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Doneraile. Dine and Stroll. Unusual Cafés. 166 Hectares.
Looking for something to do as the weather improves? Why not take a trip to Doneraile, just off the main Cork-Limerick Road, about 40 minutes from Cork city.
There are two lovely cafés in the village. If you arrive early, you may work up an appetite in the huge Doneraile Park; stroll along by the Awbeg River that runs through and say hello to the deer that graze on the slopes.
Dessert at The Tea Rooms
If you eat first, well then you may walk that off in the 166 hectare park, landscaped in the Capability Brown style, which has at least two pedestrian entrances from the main street, one via Fishpond Lane.
One of the cafés is in the old kitchens of Doneraile Court; the house itself though is not open to the public. It is advisable to book ahead as both cafes are quite busy.
Ploughmans at Townhouse
The Tea Rooms in the park are in an atmospheric high-ceilinged room, complete with a set of servants’ bells. Not that many tables inside but they do have a large outside area in a sheltered spot.
The regular menu offers soup to start with, and then all kinds of sandwiches, lasagne, quiche, ham with salad and brown bread. And don’t forget to check the specials board. Prices are keen and service is quite good.
Deer. Or Unicorn?
One of the works in progress in the park is the boxed gardens, quite close to the main street. It is well worth having a look at this walled garden which has a line of gardeners’ cottages at one end. The park also has an entrance for cars, a car park and children’s playground.
You may have the best of intentions of visiting the park but, if you dine first at the Townhouse Café on main street you may still be there much later, lounging on a comfortable armchair or sofa.
You certainly won't leave if the weather has turned cold or wet as the open fire will be blazing alongside in this high ceilinged Georgian Room.
Having looked and tested all the eye-catching furniture in use downstairs, you may well be tempted to check further upstairs as the owners carry on a House Interiors business in the same building. And if a group of you come together, then more than likely you’ll treat yourselves to afternoon tea in the Botanical Room.
The comfort and decor are amazing and the food, while simple by comparison, is excellent also. Traditional baked honey roast ham, with Townhouse slaw on doorstep brown or white bread, makes for a very affordable lunch treat (for less than a fiver).
If you want something more substantial, then perhaps the Ploughman’s Plate or the Savoury Tart of the Day will fit the bill. And there is much more, including a Warm Chicken and Bacon salad. In a hurry? Grab that soup and sandwich offer.
People call in all hours of the day to sample the sweet things here. Sweet or savoury, it is all well done, well served and well priced. Another attraction in Doneraile.