Gallery Café in Gort & Coole ParkHalfway Haven
If you're heading from the south to the west or north-west, to the Burren, to Galway, Mayo (Knock for instance), Sligo, or Connemara, or indeed coming in the other direction, then Gort is a good place to stop and refuel and nearby Coole Park a lovely place to stretch those legs.
And speaking of re-fueling, why not try the colourful Galley Café in the Square in Gort. You might just get a parking spot outside the door. And you’ll certainly get a warm welcome inside. If you've kids with you, they’ll have about a dozen pizzas to choose from.
And if you see them heading to the toilets more than usual, relax as they have discovered the fish tank built into the floor! You'll probably be taking a look at at the original art on the wall - the exhibition changes every few weeks.
But you've come here for the food - they do lunch and dinner but note they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. We were there for lunch recently, on our way back to Cork from Connemara, and can heartily recommend the lively two room café.
CL picked the quiche which featured the well known, well loved, St Tola cheese from Clare in a delicious quiche (€9.00) with spinach and pine-nuts, organic salad and pumpkin seed bread.
My choice was the Middle Eastern Lamb Mezze (12.00), with cannelloni hummus, beetroot hummus, quinoa, olives, carrots, feta and orange salad and rye bread. Colourful and absolutely gorgeous.
A lovely lively spot with very friendly service and they also do the excellent Badger and Dodo Coffee. But we postponed the coffee until after our walk in nearby Coole Park (you probably know of the poem The Wild Swans at Coole) associated with Lady Gregory and a whole flock of well known Irish writers
The park is free to enter and there is a nice little café there, with an outside area for the summer. We read our way around the Visitor Centre (also free), also looked at some of the videos and artefacts before we headed out for a walk in the park.
The walled garden is still standing but not, alas, the house. It was donated to the state in the 1920s but was allowed fall into ruin before being demolished. All that remains now is the plinth on which it stood.
|The autograph tree|
Highlight of the walled garden is an autograph tree, a copper beech that is engraved with initials of many of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival who were personal friends of Lady Gregory including William Butler Yeats, Douglas Hyde, George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge and Sean O'Casey.
|No. 11 is So'C (Sean O'Casey)|
No. 10, hard to see, is WBY (William Butler Yeats)
The Gallery Cafe
Tel: (091) 630 630
|Ecosculpture by Tom Meskell from brash left behind after|
the clearfell of non-native conifers