Kells Bay Gardens & Sala Thai Café
|Views over Dingle Bay. The largest palm tree in Ireland, |
There be dinosaurs!
Kells Bay Gardens is one of Europe's premier horticultural experiences, containing a renowned collection of Tree-ferns and other exotic plants growing in its unique microclimate created by the Gulf Stream. They overlook dramatic views of Dingle Bay and are filled with a variety of rare sub-tropical plants.
The gardens are owned by Billy Alexander and you may recall he won the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal in 2021. Tree Ferns and many other rare and unusual exotic plants are for sale here, including some for the smaller garden.
The dinosaurs have long been a feature here and now some new ones are popping up in the gardens; you could well see one being created! Listen for the roar, the roar of the saw that is!
If you have your own little dinosaurs with you, they'll be hungry. And Kells Bay has them covered and their carers of course (even if you leave the little darlings at home). The Sala Thai has a number of dining options available, snacks outside, light meals in the café and something a little more formal in the restaurant.
We lunched there in the conservatory café and enjoyed a platter of a selection of five starters: Gai (Chicken) Satay on skewers; Popia Tod (vegetable spring rolls with plum sauce); Goong Hom Pa (Deep fried prawns with sweet chilli sauce); Tod Man Khao Pod (deep fried corn cakes); and Kia Nom Phang na Goong (Thai prawn toast). Quite a mixture, full of flavour, and served with excellent peanut and sweet chilli sauces.
They also have an Aromatic Duck platter for sharing. And of course, you can have individual starters. And no shortage of main course either, lots of them based on Stir-Fry Dishes, Noodle Dishes, Fried Rice, Curries and more.
With a dinner coming up that evening, we skipped the mains and headed straight for the desserts. Two caught our attention and we very much enjoyed the Lychees served in a light syrup with ice, caught the eye and was very enjoyable as well and also the Guay Tod Nampueng (homemade crispy banana fritters in coconut batter, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds).
Back to the gardens after the grub! They are divided into a number of sections including The Palm and Succulent Garden, The Ladies Walled Garden, The Primeval Forest, The Bamboo Glade, The River Ramble and The Waterfall Walk.
The Waterfall Walk was a favourite of ours during our visit early this month but the one we'll remember most was the Skywalk, Ireland's longest rope-bridge at 120 feet. Opened in 2017, it spans the Delligeenagh River at a height of 36 feet. And it shakes like a real Himalayan bridge should! Enjoy.
Lots to explore on the various walks. And if you'd like to stay here for a night and resume your walks in the morning that too can be arranged as Kellys Bay Gardens has quite a choice of rooms on offer. Check this and more out here.