Showing posts with label Adare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adare. Show all posts

Monday, July 15, 2013

From Dungloe to Kenmare: Eight Irish Tea Rooms

Irish Tea Rooms

Adare's Old Creamery

Never heard tell of the Adare Old Creamery store until a recent visit. Now feel like I should tell you all about it. It is just a few hundred yards from the County Limerick village and it quite fascinating.

Maybe you want to buy a doll’s house or furniture for it. Some beautiful scented candles perhaps. Maybe high quality china such as Aynsley or Belleek. Well, this is the place to check out – see it on Facebook.

Downstairs there is an old style sweet shop (including ice-cream) and upstairs a gorgeous tea-rooms (with the best apple pie ever!). Fun animations all over the store. Books and clothes and much much more in this treasure house. And later in the year it turns into an incredible Christmas store. A must visit.

Three Tea Rooms: one in a church, one in a churchyard and one in a "big house" kitchen.
Drumcliffe Tea House (Sligo)
Ben Bulben

“Under bare Ben Bulben’s head” sits Drumcliffe church and the churchyard where poet William Butler Yeats is buried. “Horseman pass by” is the last line of the famous epitaph.

Today’s horseman though is more likely to sup at the Drumcliffe Tea House, also in the church grounds, before turning the key in the ignition.

Here, just outside Sligo on the road to Donegal, they serve good teas and coffees (Bewley’s), “mouth-watering cakes and desserts” and good “wholesome food”, including soups and tarts.

There are Yeats and Irish interest books to browse through and a selection of good quality original souvenirs. Plenty of parking for the churchyard and there are well kept toilets in the tea rooms.

Scrummylicious Bakery and Tearoom (Dungloe, Donegal)
The old chapel in Dungloe
Another famous Irishman, happily still with us, Daniel O’Donnell, famously used to serve tea to the world and mainly to the world’s wife. That function has now been taken over by the unusual Scrummylicious Bakery and Tearoom in Dungloe, County Donegal.

You’ll find this friendly place in the old chapel at the top of the main street.  Not alone does the cafe offer teas and coffees (Robert Roberts) but they also have a full bakery service. The products can be taken home to enjoy or enjoyed in the unique tearoom within the old church building.  “Our tearoom has a select menu of gourmet sandwiches, wraps, bagels, light meals and delicious homemade soups”.

The converted building also hosts the tourist office, the library and other local services, and, yes, toilets!

Doneraile Court Tea Rooms (Doneraile, Cork)
Doneraile, with outside eating area.

Tea Rooms in the old kitchen, open daily, and a Farmer’s Market  are among the recent attractions added to Doneraile Court in North Cork. The old pile itself, just off the main street in Doneraile, is surrounded by hundreds of acres of parkland where you have a great selection of walks.

Called in there the other day for a sandwich. This was filled with real ham, cut from the bone, and was a bargain at four euro. A toasted sandwich, packed with chicken and served with a salad, came to €4.50. But there is quite a menu here. Soups, sandwiches and curries and also breakfast dishes and a specials board for during the day. You can even order some items to take away. Lots of picnic tables scattered around the park also.

Four Tea Rooms: Town, city, coast, mountain.
Jam and cream in Bandon

Lovely scone and  gorgeous plate at the Duchess.

Never really associated myself with tea rooms but I’ve been in at least four over the past few months.

Began with a call to the lovely Tea and Garden Rooms in Ballyvaughan (Co. Clare); next up was the Phoenix Park Tea Rooms; up the Kerry hills next to the Pancake Cottage before the most recent call to the Duchess Tea Rooms in Bandon.

It was a bitterly cold morning in Bandon and after a visit to the local Farmers Market a hot cup was required. Just happened to be passing the Duchess Team Rooms and popped in. Nice bit of heat there and three or four welcoming sofas, just like home.

Sat myself down and soon I was tucking into a really well made fruit scone with no shortage of cream or jam. Coffee was excellent but next time, I must try the tea as they have a massive selection.

There is great degree of comfort here, lots of calming colours all around and perhaps the ideal place for afternoon tea with a wide assortment of finger sandwiches, scrumptious mouth-watering delicate pastries, little cakes and scones to choose from.

It is the best part of two years since I indulged in the full afternoon tea. Wonder if the Fota Island Resort Hotel are still doing it.

Just like the Duchess Rooms, you may enjoy a little lunch or a light meal in all the tea rooms. Had a great Fish Pie in the well situated Tea and Garden Rooms in beautiful Ballyvaughan. This is a lovely spot, right alongside Galway Bay, and with gardens front and rear. But if you go here, you will not be able to avoid the sweet cakes. As you go in, you’ll see them in all their tempting colours, the table groaning underneath.

The Phoenix Park Tea Rooms, just across from the entrance to the Dublin Zoo, looked splendid under the Autumn colours of the many nearby trees and, as we ate, the squirrels were hopping around outside.

They are open all day long and include some terrific organic stuff on the menu, including the coffee and tea. All the vegetables, salads and fruits are from Kinneden Organics in Roscommon, the chicken is from Cootehill in Monaghan. And their sourdough is by Arun Bakery.

On the road from Sneem (Co. Kerry) to Moll’s Gap, there is a place called A Strawberry Field  where you will find Pancake Cottage, which is open all year round. The views from the garden are splendid, weather permitting!

While you may enjoy a cuppa here, maybe with a Dutch Apple Pie, their speciality is the pancake. The selection of pancake toppings just goes on and on, sweet and savoury, and also a kids menu.

Another tea room well worth a call, just like the other three.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Limerick,Day 3: Mustard Seed Delights.

Limerick, Day 3

Mustard Seed Delights. Adare's Old Creamery. Curragh Chase Woods. The Lottery Dog.

Rabbit terrine

Back to the Mustard Seed for this evening’s dinner and that meant a return to a culinary paradise and tasty temptations in the former convent in Ballingarry, super food and service and a four course meal, fit for a Gourmet Superior, in a pleasant and unhurried ambience.

A smoked salmon Amuse Bouche was followed by a couple of terrific starters. Mine was the Rabbit Terrine (with pickled wild mushroom, tarragon puree, chicken mousseline, and Guinness gel). CL went for the Warm Strawberry with lime puree, walnut powder, beet meringues, balsamic and elderflower syrup, another winner.
Guinea fowl
Hit the jackpot also with the mains, hard not to be a winner here, such is the high standard of the produce and the team.  I choose the pan-fried Irish Hereford rib-eye of beef, served with a goat cheese and celeriac risotto, roast almond mousse, Iron Age rare breed pork profiterole.  A long way from your usual onions and fries!

Mine was excellent but I think CL’s may have been even better as the sheer quality of her Guinea Fowl was out of this world. And that quality was illustrated in a number of ways as you can see from the menu description: Pan seared breast of guinea fowl, confit leg and pressed thigh, parmesan custard, vegetable fricassee and sauce basquise. Excellent produce handled well all the way to the plate. Different class!
Butter at Mustard Seed
At the creamery!
Never heard tell of the Adare Old Creamery store until the other day. Visited it today and now feel like I should tell you all about it. It is just a few hundred yards from the County Limerick village and it quite fascinating.

Maybe you want to buy a doll’s house or furniture for it. Some beautiful scented candles perhaps. Maybe high quality china such as Ainsley or Belleek. Well, this is the place to check out – see it on Facebook.
Adare's Austinian Friary
Downstairs there is an old style sweet shop (including ice-cream) and upstairs a gorgeous tea-rooms (with the best apple pie ever!). Books and clothes and much much more in this treasure house. And later in the year it turns into an incredible Christmas store. A must visit.

Had done a fair bit of walking in Adare during the morning, calling to the Franciscan Abbey ruins on the golf course and the more intact Dominican Abbey, now part of the Adare Church (Church of Ireland), maintaining on that site a tradition of Christian worship going back seven centuries. Enjoyed a fine view of the Castle from the bridge near the entrance to the golf club.
Doll's House at the Old Creamery
Still enough "teaspai" left for another walk and so we headed to the much recommended Curragh Chase Woods and its now ruined house, once the home of 19th century poet and author Aubrey Thomas de Vere. 
Curragh Close
Ger McDonnell's tree.

Some lovely walks here in the 313 hectares of lakes, mixed woodland and parkland. But the memory I’ll take away is the tear that fell as I unexpectedly came across the tree planted by local mountaineer Ger McDonnell to mark his conquest of Everest in 2003, about five years before the dreadful events on K2 that ended his life and that of ten others.  

As we worked our way towards Ballingarry, I spotted the Croke Park pub. Walking is thirsty work so popped in and we had a great chat with our genial hostess Deirdre and the visiting dog Judy, a one-time stray that was raffled off in the pub one night and thereby found a home. Her second home though is the pub itself where she is well known to all the customers, even sitting it on card games.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Limerick Day 2: Superb Wild Geese. Medieval Kilmallock. No go at Gur.

Limerick Day 2
Superb Wild Geese. Medieval Kilmallock. No go at Gur. 
Crab in Smoked Salmon
Not the best of days but a superb finish. And not just the ending back here at the Mustard Seed, sipping some red wine in front of a blazing June fire!

That final luxury came after a superb meal in Adare’s Wild Geese, run for the last 14 years by David Foley and Julie Randles. Enjoyed a tasty Goat Cheese Amuse Bouche and then followed two of the best starters you are likely to find.

CL’s was a Terrine of lamb fillet, with a chicken and basil mousse, wrapped in smoked bacon served with Lentil dressing and homemade tomato chutney. Not listed were orange bits and an apple puree. Nothing superfluous, all added up to perfection.

Dominican Friary, Kilmallock
Mine was also high class: a parcel of Kenmare smoked salmon stuffed with crabmeat and served with a cucumber and dill salsa. Sharp and tasty, it woke up those taste buds, just like a flurry of sea foam coming over the cliffs and waking you up on the morning after the night before.

For the mains, I went for the trio of Barbary Duck: Roast Breast, Spring roll of confit and a warm salad of smoked duck. Three out of three! And CL’s Roast Atlantic Cod, topped with crab meat, on a bed of rösti and with a sauce of mussels was a happy dish, like the fishing fleet coming in.

Wine was something of a compromise between white and red but the Round Hill Merlot from sunny California lacked nothing in quality and gained a couple of fans on a drizzly night at the Munster crossroads of the tour buses.
Lough Gur
Nearby Kilmallock, once the crossroads of Munster, has a wealth of history and the buildings, or at least the remains of buildings, to prove it. Most visitors will be familiar with John’s Castle on Sheare’s Street. Built in the 15th century, it is a “fine example of a ‘Peel’ tower. It has been suggested that it saw use as a town gate; other uses included as an arsenal during the war against Cromwell, a meeting place for the local corporation, a school, even a blacksmith’s forge!

Also visited the Priory, a 13th century Dominican abode. The five-light east window of the church is one its impressive features. Not too much of the cloister remains. Another 13th century ruin, that of the Collegiate Church, stands nearby.

Another call was to the massive Church of SS Peter and Paul, built towards the end of the 19th century and still functioning. Juts behind it is the Martyrs’ Monument, erected in memory of three priests hanged in the last quarter of the 16th century and beatified in Rome in 1992.
Had been looking forward to my visit to Lough Gur but there was a big disappointment in store when I found the Heritage Centre closed. Checked their site and found it had been due to open in mid-June and now Sunday the 30th is mentioned as the re-opening. There are some walks around the lake and I enjoyed them but, without the back-up of information from the Centre was unable to do much more. Didn’t even see “the crannog or lake-dwelling which is still visible from the Lake shore” according to the website.

After the peace and quite of Lough Gur, the traffic through Adare was almost a shock. Got parking in the large lot behind the centrally situated Heritage Centre as did many more, including quite a few tour buses.

Wild Geese dessert
Needed a coffee after the morning’s exertions and got a good one in the Market Place, about 100 metres uphill from the Heritage Centre. The Market Place is a very busy spot with an extensive menu but, with dinner booked, I settled for the coffee and an excellent slice of apple tart, real chunky apple pieces!  Tasty stuff.

After that it was back to Ballingarry and a wee rest before heading out again to the Wild Geese.

Check out Day 1 here
Day 3 here