Showing posts with label Cashel Blue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cashel Blue. Show all posts

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Cashel Blue named Best Irish Cheese and Reserve Champion at British & Irish Cheese Awards

Cashel Blue named Best Irish Cheese and 

Reserve Champion at British & Irish Cheese Awards

Sarah Furno, Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers, Ian Thomas, Greenfields and Julius Longman, chairman of the British Cheese Awards. Photo: Mike Duberry

Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers in Co. Tipperary has landed the Best Irish Cheese and Reserve Champion trophies at the British & Irish Cheese Awards 2024, taking two of this year’s top honours with Cashel Blue, a characterful semi-soft blue cow’s milk cheese with a full flavour and signature tang. Held at the Bath & West Showground on Friday 22 March, the 28th British & Irish Cheese Awards assessed over 600 entries from across the UK and Ireland, before welcoming cheese lovers into the judging arena throughout the new Bath & West Food & Drink Festival.

All trophies were presented during the British & Irish Cheese Awards Dinner, with Snowdrop by Cote Hill in Lincolnshire taking the Supreme Champion trophy. Best English Cheese was awarded to Tor from White Lake Cheese, Best Scottish Cheese went to Minger from Highland Fine Cheeses and Best Welsh Cheese was awarded to Gafr Las from Bryngaer Goats.

Organised by The Royal Bath & West Society, the British & Irish Cheese Awards saw a 63-strong judging panel made up of cheesemakers, cheesemongers, cheese experts, buyers and commentators assessing entries in their individual classes during the morning session, awarding Bronze, Silver and Gold accolades. During the second round, all Gold award winners from each category were judged alongside one another to identify the category winners, before all category winners were judged in the final round to find this year’s Supreme Champion and Reserve Champion.

Hosted for the first time by the new Bath & West Food & Drink Festival, the British & Irish Cheese Awards invited festival visitors to sample some of this year’s entries over the course of the weekend and to cast their votes in the People’s Choice Award.

press release

Monday, January 2, 2023

Tastes and Producers of the Season. Christmas & New Year Treats

Tastes and Producers of the Season

Christmas & New Year Treats

Okay, let us start with bread. Make that cake! The arrival of Angela Nöthlings

German micro-bakery in Cork, specialising in organic artisan sourdough breads, especially rye, was a highlight of the year 2022. 

Her Stollen, the traditional German Christmas Cake, was a highlight of our festival days. And we can't forget her sweet "little" stuff: the decadent Berliner Brot, her shortbread fingers and her Salted Rye cookies, and more.


The Germans have no shortage of sweet wines to pair with their Stollen. They also use Schnapps (which often has apples in its ingredients) and that put me thinking of something far closer to home.  

Pom’O is an apple aperitif made from rare apple varieties by Killahora Orchards in Glounthaune. The fruit is grown "in our 200 year old orchards on the south facing slopes of Ireland’s County Cork. We mix the juice from our bittersweet apples with the finest apple brandy, then age it in Irish whiskey barrels for at least a year."

They recommend serving it lightly chilled as an aperitif, with cheese or in a cocktail, with strong, nutty cheddar, fruit desserts. No mention of Stollen but I carried on regardless and the pairing was just perfect.

No bother in finding highlights. Another mega one was the Heritage Ham by James Whelan Butcher. And since we weren't entertaining on the big day, we had most of this beautiful piece of cooked meat all to ourselves (not all on the one day!). This award-winning Heritage Ham has already been lovingly cooked low and slow for over five hours. All we had to do was slice, serve and savour.  Our favourite accompaniment came via the Bord Bia recipe pages and was/is a Redcurrant sauce or glaze. You'll find a few variations here.

The perennial favourite Cashel Blue Cheese was again enjoyed, Wicklow Blue also and some Knockanore Cheddar. These were enhanced by our own Autumn Tomato Chutney made with some excess tomatoes from the back-garden, the recipe from BBC Good Food. 


We've still got a few jars of that but will have no shortage of opportunities to use it. Another great match is the cold cured sliced Pork Fillet (lomo) from the Heart of Spain at Fota Retail Park where I had gone to get some of their Spanish wines and also to get Serrano (which was sold out). Here too I bought their Smoked Sliced Duck "Ham", another meaty gem. You could also have a mixed platter of cheese and charcuterie and the chutney will also do the business here! 

Also in the Fota Retail Park, I got myself a jar of the award winning Wild About Sloe Jelly from The Pantry at Bakestone. Very versatile indeed and it too goes very well with the cured pork, if used sparingly, and they also say it is great with duck or pate, so I'll be trying it with the duck. If you warm it, just drizzle it over desserts and ice cream and you have another winning combination thanks to this Wexford producer.

While I think of it, The Pantry was also my source for the Killahora Pom'O. That too was put through its paces with various bits and pieces and proved quite a match with the Stollen and also with our the cake and even more so with the pudding (from Barnabrow). 

Barrel aged beers tend to go well with Christmas pudding and we tried a few. Perhaps the best were the Brehon Oak & Mirrors BA Imperial Porter (7.5%) and the 9 White Deer Stag BA Export Stout (7.4%). Whiskey is almost always a winner with pudding - there was already some whiskey in the Barnabrow one - and the new 7-year old Single Malt from West Cork Distillers was a treat with it.

Barnabrow House Christmas Cake

We regularly get our hands on the Christmas double by Barnabrow House and got the cake and pudding in early this year when we bought them from the hard-working owner Geraldine Kidd who was selling them at the Ballymaloe Craft Fair. They are as good as ever!

Of course we had some other sweet bits and pieces around for the Christmas including regulars Mella's Fudge, Miena's Nougat and Turkish Delight, all bought on that visit to The Pantry at Bakehouse.

I'm thinking that this blog post may well be my shopping list for Christmas 2023. In the meantime, Happy New Year to you one and all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Pandemic or Recession, the Blair Boys never shirk a challenge

 Pandemic or Recession, the Blair Boys never shirk a challenge 

The Blairs Boys never shirk a challenge. Their family owned country inn near Cloghroe has, like many restaurants, been ambushed and battered by pandemics and rising costs, yet Duncan and Richie have come up fighting, still cooking and serving the good stuff, seasonal comforting food these bleak December days.

But leave your bleakness at the door, as they do. Lots of smiles and chats in here as regulars know. And of course they have craft beer, a full menu of it. Indeed, they were one of the pioneers (not the kind with the badge) of local beer, matching it with their local produce. On the current list, brewers such as West Kerry, Blacks of Kinsale, West Cork Brewing and 9 White Deer are highlighted.

The Stag Gluten Free Stout by 9 White Deer has been a big hit here over the years and was one of our drinks during the visit. The other was their Kölsch, a summer favourite of ours. Not summer now but the Blairs fire was warm and the beer went down a treat. Also spotted the new 9 White Deer Export Stout 7.4% (Stout Aged in Blackwater whiskey casks in West Waterford) and that came home with us. We were advised to hold on to it for a while!

We had arrived just as they opened at 1.00pm last Thursday and so did quite a few others and Christmas was very much in the air when a large group of customers came together. And there was plenty of warming food to choose from.

Starters included Soup of the Day with Potato Flatbread; Tartlet of Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, creamed leeks and a beetroot chutney; and Garlic Wild Mushrooms with potato flatbreads. Our pick, available in small and large portions, was the West Cork Whiskey Wings with a Cashel Blue dip and potato flatbreads. Superb flavours from a warming dish ideal for the zero degree weather outside in the valley.

Mains on offer included Roast Half Chicken with all the trimmings including roasties; Angus Beef Burger with cheese, gherkins and house sauce and with skin-on wedges; Roast stuffed loin of Timoleague Pork with all the trimmings with roasties of course!; a seasonal Veggie Pie, topped with Cheddar cheese mash; Thai Green Chicken Curry with steamed rice.

My pick was the Cottage Pie of ground beef topped with creamy mash and a side salad, another comforting warm blast against the cold! But I think, on the basis of a spoon or two, that CL was the winner here with a tempting looking Fisherman's Pie of fresh fish topped with smoked Hegarty’s Cheese and dill mash. It looked tempting mostly because, unusually, the chunky fish pieces were floating around an island of the tasty mash. Something different but very satisfying indeed. Just like everything else on the menu, this was comfort food at its best, perfect for the weather this time of year.

This one came home!

Finished off with a chat with the brothers and wished them luck for the months ahead. But those two know you make your own luck where the main ingredient is hard work. Their loyal local customers know that too and, combined, that’s a solid foundation for whatever pestilence or economic woe that may (or may not) lie around the corner.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Taste of the Week. Cooleeney Farm Brie, Cashel Blue, Gourmet Haven, Warm Loganberry Jam

Taste of the Week

Cooleeney Farm Brie, Cashel Blue, Gourmet Haven, Warm Loganberry Jam

This week's Taste of the Week was improvised, more or less thrown together. 

"What will we have for lunch?" "What have we got?"

"Well, we have cheese and we have chutney."

So we got cracking. Rather, we got cutting, little pieces of the wedge of Cashel and of the Cooleeney Brie, a pair of top Tipperary cheeses, recently purchased at the local O'Keeffe's shop in St Luke's. The chutney, mainly apple influenced, was by Gourmet Haven, and had been bought in Lynch's Centra Crosshaven some time back.
So we started with those three along with a few slices of Arbutus sourdough (also from O'Keeffe's). Just perfect, a lovely Taste of the Week!

The blog chef had just made a few pots of loganberry jam. There was half a jar of it on the table, cooling. So I stuck a spoon in and added that to the cheese. Like magic, our new Taste of the Week got even better!

By the way those loganberries are amazing this year, their third. We have two plants growing on a south-facing wall and they produced close to 7 kgs between them. In fact, just one of the plants deserves most of the praise as it yielded at least six of those kilos. The other is a bit of a dud and it doesn't look like improving for next year!

Still we have plenty of all four ingredients left, so this Taste of the Week could run for a while!

Monday, January 3, 2022

Festival Food & Drink Favourites 2021. Eight Degrees and Bakestone in Happy Holiday Pairing

Festival Food & Drink Favourites 2021

Eight Degrees and Bakestone in Happy Holiday Pairing

What were your food and drink favourites over the Christmas and New Year?

I’d say one of mine came at the end of the Christmas Day Dinner when we matched the Bakestone Pudding with a shared can of Eight Degrees Irish Oak-aged Barleywine. At 12.2% abv, this is a heavy hitter and needs respect. Pour a little into a wine glass and sip and enjoy. It went perfectly with the pudding from East Cork (you’ll find Bakestone at Cobh Cross - they’ve been there for years and, as well as a popular café, have a magnificent pantry of top notch Irish produce).

And so it was appropriate that it was two locally made products that topped our Christmas bill!

The Eight Degrees’ aromatic and multi-flavoured seasonal special was aged in especially rare Irish whiskey barrels that have been made from native Irish oak. Not alone did it pair with the rich and dark pudding but it also went well with the light and delicious Christmas cake from Barnabrow House (bought at Roughty Foodie) and also with the cheese course, notably with the Crozier Blue (via On The Pig’s Back).

Bubbles are usually associated with the festivities at this time of year and I was lucky to have a couple of delicious bottles of Prosecco on hand, each by Bottega. The Gold Prosecco Brut impressed for sure but it was the Bottega Rose Gold that really caught my attention. It is a terrific Spumante Brut rose, made from Pinot Noir grapes grown throughout the Veneto.

The hand painted bottles are not only eye-catching but "reflect the quality and care put into producing this wine”. Bottega do not use chemical-based products for their metallised bottles; this means the solvent for the varnish is water-based, instead of being oil or alcohol-based like more traditional varnishes.

It wasn’t just Prosecco of course. There was wine. We won’t go into too much detail just to say that we had an impressive pair via Liberty Wine for dinner on the big day. From South Africa came the Western Cape Momento, the country’s only Grenache Gris. And we made it a lovely Grenache double with the red, a Willunga 100 from the McLaren Vale in Australia.

You always need something extra to bring the best out of all the good stuff on the table at Christmas and two jars in particular were in regular use here. One was the Big Red Kitchen’s Spiced Plum and Port Jam and the other was the seasonal Ballymaloe Foods Cranberry and Mór Wild Berry Gin Sauce.

The Spiced Plum and Port Jam is very versatile, a match with paté, cheese and duck and we find it  outstanding with Skeaghanore smoked duck breast and gives the Skeaghanore Confit Leg sweet hint of Asia. This year it also impressed with the Bakestone pudding. Nicola of the Red Kitchen combines ripe plums with a hint of warming cinnamon and port in this excellent seasonal preserve which is also wonderful with scones and bread. It won’t go to waste around here.

And neither did the Ballymaloe Foods Cranberry and Mór Wild Berry Gin Sauce. It certainly did what it says on the jar and enhanced the turkey (and the other meats) no end and also impressed when used with the cheese board. This blend of cranberries and the Irish gin proved indispensable over the week.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Cork Christmas without a helping of spiced beef on the table. No shortage here thankfully and, supplied (like the turkey and ham) by local craft butcher Chris Davidson, it was once again a highlight. Turkey and ham was pretty good too!

Another highlight was our order from Ummera Smokehouse in Timoleague, a box packed with chicken, duck, salmon (two ways), even rashers, all smoked and all delicious as always. Good use was made of this package over the holidays. Nothing like a bit of variety over the hols.

We did indeed use the Ummera smoked chicken on New Year’s Eve and later there were more holiday bubbles. It was now the turn of a super Beaumont des Crayères Vintage 2013 Fleur Blanche Blanc de Blancs Brut (via O’Briens Wines) to shine. Intense and exciting from the engaging first sip, with fountains of micro-bubbles powering upwards, with biscuity aromas and flavours and floral notes too, this is one of the better ones for sure. It is made from 100% Chardonnay and obviously 2013 was a very good year.

Let us hope that 2022 will also be a good one. Happy New Year to you all and fingers crossed that it will be better for all of us.


Monday, October 18, 2021

Sketch opens at the Imperial. Cocktail and Birdcage with Grace and Jazz.

Oriental Martini
Sketch opens at the Imperial.

Cocktail and Birdcage with Grace and Jazz.

You’ll see illustrated echoes of Jazz and Princess Grace when you visit Sketch, the classy new Wine and Dine venue at the Imperial Hotel. Sketches by Ethan Desmond (From the Sketch Up) evoke the good times when Princess Grace stayed here some sixty years ago and also the hotel’s enduring links with the annual Jazz festival in this comfortable corner with its overall Rus en Urbe vibe created, with a light touch, by Sandra Looney of To Have and To Hold.

Les bon temps rouler

Let the good times roll! Grab a buddy and dust off those glad rags and head for the Sketch entrance on Pembroke Street (though you can of course access it also through the South Mall entrance). Here, relax and enjoy a cocktail or two and, of course, a Bird Cage full of top notch snacks, the produce sourced from the nearby English Market.

#2 Birdcage
We had the privilege of doing just that last weekend when the official opening took place. Hotel GM Bastien Peyraud had a warm welcome for his guests: “We are truly delighted to launch Sketch and to welcome you all to the opening. The Imperial family have worked incredibly hard over the past year, and we are extremely proud of our focus on local, sustainability and what we have created overall. The most important thing to us is creating memories and I anticipate Sketch will be a fantastic melting pot of people, style, music, good food and great drinks.”

And fair play to Bastien and his team as they went on to illustrate exactly what he had in mind for the rest of very enjoyable evening with superb cocktails and those tasty Birdcages! 

The mini cocktail on the way in, a welcoming shot of Glendalough Rose Gin and Taittinger, set the mood and, after that liquid amuse bouche, a good time ensued.

Appropriately, the first cocktail delivered to our table was Princess Grace, a delicious one of Ketel One Vodka, raspberries, Triple Sec, their own champagne syrup and Prosecco. 

The opening shot

They have a few smoked cocktails on the regular menu and we enjoyed the Spike Island (Oak Smoked Spike Island Rum Old Fashioned).

The most popular drink of the evening appeared to be the Eau De Champagne. The mix here is Taittinger Champagne, Glendalough Rosé Gin, Homemade Rosemary Syrup, Egg White.

There was a bit of theatrical fun to end with. The final cocktail, Lemon meringue (Ketel One Vodka, Lemon, Pineapple, Homemade Limoncello, Meringue) was served with the selection of petit fours. The ooh and aah bit came when the Meringue was blow torched at the table.

The regular menu has four Birdcages, each inspired by the English Market: Sushi, Charcuterie, Cheesy and Meaty.

The Princess Grace

Our selection, an extensive sample of what is available on a regular Sketch night, came in two servings. First top was Charcuterie & Cheesy with Tom Durcan’s Spiced Beef, Gubbeen Salami, Iberia Chorizo, Gubbeen Smoked cheese, Cashel Blue, Ardsallagh Goats Cheese, and Carrigaline Garlic and Herb. 

Quite a start to the evening and that was soon followed by Meaty, Seacurterie and Vegan and here we were tempted by Fribbins BBQ Glazed Ribs, Imperial Spiced Wings, Southern Fried Tenders, and Asian Duck Roll. The fishy bits were Peeky Toe Crab Roll, Sake Salmon, Torched Seabass and Ballycotton Smoked Salmon. And the third plate had Grilled Courgette, Ras El Hanout Spice, Avocado Mousse, Vine Tomato, Plum Tomato and Basil Bruschetta.

If you do call in, you don’t have to stick strictly with the cocktails and Birdcage. There are small plates of ribs, wings and Ham Hock Croquettes for instance. And, on the drinks side, there are many wines, also Prosecco and Champagne (including a flight for €20.00) listed. There’s a full bar at hand, so plenty of beers, gins and whiskeys to choose from. 

Read all about Sketch, including full menus, here.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Tip Top Tapas and a lovely experience at Vikki's in Sunday's Well

 Tip Top Tapas and a lovely experience at Vikki's in Sunday's Well


“Wild mushroom and truffle arancini” 

“Tempura prawn, wasabi mayo” 

“Burrata, tomatoes, olives and sour dough”

“Mackerel Pate and watercress salad”

 “Wild mushroom bruschetta”

“Miso glazed tofu, sesame and smoked almond crumbs”

All and more chalked on the tempting Tapas Board at Vikki’s (which comes under the Blue Haven wing) in Sunday’s Well. 

Add in the Charcuterie board (Ballinwillin goat salami, bresaola, Serrano ham, Ummera smoked duck, salami, olives and croutons). Plus the Cheeseboard of Cashel Blue cheese, Hegarty's cheddar, Macroom mozzarella, Taleggio, Knockanore vintage red cheddar, sundried tomatoes, Ballymaloe relish, grapes, crackers, apple chutney. I could see I was in for a tapas treat.


And that it would be enhanced by some excellent wines. Quite a few whites by the glass including the Blue Haven Collection Sauvignon Blanc by Better Half in Marlborough, New Zealand, and reds too such as the Johnny Q Shiraz-Viognier (South Australia). Fancy a full bottle? No bother. I can rarely resist a Gruner Veltliner and they have the Peter Scheiger Kogelberg among their whites, while the red list includes Chateau Maucoil Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Rhone, France).

No shortage of sparkling or rosé either. And they also offer local drinks in bottle such as Blacks of Kinsale KPA and Stonewell Cider Medium Dry, each a favourite of mine. As we started making tapas decisions, we sipped two terrific whites, the Abadia de Seixo Albariño and the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The Marlborough has been created in partnership between The Blue Haven Collection and Better Half Wines Marlborough, a small family winery sourcing premium grapes from thirteen hard-working, local growers in the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. Each was impressive in its own way.


Soon our opening tapas were on the table and the sharing began. The cauliflower pakora with its mint yogurt was a pleasant opener but it was the Chicken Yakitori that came with its crunchy slaw and spicy dip that stole the opening act of a very pleasant and satisfactory meal.  All part of an easy-going evening with pleasant and good humoured staff who knew the menu and had time for a chat and a laugh or two.

I often feel that local chefs can better display their talents through smaller dishes and indeed we often agree that we would sometimes prefer to eat nothing but starters on certain occasions. And this is more or less what we were doing here because the tapas portions are equal in quantity to many starters.

Quantity and quality came together again in our next double. First up was the Baked Camembert with chutney and sourdough. Another superb dish, another highlight of the evening, the experience enhanced no end by the stunning plum chutney.


We had now moved on to a couple of red wines. One was Organic “Authentico” Bobal Tempranillo, an excellent tapas wine, a rounded, fruity and persistent blend of Bobal and Tempranillo organic vines by Covinas. Bobal is a relatively unknown grape despite being widely planted in Spain. As it turned out, we both leaned towards our other red, the  “Original” Malbec by Rigal, from the South of France, a smooth fruity and harmonious wine.

The Bobal Tempranillo really came into its own with the Wild boar and Gubbeen cheese croquettes, perhaps the least photogenic of our tapas, but packed full of robust flavours and a delight to dispatch, especially with the lively sauce on which they were laid.

Would we like dessert? Reluctantly, we shook our heads, even though earlier we had put an eye on the Tunisian almond and orange cake in the short selection. We had enjoyed our tapas and the wine and the evening in Vikki’s and decided to call a halt!

You’ll find all the details, opening times and menus, on their website here and stay up to date with last minute changes by checking their Facebook page.  By the way, their Covid 19 precautions are some of the most impressive around. Delighted to take up an invite to visit this comfortable venue.

Tapas are served here from Wednesday to Sunday. They also do lunch and brunch - see social media. Below is a screenshot of their Christmas opening times (subject to Covid changes).

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Tipperary Food Producers launch Artisan Food Hamper

Tipperary Food Producers launch Artisan Food Hamper                       
Offering a taste of Tipperary to the nation of Ireland, The Tipperary Food Producers, a network of Tipperary’s artisan food and beverage producers has launched a new “Taste of Tipperary” Hamper in conjunction with Hampers & Co, Ireland’s leading luxury hamper company which was founded in Tipperary in 1993. 

The luxury hamper features products from ten Tipperary producers, with many award-winning products among the selection. 

Creating a Tipperary Hamper offering has been a goal of the Tipperary Food Producers said Con Traas, Chairman of the network which was established in 2008. Commenting, Con said, “We are delighted to launch our first ‘Taste of Tipperary’ hamper and to share some of the fantastic food and beverage products produced here in Tipperary. As a network, we have discussed on many occasions about creating a Tipperary hamper offering, available year-round. I guess you could say that the recent lockdown has given us that extra “push” to get this initiative up and running and we are thrilled to be working with Hampers & Co on this Tipperary collaboration. We are very proud of our homegrown produce here in Tipperary and we hope that everyone can enjoy a taste of Tipperary no matter where they are in the country.”

With something for everyone to enjoy in the hamper, products include; The Apple Farm – Con’s Apple Cider; 3 Men in a Trailer - Artisan Ketchup; Cooleeney Farmhouse Cheese; Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers - Cashel Blue Cheese; Crossogue Preserves Chutney; Vera Miklas Freeze Dried Strawberries; Rivesci’s Cashew Chilli Crush; Irish Hedgerow, Elderflower Refresher drink; Galtee Honey Farm, Wildflower Honey and Ayle Farm’s homemade granola. 

Commenting on the collaboration, Thurles native Emer Purcell and founder of Hampers & Co said, “I am very proud to partner with the Tipperary Food Producers to create this wonderful Hamper. Since I established Hampers & Co over 27 years ago, I have featured many products from Tipperary’s food producers in our hampers and they have always been much loved by everyone. When the opportunity came around to collaborate with the Tipperary Food Producers to create ‘A Taste of Tipperary’, I jumped at the chance. It’s great to reconnect with my home county and to celebrate Tipperary’s wealth of artisan food and beverage producers.”

The “Taste of Tipperary” Hamper is €70 and for more information and to purchase visit or

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Embrace a Shannonside Star: the Limerick Strand Hotel

Embrace a Shannonside Star: the Limerick Strand Hotel

The Limerick Strand Hotel has much going for it: a splendid location, terrific rooms, delicious locally based food and a top chef in Tom Flavin, and a splendid location. We appreciated all of those but we have to say that the staff here, from reception to bar, to the various dining rooms, are premier class, friendly and helpful.

They knew we were heading to the Milk Market on Saturday morning so they handed us a brochure and, as it turned out, there was a little map in the room as well with the market highlighted. But it wasn’t just for us. We saw numerous examples as they interacted with other guests, the bar staff making a toddler feel at home, the restaurant staff chatting and helpful to a foreign family. 
Just one small part of the superb breakfast offering.

Our room was on the third floor and we used the lifts all the time, never a bother, all working perfectly. The room itself was splendid with great views from the large floor-to-ceiling window out over the mighty Shannon. It had all we needed, comfortable chairs, TV, Wifi, Controllable Air Conditioning, Tea/Coffee Making Facilities, a cooler, Hairdryer, Iron/Ironing Board, Bottled mineral water and more, including 24 hour room service. 

All guests at the Limerick Strand Hotel enjoy daily laundry service, and access to the Energize Health Club with 20m pool. Our bathroom was top class, with separate bath and shower and Paul Costello toiletries.

Let there be light!
The decor in rooms and corridors and open spaces is excellent. There’s a chandelier that stretches over two floors and also a spectacular display of county jerseys. We had a beautiful large scale picture of King John’s Castle on one wall of our room.

The bar is long and very comfortable with its own food menu. Doors can be opened in the good weather. And while you can get all the mainstream drinks here - I enjoyed a Jack Daniels nightcap - they also support local and a couple of pints of ale from the local Treaty City Brewery (you’ll find that over by King John's Castle) went down well earlier.

No shortage of food here and they have two main restaurants. One is the Terrace Bar & Restaurant which is a stylish place to meet throughout the day and evening in an informal riverside setting. This was where we had an excellent dinner and you may read all about the experience here…
King John's Castle

The River Restaurant is another special dining room, again overlooking the magnificent River Shannon and again with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce. It is a great spot for breakfast and for Sunday lunch and more.

And it was here that we had breakfast, one of the very best hotel breakfasts that we’ve come across. No wonder they won Georgina Campbell’s Ireland Irish Breakfast Awards. Many more awards as well as you may read here

From our table, we could indeed see the Shannon below but, at this point we were really interested in the food, much of it sourced locally. You could ladle your porridge (Flahavan’s Jumbo Oats) from a large pot and spoon on some honey from a full Croom honeycomb alongside. Lots of cereals (including a Gluten Free selection) available too, seeds and yogurts and more. And a splendid selection of fruit. Breads and pastries from the in-house bakery. There were juices galore and even a smoothie station.

I enjoyed the muesli and a scatter of seeds while CL selected a plateful of fruit and that was a very good start. The staff again were very helpful, getting the teas and coffees out sharply and offering to take our order to the chef station. You could also order direct from the station yourself, egg dishes, omelettes, and pancakes all available.

If you wanted the Full Irish, all you had to do was help yourself from the buffet. It was the Cheese (including Cashel Blue) and Cold Meats that caught our eyes and we each filled a plate from a choice that included Chicken breast, sliced Irish ham, chorizo, salamis, Silver Darling Pickled Herrings, some leaves and relishes too. Splendid stuff and a great start to the day!

The hotel is easily found. You’ll see it as you cross the Sarsfield Bridge. It’s on the left and, after passing the main building, turn left immediately for the car park which is underground. You pay €8.50 for 24 hour parking. There is a lift up to reception.
Sarsfield Bridge and the Strand Hotel

The location is terrific for visiting Limerick city itself. Main attractions such as King John’s Castle, the Hunt Museum, and the Milk Market are just a walk away. This being Ireland, you’ll get various estimates. For instance, different people told us the Milk Market was  anywhere between three and seven minutes. As it turned out, we strolled over and forgot all about the time! Definitely more than three minutes though! And we were a lot slower coming back with our bags full! It was well worth it. As is a visit to Limerick and a stay at the Strand!