Showing posts with label Killarney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Killarney. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #28. Craft IPAs from Lineman, Heaney, and Killarney

CorkBillyBeers #28

Craft IPAs from Lineman, Heaney, and Killarney


Heaney New England IPA 5.7%, 440ml can Bradleys

The label intro to this beer is short, and accurate: Haze, hops, and juice.

Light gold, deeply hazy, and a fluffy white head that’s in no big hurry to depart, mark the appearance of this IPA from the Heaney brewery. I like this hazy gold coloured beer, full of exotic notes, soft and easy drinking.

Aromas are somewhat reticent but you may note Pineapple leading the exotic charge. And more fruit on the palate, Mango and Pineapple to the fore, with just a touch of bitterness in the background. Lovely soft mouthfeel and perfectly balanced. Another well-made beer from the Derry brewery, one for the short-list for sure.

Heaney has continued to improve the NEIPA. “It’s slightly more refined on the body, a little smoother with the carbonation dialled in exactly right. I’m not sure what you get on your tasting notes but I feel there is a lot of squidgy apricot in there and some juicy red apple, it’s all about the jooooose. Very little bitterness if any, and a nice smooth lush body. We used Mosaic and Amarillo in equal quantities in the dry hop and Chinook in the whirlpool, no hops in the boil at all.”

Food pairing suggested by the makers: Jamaican Jerk Chicken with a stone fruit sauce.

Very Highly Recommended.


Heaney West Coast India Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

This “classic West Coast IPA” from Heaney comes in a gorgeous golden colour with a soft white head.  Hints of citrus and pine from the aromas. Zesty Citrus also on the palate and a lip-smacking finish satisfies. Happy to let my thirst meet this one anytime.

Very Highly Recommended.

They say: For generations our family farm has been a place of harvest and inspiration. Our beers are for after the graft. Rural thirst quenchers, brewed and canned here at the wood in Bellaghy, Co. Derry.

And they suggest pairing it with “Dirty fries and sloppy burgers. Pairs well with mild blue cheeses.”  Serve at 5 degrees.

Heaney’s now have quite a few of their regular and well-loved beers in cans including this one, their New England IPA (above), the Double Pale Ale, the White Ale and their Irish Pale Ale.


Killarney Scarlet Pimpernel IPA 6%, 500ml bottle CarryOut Killarney

There is a statue of a priest, dressed in an older fashion, at an entrance to Killarney National Park. He is striding out, a man in a hurry. They seek him here, they seek him there - he is O’Flaherty, the Scarlet Pimpernel. And this IPA is named in his honour.

It has a deep red colour. “Best served with a thick frothy head so pour with vigour.” I took that bit of advice so my head, poured a bit like the O’Flaherty walk,, and was rewarded with a long-lasting head.

Built “on a smooth malty base”, aromas are moderate, citrus and pine, but good and malty also. There’s a light caramel sweetness on the palate. Overall, a good balance is found, hop bitterness is moderate, and they boldly recommend it as “a perfect partner for full-flavoured dishes”.

Highly Recommended

During WW2, Rome-based Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty saved over 6,500 people by hiding them in monasteries, farms, and other locations. After the war, he was awarded the US Medal of Freedom and Commander of the British Empire.


Lineman Loose Ends IPA, 5.7% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

Life’s full of loose ends. This IPA is full of Simcoe, Citra and Chinook.

That’s how the label sums up this Loose Ends IPA by Lineman, their first limited edition of 2023.


Colour is a murky yellow with a soft white head. From the haze, aromas of the tropical kind, some citrus too and a little pine, arise. And they also populate the palate with the tropical stuff getting on top in a refreshing finish.

Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Killarney’s Friendly Earls Court House Hotel

Killarney’s Friendly Earls Court House Hotel

It was raining when we arrived at our Killarney hotel but soon there was a warm cheering welcome from the receptionist.

Didn’t know much about Earls Court Hotel when we booked it for an overnight stay. But it was close to the town centre and also close to the venue for a family wedding.


Our room was quite spacious and looked well maintained if a bit old-fashioned. But it has everything we needed, including a very comfortable bed indeed. It had all the mod cons too. Tea-making facilities, a safe and so on. The bathroom - it had a bath - was also well equipped right down to face cloths that many modern hotels no longer supply. And truth be told, we rather liked the old-fashioned decor.

There was a large TV screen as well, comfortable chairs and a fine space if you wanted to do a bit of work on the computer. Oh yes, they are very well up to date. The WiFi is excellent. The key card also worked extremely well, not just at the bedroom room but also at the hotel door when we came back rather late from the wedding, too late to enjoy a drink in their own residents bar - but we’d had enough in any case!

Our friendly receptionist called a taxi to take us to the wedding venue and also gave us a quick demo on how to use the key card to open the main door. We enjoyed the short trip with our driver who works for Euro Taxis and they may be contacted at 087 2923896. For the return, we used Killarney Cabs (they have a free phone on the desk at The Killarney Oak and may be contacted also at 064 66 37 444). They came promptly and again we had a quite a chat as we returned to the Earls Court.


“We offer you rooms and suites with distinctive character and style, with an abundance of space, traditional charm and all modern comforts. All rooms are designed so that you are ready to start each day refreshed and excited to explore Killarney and the magical Kingdom of Kerry.”  

The Earls Court has quite a selection of rooms: a Deluxe King Room; Four Poster Suites with Jacuzzi; Deluxe Balcony Rooms; Deluxe Triple Rooms; Deluxe Family Rooms and more.

That residents bar is brand new (and has an outdoor patio area) with a selection of wines, spirits, draft beers and minerals available to all residents and is open until 11.30 pm daily. Served until early evening, guests can enjoy a light evening snack of freshly made-to-order sandwiches with tea, coffee, or a bottle of wine at the day's end. They don’t do dinner here but have recommendations for you!• 

Other facilities include:

Elevator to all floors

Free off-street parking 

Two relaxing lounge areas for guest use.

Disabled accessible facilities

American 110v power sockets and European 2 pin power sockets in deluxe king rooms and suites

Drying room for golf and outdoor enthusiasts

Library and game facilities (available in the green lounge).

After a good night’s sleep, we headed down to breakfast, delighted to find the same friendliness and efficiency in the large room, nicely divided into small sections by timber dividers. A stags head stared down from above the fireplace (no need to light it up, yet!) as we picked from the menu. A visitor was heard to remark that the food looked lovely and fresh and was told that they support local produce and that everything is cooked from scratch.

We helped ourselves to juice and cereals from the buffet before tucking into the Special of the Day which was Eggs Benedict. We had a choice of a Refreshing Salad, other egg dishes and variations on the Full Irish theme. Very happy with our eggs though and finished off with a slice of delicious fruit cake before saying goodbye to the lovely crew here.


Soon we were packed and heading to the car (it was raining again) in the spacious car park here, promising ourselves that we’d return to the friendly and comfortable hotel, ideal for exploring the Kingdom of Kerry.

More hotel info here on their website.

As it happens there are quite a few excellent hotels on the Muckross Road in Killarney and in recent years we have enjoyed stays at Cahernane House, The Lake, Dromhall and Randles, and The Brehon.

Breakfast read. Table mat

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Liberator Introduces Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey "Hilly Field"

press release

The Liberator and Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey

Release of The Liberator Storehouse Special Port ’n’ Peat.

Release of Batch 3 of The Liberator Malt in Tawny Port Finish.

Introducing the Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey ‘Hilly Field’.

Maurice, at home

The Liberator Storehouse Special Port ’n’ Peat

Wayward Irish Spirits is pleased to release Batch 2 of their latest Liberator Storehouse Special, the Port ’n’ Peat. A delicious Port finished Whiskey with a very subtle Peated Malt element. 

Founder of Wayward Irish Spirits, Maurice O’Connell says “Our Storehouse Specials are small runs of interesting Whiskeys from our Bonded Storehouse – we like to keep the Whiskey community in touch with our progress and also use it to test release potential new products. After the fantastic reaction to the Port ’n’ Peat at Belfast Whiskey Week we released 200 bottles of Batch 1 which sold out very quickly, so we’re doing a further small test release before deciding whether to add it to our core range”. 

Maurice explains “We’ve been playing with the wonderful effect a small element of Peated Malt has on our Port finished Whiskey. Too much or too little risks one overpowering the other but we found that around 5% Peated Malt was the sweet spot where the Peat highlights the Port, making a very moreish and approachable Whiskey”. 

Maurice continues “This is a premium blended Whiskey with a high (45%) Malt content. The unpeated Malt was finished in really fresh Tawny and Ruby Port Casks and half of the Grain component was finished in fresh Ruby Port casks, all for 9-12 months. The Whiskeys in this blend were sourced from Cooley and Great Northern. As with all our Whiskeys, we cut it gently cut over many weeks to avoid stressing it, borrowing from Cognac tradition. The colour is natural, it’s not chill filtered or otherwise messed with. As everything other than distillation - from maturation to finishing, blending and bottling - can be done on site, we can take the time to do things properly. 

400 numbered half (350ml) bottles (200 for the Irish market). Bottled at 46% ABV, RSP €35. Available now from Irish Malts, Celtic Whiskey, James Fox, Tiny Tipples and Carryout Killarney.

The Liberator Malt in Tawny Port Finish – Batch 3 

Hot on the heels of it making it into the Finals of the Blas na hÉireann Food Awards (medallists to be announced 2nd October), we are proud to announce the latest release of The Liberator Malt in Tawny Port Finish. This is a premium rich and complex Whiskey with lots of fruit notes from the really fresh Tawny Port barrels. This is Ireland’s first vatted Malt in decades and led the wave of Tawny Port finishes, showing the innovation that Whiskey Bonders like Wayward Irish Spirits can bring to the category. Similar to Batch 2, the components are 2006 Cooley Single Malt (increased to 25% in this Batch) and 2015/2016 Great Northern Single Malt.

1,000 numbered bottles (450 for the Irish market) at 46% ABV with a RSP of €65. Available at specialist Whiskey shops (Celtic, James Fox, Irish Malts, Tiny Tipples, Carryout Killarney) and in Supervalu’s throughout Kerry. 

Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey

The hilly field is in the background

Wayward Irish Spirits is getting closer to the release of the first Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey from their 2018 Hilly Field barley harvest. This was small-batch malted in Naas and then distilled (by Great Northern Distillery) into Pot Still spirit to their 50/50 mash bill and specification in March 2019. Initially in Bourbon casks for 3 months before transferring into NEOC casks (First Growth chateau Bordeaux casks, hand shaved and re-toasted).

Maurice says “This is our first Whiskey from Barley grown on the Lakeview Estate and matured here. The Hilly Field, where the Whiskey was born, is adjacent to our Bonded Storehouse ‘The House of Contentment’ and I think people value that provenance and authenticity. There are many views on the effect of Terroir on the barley used to make Whiskey but there’s no doubt that the Estate’s constantly changing microclimate exerts a definite influence on maturation here. Even at 2.5 years, the Whiskey is impressing tasters with a maturity beyond its years and it’s already very drinkable.”

A small release of 800 bottles is planned to mark its ‘coming of age’ in March 2022. Pre-orders are being taken now based on a price of €95 for a 700ml bottle at 46% ABV. A small number of quarter casks (55-60L) with the same 2019 spirit are available at €5,000 +vat including 3 years further storage and bottling, representing around €50/bottle before vat and duty.

The lake view

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Enjoying (mostly) the good life at Killarney's Aghadoe Heights

Enjoying (mostly) the good life at Killarney's Aghadoe Heights

Friday, September 11th, in this year of Covid, found us dining in the Lake Room of the Aghadoe Heights Hotel in Killarney. There were over 80 others, socially distanced, in the large bright room with its splendid view (not everybody gets the same view!) over the lakes below. And it was the same story in the adjoining room, the more “casual” Heights Lounge and Piano Bar.

Our Lake Room menu was fairly restricted as regards choice but the quality was excellent all through, from Amuse Bouche to Dessert. Our wines, chosen from the by-the-glass groups, about five each of red and white, were the intensely fruity Pionero Mundi Albarino (10.50) and the vibrant fruit-driven Old Coach Road Pinot Noir from Nelson in New Zealand (11.50). Dinner (three courses with tea/coffee) comes to €59.50 per person. The Amuse Bouche and Sorbet are included.



There were 6 starters in all, including Oysters and Crab Claws, both supplemented. Another included Avocado so I passed on that. But I must say I hit the jackpot with the Burrata Salad with Peaches and Basil. The peaches were surprisingly effective in the delicious ensemble. And our other starter was equally satisfactory: Chicken Croquette with celeriac remoulade and pomegranate. Next up was the lovely unlisted treat of a Champagne Sorbet.

There were just five main dishes to choose from and two of those were beef. Another was seabass which I skipped. This is usually imported and I cannot imagine why the hotel, so close to the lakes and ocean, doesn’t have at least one Irish fish on the menu.

Chicken starter

My pick was the Irish Hereford Sirloin Steak with glazed ox cheek, onion, roasted carrots and Béarnaise sauce and it was quite a splendid plateful, well cooked and presented, the cheek a bonus. CL meanwhile was enjoying her Supreme of Chicken with crispy polenta and green beans, another excellent combination. Also on the table were two sides of seasonal vegetables and one of gratin potato.

Service had been excellent up to this point but then our table seemed to become invisible. Eventually, we had to ask for someone to take the dessert order and its delivery took just as long again, 40 minutes in all. 

The list, another short one, was hardly inspiring with usual suspects such as Apple Crumble, Tiramisu and Chocolate Fondant appearing. I went for the Raspberry Millefeuille and I’d go for it again. Somewhat different from the usual effort and really excellent.

Later, we slept well in a spacious and well-equipped room and enjoyed the morning views over Lough Leane below from the balcony. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy these views as there is a public viewing area with car park. Just head out the Killorglin Road from Killarney town, turn right for Dingle and then right again and it will be on your right with the hotel on the left.

As you know these days, all meals in hotels have to be booked so we were back in the Lake Room for breakfast at 9.00am. Very surprised to find they were operating a buffet, a buffet where you served yourself from uncovered receptacles and where those that needed toast all handled the toaster controls and those that wanted pastries or cheese or salamis used the thongs provided at each stop. Same with the juice dispensers. There was a small hand sanitiser available at the start of the queue.

Back at the table, we ordered our hot breakfasts from the kitchen, Both the dishes, the Eggs Royale (with smoked salmon) and the Pancakes with maple syrup and berries were faultless.

Soon we were ready to hit the road again but not before a walk out the front to take in the view and a stroll around the hotel to take a final look at its terrific collection of art, including works by Knuttel and Kerry artist Liam O’Neill. Time then to say goodbye to the lovely people who manned the reception, warm and friendly as they had been when we arrived.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Lake Hotel. A Favourite in a Favoured Place

The Lake Hotel. A Favourite in a Favoured Place


Killarney’s Lake Hotel has an exquisite location, right on the shore, parade of mountains on view. As you dine, you’ll note it also has its own mini-peninsula with the ruins of a castle. Well, maybe you’ll note it between courses, as otherwise you’ll be fully engaged with the brilliant dishes coming from the kitchen team under Executive Chef Noel Enright and you’ll taste why they’ve been awarded with two AA Rosettes for four consecutive years.

We hadn’t visited with over a decade but got a very warm welcome indeed from the reception staff and the goodbye was just as genuine. We still had warm memories of our previous visit so we upgraded our room to lake view and that brought the total for dinner (including a free glass of prosecco), bed and breakfast, to €209.00. Delighted then that they added a complimentary bottle of wine (I think all tables got one or perhaps it was just returning visitors - I’m not sure).


The room was spacious and comfortable and had all the bits and pieces you’d expect and the bathroom was also well equipped. We stepped out onto the balcony to take in the splendid views from left to right, the castle, the deer in the mid distance. Soon we were strolling out to the edge of the peninsula and getting an even closer look at the waters and the mountains. Not so sunny tough but somewhat better the following morning.

Dinner was booked for seven and, with our masks on, we were led to a table by the window, both chairs angled to that each of us could enjoy the view. Soon we were unmasked, and had water, breads and that prosecco (with strawberry afloat) on the table. The menu covered most bases and there were a couple of specials as well. Quite a choice of house wines (4 red, 4 white, 1 rosé) to choose our complimentary bottle from and we settled on a Chilean Merlot.

Poached Pear starter

The dining commenced with a tasty amuse bouche and two fine appetisers (from quite a list) followed. The Poached Pear (roasted pecans, date compote, blue cheese ice cream, balsamic and walnut vinaigrette) looked impressive and didn’t deceive. And the other, the Carrigcleena Free Range Duck Plate (smoked breast, confit leg croquette, liver parfait, poached black cherry, and red vein sorrel) was also an accomplished combination, all the duck variations superb and that cherry had a nice little alcoholic kick to it.

While major suppliers, such as Pallas Foods and La Rousse, are listed, it was good to see local producers and suppliers such as Eve’s Leaves (organic salads), Spillane’s Seafood, Paul Walker (free range pork) and Cronin’s Butchers on the list along with Carrigcleena of course.

Pork Belly

By now, darkness was settling in and we were watching out for the deer to cross in front of the dining room but that didn’t happen! In any event we didn’t see them. Perhaps we were too engrossed in the food as the mains were both excellent.

CL choose the Slow Cooked Featherblade of Beef (butternut squash purée, shallot petals, roasted heritage carrot, pancetta crumb and beef just). Perfectly cooked and full of flavour, it was an excellent example of the dish.


My pick, from the specials list, was the Slow Cooked Pork Belly (tender-stem broccoli, Poached peach, crispy potato, and red wine). It was indeed rather special, perfectly executed and that peach was a surprise yet very welcome element in the indulgent ensemble.

Desserts can be rather much of muchness but the descriptions here promised something more and that feeling was reinforced by the earlier dishes. Again the kitchen came up trumps. From the four on offer - they also had an Irish cheeseboard - we picked two. And weren’t disappointed, far from it. 

The Dingle Gin Baba and Chamomile Cream (Blackberry sorbet, meringue) was a delicious delight while the slightly heavier Roasted Fig and Crème Fraiche Custard (thyme ice cream, Pistachio pastry) was another treat. And there was still more to come, a selection of petit fours to linger over as the darkness cloaked the mountain tops and then filled in the the gaps below.

We were back in the same room, even close to the same table, for breakfast, and this time there was a hint of sun in the view of the lake and surrounds. Covid restrictions were again in play but there was a buffet to start with. 

There was a small queue and a rope that kept you at distance. Inside the little barrier, servers filled your granola, your fruit, sometimes giving you more than you’d give yourself. By the time I got back for the mains, I asked that my Full Irish be confined to one of each and so it was. There was something rustic about the puddings (black and white), the plump sausage and the rasher, something really wholesome and they were full of flavour and robust texture. Very good indeed! And so we were well set up for our next venture, a walk to the waterfalls at Gleninchaquin (near Kenmare).

While the long dining room is airy and bright, much of the Castlelough Restaurant was built as part of the original house in 1820. It has high ceilings, large ornate mirrors and cornice work which reminds one of the great country houses of the past when dinner was the highlight of the day and ball gowns and black tie were the usual attire. Without a doubt, the most eye-catching feature of this magnificent room is the vast windows which span the full room, from one end to the other, ensuring that all are reminded of the breathtaking scenery just beyond the hotel.

Find more info on the hotel and its facilities here . And, while you’re online, it may be worth your while checking out their October and November offers. Might be doing that myself!

Duck starter