Showing posts with label Mikey Ryan's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mikey Ryan's. Show all posts

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Lunching in Munster. Inland Treats off the Main Roads.


Lunching in Munster
Inland Treats off the Main Roads.
Take a stroll on the banks of Lough Derg. Maybe a cruise after lunch at Wood & Bell in Killaloe. 

Did a fair bit of munching in Munster during 2018, much of it away from the coast. Seaside dining venues are of course extremely popular but there are some excellent spots too inland, quite a few just off the main roads.

When you are on the main roads and motorways and need a lunch, you sometimes wonder where to stop. Tipperary is one such county and its towns are well served by cafés and restaurants.
Sweet, at Lava Rock.

You’ll often see Cahir on motorway signboards. If you get peckish in the area, why not try Lava Rock? It is on on Castle Street (park down by the castle, which can also be visited) and has been gathering good reviews and awards since it opened four years ago. 

With the kitchen open to the main room of the restaurant, we could see the attention to detail and that showed too on the appetising plates. Lunch was very enjoyable and I’m sure that the evening meals would be even more so. Choices aren't as expansive in the middle of the day but still they had plenty to offer.
Lovely outdoor dining area at Mikey Ryan's

You’ll be well fed too in Cashel especially if you call to Mikey Ryan’s . Artisan food producers are supported here and you’ll see Toons Bridge, Cashel Blue, Galtee Honey, Gubbeen, KIllenure Castle (dexter), The Good Herdsmen, Annie’s Organic Farm and Comfrey Cottage Cashel among those mentioned. 

The menu “is founded on the culinary principles of freshness, seasonality and a focus on quality ingredients prepared with care”. My kind of restaurant and very highly recommended.
The ancient walls of Fethard

Prime 74
In historic Fethard, Dooks Fine Food has a prime position at the bottom of the main street, alongside the Clashawley River, at the junction of the Clonmel and Urlingford roads and opposite a large car park. Richard Gleeson’s restaurant and deli is spacious and bright, lots of local food for you to enjoy inside, or on the seats outside and, of course, you can easily put a picnic together if you shop at the deli.

Before our lovely lunch here, we took a walk along the medieval area of Fethard, and afterwards we called to the Apple Farm, near Cahir, on the way home. 

Tipperary Town is serendipitously situated in the centre of a great food producing area. Not just Tipperary county itself but all the neighbours, though the county itself includes the world class cheese producers Cashel Blue. The near neighbours also include the likes of Crowe’s Pork, White Gypsy Beers and Cashel Fine Foods. And a bit further away, in the south west, nationally known producers such as Gubbeen and Skeaghanore Duck. 

You can get all these and more on your plate at Prime 74, a relatively new restaurant in Tipperary Town, not too far from the motorway.  Chef and owner Martin Lavelle is dedicated to seasonal and local and is doing a great job in this lovely premises at 74 Main Street (park in nearby Market Place).

After seeing the venerable buildings, including Hayes Hotel, in the square at Thurles, the Source Arts Centre around the corner is something of a pleasant surprise and even more pleasant when you find yourself in the cheery bright room where Stef Hans serves up delicious food. Shame that this lovely café has recently closed. But do check out Cafe Hans in Cashel. Must call there myself sometime soon.
Watch out for Farmers Markets across the region, like this one in Killavullen
Head over now to County Clare and lunch by the Shannon at the Wood and Bell in Killaloe. This restaurant was opened in late 2017 by local and Irish rugby legend Keith Wood and business partner Malcom Bell.
Call to the Apple Farm in Cahir for fruit, including these delicious cherries

Wood and Bell has the advantage of having their own walled garden nearby, overlooking Lough Derg and the river. The garden, cared for by Wood and his wife Nicola, now produces much of the fruit, vegetables and herbs for the kitchens. We enjoyed our lunch here and can certainly recommend Wood and Bell.

It seems that I’ve neglected inland Waterford, and Limerick as well, over the past year. If you have any tips, please let me know. One of the very best lunches we enjoyed in 2018 though was in the coastal village of Ardmore at the Cliff House, just off the main Cork-Waterford road.
Lunchtime view at the Cliff House

And back to the main roads now. If you are heading out of Cork and looking for breakfast or lunch then make your stop at Mitchelstown and visit O’Callaghan’s Café  on the main street. Here, the extensive menu changes daily. On a recent visit, there were no less than three soups on the specials and also a tempting starter based on Crowe’s crispy pancetta. Crowe’s are just one of their many local suppliers.

Lots of main course specials too, all priced around the 12 to 14 euro mark. There was a Red wine braised boeuf bourguignon, a pan-fried fillet of cod, Vegetarian baked flat mushrooms, and a vegetarian quiche,  just to give you an idea. All substantial dishes indeed. And there were salads and sandwiches of course.
Munster has many delicious cheeses, including the very special St Tola
that you'll see on quite a few menus.

By the way, if you find yourself travelling from Mitchelstown in the direction of Kilkenny or Waterford, you could make a stop at the Dove Hill Irish Design Centre a few miles east of Carrick-on-Suir. Meadows and Byrne and Blarney Woollen Mills are among the outlets here. Fashion, Homewares, Furniture and Food are the main areas of interest. Quite a few Irish producers represented in the major food display and there is also a very large stand-alone garden centre on-site.
Sweet things at the Ardkeen Quality Food store in Dove Design Centre, Carrick-on-Suir

There is a busy café Lily Mai’s on the mezzanine of the main building. We weren't long after lunch in Mitchelstown, so we called to the newly opened Ardkeen Food café for a coffee. It has its own cottage-style entrance but is also part of and fully open to the main building - more shopping here, Pandora Bell nougat and Lorge chocolate included - before enjoying a cup of Joe from their barista. The coffee was good but I must say I always find it hard to enjoy it fully in a paper cup - I know I may be in a minority here!
A wall of whiskey at Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder in Killarney

No shortage of visits to Kerry. Recently I’ve enjoyed my lunch-time calls to the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder in Killarney. You may eat as much or as little as you like here in this friendly place, anything from soup of the day to a substantial pie. Speaking of which, one of our favourites was the very tasty Chicken, Leek and Mushroom pie. Others to watch out for are the Lamb Liver, with streaky bacon and slathered in a delicious onion gravy and served with sourdough toast and their Roast Barbary Duck Salad.

Heather, on the Gap of Dunloe, is well worth a visit.  And don’t miss out on The Strawberry Field and Pancake Cottage about 3 kilometres out the Sneem Road from Moll’s Gap. 
Strawberry Field

You'll find craft beer across Munster
at restaurants such as Blair's Inn.
Believe it or not, this rural treasure has been here, not forever, but since 1997. Then Margaret and Peter Kerssens opened their family business, now very popular with locals and tourists alike. The farmhouse itself has stood here looking out over the Kerry mountains and valleys since the 1800s and these days it is both a restaurant specialising in pancakes and also a craft shop (includes oil paintings by Margaret).

Back to Cork then and in the village of Cloghroe you’ll find Blair’s Inn. In winter, the fires are burning and the company's good. You’ll get the same company in the summer in the garden by the little Sheep River. 

And it’s also a terrific place for craft beer, one of the first places in Ireland where I was given a multi-page craft beer menu to choose from. Excellent well sourced well cooked food is a given here. A laugh and a smile are also guaranteed, directions too if you’re a tourist seeking the next beauty spot or watering hole; they’ve even been known to change a wheel for a customer. 

So no need to worry if you're on the motorways of Munster and start to feel hungry! A good lunch is never very far away. Happy Munching as you visit the Munster towns.




Monday, June 18, 2018

24 Hours on a Midlands Loop. Heritage Hotel - Mikey Ryan’s - DEW - Birr Castle - National Stud-Japanese Gardens


24 Hours on a Midlands Loop
Heritage Hotel - Mikey Ryan’s - DEW
Birr Castle - National Stud-Japanese Gardens
Small waterfall in Birr castle grounds

 With the improvements in Ireland’s roads, one can pack a lot into twenty four hours as our recent run illustrates, from Cashel to Birr to Tullamore to Laois and then a grand finalé in Kildare.
Here's looking at you. Birr's Giant Telescope


When you’re on tour, even one as short as this, you need a good base. We had an excellent one in the Heritage Hotel in Killenard on Co. Laois, just a couple of minutes from the motorway, ideally situated for all our visits.
In the lobby of the Heritage

There is an amazing 4-storey staircase (left) here, based, we’re told, on that of the Titanic and exceedingly popular for wedding photos. Indeed, there are very expensive special overhead lights installed to help achieve the best shot.

The lobby and that staircase are indeed spectacular and the whole enterprise speaks of space and comfort. There is a magnificent high-ceilinged dining room, the Arlington, and the food is top class. You may also dine in the Slieve Bloom Bar. No craft beer here but they do have plenty of gins including a few local ones, Brennan’s and the more impressive Mór.

Breakfast is also taken in the Arlington and again it is impeccable. There is even a generous display of breads and cereals for coeliacs. Staff are very friendly throughout and even volunteered directions as we headed off in the morning.

Had been tipped off about Mikey Ryan’s, the relatively new Gastro-pub in Cashel, and that was our first call on the way from Cork. Very impressed and enjoyed a lovely lunch there.

An hour or so later and we were in Birr, heading for the castle and grounds. It has no dedicated parking so you park across the way and, by the way, you pay seven days out of seven.

There is a separate tour of the castle, but only in the mornings. The grounds are well kept but I love how the meadows are allowed grow, especially the wildflowers. You’ll have no problems finding your way around.


The arches

One of the highlights for us was undoubtedly The Great Telescope, built by the 3rd Earl of Rosse in 1845 and, for over 70 years, the biggest in the world. It is still an amazing sight, still impressive.


Natural light

Wisteria 100 years+
The Spring Wildflower Meadows have not been ploughed since at least 1620 and look out also for a couple of ancient oaks, The Carroll and the Meridian (both about 500 years old).

Make your way to the formal gardens and the amazing hornbeam arches, in the form of cloisters, with “windows” cut out of the hedges. And another highlight is the Wisteria, over 100 years old. It flowers impressively in May-June so we timed our visit well! Close by is the Moon Gate celebrating the family’s links with China.

Lots more to see here; no shortage of facilities either, including a café.

Back to the car then and the flat drive to Tullamore for a tour and tasting at the DE Williams refurbished bonded warehouse (they have a new distillery on the outskirts of the town). No parking though at the warehouse - you’ll have to take pot luck in the area. We found the tour efficient rather than engaging before trying three of the whiskies at the end: the original, the 12 year old reserve, and the 15 year old Trilogy (my favourite). More on our DEW visit here.

Our final destination was the National Stud and the Japanese Gardens, two names but one place, one ticket. One outstanding visit, check out our excellent experience here. After a lot of walking and listening, we enjoyed lunch in the lovely airy café onsite before hitting the motorway and heading home.
Japanese Gardens
See also, from this visit:
National Stud and Japanese Gardens
More Photos of Visit to National Stud and Japanese Gardens
Mikey Ryan's Cashel

Monday, June 11, 2018

Looking for a sure thing? Mikey Ryan’s has the answer


Looking for a sure thing?
Mikey Ryan’s has the answer.
Crisps.

On the M8 and feeling peckish? Call in to Mikey Ryan’s in Cashel and they’ll sort that out for you. They have a lovely outside area at the back but the glass lined interior restaurant is also bright, not least because of a series of skylights. Lots of horsey pictures around here too and, if you keep your ears open, you might well pick up a tip and cover the cost of your nosh.

Just thought I’d let you know. Because if you are strolling down the main street, you wouldn’t give tuppence (about 2.5 cent) for it. Not that it looks dowdy; far from it, but the exterior does look like a thousand other pubs in Ireland. 
Exterior

Inside is where the magic happens and you’ll see it at work as you pass the kitchen area on the way to your table. We got there for lunch recently and thought we’d start with a few nibbles. The Sweet Potato Crisps with smoked chili salt and the Mixed Olives would fit that bill, we thought. Portions are generous in Tipp. If the quantity was up then so too was the quality. A very enjoyable start!

Our main courses were arriving now. CL went for The Nourish Bowl, one of a few dishes that comes in two sizes. Colours, flavours, and crunch galore in this mixed salad of spiced chickpeas, smashed avocados, herb tofu, pickled beets and sauerkraut. No holding her back after that.
Fish Cakes

I was well pleased too after my Castletownbere crab cakes served with wild rocket and celery heart salad with lemon and dill dressing. Enjoyed the textures and the flavours there and, yes, there was no shortage of crab meat.

Spotted a White Gypsy tap in the bar on the way in. They also serve the local Tipperary whiskey, Bertha’s Revenge gin and Kalak vodka (another local drink). In the garden, you may order your drink, including cocktails, from the Horse Box Bar (it is a horse box). 

Good news too on the wine front as the list at Mikey’s “has been carefully curated with a focus on small estate, mostly organic and biodynamic wines. We are interested in showcasing wines from makers who believe in minimal intervention and take a natural approach to the process of wine producing.” 
Power-pack!

Artisan food producers are also supported here and you’ll see Toons Bridge, Cashel Blue, Galtee Honey, Gubbeen, KIllenure Castle (dexter), The Good Herdsmen, Annie’s Organic Farm and Comfrey Cottage Cashel among those mentioned. 

Reflecting the food philosophy of Chef Liam Kirwin, the menu “is founded on the culinary principles of freshness, seasonality and a focus on quality ingredients prepared with care”. My kind of restaurant and very highly recommended.

* Do check out the toilets, they are high class, as good as you’ll get in a five star hotel. And keep listening for those racing tips!


Mikey Ryan’s
Main Street
Cashel 
Co Tipperary
tel (062) 62007