Showing posts with label Celtic Ross. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celtic Ross. Show all posts

Monday, April 15, 2019

Dine by the Water. Superb food and superb views

Dine by the Water
Superb food and superb views

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. 

And in West Cork, near Durrus, there is Blairscove House. Here you can enjoy a splendid dinner and views over Dunmanus Bay. And another waterside gem in West Cork is Heron's Cove, perched nicely at Goleen.
Heron's Cove

Breakfast view (just a small section of it!) from the Trident's Pier One
There are no shortages of harbour views in Kinsale. One of my most recent visits was to Man Friday on the hills above the bay . 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. 
Bayview, Ballycotton

And across the bay, its sister hotel, the Bayview has an even more spectacular cliff-top situation and amazing fish dishes.
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.

No shortage of views from the Inchydoney Hotel (above) which is situated on the spectacular beach of the same name.
Window view from the Eccles

Further west, go and stay at the Eccles Hotel, once home of the rich and famous.

Also in West Cork, be sure and visit beautiful Courtmacsherry and the small Courtmacsherry Hotel with its gorgeous views.
Enjoying a local beer on the terrace of the Lifeboat Inn

Also in Courtmac, you'll find terrific food at the Lifeboat Inn
Lunch-time view at the Cliff House

Ardmore’s Cliff House is renowned for the food, the views over the bay!
Blaa Eggs Benedict at The Granville
View from Strand Inn
overlooking Cahore in Wexford
Prawns Pil Pil
at The Strand

Waterford's excellent  Granville Hotel overlooks the harbour, right in the city centre. 

Next door in Wexford, check out the views from the Strand Inn in Cahore, in the north-east of the county, and also from the dining room at Hook Head Lighthouse in the south-west

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!

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

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 park 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 Electricespecially 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 can almost dip your fingers in the Lee as you wine and dine at the River Club  of the lovely River Lee Hotel.  
View from the restaurant in Dripsey Garden Centre

The Garden Restaurant, 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 Fish Basket on Long Strand, Castlefreke, Co. Cork, has recently opened here
in what was previously the Puffin Cafe

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

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Celtic Ross Hotel. A West Cork Jewel

The Celtic Ross Hotel 
A West Cork Jewel
Well placed to visit
the treasures of the West Cork coast

Situated between Clonakilty and Skibbereen, the Celtic Ross is a jewel in the West Cork coastal necklace. This is a gem that exudes warmth in every aspect of its hospitality: reception, touring help, accommodation, food and drink. 

The hotel overlooking the Rosscarbery estuary has a splendid location and not just for the immediate views. It is one of the most central places from which to visit the West Cork highlights, from Clonakilty to the peninsulas in the West.
And just on its doorstep it has the beautiful villages of Glandore and Union Hall and coastal walks galore. And if you like a bit of height as you stretch the legs why not head up to Carrigfadda where you get the most splendid 360 degrees views inland and over the sea.
Warren Strand, within walking distance

And another thing about the Celtic Ross, under manager Neil Grant, is their huge involvement in and support for local events, including A Taste of West Cork, the Clonakilty Street Carnival and the prestigious West Cork Sports Awards to name but three. 

And more recently, they have thrown their weight behind a new initiative, the West Cork Farm Tours, that gives you the chance to visit one of five farms in the area. We did a tour recently and you may check it out here.

There is a wide range of outdoor activities available in the area including horse riding, cycling, golf, pitch and putt, woodland trails, garden visits and water sports such as kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.
Dinner in the Celtic Ross

And after all that touring and walking and other activities, you might well like to relax in their leisure facilities.  Let the aches of the day evaporate in the steam room or sauna, take an invigorating swim (15m pool) or unwind with a hot stone massage. As they say: “When you visit us you’ll find everything you need to make your stay as laid-back or as active as you want it to be.”
Celtic Ross is an active participant in the delightful Clonakilty Street Carnival

They support local drink producers in the hotel bar. Whiskey from the West Cork Distillery in Skibbereen and gins from the Beara Distillery are given pride of place here along with quite a few other Irish spirits. And local breweries too are highlighted with beers from Baltimore’s West Cork Brewery and Mitchelstown’s Eight Degrees available, some on draught, some in bottle. And when the sun shines, they have outdoor facilities where you may snack and sip.

And the food is splendid here, its reputation gradually built up over the past few years by hard-working General Manager Neil Grant and Executive Head Chef Alex Petit. Alex now has the considerable assistance of Head Chef Shane Deane. We enjoyed a terrific dinner here recently, details here. And we were able to choose between two very tempting menus indeed. Breakfast is excellent too, mainly from an assisted buffet where everything is kept at optimum temperature. 

They have 66 bedrooms and many enjoy beautiful water views over Rosscarbery Lagoon or Rosscarbery Bay. As well as the double, twin and triple rooms, they also have family rooms, interconnecting rooms and rooms with built in accessibility features.

During our recent stay (March 2019), our room had a view over the lagoon and had everything we needed, including tea-making facilities, iron, hair-dryer, safe. Of course, it had a splendid comfortable bed and was restfully decorated. The bathroom too was top notch. Indeed, the room was faultless, just like the well-maintained hotel itself.
You might see these two on a West Cork Farm Tour
You may check the room rates here at their website. It may be getting on in the year now but do keep an eye out for offers. I spotted my chance in a January Black Friday sale and the B&B cost me about fifty six euro. A very good deal indeed!

Monday, March 25, 2019

See Where Your Food Comes From With West Cork Farm Tours

See Where Your Food Comes From
 With West Cork Farm Tours 

Here’s how to get a two week old calf to suck your fingers.
Extend your hand and keep it out there. Keep it steady. No sudden moves. Be sure and have your palm facing upwards - they don’t want any backhanders! Be patient and soon enough the calf will come and suck (probably with more force than you might expect).

Just one of the experiences from our morning West Cork Farm Tour on Denis O’Donovan’s dairy farm between Rosscarbery and Glandore. “Dairy’s the only game in town,” according to Denis and, since 2015, the only type of farming that he conducts. The 150 cows in the herd get the best of care and attention from Denis, his wife Collette (great with the calves!) and son Eoghan (who is attending secondary school). Denis’s father, nominally retired, is also a big help especially when the family need a break.
Denis has an audience in front. And another behind!
They greeted our group when we arrived on the mini-bus and soon we were sitting at the table with a spread of scones, Kerrygold butter, Dubliner cheese, and their very own milk (very delicious!). Collette and Eoghan joined us for a chat and indeed for the tour.

Denis was keen to stress that Ireland is one of the few countries in the world where milk is produced from grass. “Ninety per cent of the world’s milk comes from cows fed on grain,” he told us, stressing that the grass based method was much more environmentally friendly.

There are four farmer owned co-ops in the area and they also have the Carbery factory. This is where the O’Donovan’s milk goes before ending up in products such as that Kerrygold and Dubliner and also milk powder (especially for the big baby food companies).

It seems to me that the perfectly laid out farm would be one of twenty one fields, ten on each side and one at the top of the farm road. Why? Well, the grass cycle is 21 days. Denis: “We have the perfect climate for grass, though the drought (like that of 2018, thankfully a rare occurrence, and severe cold can upset that). This spring has been very kind so far and we have loads of grass.” And where there’s a surplus of grass, it can be harvested as silage and retained for the two and a bit winter months when the cattle are kept indoors.
Milking every morning after 5.45am wake-up call.
Every afternoon at 4.30pm.

Good farm roads are essential and theirs are excellent as we’d find out later, “better than some public roads”. Other essential items are large water troughs for each field or paddock,  piping to get the water out to the fields, electric fencing to control the strips of grass being grazed. Amazing how the cows will stick their heads out under those wires to get a nice mouthful of grass but are very careful not to touch them.

So then it was time for us to get into our trailer and Denis onto the tractor. The trailer by the way is adapted for passengers and you get a great view. Midway through, we walked a bit, getting nearer the West Cork coast and enjoying marvellous views down to Glandore harbour and its rocks and islands and, over to the east, Galley Head and its lighthouse.
Glandore harbour

At this point too, Eoghan gave us a local history lesson as he pointed out the impressive ruin of Coppinger’s Court in the near distance. Must have been much more impressive when it was built in the 17th century with 365 windows, 52 rooms and 12 chimneys. Sir Walter Coppinger intended to build a city around it but his ambition bankrupted him.

He was hauled off to court, leaving instructions with his staff that, if he wasn't back by supper, he’d have had lost his case, and they were to burn the place down. He won the case though and repaired to the nearest tavern to celebrate. He forgot all about his instruction until seeing the glow in the sky from the flames as he arrived home.
Pic by Maxine Christy (Celtic Ross)

Back in the milking parlour, we heard that Denis and Colette are up at 5.45am every morning for ten months of the year. Straight out to do the morning milking; the afternoon milking is around the 4.30pm mark. No escaping those two daily sessions if you’re a dairy farmer.

The herd is a Jersey/Friesian cross, the Jersey used for its higher fat and protein in the milk. Each cow produces about 5,500 litres of milk each year but nowadays farmers such as Denis tend to talk about milk solids rather than the amount of liquid. Their paycheque is based on the solids and hence the importance of the Jersey (who is also a very “efficient cow”).

As we met the herd out on the field, and they came over to check us out, Denis revealed that he does all his own AI (artificial insemination). “Most of the semen we use comes from New Zealand but we (Ireland) will soon have our own bank.”

He pointed out the tags that have all the data (birth date, mother, father etc.). “The department will know exactly her history. Full traceability is all important. There is no traceability in many countries.”

Back at the buildings and right next to the milking facility, we met the current “crop” of calves, just a few weeks old and just as curious (if a little bit more nervous) than their mothers. All the calves, by the way,  are born in the springtime, all by arrangement (thanks to AI and good planning). It makes the whole operation that bit more efficient and means that the family can plan their year a bit better better, especially that well earned break!

There are five farms participating in the Tours programme, all a little bit different. They can do days tours, bespoke tours, specialist tours. We certainly enjoyed our one and you can get most of the info you want from the contacts below, especially the website. Very Highly Recommended. Local hotels, such the Celtic Ross, can also be of help if you want to do a tour and indeed big thanks to Neil Grant of the Celtic Ross who arranged for us to go on this one.

West Cork Farm Tours
Facebook: @FarmToursCork
Twitter: @FarmToursCork
Instagram: westcorkfarmtours

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Celtic Ross. Dinner Supreme in Kingfisher Brasserie

Celtic Ross. Dinner Supreme in Kingfisher Brasserie
Spring roll
Had heard lots of good things about the Kingfisher Brasserie in the very popular Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery. And it was with great anticipation that we studied the menu, instantly encouraged by the stated commitment to local producers. 

Local drinks too and we sipped our Sherkin Lass Ale by the West Cork Brewery as we we went through our dining options. Earlier we had sampled two of the area’s spirits, whiskey from the West Cork Distillery in Skibbereen and gin from Beara.

So how could I not pick something from Rosscarbery for my meal? And I did, starting with a superb Ham Hock and Rosscarbery Black Pudding terrine (€8.50), with Jerusalem artichoke and shiitake piccalilli, wild garlic pesto, artichoke crisps. Superb. We shared. 

And we also shared the other opener, the Skeaghanore Duck Spring Roll (€8.95) Confit duck, carrot and apricot chutney, blue cheese, ruby red sauerkraut, cos lettuce. Thumbs up from each side of the table for the work of the kitchen under Shane Deane (Head Chef) and Alex Petit (Executive Chef) in this family owned hotel.

Time now for the mains, chicken supreme. But not just any chicken supreme. Their Shannonvale Chicken Supreme Zaatar (€20.50) with Aniseed carrots, chickpea, harissa and golden raisin stew, minted chimichurri will have your taste buds dancing to a different beat. Supreme indeed!

The Irish Trout Fillet (€20.50) Crushed sweet potatoes, quinoa, sunflower seed and orange granola, wild garlic pesto, again illustrated that expertise and the little things (the quinoa, the seeds, the granola, the pesto) can make a delightful difference.

Sat back then for a wee spell and relaxed in our comfortable seats and after a chat with our friendly and informative server, decided to share the final round. The Citrus Plate (Yuzu curd, physalis drizzle cake, lemon sorbet, mint crème fraiche, lemon tuile) was tempting as was the West Cork Cheese plate (a collection of the classics) but the one we picked and enjoyed was the Medovik Cake Honey sponge, sour cream, caramelised walnuts, chocolate tuile.

Second drink!
All this in the split level brasserie, part of the adjoining eating areas here. You also have the option of choosing from the Kingfisher Bistro menu which includes starters such as Woodcock Smokery Smoked Haddock Tartare and mains like Seared Union Hall Brill. So no shortage of choice, no shortage of quality either.

Having finished the Medovik Cake, we stepped through the open door to the bar which was also busy and we took our ease as a trio of young fellows played some traditional music and one of them seemed set to crack the timbers with a dazzling display of Irish dancing. A relaxing end for us to an evening in Rosscarbery that had begun with a walk across the causeway and then down towards Warren Strand, watching the estuary birds eagerly feeding as we strolled. 

Co. Cork
Tel +353 (0)23 88 48722

Also on this 24-hour trip:
A day out with West Cork Farm Tours
Super Food at Ardfield's Mountain Bar