Friday, April 26, 2024

Three Days in the Kingdom. Food Diary

Three Days in the Kingdom. Food Diary 

Day 1

Smoked Haddock Beignets with Crab Mayonnaise and Pickled Cucumber at Nua Vista 

Beautiful ware by Ross Kenmare

We had three days or so to check out the eating and drinking scene in the Kingdom. Well, more like in Killarney and Kenmare. It would take much more than three days to sample the full county!

Headed off from Cork for Kenmare on a good enough day. The "new" driver made

excellent progress, aided no end by the completed Macroom by-pass. Soon, we turned onto the Kilgravan road and arrived in Kenmare.

Killarney Brewing and Distillery in Fossa.

First stop was the Nua Vista restaurant at the Ring of Kerry Golf Club near Templenoe. The restaurant, owned and managed by the Sheen Falls Hotel, enjoys a fine view over Kenmare Bay as does the golf club. But there were very few around. A shame because the food was excellent. 

The highlight was the Thornhill Confit Duck leg with Sweetcorn, Leeks, and Oyster Mushroom, perfectly cooked and presented. The Smoked Haddock Beignets with Crab Mayonnaise and Pickled Cucumber also fell into that category while the Calamari Rings with Garlic Aioli can also be recommended.

The Ring of Kerry Golf Club is on an elevated site overlooking Kenmare Bay.
Nua Vista is on the first floor - you can spot the outdoor dining area on the balcony.

My favourite salt!
Back in the few miles to Kenmare and heading for Killarney. Had almost passed Molls Gap when I realised that the Avoca shop there is one of the very few stockists of West of Dingle Sea Salt, one of the very best, in the Killarney area. Stocked up with that and our bag of other goodies also included Lady’s Kisses by the West Cork Biscuit Company, plus chocolate from Skelligs and a couple of jars by Janet (Wicklow), one with a Red Pepper Relish, the other with a Ploughman’s Relish.

Time for pause at a busy Torc Waterfall which didn’t disappoint before going out towards Fossa and a call to the impressive Killarney Brewing and Distilling Facility. Disappointment here though! I had been hoping to get a few bottles of their superb Casey Brothers Stout. But they don’t bottle it at all! I had the consolation of getting my hands on a large bottle (75cl) of their Export  Stout and a similar-sized bottle of the well-named Spailpín Fánach Saison along with regular bottles of most of their beers.

We made a quick visit to the Gap of Dunloe before heading back the road to our Aghadoe base, the Killeen House Hotel and Rozzers Restaurant. We settled in there for the evening and had an excellent dinner (including a couple of bottles of the Killarney Blond). More on that visit here.

Gap of Dunloe

Three Days in the Kingdom.  Food Diary

Day 2

Two Albarinos at the Stables.

Our second day started well with a splendid breakfast in Killeens House, highlights being their delightful Spiced Pears to start with and the “mains” of Hake with juicy cherry tomatoes.

Later that morning, we were off on that twisty road to Kenmare again, this time heading for the Sheen Falls Hotel and their new Stables Brasserie. A very impressive brasserie indeed and the food was excellent also. The lunch menu, not surprisingly, was fairly similar to that at Nua Vista. The Thornhill Confit Duck Leg was here also, this time with Savoy Cabbage, Lentils, and Smoked Bacon. Very enjoyable! 

The Stables Brasserie. Classy dining room and, below, the exterior

Quite a wine list included a non-alcoholic Albarino (7.00) by Spain’s Hollow Leg, which was enjoyed by the driver, not bad at all. The alcoholic Porto da Ria Albarino (9.50), with its crisp acidity, citrus fruits with hints of tropical fruits was lively and well-balanced and a long way ahead of its cousin.

After the short spin to see the actual Sheen Falls, we enjoyed a wee walk around the town. Shame to see the likes of Packie’s (latterly Anois) lying idle and also the Purple Heather, another once lively and well-loved venue, up for sale.

Urban Farm
Later on that evening, we enjoyed a very interesting tour of the Killarney Urban Farm, an initiative of the O’Donoghue Ring group, and then moved over to their Killarney Plaza to enjoy the produce from the farm and from their local producers. More on that enjoyable event, including the dinner in the Tan Yard here 


Three Days in the Kingdom. Food Diary

Day 3

An Síbín

The day started with a lovely late-ish breakfast at Killeen House and a very short trip up the road to the viewing facility for the spectacular lakes and mountains. It has its own car-park, alongside the Aghadoe Heights Hotel. It didn’t disappoint!

The Reeks, including Carrauntohill from the heights of Aghadoe.

Our next halt was at the National Park, the Muckross House area. Didn’t have that much time but we strolled over to the gardens to see an amazing display of tulips, the best I’ve seen this spring (sorry Blarney).

Tulips in gardens at Muckross House.

Lemon Meringue Pie
at An Síbín
Into Kenmare then and a shortish drive to Lauragh for a lunch stop at An Síbín, situated on the Beara Penisula at the foot of Healy Pass and about halfway between Kenmare and Castletownbere. They serve food all day in a very comfortable room (and outdoors when the sun shines) and also have a few rooms if you want to stay in the area.

It looks like a country pub, a well-maintained one, but there is no beer licence, just one for wine, though you can get a non-alcoholic beer. We fueled up for the return home with a hearty open Castletownbere Crab Sandwich and a large St Tola Goats Cheese Salad. Not to mention a large dessert as well! 

Next, and last, on our trip here was a drive to the top of the magnificent Healy Pass, between Lauragh and Adrigole. We were lucky that the weather was bright and settled and were able to fully enjoy the views.

The nearly two-hour journey back to Cork, via Glengarriffe, Keakil and Crookstown (mostly on the R585) went smoothly as did the whole experience in Kerry. We’ll be back.

Almost home!

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