Among the big brands in Kildare Village, I find a familiar name.
|Coolea & Spinach Crêpe
Crêperie Angelie make an outstanding crêpe
with Coolea Cheese!
Thanks to the crepe in my hand, I was thinking of two contrasting villages.
One is Coolea, hardly a village at all, just a scattering of buildings deep in the countryside up in the hills above Ballyvourney in County Cork. Here the Willems family has been making their famous cheese since the 1970s.
|Chocolate Block at Lindt
My crêpe was a beauty and the highlight was Coolea Cheese. I had just ordered it from Crêperie Angelie. The cheese was paired with spinach and all very enjoyable indeed and ideal for a light lunch as a sumptuous dinner was arranged for later on at our hotel, the Clanard Court in Athy.
The Crêperie is one of quite a few food outlets in Kildare Village, so you won't go hungry at all. It is one of the smaller ones. I noticed one doing doughnuts (the Rolling Donut) and Murphy’s Ice Cream of Dingle fame is also there. If you want something substantial then the likes of Dunne and Crescenzi and Saba will oblige.
|Athy's narrow Horse Bridge (1796) at the point where the Barrow River
is joined by the Grand Canal (lock at left)
With the crêpes under our belts, we began walking the village and yet the purchases all had a food connection. The old credit card got a bashing at the tempting Lindt chocolate shop and even more so at Le Creuset.
Later, in Athy, the local Supervalu (Pettitt’s) had a well-stocked craft beer section. I was looking for local breweries and found a few beers from Ballykilcavan, Boyne Brewhouse and Rye River. Happy with that lot!
And then we headed off to Minch Malt. The brochure claims it is the oldest (opened in 1847) and the largest producer in the country. In its early days, it was one of many malthouses along the banks of the Grand Canal. We returned over Horse Bridge (1796) and walked back to the town centre along the bank of the Barrow (one of the three sisters).
Athy is one of the biggest towns in the county and has quite a lot of history. Unfortunately, the Shackleton Museum is closed for renovations. Next time!
|Strong. Ballet dancer with boxing gloves.
An eye-catching mural by Solus on Barrow Quay, Athy
Look closely at the 6 drawings above the "signature".
We also took time to visit Burtown House and Gardens, a few miles away from the hotel. There are over 12 acres of gardens, park and woodland, and 180 acres of remaining farmland from a once 2000-acre estate. There is also a sculpture trail here.
It was Sunday afternoon and their popular Green Barn restaurant, where the menus are seasonal, was very busy indeed. And they also have accommodation. Our walk around barely scratched the surface so that’s another place, plus the Bog of Allen, that we plan to visit.
|Sculpture by Catherine Greene at Burtown House
and below, garden flowers on a woodland path.
For any visit to Kildare, the 4-star Clanard Court is excellent, has lovely staff and they’ll feed you well. It also benefits from a central location. Both the M7 and M9 are close by. Newbridge is 26 minutes away, National Stud (20), Naas (32), The Curragh (25), Punchestown (31), St Stephen’s Green (68), Tullamore Dew (58), Ballykilcavan Brewery (18) another must visit, Carlow (27), Kilbeggan Distillery (68) one track mind! From Cork, it is 128 minutes.
Also on this visit (thanks to Into Kildare for helping):