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

Thursday, January 27, 2022

A Quart of Ale± #89. On the craft with West Cork, Journeyman, Whiplash and Killarney. News from Rascals, Kinnegar, BeoirFest

A Quart of Ale
± #89

On the craft journey with a session of West Cork, Journeyman, Whiplash and Killarney

West Cork Stout X Stout West 5.5%, 500ml bottle Bradleys

From Ireland’s most southerly brewery comes this Stout x StoutWest Milk Stout. Black as the Baltimore night with a slowly sinking tan head on top. Mild aromas of chocolate and coffee and a hint of cinnamon. And these continue to the palate, the milk chocolate still moderate, pleasantly so, with a sweet touch of honey and lemon. 

Not one of those beers that blows you away. None the worse for that. This is more on the traditional side, sails rather than horse power, steady as she goes, she’ll get you home, relax and chat as your boat comes in. A decent finish.

They say: Located in picturesque Baltimore on the shores of the Atlantic, West Cork Brewing Company, hand-brews each brew “using our own well-water and the most traditional methods. We hope it does for you what it has done for us - bring friends together.”

Geek Bits

Grain – Pale ale malt, flaked barley, flaked oats, roasted barley, chocolate and carafa III.

Hops – East Kent Goldings.

Water: Brewed using our own spring water.

More: All beers are unfiltered, unpasteurised and vegan friendly as only whirlfloc (carrageenan moss) is used to aid in clarification.

Killarney Golden Spear Blonde 4.8%, 500ml bottle Bradleys

This blonde is a honey blonde from Killarney, with a foamy white top that slides down slowly enough. Lots of bubbles spouting up through the clear beer.

Refreshing from first contact, with its malt character “from several specialty malts and a touch of wheat” showing well. There’s a modest floral aroma and enough hops on the palate to balance this easy-drinking beer. Easy-drinking from me means no rush, take it easy and enjoy. As you’d expect with an IBU of 30, the finish is quite dry, lipsmackingly so!

The brewery relates the legend that gave rise to the name:  Fionn Mac Cumhaill, Ireland’s heroic warrior and hunter, often hunted on the shores of the lakes of Killarney and throughout the McGillycuddy Reeks. One day while climbing Torc mountain, he was attacked by a magical, ferocious boar. With a single blow, Fionn killed the lunging boar in mid-air with his fabled golden spear. Savour a pint of our delicious Golden Spear while toasting our legendary warrior!

No food pairings on the Killarney website but, last summer, I enjoyed this with Free Range Rosscarbery Pork Belly (Thai spices, roasted turnips, peanut rayu, and fresh apple salsa), at the Garden Restaurant in Liss Ard (West Cork).

Killarney update

"Construction is well under way at our new brewery, distillery and visitor centre on the picturesque Ring of Kerry, with views of the MacGillycuddy Reeks and lakes of Killarney. This state-of-the-art facility will meet growing demand for our beers and with a custom built malt and grain distillery, it will be home to our luxury spirits portfolio. The €24 million investment, a stunning one-of-a-kind 62,000 sqft complex, will be Ireland’s largest independently owned facility. It will provide a cultural home to the thriving business, local employment and meet the growing demand for premium Irish products and experiences."

Journeyman Juicy IPA 5.9%, 500ml bottle, X-Mas present

Journeyman’s Juicy IPA has a murky orange colour with a white head that hangs about a while. It is hoppy for sure, no shortage of fruit flavours, thanks in large measure to generous dry hopping. This is another well made beer in the Cooper’s Special Batch series brewed for SuperValu and Centra.

It is produced by the Pearse Lyons Brewery at the Stationworks Brewery in Dundalk, a new brewery opened in late 2018 on the site of the former MacArdle Brewery (closed 2001, after 140 years). Stationworks was the name of a Newry brewery that Lyons (via parent company Alltech Beverage) bought a few years earlier and that name was reused in the Dundalk brewery where the award-winning own-brand Foxes Rock range (also available in SuperValu) is also produced.

There’s an interesting MacArdle’s “tribute” site here 

Whiplash The Mash & The Fury Double Decoction Märzen 5.8%, 440ml can Whiplash Online

This is a lager, though you would not say so if you were going solely by the colour which is a darkish red topped by a tan head already fading to a thin disc. This lager is “at the dark end of the spectrum”. Aromas are complex, rum and raisin, caramel too.

And that caramel and raisin are prominent on the palate in this amazing beer with its unreal depth of flavour. No doubt it is hard to classify this one, but is fermented with their influential lager yeast and “lagered until it’s ready.” It is ready, according to Whiplash (who should know!), so give it a lash and enjoy it from first whiff to that slightly sweet finish.

Geek Bits:

Dark Munich Malt

Aromatic Malt

Vienna Malt

Magnum Hops

WLP833 yeast.

They say: Our lager series continues with The Mash & The Fury, a hyper traditional Double Decoction Märzen…..For the uninitiated, decoction is the age old process of boiling a portion of the mash to better utilise undermodified grain. As malting technology has improved, this has become an anachronism and most modern brewhouses are now built without the means to decoct mashes. Only the few who still believe that the distinct caramelisations that decoction produces cannot be imitated still employ this sorcery. We are one of those breweries.

Brewery News

On the lookout for Rascals Big Smoke?

You should be..

The Big Smoke returns! This exceptional imperial stout has been brewed in collaboration with The Dubliner Liberties Distillery, in whose bourbon barrels we aged a smoked porter for over half a year. The results are sublime and intense: a rich, smoky 12% stout with subtle hints of chocolate and vanilla, underlined by a gently warming bourbon taste. The complex malt bill includes beech-smoked and oak-smoked barley for a rounded fragrant smoky flavour as well as chocolate malt and chocolate wheat for hints of dark, bitter cocoa. Magnum hops provide a clean bitterness and hint of spice.




CAREERS at KINNEGAR We’re looking for 2 new full-time players to strengthen the squad: -- Junior in Marketing, Communications, Visitor Experience & Sales -- Brewery Assistant in Packaging -- You'll find full details on our website here: #jobfairy #jobs


Thursday, October 7, 2021

A Quart of Ale± #71. Craft session in the south-west with Killarney, Clonakilty and 9 White Deer

A Quart of Ale± #71

On craft journey to the south-west with Killarney, Clonakilty and 9 White Deer

Killarney Full Circle IPA, 5%, 500 bottle O’Donovan’s

Colour is close to amber. All American hops are used here and the aromas make that clear from the moment you flip the cap. The soft head collapses soon enough onto the slight hazy body. The hops are not identified on the label but the ensemble brings quite a current of deep flavour with dry bitterness (IBU is 42) clearly displayed at the finalé. Easy to see why it is now part of their core range. No pairings seen but I found it very compatible with a mature cheddar (Kilmeaden, I think!),

Full Circle? Emigration has forever been at the heart of Irish history.  From the mid 1800’s onwards, generations left these shores destined for the land of opportunity.  Over a century on, life’s journey has come full circle and their progeny are returning home.  This is a story held by our Head Brewer Mike, who with his wife and daughter, have brought back to Kerry this USA branch of their family tree.

The big news though is their new facility (brewery and distillery) out in Fossa is looking more impressive every day. “The team are working hard and know we are one step closer every day. As Tim O’D, one of our founders, would say we haven’t been drinking a lot of beer, just a lot of coffee!' Make sure to stay tuned on our journey by watching our Distilling the Dream Vlogs on our YouTube channel!"

The new building includes salvaged red brick imported directly from the Windy City of Chicago. If they could talk, no doubt an Irish accent could be heard in the original laying. They now take pride of place in the main stairwell of the new visitor centre.

Clonakilty Inchydoney Blond, 4.5%, 500 bottle O’Donovan’s

An inviting cornfield gold is the colour of this Witbier from Clonakilty Brewing Company. It starts with a big soft white head. And no shortage of carbonation. A gentle citrus in the aromas and also on the palate. Perhaps the most striking thing on initial contact is the refreshment factor which is high, right through to the lip-licking finish. Good mouthfeel too.

The brewery recommends it as an excellent accompaniment to fish dishes, Summer salads and light cheeses. And I can confirm that it went very well a few months back with my superb John Dory dish in the Liss Ard Estate (not a million miles from Clon).

The label recommends pouring this light and crisp Belgian Wit slowly for a smooth creamy head. Contains yeast sediment. Enjoy chilled. Ingredients do, of course, include wheat (no mention of orange peel or coriander though).

They say: “We are passionate about making beer with no compromise, brewing small batches with big personality. Using locally sourced grains, the best hops and water from our own well, our beers are handcrafted with care in our brewhouse in Clonakilty by head brewer ‘Thirsty’ Frank Fredriksen and his team.”

Inchydoney Island is steeped in history. From the Battle of Clonakilty in 1642, when fleeing Irish forces drowned while trying to find refuge on the island. No longer an island but joined to the mainland by causeways, Inchydoney’s golden beaches are a haven for surfers and inspired our crisp blonde refreshing beer for long Summer days and BBQ’s

9 White Deer Black Lightning Black IPA 6.5%, 500 bottle Bradleys

Black as the middle of a vat of Follain blackberry jam, with a head coloured like a cappuccino. There’s a roasty toasty edge to the aromatics. And that edge continues onwards to wake up any sleepy taste buds. Now the fully engaged palate can appreciate the posse of hops here. Brewer Gordon: “This Black IPA is triple hopped with huge hop volumes of all the American hops expected of the style.” 

So hops galore as the malt plays a background role. The IBU is a high 52. But for all that, there is quite a balance and the brewery gives credit for that to the fact that they adjusted the water profile “to make the hops seem more rounded rather than sharp and harsh which can easily happen when using so much hops”.

Does the name tell us something? “Black Lightning is hopped from the mash to the fermentor. We use Willamette, Chinook, Cascade, Summit and Centennial hops in very large volumes, about 100% more than a regular beer, but we don’t make it too bitter. It is an intensely hoppy and powerful beer. Like the legendary motorbike Vincent Black Lightning 1952, this beer needs to be handled with care.”

The brewery 9 White Deer is nestled in the heart of West Cork making the highest quality Irish beers. “We have a range of uniquely crafted beers; our renowned pale ale, a beautiful Irish red ale, an award winning black IPA, the best stout you’ve ever tasted, our balanced IPA and seasonals such as our Pilsner Ól-e. Everything we do is 100% gluten free.”

A cracking beer, well balanced, like the Euro football game that has just finished: Leicester 2 Napoli 2. Should have taken it to Kinsale for a head to head!

9 White Deer Stag IPA, 5%, 500 bottle O’Donovan’s

Amber is the colour of this gluten free IPA (the first GF produced in the country) from West Cork. There’s a frothy white head that sinks slowly when the beer is poured from the bottle. Aromas (citrus and floral notes) hint of malt and hops. 

It is an immediate and big presence on the palate, full of flavour, some from the late hop usage in the boil, but there’s no long lasting bitterness here, just a well balanced easy drinking IPA with engaging flavour and aroma and a lip smacking refreshment factor.

“Vast quantities of hops” no doubt but the malt holds its end up well too in this excellent beer.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Murphy Browne’s New in Town. Already Packing Them In

Murphy Browne’s New in Town.
Already Packing Them In
Super Steak
Murphy Browne’s, the new restaurant on Killarney’s High Street, know where their steak is coming from: from Cronin’s Butchers next door. And it’s quite a steak as I found out on a recent visit.

Denis Murphy and Deirdre Browne are the pair behind this lively new spot and they put in a few months of hard work on the old Smokehouse before opening their doors at the end of last spring. Denis does front of house while you’ll find Deirdre in the kitchen.

Back to that steak. I don’t often order it when out but did in Killarney. It was superb, an excellent piece of meat, very well handled and the basis for quite a dish. They don’t do things by half-measures here, no shortage of onions, a pot of chips plus a some lovely seasonal veg as well.

The menu is available online so we weren’t expecting anything really cutting edge here. What we got though was superb, good local produce well handled and well presented. And the service was stream-lined, really efficient but always a moment for a smile and a quick chat. They are doing well - the downstairs section filled quickly and they were directing customers upstairs.

They don’t have a full bar but they have a decent wine list. I’m always on the lookout for local beer and sure enough they had bottles from the Killarney Brewing Company available and I enjoyed a quart, approximately, of the Blonde.

Good choice of starters including soup, chowder, chicken wings and Caesar Salad. My pick though was the flavoursome, slightly spicy and aromatic Duck Spring Rolls, with chilli dip. Enjoyed while CL was very pleased with her Bruschetta (rustic bread, marinated tomato, hazelnut, basil, garlic and sun-dried tomato). The accompanying salads were well dressed, excellent.
Add caption

While I was making happy progress with my steak, she was pronouncing herself well pleased with Baked fillet of salmon which came with superb Mediterranean vegetables. She wasn’t too keen, in advance, about the Lemon cream sauce but, on request, they served it on the side.

There were other fish options on the mains, along with a Beef Burger, Lamb Shank, chicken, duck, lasagne, and a curry. Not too much for the vegetarians, just a Wild Mushroom Pasta.

We probably had enough in any case and the dessert list wasn’t all that tempting, mostly the usual suspects such as Apple Pie, Chocolate Fudge Cake, Cheesecake of the Day and more, including the Day’s Special. More than likely, and going by what we had earlier, they would have been fine but we gave it a skip. We had been well fed and it was two quite happy customers that stepped out onto the main street, heading for a nearby bar.

8 High Street
Co. Kerry
(064) 667 1446

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cahernane House. Comfort and Class. Superb Food and Service.

Cahernane House. Comfort and Class.
Superb Food and Service.
Morning view from the window of the Albericci Room

Breakfast pancakes
Many Killarney hotels have the advantage of mountains, lakes, herds of deer, more or less in the front garden and the renovated and very comfortable Cahernane Hotel on the Muckross is one of them. The lakes and mountains are constant but you may need to be on the alert around dawn or dusk to see the deer who come right up to the lawn boundary.

We were there in October and enjoyed a fantastic meal (details here) with restaurant manager Aileen and duty manager Youri looking after us. Have to say all the staff are brilliant here, always good for a chat and a laugh. 

Aileen is from the Philippines and has been in her current role since 2013. She oversees all aspects of the beautiful high-ceilinged Herbert Room restaurant and even demoed her singing talents with a rendition of Happy Birthday for a surprised guest on the night.

Not too sure if Youri can sing but I wouldn't be surprised. He is from Holland but in some ways is now as Irish as any of us. The minute you talk to him, you'll see he has a tremendous love and knowledge of all things food and drink. 
Deer at dusk

He told me they had had an extremely successful summer. "Tourists kept coming, more and more of them. And the season is extended even further this year." Indeed, the hotel was fully booked even for the opening two weeks of October.

Dinner is excellent here and you will also enjoy your breakfast in the Herbert Room. You may of course help yourself at the cold buffet as well as ordering from the Hot menu. The buffet includes juices, an excellent selection of fruits, seeds and nuts too, charcuterie, yogurts, cheese, cereals, breads and pastries.

You may start your Hot breakfast with Porridge (with some lovely additions including honey), Bruléed Pink Grapefruit, the Traditional Full Irish (of course), Manor House Omelette, Salmon and Egg Bagel, Buttermilk Pancakes, Smoked Kippers and a few other specials.

They also serve food (an all day menu) in the Cellar Bar and, later, you may enjoy a drink here. Quite a few cocktails available including their signature, 'The Herbert’, a smooth combination of gin, spiced rum, elderflower and fresh lime juice! 
Pint at ease in the Cellar Bar

They also offer gin (including my favourites Blackwater and Bertha’s Revenge) and whiskey flights. They support local too and stock beers (on draught) from the Killarney Brewing Company.  All these beers are named after local myths and legends, evoking emotions of all things Killarney. And all are pretty good, including the Casey Brothers stout!

Of course, the bedroom is a key part of any hotel and those in the Cahernane are excellent. We have previously stayed in the Garden Wing but this time we had a splendid room in the Manor itself, the heart of the old building. 
Welcome to Cahernane!

Like all the rooms here our Albericci Room has been recently renovated. It is spacious, comfortable, beautifully decorated, with great views, well-heated too, especially the bathroom (hard to beat hot tiles and hot towels in the morning!). And of course it has WiFi and TV as well.
A pleasant entrance drive to Cahernane

Just got in this press release on behalf of the Cahernane:

Christmas and New Year
Enjoy a festive break like no other this Christmas in the wonderful surrounds of the luxurious Cahernane House Hotel overlooking Killarney National Park.

The beautiful recently renovated manor house in Cahernane will be turning into a Christmas wonderland for the most wonderful time of the year, and guests will be able to finish 2018 in some style in the twinkling Kerry destination.

This Christmas, guests will be treated to an exquisite culinary experience at the renowned Herbert Restaurant which was recently awarded 2 AA rosettes for its excellence. The one-night Christmas package for two (€145 pps) includes a delightful five-course dining experience with the wine of your choice in the Herbert Restaurant, while a two-night package with dinner on one evening is just €220 pps. Booking dates are available from December 27-30th.

Guests who book via the Cahernane House Hotel website will also receive a complimentary glass of prosecco on arrival to ensure that their stay gets off to a welcoming start.

There is also no better place to ring in the new year than the toasty confines of Cahernane, who are running a brilliant New Year Celebration package that on December 31st. Guests will enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail reception before tucking in to a delicious 7-course tasting menu in the Herbert Restaurant.

An exclusive Christmas Party Package for groups of 10 or more is also available from November 1st- December 15th, with a luxury overnight stay kicked off by mulled wine on arrival, before guests enjoy a private Christmas Party in the Herbert Restaurant featuring a six-course menu and a complimentary class of champagne. A full Irish breakfast is also provided the following morning, all for just €140 pps.

There will also be live music in the drawing room on New Year’s Eve, where complimentary champagne will be served to ring in 2019 in style.

The New Year Celebration package is available for €175 pps.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Cahernane House Hotel. Renovated and Reinvigorated. And Ready for You.

Cahernane House Hotel. Renovated and Reinvigorated. And Ready for You.

Entrance and, right, evening view from dining-room

The high-ceilinged Herbert Room, the restaurant at the newly renovated Cahernane House Hotel in Killarney, has some beautiful views over Lough Leane right out to the high mountains. In the nearby fields, black Kerry cattle, horses and sheep graze and deer pass through heading to the safety of the trees for the night. Peace and quiet and just a few minutes drive from the town centre; indeed, you'd walk it in about 15 minutes.

We, of course, were there to dine and what a meal we had in the historic room, thanks to new head chef Eric Kavanagh and a very friendly, informative and efficient front of house team.

Beautiful breads and an amuse bouche got us off to a great start along with a sip or two from a bottle of delicious Verdejo, part of an impressive wine list. Starters featuring Cordal, the mild and delicious local goats cheese, and a very flavoursome Hay Infused Enriched Ham Broth with barley, were top notch.

These were followed by the Middle Course, 50 degree Olive Oil Poached Hake for her and a Buttermilk and Honey Sorbet with ginger for me, both gorgeous and not exactly small portions either.

Chicken mains

Time now for the main event and the standard remained deliciously high. My Cornfed chicken with Jasmine Tea and shiitake mushroom and more, was superb, a pleasure to dispatch. And CL’s line caught Cod, with smoked bacon dashi and seaweed was also exquisite.

Presentation had been neat and tidy all through but CL got a spectacular surprise with her dessert. Poached Rhubarb was the main description but the dish came in the form of a bird’s nest with the ricotta shaped into the eggs. My orange and almond cake may not have had the same visual impact but, served with lemongrass, yogurt, pineapple and white chocolate, it was quite a treat.
Breakfast, with Kenmare smoked salmon
We had stayed in the hotel at the end of 2016 and enjoyed the Cellar Bar there. This, like the Herbert Room, had been renovated but the change down the steps was spectacular. The bar itself is now at the other end of the space; there are new seats and more of them (the old ones had been comfortable but were coming to the end). And more tables are available and here you may have smaller plates during the day as a guest or indeed as a visitor. 

One thing that has not changed though, I'm glad to say, is that they are still serving a range of beers from the local Killarney Brewery and I was delighted to finish the night with their Scarlett Pimpernel IPA.

Our bedroom - we were media guests - was one of dozens upgraded over the winter. No cutbacks on space here and the decor is calming, greys and rose used. The bathroom is well equipped with a tub and a spacious shower and all the bits and bobs you’d need. And we had terrific views too. Depending on where you are, you may get the chance to see the deer on their early morning and late evening “migrations”.

In all, Cahernane has 40 rooms, 12 in the manor house and 28 in the Garden wing and another 22 are at the planning stage. There are still some minor works going on but apart from the driveway, nothing else for the summer months. Next winter the plan is to do the drawing rooms and the conservatory. There are some lovely public rooms here. And there could well be more, including an Orangery.

Hotel General Manager Emer Corridan told me that work has been ongoing over the winter months (the hotel was closed from January to March) and throughout the spring on extensive renovations to the historical property, and they are extremely pleased with the results. 

“The final phase of the refurbishment saw the total revamp of the Cellar Bar, which has re-invigorated the plush room into a homely and eclectic environment that feels as though it is steeped in history but is also fashionably modern. New life has been breathed into what was a beautiful historical building (1877) that had been falling into disrepair. Everything from the work on the bedrooms to the redesign of the restaurant has been carried out to the highest standards, and the feedback that we’ve received from guests has been very positive.”

Wheel rim lighting in the Cellar Bar.

“The extensive renovation to the Garden Wing has now been completed, with all 26 rooms being entirely stripped, modernised, and refurbished. Each room offers something different however, with every bedroom having its own personality that is portrayed through the wallpaper, paintings, and ornaments.”

The effort and the investment has paid off already with Cahernane recently included on the Condé Nast Johannsen’s list. No doubt the inclusion was aided by the wonderful location of Cahernane - it overlooks the Killarney National Park and the beautiful Lough Leane - and the fact that there are so many amenities and attractions nearby, not least the Ring of Kerry.
Main course of Cod at dinner

The Herbert Room is also the venue for breakfast. An excellent menu here. At the buffet, you have an extensive choice of fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, charcuterie, cheeses, juices, yogurts. On the hot side, you may order anything from porridge to the Full Irish.

We picked these items in between: the Smoked Salmon (Kenmare) and Bagel for me and the Buttermilk pancakes with Maple syrup for CL, both delicious and more than enough to keep us going for the morning.

Also on this trip:
The Strawberry Field and Pancake Cottage
Killarney. A Quick Visit
Dining in the Garden Room at the Great Southern

Thursday, April 19, 2018

36 hours in Killarney: Local Brews - Torc - Reidy’s Pub - Noelle’s Retro Cafe. Much more.

36 hours in Killarney 

Killarney Brewery - Torc Mountain - Reidy’s Pub - Noelle’s Retro Cafe. And more to see and do.

The Killarney Brewing Company has certainly made headway since it started a few years back, its products available in many of the local pubs and hotels. You’ll find it on the Muckross Road, less than a ten minute walk from the Main Street. 

There is a spacious bar here and there was a quite a good crowd in, many of them overseas visitors, when we called during a recent wet Thursday afternoon. Tours are available but you are also welcome to sit down and have a drink. Pizzas are also on offer and sixteen euro will bag you a pizza and a pint.

Torc Waterfall
We shared a paddle. A glass, somewhat less than a half pint, of their Red Ale, their IPA and the Extra Stout, costs a reasonable seven euro. 

In the nod to the local wildlife, the red ale goes under the moniker Rutting Red. Their take on an American style IPA is called the Scarlett Pimpernel in honour of local hero Fr Hugh O’Flaherty  - you’ll see his statue and read all about him at his memorial alongside the Plaza Hotel by the entrance to the park.

But it was the Casey Brothers Extra Stout (6% abv) that got our vote and we promptly ordered more of that. With some of the famous Flahavan’s Oats included, it is a smooth customer with an Espresso finish. Highly Recommended. 

It is named after the Casey brothers from County Kerry who had huge success as rowers away back in the 1930s. The most famous, Steve (“Crusher”),  was undefeated World Wrestling champion from 1938 through 1947. Extra indeed! But don't worry. Treat this smooth stout with the respect it deserves and you’ll go the distance too.

In Killarney on a wet day? Well, you may visit the big houses, Muckross and Killarney, and the brewery and more. Another good place to go to, certainly early in the year, is Torc Waterfall, as the flow will be at its very best. Despite the odd heavy drop finding its way down the back of my neck, I very much enjoyed the visit up the steps, past the lichen covered trees and into the soft mist of the falls. 

On a good day, you could follow the Old Killarney Kenmare Road and then follow the walk up Torc Mountain  . The views of Killarney and its lakes are stupendous. Well worth the effort.

Big Houses. Small Houses.

Fr O'Flaherty - the Scarlett Pimpernel
On the tours of the big houses, Muckross and Killarney, you’ll always here about the owners, the landlords, their families always named. But the tenants, labourers and servants are not. The big names may be gone from Killarney, but the families from the small houses, the cottages and gate-lodges, are still going strong, many of them involved in the care of the National Park, its flora and fauna. 

Indeed, they have quite a sense of belonging and duty. As Walter Ryan Purcell, a Regional Tourist guide, told me during the visit, they “get the park” and are always alert for anything, a zip-line for instance, that might harm the nature of the park. Why not remember them the next time a building is renovated.

I had linked up with Walter for a coffee at the amazing John M Reidy's  on Main Street, Killarney. The entrance(s) are confusing. Is it a bakery, a general merchant, a sweet shop? Basically, at least since its “second coming” late last year, it is a pub cum cafe. Loads of nooks and crannies, lots of memorabilia, outdoor areas too (a great place to be when the music plays in the evening), outdoor areas that can be screened off from the cool and the rain by substantial awnings.

Already it is drawing in some big names - musician Niall Horan chilled here recently. Killarney has always drawn big names, especially those of the film world who were regular visitors to the big houses such as Killarney House. Even that very evening, ex Taoiseach Bertie Aherne had the table next to us in The Brehon’s Danú Restaurant.

After Reidy’s, Walter took us down a narrow lane (almost directly opposite) to see Noelle’s Retro Café. She has an old bike parked outside. It is not as sprawling as Reidy's but again, there are quite a few rooms here, more than you'd expect and one at least is given over to the vinyl era. 

Boxes and shelves of long-playing records in abundance and indeed you may play them here on a turntable. Someone did point out that ear-phones are also available. Pretty good coffee here and pastry is also available.  This quirky Retro Cafe serves Breakfast, Brunch, Coffee, Teas, Homemade Pastries, Smoothies and is open seven days a week (9.00 to 6.00).

Walter, by the way, told me that the lovely Deenagh Lodge (where we met him and his lovely team last November) is due to have its seasonal reopening at the Easter Weekend.
Deenagh Lodge Tea Rooms
Dine and smile: Deenagh Lodge

Crag Cave: 
Visiting Killarney's Big Houses