Showing posts with label Apple Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apple Farm. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2019

Plum Wine. Sparkling Apple Juice. The Butler and The Queen. Fruit Cakes and Steeplechasers. All in a Tipp Day-trip


Plum Wine. Sparkling Apple Juice. The Butler and His Queen. Fruit Cake.  Steeplechasers. 
All in a Tipp Day-trip.
Ormond Castle


Shopping at Dove Hill
The Butlers may have moved all the best bits to their castle in Kilkenny when they were forced to downsize but that means you get to see more of the basics when you visit their ruined castle and restored manor house in Carrick on Suir. You get the impression from the Ormond Castle guides that they’d prefer to have some of those paintings and tapestries back from Kilkenny. Yet there is much to be seen in the castle and house on the banks of the Suir. 
At the Apple Farm

The Butlers (original family name was Walter), by the way, did start off as royal butlers, and their initial land here was a gift from the crown. But, well known to the crown and related to Elizabeth 1, they got more and more as time went by and eventually held sway over large areas of Kilkenny, Carlow and Tipperary, castles all over including substantial ones, as in Cahir, and small ones like that at Farney. Indeed that Farney building has a butler’s pantry “hidden” in the 12 foot thick walls. Clonmel's Main Guard is another Butler building.

Situated in the middle of Carrick, Ormond Castle is the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland. It, along with extensive gardens, was built by Thomas, the 10th Earl of Ormond in the 1560s. Closely integrated into the manor house are two 15th century towers. It is the country's only major unfortified dwelling from that turbulent period. The state rooms contain some of the finest decorative plasterwork in the country, including plasterwork portraits.
Clonmel's splendid Main Guard

The above paragraph is a direct quote from the Heritage Ireland entry. The Butlers abandoned the home after James' death in 1688. It remained a possession of the family until the middle of the 20th century. In 1947 the house was given over to state agencies who restored the historic structures. The restoration continues.

Admission to the site is by guided tour only and there is a small fee. There is a video show detailing the history of the Butlers and you can see that before or after your tour. As you walk between the walls of the derelict castle, you’ll note that there was a large arched door ahead of you. This opened directly on to the River Suir, the main source of traffic at the time. Indeed, Queen Elizabeth was expected to walk through here but died before she could fulfil the promise of a visit to her cousin (rumours, continued within these walls to this day suggest the relationship was more than innocently familial). 
Clonmel mural

The house is the “star” of the visit, and the long room is the highlight. Much of the plasterwork is original and is indeed very impressive. The timber, much of it original (dating back hundreds of years), is amazing. You get a great view of it up in the attic, all held together without nails, the kind of basics view you don’t get in Kilkenny. Outstanding workmanship from the 16th century and the OPW guys of more recent times don’t come out of it too badly either! 

After a slow walk up the river by the small marina and a quick cuppa in the town we headed west towards the Dove Hill Design Centre on the Clonmel Road. Disappointed to find the large garden centre has closed but we did get some shopping done, mostly kitchen gear (from Meadows and Byrne) and food. The latter included Flahavan’s Hi8 muesli and Lismore Food Company’s Dark Chocolate Apple Crisp Thins (delicious!) from  the Ardkeen shop there, Skellig’s Chocolate and more from the Blarney Woollen Mills’ large selection.
Hotel Minella, a friendly place.

Time then to check in at the Minella Hotel, splendidly sited on the south bank of the Suir in Clonmel. We also got a splendid welcome here and were soon relaxing with tea and cake! While seemingly isolated on its own extensive grounds, the hotel is within 15 minutes walk of the town centre and we checked that on our way for an evening meal at the Kyoto Asian Street Food restaurant in Parnell Street but not before we had a look at the Main Guard, a distinctive and nicely restored 17th century building.

Kyoto, upstairs over Boyle’s bookmakers, is popular and was busy. The menu is wide-ranging with options under various headings such as Sushi, Curries, Donburi, Noodles, and Wok. There was even dessert, an interesting one. We hadn’t come across Banana Katsu (with ice cream) before so we shared it and the deep-fried crumbed banana (4.95) was delicious. Also delicious was the plum wine (5.50). I took the wine instead of the sake (6.00).

Back then to the hotel for a pint in the bar. After a good breakfast we said our goodbyes and the friendly folks at the front desk didn’t allow us go empty-handed, gifting us a top class fruit cake on exit, one that we still enjoying!
The Full Irish, local produce, at the Minella

Later, on their website, I noted that the Minella is well known for its cake baking. It is also well-known for its association with horse-racing and all their runners (most if not all over fences) have Minella in the name.

We were heading home now in the sun but had one final call to make. You really shouldn’t drive the Clonmel-Cahir road without making a stop at the Apple Farm, owned and run by Con Traas, just be careful entering and exiting as this is quite a fast road (well, let me say there are fast drivers on it).
Sunset in Clonmel

The farm is beautifully kept; even the shed where the shop is situated is brightened up with some thriving roses. You may pick your own strawberries here but we took the easy option and bought a few punnets of the beauties. Also came away with lots of bottles of juices (some of cider too!), jars of jams and packets of his apple crisps (yet to be tried). 
The Apple Farm

I have often mentioned his sparkling apple juice here and it is still a lovely product. But my new favourite is the Apple and Raspberry juice, an ideal summer-time drink. Thanks Con. Cheers.

On this trip:
Enjoyable lunch at historic Barron's Bakery

Monday, April 29, 2019

Picado Mexican Pop-Up. A Highlight of West Waterford Food Festival


Picado Mexican Pop-Up
A Highlight of West Waterford Food Festival

Horrible Hannah blows outside but inside Lily Ramirez-Foran and her chef friend Anthony O’Toole are cooking up a super-tasty Mexican storm as part of the 12th annual West Waterford Food Festival. A warm welcome and soon we are seated with scores more in the Causeway Tennis Club in Dungarvan.

The service began with Botana and Beer. The beer was top class stuff as always from the Dungarvan Brewing Company, who were combining for the second year running with Mexican Lily. The initial event was in the brewery but such was the demand for tickets that it was obvious a bigger venue was needed for this year.
Margarita

Back then to the Botana and Beer. Not your usual beer though! This was the Dungarvan Mine Head after a make-over, transformed into an Ale and Chili Margarita, with the aid of Hibiscus and lime. Sounded well, tasted better. And there were some tasty nibbles to go with the Déise Margarita: handmade Corn Chips, Spicy pepitas, Salsa Verde, De Arbol Salsa Roja.

Lily is the founder of Ireland's first Mexican boutique grocer and cookery school, Picado Mexican in Portobello, Dublin 2, and has been here for the past 19 years with her husband and business partner Alan Foran (also helping out on the night).
Superb starter

Anthony O’Toole is a private chef, curating one-off food and drink events for a wide range of clients. He is quite a gardener as well and this was not his first collaboration with Lili. They gave us an idea of what we would be eating for the evening and advised to use our hands (we did have a fork!) and pile up our plates as there’s not much sympathy for slow eaters in Mexico. 
Squash

Sally Barnes is a recent favourite of Anthony's and her smoked mackerel (wild, of course) featured in the Comienzo, the starter. Its full title: Sally Barnes Smoked Wild Mackerel Tostada, pickled Jalapeños, the Sea Gardeners’ Toasted Dillisk. First bite and I knew I was on a winner. A superbly made starter, a smooth combination of delicious flavours and textures.
Slaw

On then to the Taquiza, the mains. There were two and we got both, everyone did. First up was Anthony’s Crown Prince and Waltham Butternut Squash with Ancho Chili Crust, peanuts and sesame Salsa Macha, Citrus Créma, and Mexican Slaw. It may not have looked the best but scoop the squash up into the hot tortilla, add a little from the dips on the table and some of that Mexican Slaw (with lime juice, I think) and nobody around me stopped with after just one. It was excellent. 

And then came another dark offering but another superb dish: Old Farm leg of pork braised in Mine Head American Pale Ale (also by Dungarvan Brewing), Gaujillo and Mandarin Adobo Fried Jalapeno Salsa and that excellent slaw again. The pork, thinly cut and perfectly cooked, was delicious and again those tortilla warmers were empty in no time, replacements arriving just as fast as the punters dug into the irresistible deliciousness. 
Sweet Crema, Pomegranate, for your chocolate

By the way, the matching beer for the starter was the Blonde Ale and for the main course we had their Copper Coast Red. But there was plenty of beer and no compulsion. If you preferred it vice versa, that’s what you got. 

The final beer, with the Postre (dessert), was Black Rock Irish Stout. And that dessert was Tequila, Chipotle and the Proper Chocolate Company 85% Dominican Republic Chocolate Torte, with sweet créma, pomegranate, and Crystallised Hibiscus dust on the side. Quite a finalé to a lovely evening in Dungarvan. Final score: three sets to love for Lily and Anthony.

* The producers featured were Dungarvan Brewing, Old Farm fro Nenagh, Anthony O’Toole (eggs, veg and herbs), Sally Barnes Woodcock Smokery in West Cork, The Sea Gardener (Dungarvan), The Apple Farm (cider vinegar), Picado Mexican, Edible flowers by Bumble Bee Farm (Drimoleague) , and The Proper Chocolate Company (Glasnevin).


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Lunching in Munster. Inland Treats off the Main Roads.


Lunching in Munster
Inland Treats off the Main Roads.
Take a stroll on the banks of Lough Derg. Maybe a cruise after lunch at Wood & Bell in Killaloe. 

Did a fair bit of munching in Munster during 2018, much of it away from the coast. Seaside dining venues are of course extremely popular but there are some excellent spots too inland, quite a few just off the main roads.

When you are on the main roads and motorways and need a lunch, you sometimes wonder where to stop. Tipperary is one such county and its towns are well served by cafés and restaurants.
Sweet, at Lava Rock.

You’ll often see Cahir on motorway signboards. If you get peckish in the area, why not try Lava Rock? It is on on Castle Street (park down by the castle, which can also be visited) and has been gathering good reviews and awards since it opened four years ago. 

With the kitchen open to the main room of the restaurant, we could see the attention to detail and that showed too on the appetising plates. Lunch was very enjoyable and I’m sure that the evening meals would be even more so. Choices aren't as expansive in the middle of the day but still they had plenty to offer.
Lovely outdoor dining area at Mikey Ryan's

You’ll be well fed too in Cashel especially if you call to Mikey Ryan’s . Artisan food producers are supported here and you’ll see Toons Bridge, Cashel Blue, Galtee Honey, Gubbeen, KIllenure Castle (dexter), The Good Herdsmen, Annie’s Organic Farm and Comfrey Cottage Cashel among those mentioned. 

The menu “is founded on the culinary principles of freshness, seasonality and a focus on quality ingredients prepared with care”. My kind of restaurant and very highly recommended.
The ancient walls of Fethard

Prime 74
In historic Fethard, Dooks Fine Food has a prime position at the bottom of the main street, alongside the Clashawley River, at the junction of the Clonmel and Urlingford roads and opposite a large car park. Richard Gleeson’s restaurant and deli is spacious and bright, lots of local food for you to enjoy inside, or on the seats outside and, of course, you can easily put a picnic together if you shop at the deli.

Before our lovely lunch here, we took a walk along the medieval area of Fethard, and afterwards we called to the Apple Farm, near Cahir, on the way home. 

Tipperary Town is serendipitously situated in the centre of a great food producing area. Not just Tipperary county itself but all the neighbours, though the county itself includes the world class cheese producers Cashel Blue. The near neighbours also include the likes of Crowe’s Pork, White Gypsy Beers and Cashel Fine Foods. And a bit further away, in the south west, nationally known producers such as Gubbeen and Skeaghanore Duck. 

You can get all these and more on your plate at Prime 74, a relatively new restaurant in Tipperary Town, not too far from the motorway.  Chef and owner Martin Lavelle is dedicated to seasonal and local and is doing a great job in this lovely premises at 74 Main Street (park in nearby Market Place).

After seeing the venerable buildings, including Hayes Hotel, in the square at Thurles, the Source Arts Centre around the corner is something of a pleasant surprise and even more pleasant when you find yourself in the cheery bright room where Stef Hans serves up delicious food. Shame that this lovely café has recently closed. But do check out Cafe Hans in Cashel. Must call there myself sometime soon.
Watch out for Farmers Markets across the region, like this one in Killavullen
Head over now to County Clare and lunch by the Shannon at the Wood and Bell in Killaloe. This restaurant was opened in late 2017 by local and Irish rugby legend Keith Wood and business partner Malcom Bell.
Call to the Apple Farm in Cahir for fruit, including these delicious cherries

Wood and Bell has the advantage of having their own walled garden nearby, overlooking Lough Derg and the river. The garden, cared for by Wood and his wife Nicola, now produces much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs for the kitchens. We enjoyed our lunch here and can certainly recommend Wood and Bell.

It seems that I’ve neglected inland Waterford, and Limerick as well, over the past year. If you have any tips, please let me know. One of the very best lunches we enjoyed in 2018 though was in the coastal village of Ardmore at the Cliff House, just off the main Cork-Waterford road.
Lunchtime view at the Cliff House

And back to the main roads now. If you are heading out of Cork and looking for breakfast or lunch then make your stop at Mitchelstown and visit O’Callaghan’s Café  on the main street. Here, the extensive menu changes daily. On a recent visit, there were no less than three soups on the specials and also a tempting starter based on Crowe’s crispy pancetta. Crowe’s are just one of their many local suppliers.

Lots of main course specials too, all priced around the 12 to 14 euro mark. There was a Red wine braised boeuf bourguignon, a pan-fried fillet of cod, Vegetarian baked flat mushrooms, and a vegetarian quiche,  just to give you an idea. All substantial dishes indeed. And there were salads and sandwiches of course.
Munster has many delicious cheeses, including the very special St Tola
that you'll see on quite a few menus.

By the way, if you find yourself travelling from Mitchelstown in the direction of Kilkenny or Waterford, you could make a stop at the Dove Hill Irish Design Centre a few miles east of Carrick-on-Suir. Meadows and Byrne and Blarney Woollen Mills are among the outlets here. Fashion, Homewares, Furniture and Food are the main areas of interest. Quite a few Irish producers represented in the major food display and there is also a very large stand-alone garden centre on-site.
Sweet things at the Ardkeen Quality Food store in Dove Design Centre, Carrick-on-Suir

There is a busy café Lily Mai’s on the mezzanine of the main building. We weren't long after lunch in Mitchelstown, so we called to the newly opened Ardkeen Food café for a coffee. It has its own cottage-style entrance but is also part of and fully open to the main building - more shopping here, Pandora Bell nougat and Lorge chocolate included - before enjoying a cup of Joe from their barista. The coffee was good but I must say I always find it hard to enjoy it fully in a paper cup - I know I may be in a minority here!
A wall of whiskey at Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder in Killarney

No shortage of visits to Kerry. Recently I’ve enjoyed my lunch-time calls to the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney. You may eat as much or as little as you like here in this friendly place, anything from soup of the day to a substantial pie. Speaking of which, one of our favourites was the very tasty Chicken, Leek and Mushroom pie. Others to watch out for are the Lamb Liver, with streaky bacon and slathered in a delicious onion gravy and served with sourdough toast and their Roast Barbary Duck Salad.

Heather, on the Gap of Dunloe, is well worth a visit.  And don’t miss out on The Strawberry Field and Pancake Cottage about 3 kilometres out the Sneem Road from Moll’s Gap. 
Strawberry Field

You'll find craft beer across Munster
at restaurants such as Blair's Inn.
Believe it or not, this rural treasure has been here, not forever, but since 1997. Then Margaret and Peter Kerssens opened their family business, now very popular with locals and tourists alike. The farmhouse itself has stood here looking out over the Kerry mountains and valleys since the 1800s and these days it is both a restaurant specialising in pancakes and also a craft shop (includes oil paintings by Margaret).

Back to Cork then and in the village of Cloghroe you’ll find Blair’s Inn. In winter, the fires are burning and the company's good. You’ll get the same company in the summer in the garden by the little Sheep River. 

And it’s also a terrific place for craft beer, one of the first places in Ireland where I was given a multi-page craft beer menu to choose from. Excellent well sourced well cooked food is a given here. A laugh and a smile are also guaranteed, directions too if you’re a tourist seeking the next beauty spot or watering hole; they’ve even been known to change a wheel for a customer. 

So no need to worry if you're on the motorways of Munster and start to feel hungry! A good lunch is never very far away. Happy Munching as you visit the Munster towns.




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Taste of the Week. Three Men in a Trailer's Irish Ketchup

Taste of the Week
Three Men in a Trailer's Irish Ketchup

Bought this ketchup in The Apple Farm, near Cahir, a few weeks back. It was just days ago that I retrieved it from the cupboard and discovered I had a superb Taste of the Week in my hands. So who are these three men?  In their own words: ‘Three men in a Trailer’ is an idea for a mobile high quality food outlet generated by 3 guys passionate about food, particularly food from Tipperary.' 

Well this strikingly delicious ketchup is high quality, no doubt about it and the trio, JJ, JK and Eamonn, credit its unique taste to the natural cider vinegar that they get from Con Traas's Apple Farm. Other ingredients include Tomatoes, Garlic, Ginger, Cumin, Paprika. A terrific combination. They also do Smoked, Sticky and Spicy versions. Must get my hands on those.

The 280g bottle costs three euro at the Apple Farm. The good news is that they distribute nationwide and you can check your local stockists here. And yes, they do have a trailer! By the way, it's a high end mobile catering unit.

Gortussa
Dundrum, Tipperary
If you wish to contact them you can call JJ on 085 851 4355, JK on 086 814 8837, Eamonn on 087 759 1161  or email info@3men.ie

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Lunch to Relish at Lava Rock in Cahir


Lunch to Relish at Lava Rock in Cahir
Dessert

Headed off to Tipp on a recent unplanned day-trip. Not the direct route; that would be too easy! First stop was Lismore, then on up through the spectacular Vee, down into Clogheen and over to Ardfinnan with its castle lording it over the Suir. Time now for lunch. But where? Lava Rock in Cahir.

Lava Rock’s on Castle Street (park down by the castle, which can also be visited) and has been gathering good reviews and awards since it opened four years ago. With the kitchen open to the main room of the restaurant, we could see the attention to detail and that showed too on the appetising plates. Lunch was very enjoyable and I’m sure that the evening meals would be even more so.

Choices aren't as expansive in the middle of the day but still they had plenty to offer. One section is called Express. From it you may order Soup of the Day and various sandwiches (Chicken Strip or Pulled Beef for example).



Burger

The main lunch menu has a few more substantial dishes including Fish and Chips, Roast Chicken Supreme, and Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Tortellini.

We went for the beef, the Slow Braised Beef Rib in my case. It came with baked potato mash and seasonal vegetables, very well cooked and full of attractive flavour, a delicious jus and a crunchy selection of crunchy vegetables (carrot, baby corns and sugar snaps).

CL’s pick was the Char-grilled Burger, packed with excellent beef in a brioche bun. Red cheddar cheese, burger sauce of course, lettuce and the outstanding roast beetroot slaw completed an attractive plateful. And in addition, the chunky house fries were delicious.


Beef

They don't have a bar here but you may bring your own wine. We asked for a cordial, maybe something like an Elderflower fizz. They didn’t have that nor did they have the Apple Farm’s outstanding sparkling apple juice but they did have their still apple juice and that too is a lovely drink at mid-day on a warm Wednesday. The nearby Apple Farm, by the way, would be our final visit on the way home and we left with a box full of drinks, jams, fruits and more. Read about that day-trip here.

But back to the lunch and the sweet finalé. I enjoyed my Baked Strawberry Alaska (with strawberry cream, marinated strawberries and lemon curd), soft and lush and an overall delight. 

CL’s Rhubarb Almond Tart was another well presented dessert (that attention to detail again) and  served with orange crème anglaise and vanilla ice cream, another sweet winner.


Lava Rock

This restaurant is just a few minutes off the motorway and you may also linger in the town. If you are early for lunch, why not visit the castle? Check my account here. And if you’d like to walk off those desserts afterwards, stroll down to the nearby and rather famous Swiss Cottage - read my short account here.

Castle Street
Cahir
Co. Tipperary
Call (052) 744 5359




Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Prime 74. Pride of Tipperary Town.


Prime 74. Pride of Tipperary Town.


Tipperary Town is serendipitously situated in the centre of a great food producing area. Not just Tipperary county itself but all the neighbours, though the county itself includes the world class cheese producers Cashel Blue. The near neighbours also include the likes of Crowe’s Pork, White Gypsy Beers and Cashel Fine Foods. And a bit further away, in the south west, nationally known producers such as Gubbeen and Skeaghanore Duck. 

You can get all these and more on your plate at Prime 74, a relatively new restaurant in Tipperary Town, less than an hour from Cork City.  Chef and owner Martin Lavelle is dedicated to seasonal and local and is doing a great job in this lovely premises at 74 Main Street (park in nearby Market Place).

We were in early for a recent lunch, just a few ahead of us, but soon the room was more or less full. And soon we would see, and taste, why. Service is friendly here. The menus were at hand as soon as we were seated and that included a list of specials which were detailed to us. And we were also told of a Duck Spring Roll that hadn’t made the list!

The lunch menu is served from 12.00pm to 4.00pm and is a tempting list. I was looking at the Warm Chicken Harissa Salad (also available as a mains). The Red Wine Poached Pear and Cashel Blue salad was also tempting.  But, in the end, we decided to do mains and dessert.

And my mains, the Pappardelle Dexter Beef Ragu, rocket and Parmesan, came from that specials list. The beef was top notch and well cooked and the combination of flavours was amazing. A superb dish for €13.50.

And our other mains, Deep Fried Curried Fish Cake, Baby leaf Spinach, Poached Egg and Chips, was another flavoursome gem, this too fairly priced at €14.00. The curry element was nicely judged.

With the way cleared for dessert (all 5.50), I again picked from the specials and was very happy with my eye-catching Chilled Rice Pudding with Chantilly cream, strawberries, basil and spiced crisps. And happiness too at the other side as the Lemon Meringue Pie with Raspberry Sorbet and Mint was another sweet treat.

Drinks? Well they do have wine (there is a function room upstairs) and that excellent local beer by White Gypsy. Lots of soft drinks too and teas and coffees of course. We were still in the heat wave so we were looking for something cool and non-alcoholic and were more than happy to see the local Sparkling Apple Juice from the Apple Farm in Cahir. A very enjoyable drop indeed. And a very enjoyable meal indeed.


74 Main Street
Tipperary Town
 062 31388

HOURS
Sun 12:00 - 19:00
Mon Closed
Tue 10:30 - 16:00
Wed 10:30 - 16:00
Thu 10:30 - 16:00, 17:30 - 21:00
Fri 10:30 - 16:00, 17:30 - 21:00
Sat 10:30 - 16:00, 17:30 - 21:00


And since you're in Tipperary why not visit

Recent Tipp calls:


Not so recent:


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Taste of the Week. Cherries from the Apple Farm


Taste of the Week
Cherries from the Apple Farm


No need to say too much about our current Taste of the Week. The sweet delicious cherries grown on Con Traas’s Apple Farm are simply superb!

Easy to appreciate these juicy beauties. But not easy to grow. If that were the case, you’d find them in every farmers market. When grown in Ireland, cherries need protection for a number of reasons, and typically most growers use some form of simple tunnel to grow them in. 

The Apple Farm explains: This is because cherry flowers are susceptible to cold winds when flowering, and the cherries themselves are liable to crack and get diseases due to rainfall, and then if they survive all this, are a favourite food of many birds. A plastic tunnel can protect the trees and fruits from all these problems, meaning that instead of getting a good crop one year in five (or ten if you live in the wetter parts of Ireland), you can rely on a crop each year.

Thanks to Con and his team for making the extra effort. Put these cherries on your list if you’re anywhere near the Apple Farm, just a few minutes off the M8 on the N24 (Cahir-Clonmel Road)! Lots of other fruit available too, in season.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dooks Fine Food. Fethard’s Medieval Walls. And a call to the Apple Farm.


Dooks Fine Food. Fethard’s Medieval Walls.
And a call to the Apple Farm.
Salmon and salads at Dooks in Fethard

My latest trip to Tipp saw me take a walk along the medieval area of Fethard, lunch in Dooks restaurant, and call to the Apple Farm, near Cahir, on the way home. 

People go to Fethard to mostly visit the Coolmore Stud and dine or drink or both in John McCarthy’s famous establishment on the Main Street but I did neither, holding them back for the next trip! McCarthy’s, by the way, is a busy spot. It is one of Ireland’s oldest unchanged pubs, is also a restaurant and, believe it or not, an undertakers. Be careful which menu you ask for.


No such problems at Dooks Fine Food which has a prime position at the bottom of the main street, alongside the Clashawley River, at the junction of the Clonmel and Urlingford roads and opposite a large car park. Richard Gleeson’s restaurant and deli is spacious and bright, lots of local food for you to enjoy inside, or on the seats outside and, of course, at home if you shop at the deli.

Chicken and salads at Dooks
Fethard, by the way, is hardly an hour from the east side of Cork city - you have the M8 motorway for the majority of the way and that leaves just about 16 kilometres on secondary roads.Take the Cashel exit and you’ll have no problem finding the little town. And no problem finding Dooks either.

Richard was preparing a large plateful of a colourful Mozzarella salad when we arrived. It was eye-catching and tempting and featured in our lunch, well at least one serving of it. Dooks had opened long before that of course as they do breakfast here, served from 7.30am. Quite a choice including a very interesting looking fry of Rosemary, orange and fennel sausage, oven roasted tomatoes, fried eggs and Dooks white yeast toast.
The walls of Fethard

But back to the lunch. My pick was the Roast salmon fillet, with horseradish cream and pickled shallot and that came with my choice of two salads: Roasted aubergine, balsamic reduction, toasted mixed seeds, feta and mint, and the second one of roasted carrots, toasted sunflower seeds, pickled shallots, Dooks ricotta and tarragon. Quite a plateful (for 13.50), full of good stuff, even those seeds a lovely feature.

It was the OBC (official blog chef) who got the delightful cherry tomato, Toonsbridge Mozzarella and basil salad. She also choose the Roasted aubergine and her meat was the Lemon, Garlic and Buttermilk marinated chicken supreme with rocket pesto, another plateful of well cooked produce, well presented and well dispatched.
North Gate in Fethard

We did have a look at the short but “well-formed” wine list, spotting some favourites there such as the Bodegas Menade Verdejo from Rueda and the Domaine Chaume Arnaud Vinsobres from the Rhone. But we stuck with the non-alcoholic, a refreshing Sparkling Elderflower by local producers Irish Hedgerow. With the sun beating down outside, we also skipped the coffee and were a little sorry for that omission when we spotted some delightful pastries as we paid at the counter. Next time!
Apple Farm
We had walked around the very impressive medieval remains, before lunch, following the long stretch of wall (parts dating from 1292) by the river and moving by the various gates, Water Gate, East Gate and, most impressively, North Gate, also the cluster of two castles and the old Holy Trinity Church (key available at O’Sullivan’s pharmacy).
The Fethard Town Hall (right)

Holy Trinity Church
Fethard
The Town Hall has had variations and alterations and various functions since its 16th century beginning and is now in use for tourist purposes. Here too you will find the Fethard Horse Country Experience and from here you may arrange a tour of Coolmore Stud. Check it all out here.  I’ll be doing just that the next time I’m in Fethard.

On the way back to Cork, we made a short detour from the M8 to the Apple Farm on the Clonmel road. And stocked up on jams, cider, and fruits, including some of the delicious juicy sweet cherries. It is a busy spot but the drought is taking its toll and plums, we heard, may not be as plentiful as last year when the harvest comes in.
Indeed, a day after our visit, owner Con Traas was tweeting: The last rain fell at our farm on 19/6, a mere 0.2mm drizzle. Since May 11th (2 months to the day) we have recorded 23.2mm total (about a weeks rain here in normal circumstances). We have exceeded the criteria for both absolute drought and partial drought.

I know the constant sun has been great this year but we could do with some rain now! Wonder what the weather was like in Fethard when those Norman builders were hard at it all those centuries ago.


Recent Tipp calls:


Not so recent: