Friday, October 6, 2023

Superb Garryvoe Hotel lunch, followed by a walk on the beach

Superb Garryvoe Hotel lunch, 

followed by a walk on the beach

Their famous Prawn Cocktail

The forecast for the upcoming Saturday promised an unseasonal 20 degrees plus. I looked out the window on the Tuesday before and thought to myself it is blue sky and sun now. Why wait until Saturday?

Ardsallagh, on a different level!

We headed east making the Bayview our port of call. But got a sinking feeling as we pulled in and soon found it was closed. No panic. Headed off towards its big sister at Garryvoe and soon found ourselves sitting in the very bright comfortable Lighthouse Bistro, the day-to-day restaurant here in this lovely hotel. We have also enjoyed some delicious meals in the more exclusive Samphire, their prime dining venue.

Marvellous crumble!

Sipped a Jameson Black Barrel as I read the menu that led with three specials Chef's Roast (*beef, we were told) with Red Wine Jus; Daily Catch (salmon) with Lemon & Chive Cream; and 
Golden Fried Haddock, all served with Creamy Potato Puree and Vegetables of the Day.

Moved on down the line to some lighter dishes, soups, toasties, wraps, salads and so on and made out choices there. We are big fans of Ardsallagh and CL picked the Crostini, with Ardsallagh Goats Cheese & Spicy Ballymaloe Relish and Squashed Cannellini Beans with Garlic and tomatoes. Top marks for this combo, really high quality, especially the cheese, the famous relish and the beans, all for €10.80.

Sticky. Sweet!

No shortage of options and some humming and hawing before I ordered their speciality: “Our Famous Dublin Bay Prawn Cocktail, Crisp Gem Lettuce, Sauce Maire Rose® & Our Homemade Brown Bread”. (€18.00). Not your usual stuffed glass full of large rubbery prawns but a free form and generous serving in a bowl. Absolutely gorgeous, including the salad and the sauce and two slices of their really excellent brown bread.

We were in good form after these two dishes and desserts (all €7.50) were ordered! CL is a bit of an expert and gave their Warm Oat & Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice-Cream a big thumbs up, one of the best for sure (I did manage to beg a mouthful!). As it was, I was just as happy with my decadent choice of the Sticky Toffee & Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream.

Said goodbye to the lovely crew that served us and headed out to the sun and the beach, promising we’d be back!

The hotel from well out on the beach.

Life's a beach

There are two longish walks that I like in East Cork, both by cliffs, one in Ballycotton, the other in Knockadoon. Each has an island but only Ballycotton has a lighthouse. Thereby hangs a tale.

The original site chosen in 1846 was on Capel Island near Knockadoon. The wreck of the famous paddle steamer Sirius just west of Ballycotton Island in 1847 with great loss of life caused a rethink and a decision was made to stop building on Capel and build two lighthouses, one on Ballycotton Island and the other on Mine Head, Co. Waterford.

Ballycotton Lighthouse has been operating for over 170 years and up to 30 years ago was manned by lighthouse keepers. There are tours available to the lighthouse and other trips in the area. See, the source of the info above for more information.

Starlings in the sun

The walk in the gorgeous warming October sunshine along the Garryvoe beach, after our excellent lunch, set me thinking about the lighthouse - well, it is pretty prominent and I knew I read somewhere that they had started building one on Capel. So back home, I “did the Google”. Very much enjoyed that walk by the way. Don’t think I've ever seen the buildings by the lighthouse so clear and sharp from that distance. 

In between, a trawler moved in parallel with the beach and more than likely some of that catch ended up on local menus such as Cush (Michelin Bibbed), Ballymaloe House and the two hotels at either side of Ballycotton Bay, the Bayview and Garryvoe. By the way, if ever you see plaice on the menu in either of the two hotels, then you’re in luck, especially if it is cooked by Ciaran Scully at the Bayview!

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