Monday, January 17, 2022

An East Cork One-Two. Hard to Beat This Walk and Eat! Beaches and lunch at Castlemartyr Carewswood Café

An East Cork One-Two. Hard to Beat

This Walk and Eat!

Lime & Chilli Chicken Salad

Beaches and lunch at Castlemartyr Carewswood Café

Some great sunny days last week and on one of them we headed east to Ballinwilling beach, between Garryvoe and Redbarn. Plan was to have a long walk and then call for lunch to the Carewswood Garden Centre between Ladysbridge and Castlemartyr.

Ballinwilling. Redbarn is around the corner.

It didn’t quite to go plan but did work out very well. The tide was well in at Ballinwilling, leaving very little room for walkers unless you came equipped with wellies. We did a bit but soon retreated and drove the few minutes to Garryvoe. 


Of course the tide was well in there too but we walked on the beachside path and after that, to the west, there was a long stretch of sand up and beyond the entrance to the next beach (Ardnahinch). The last of the cloud has vanished as well and we and the four-legged friend enjoyed the hour or so, taking in the fresh air, the views (out to the Ballycotton Lighthouse on its island) and the sounds of the birds and the sea.

Island in the sun.

The appetite was well warmed up by the time we got back to the car. A few minutes later we were in Ladysbridge and soon turning right to Carewswood which is just off the R632. Got a bit of a shock to see the large car park more than half full at 12.05pm or thereabouts. “I should have had booked,” I said. But no worries. They had plenty of space in the two room cafe, no problem with social distancing and they took the details.

Getting a deserved drink from his new water dispenser.

They were just changing over from the breakfast to the lunch menu and we opted for the latter and a table in the sunny outer room. Lots of openings to the fresh air here, including a couple of sets of doors. It was warm enough to dispense with the coats as we studied the menu, quite an extensive one as it turned out, featuring soups, salads, sandwiches and hot dishes plus a short wine list.

Chipotle Chicken Burger

I picked Chef Pawel’s daily special: Chipotle Chicken Bap, with smashed avocado and mixed leaves, served with rustic fries (€14.95). CL, also on a spicy kick, went for one of the salads: Lime and Chilli warm chicken salad, fire roasted peppers, smashed ago, vine tomato and jalapeño salsa, Blanco Nino tortilla, lettuce and yogurt (13.95).

The airy outer dining room

Both dishes were excellent and in each case, the main element, the chicken was of a really high standard and delicious. CL’s bowl looked huge but, aside from the fairly hard crisps, made short work of it. I also had quite a feed both in term of quality and quantity but the walks on the beaches had certainly tuned up the appetites and it was two well satisfied customers that walked out into the sunny afternoon. 

Ready for the coming season

Not too many customers around the garden centre itself at the moment but the staff are busily engaged in preparing for the season ahead. They have quite a reputation here and indeed that very evening I was chatting to a gardening enthusiast from Dublin who said: “Glad to hear Carewswood is doing so well, I really like it. Aside from the food, their plants are better than anyone else’s and the prices are reasonable.” So there you are, another reason to visit lovely East Cork! 

* They pride themselves on ‘honest food with no artificial colourings or preservatives and serve a range of delicious freshly baked goods and local artisan and organic foods’. Good to see local producers supported. The salmon is from Ballycotton while Gubbeen, Blanco Niño, and bakers Pana are among the producers mentioned. 

Looking well, as always. The Garryvoe Hotel.

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