Showing posts with label Carrig Country House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carrig Country House. Show all posts

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Planning 2019? Try A Day and a Night on the Ring of Kerry.


A Day and a Night on the Ring of Kerry.
See. Stay. Dine. Visit.
Some foodie shopping had been notionally lined up for this October morning. But the sun shone so brightly, the landscape looked so inviting, even from our hotel window (above), that we decided to spend the day outdoors, outdoors on the beautiful Ring of Kerry. 

And that was the new, if last-minute, plan as we drove off from Killarney in the direction of Killorglin, the home of King Puck whose feisty statue greets you as you enter the town.
View from Carrig House dining room

We had no need to stop in Killorglin this time. But if you haven’t been, you could well take the short walk from the town centre over the old railway bridge. Go to a big car park just off to the right of the one-way (up) main street. Park there and walk downhill with the church to your left. Then up a slope, again on the left, as a metal bridge looms overhead. Up on to the bridge, the old railway bridge, from where there are very good views of the River Laune and the road bridge that you just crossed.

Feel like a mid-morning snack? Check out Jack’s Bakery & Deli, on Bridge Street, and they’ll feed you well and you can take your well-filled baps outside to the street side tables.
On the Ring. The Dingle peninsula is in the distance

There will be photo stops today, lots of them. After all, you are driving on one side of the Wild Atlantic Way and across the bay is the Dingle Peninsula. On a day like this, you can even see the beautiful Inch Beach where part of Ryan’s Daughter was filmed.

A place worth calling to between Killorglin and Cahersiveen is Kells Bay. We enjoyed a tour of the gardens (and the swing bridge!) there a year previously.
In Kells Bay Gardens

Ancient tracks
On now to Cahersiveen, from where you can take the short ferry to Valentia Island where there are terrific walks and views to enjoy; don’t miss the 385 million year old tracks of the Tetra Pod and also the lighthouse.

Cahersiveen (make sure you spell it correctly when entering it into your Sat-Nav!) is a busy enough town, boasting attractions such as The Old Barracks, the Daniel O'Connell memorial church and ancient stone forts and that ferry to Valentia. But the island, and the Skelligs Ring, is too much of a detour for us today and we carry on towards the pretty village of Glenbeigh.
Views from Valentia Island

Mick O'Dwyer
Our main stop is at Waterville on the huge and scenic Ballinskelligs Bay. Both Charlie Chaplin and General de Gaulle holidayed in the area. Indeed, there is a sculpture of Chaplin alongside the beach but, perhaps because of a rough looking character sitting alongside Charlie, no one seems to be taking his photo today. De Gaulle by the way has his sculpture in Sneem.

A more recent Waterville “statue” of a living legend, footballer Mick O’Dwyer, has no such distraction. There is also another sculpture here and it commemorates the Commercial Cable Company that in 1884 laid two cables across the Atlantic connecting Canada, Britain and France all via a station in Waterville.

Snack in Waterville

The first message from Waterville to St. John, Nova Scotia, passed along the transatlantic cable on Christmas Eve 1884. The cable station in Waterville was operational from 1884 – 1962. Read more here.  

We had enjoyed a hearty breakfast, as always in the Cahernane House Hotel, and didn’t need much of a mid-day meal. Not too many cafés in Waterville - bigger choice in Sneem. After a good walk, we headed for the Beachcove and enjoyed an excellent pot of tea (of generous proportions) and slices of well made apple tart, chunks of real apple here, none of that stuff squeezed from a tube!).

Sunshine on the edge of the sea at Waterville

They say do the Ring in the anti-clockwise direction and so we did, leaving Waterville and heading now towards Sneem, with the Atlantic on our right, one fabulous view following another, some back towards Waterville and the bay, and more as we came towards Derrynane, home of The Liberator Daniel O’Connell.

And soon, we were in Sneem, the sun still shining strongly, people eating and drinking outside, a man playing classical guitar, another serving coffee and crepes from a mobile van. Hey, I asked myself, what country am I in. But look, I know where I am. Maybe my momma told me, maybe she didn’t, but I often get days like this in Ireland.

We have been in Sneem quite often and have seen quite a few sculptures here. This time, on the road in, we saw signs for a Sculpture Park and started looking for it. But, as we walked around, we found it is really a sculpture trail, spread over three small parks. 

We did see one new one, that of the famous Kerry footballer John Egan who died too young. Like his family and friends, we would have preferred to have had to wait much longer for the event that gave rise to the memorial, nice and all as the statue is.  
Steve "Crusher" Casey, in Sneem

So now, we said goodbye to the Ring of Kerry. We could have headed into Kenmare but we had been there a few weeks earlier and instead took the high road towards Molls Gap. Again, there are spectacular views, this time mostly of the mountains. We also pass the Strawberry Field and its Pancake Cottage (below) where we’ve enjoyed a tasty snack from time to time! 

The views as we pass the high point of Moll’s Gap are now of the Lakes of Killarney and spectacular views they are and you can easily see how they would have attracted tourists especially in Victorian times when the railway arrived in the town. Soon, after negotiating 1001 bends on the narrow road, we would arrive in the town.
Superb steak at Murphy Browne's

We have dinner at a relatively new venue, Murphy Browne’s on High Street. Nothing cutting-edge in the cuisine offered here but they do their stuff well and turn local produce into very attractive meals indeed and the service is also excellent.

Our base for the night is the very centrally situated Killarney Lodge. It has 17 rooms and is just three minutes from the town centre. The rooms are spacious and very well equipped and the breakfast is top notch, served with a smile and a chat. 

And so it was with a smile on our faces that we left the Lodge and headed up the N22, back to our city by the Lee, knowing that the magic of the Kingdom is just about 90 minutes away!
Chill unit keeps breakfast items cool at Killarney Lodge




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dine by the Water

Dine by the Water
Superb food and superb views

Bunnyconnellan's
I’ve been very lucky this past few years to have dined in some well placed restaurants and cafes, places from Cork to Donegal that have a dining room with a view over water. Sometimes over a river, maybe over an estuary, over a lake perhaps, and then sometimes over the ocean. I was lucky too to have brilliant weather in most of the places.
Carrig Country House

Caragh Lake is in Kerry, not too far from Killorglin, and you have great views over its waters when you dine in the splendid Carrig Country House
Screebe House - their photo

There are some similarities between Carrig House and the lovely Screebe House  in Connemara; great food and great views. 
Blairscove

And in West Cork, near Durrus, there is Blairscove House. Here you can enjoy a splendid dinner and views over Dunmanus Bay.
Breakfast view (just a small section of it!) from the Trident's Pier One

There are no shortages of views in Kinsale. One of my most recent visits was to Man Friday on the hills above the bay Man Friday. And another recent visit was to the Trident Hotel, right in the town and so close to the waters that you think a boat is going to come through the dining room windows.
Sunrise at Garryvoe
The Samphire at the Garryvoe Hotel has expansive views of Ballycotton Bay and the lighthouse, excellent food too. And across the bay, its sister hotel, the Bayview has an even more spectacular cliff-top situation.
Hake at Celtic Ross
The views at Rosscarberry’s Celtic Ross, where French chef Alex Petit maintains a high standard, are quieter but no less pleasant.
Cliff House View
Ardmore’s Cliff House is renowned for the food, the views over the bay and their 3-word tweets!
Pier 26
Back again to Ballycotton and to Pier 26. This restaurant overlooks the harbour and the lighthouse island and the fish is highly recommended, of course! And down in Schull, L'Escale is right in the harbour area; the lobster here is a must try.


And if you really want a 360 degree ocean view while dining then take a trip from Ringaskiddy in Cork to Roscoff in Brittany on board the Pont Aven.  Splendid food and views!

Dingle

For harbour views, you'll find it hard to beat the sights as you come and go to Dingle’s Out of the Blue. And close by is the Boatyard. Fish will be on the menus of both for sure. Then again, there's a splendid view of Cork Harbour from the tea rooms at Camden Fort Meagher (below).
View over Cork Harbour from Camden Fort Meagher

Rosapenna

No shortage of seaside restaurants in Donegal. One of the best is the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head village even if the view to the sea is somewhat interrupted by the cars parking across the road. No such problems at the Rosapenna Golf Hotel, whose dining room overlooks Sheephaven Bay and the beach at Downies. Further west, the bar at the Cove at Portnablagh, another top restaurant, overlooks a different part of the same bay.
The Bayview, Ballycotton

Perhaps the best ocean view is that enjoyed from your table in Bunnyconnellan’s, a very pleasant view and very enjoyable food here at this renowned Crosshaven (Cork) venue.
Islander's Rest on Sherkin
Back to West Cork and to Baltimore and Le Jolie Brise where I’ve sometimes enjoyed a dish of mussels as the day drew to a close with the island of Sherkin out in front. Speaking of Sherkin, the Islander's Rest sure has great water views!
Ostan Gweedore
Hard to top that. One view that comes close, maybe level, maybe even better, is from the Donegal restaurant of Ostan Gweedore where there is the most fantastic view over the beaches and the waters of the Atlantic.

Turbot at Electric Fish Bar
Perhaps you prefer river views. One of the best in Cork is from Electric, especially from the Fish Bar. From the first floor of the South Mall building, you have fine views of the southern channel of Lee to the west and to the east.
River Lee Hotel, top left
Also in the city, you hand almost dip your fingers in the Lee as you wine and dine at the Weir Rooms of the lovely River Lee Hotel.  
View from the Spinning Wheel in Dripsey Garden Centre

The Spinning Wheel, above the same River Lee, is at the very popular Griffin’s Garden Centre in rural Dripsey. Here you can enjoy some of Granny Griffin’s delights as you watch the water-skiers speed by down below.

Never know what you might see passing as you dine in Cobh
You have no shortage of harbour views in Cobh where you’ll find The Quays and The Titanic Bar & Grill.  And you’ll also find pleasant estuary views not too far away at Murph’s  in East Ferry. 
Kenmare Bay
The Boathouse at Dromquinna, near Kenmare, is also well situated, right on the northern flank of the bay. And, in Limerick, the place to be is Locke Bar
Locke Bar's water-side tables

The Puffin Cafe on Long Strand, Castlefreke, Co.. Cork, is my latest addition (09.07.17). It overlooks that long beach and the ocean.

Have you a personal favourite view over water while dining? If you'd like to share, please use the Comment facility below.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Calm, comfortable and courteous place. Carrig House Stay

Calm, Comfortable and Courteous Place

Carrig House Stay

It is breakfast time. Outside, there are blue skies and the lake water is blue as well. Caragh Lake is a big and beautiful body of water and I’m staying in Carrig House on the shore. Carrig, by the way, serves one of the best breakfasts in Ireland, so all in all it is rather a perfect morning. And would still be a very good one even if, as sometimes happens, the sun doesn't shine!


With breakfast behind us, we are well placed to take in the local sights of this part of south west Kerry, known as the Iveragh Peninsula. It is the largest peninsula in southwestern Ireland. The Macgillycuddy's Reeks, with Carrauntuohill the highest point, lies in the centre of the peninsula. And not too far away is Killorglin, Cahersiveen, Valentia Island, the Skelligs, the Skellig Ring, Ballinskelligs, Waterville and many other places worth a visit.
Good morning. What would you like for breakfast?
We were here for three nights. Carrig, with its 17 guest rooms, doesn't come cheap but a gift of a Blue Book Voucher eases the hit on the wallet as does everything else here: the comfort, the welcome, the gardens, the courtesy, the chat, the private pier onto the lake, and the food.


Fish of course is a regular on the menu and we concentrated on it for one of our dinners. Roasted West Coast Cod Fillet topped with fresh Dingle Bay crab and prawns, fresh tagliatelle, morel mushroom velouté was my choice and it was delicious all the way. Our other mains was the Steamed Atlantic Stone-bass with asparagus three ways (seared, marinated, and crumb-coated), vinaigrette on a Cooleeny crème swish, balsamic pearls.


After a lovely amuse bouche by the fire in one of the drawing rooms, we had each started with Warm Spice Infused Quail, Beluga lentil Mung Bean jus and pickled onions. Not the easiest meat to pick off the small bones but it came with a big flavour, enhanced no end by the lentils and the onions. 

My dessert was another Carrig House gem, Rich Vanilla Crème Brûlée, cherry and hazelnut financier, and fruit tuile while CL indulged in the Passionfruit Marshmallow with roasted pineapple chiboust, pineapple parcels, and liquorice caramel.
Not always blue here.
The rooms are superb here, spacious and ultra comfortable. Ours had a view of the gardens but you can also get some with lake views. Wi-Fi is pretty good but the network service for mobiles is not. 

And don’t be put off if you see a brown tint in the water - the reservoir is in bogland - and the water is perfectly safe for washing yourself. And they do provide bottled water in the rooms. The bathroom, at least in our case, was spacious and well equipped with toiletries and towels (best bring your own face cloths, a general rule) and you do have a full sized bath as well as the shower.

The decor is beautiful all through the house. Newspapers are in good supply too if you want to sit by the fire and take it easy until that shower passes. Then again, if the sun is out, you’ll find it hard to resist taking a stroll around the colourful gardens, maybe an amble down to the lake.

Amuse Bouche in the cosy drawing room
Then, when you (don’t mind those fishermen who headed off early) are good and ready, you can head out for the day. The coast? The mountains? The choice is yours. And remember you'll have a stunning dinner to come back to!


Carrig House was built originally about 1850 as a hunting lodge. Frank and Mary Slattery, the current owners, purchased Carrig in 1996. They are the first Irish owners since it was originally built and have renovated  and meticulously restored the Victorian residence to its former glory. The atmosphere, they say, is friendly, warm and one of total relaxation. It certainly is!
Cod

See also: Visiting Valentia Island

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Superb Lakeside Dinner at Carrig House


Superb Lakeside Restaurant at Carrig House

Amuse Bouche
 If, as is said, location is everything, the Lakeside Restaurant at Carrig House near Killorglin, has it made. But, in a restaurant, food is all important and here too Lakeside is in a good place. Add location and that good food (not forgetting the impeccable service) and what more does a diner need. Good wine? You can count on that too. All organised by Frank and Mary who have been owners of this 1850’s house since 1996.


So book early (the restaurant is open to residents and non residents) and get one of those window tables, though you will be able to see the lovely Caragh Lake (it has its bad moods too) from most tables. 

Other nearby rooms are in play too as you begin your trip to the table. If it is cold or even cold-ish, an open fire is blazing as you sip an aperitif and study the menu in one of the ante-rooms. Here too, you’ll enjoy an amuse bouche and soon you are relaxed, ready to take the few steps to the dining room.

The long list of starters will almost certainly include their famous chowder and their Glenbeigh Shellfish Tasting. On our first visit (May 2017), I picked that Shell Fish combo: Steamed Cromane mussels, sage, cider, clotted cream, cockles tempura, Napa cabbage kimchi; shucked oyster, Prosecco granita. Well that fresh and chilly oyster was the star of the plate, no doubt, but the other, more humble shellfish, went down very well too. 

Meanwhile, CL was being royally entertained by her duo of Prawns: Poached prawn, watermelon, avocado purée, lime sorbet; crispy potato wrapped tiger prawn, physalis, and chilli relish. That lime sorbet was a terrific accompaniment and the crispy potato wrap another highlight.

She loves her rabbit and so once the Rabbit Loin with smoked bacon popped up, it was a cert for her. And a winner too, served with wilted spinach, Puck Fair Ale infused pear pearls (try saying that in a hurry after a few bottles of the local brew!),  Jerusalem artichoke, and bee pollen.
Rabbit

And I rarely skip a chance to indulge myself in Skeaghanore duck and this was another beauty. The full description: Skeaghanore Duck Breast, juniper spiced, blood orange, baby carrot, carrot and orange purée, meringue, lovage jus. 

And the wine? They have  quite a choice. And that’s before dipping into the Reserved Selection. Frank was host, a superb one I will add, and he helped us pick the Esk Valley Pinot Noir from New Zealand, one of quite a few wines from both old and new world vineyards, and a good one too.

The piano player wasn't on that particular evening but no need for music to put us in the mood for dessert. I spotted warm roast figs in one description and surrendered to the Warm Creamy Rice Pudding, a delicious and rich delight topped by those figs and served with a Port reduction and kataifi crisps.

The other dessert at the table was the Rhubarb Crumble Tartlet, spiced rhubarb jam, and frozen yoghurt, quite a combination and one that kept CL happy.

And the evening ended with another bonus, there being no need to go out at all. Just a stroll to one of the nearby lounges and a seat in the heat. Very Highly Recommended overall, not just the lazy luxurious finalé.