and Syrah, a delicious warming blend, red berries and spice, from Finca Loranque Vino de la Tierra de Castilla.

The four course meal cost €35.00 per person, set price, while the wine came in at €22.00. No wine at breakfast, but again a terrific choice, including that Burren Smoked Salmon. Terrific friendly place to stay and all very helpful with queries on the local attractions, especially the lovely walks, many of which start close to the hotel.

Click on the links to read a fuller account of the brief stay.
Glen of Aherlow  Cahir Castle  and the Swiss Cottage.