Showing posts with label Wild Atlantic Way. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wild Atlantic Way. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Always a Warm Welcome at The Trident Hotel Kinsale


Always a Warm Welcome at The Trident Hotel Kinsale

Always enjoy going back to the Trident Hotel in Kinsale. The views from the bedrooms, any of their 75 rooms, are striking. The hotel is spectacularly set on the water's edge in Kinsale, in a prime location for guests to enjoy the views of the harbour. And quite often the sun is shining! As it was last week when we called. The Trident has a private marina and onsite parking (very handy in the busy seaside town).

The hotel, under manager Hal McElroy, has been through an extensive upgrade and its interiors are now looking splendid as well. We stayed in one of those refurbished bedrooms and we had splendid views of the harbour. The decor is restful and the spacious room had all we needed, including hairdryer (well, I didn't need that!) and tea-maker.
Room with a view

The welcome here is always warm but it got that little bit better last Monday (18th) when we were told we were upgraded. We enjoyed that. While walking along the corridors, I was struck by the restful colour combination, mainly white and grey on the walls, blue and grey in the carpet, and a little extra colour in the curtains. All very peaceful throughout. A really lovely place to stay, good rooms, good food, and just about four minutes from the very heart of the town.
Sandycover, near Kinsale

Kinsale itself has quite a lot to offer. It has often been called the Gourmet Capital of Ireland. You’ll get some arguments from other areas no doubt but Kinsale was awarded The Restaurants Association of Ireland’s ‘Top Foodie Town’ in the 2018 competition. 

The Trident and its manager are key players in Kinsale, long-time members of the town’s Good Food Circle which believe it or not are now taking bookings for the annual Gourmet Festival. Dates this year, for the 43rd running of this famous and fun event, are 11th to 13th of October. 
Safe harbour
For more info, check "Kinsale Good Food Circle - 43rd Kinsale Gourmet Festival”. Before that though, the Good Food Circle will host the National Chowder Championships in April with a street food festival on the same weekend (6/7 April 2019). 
Charlesfort

If you visit the town, you’ll be assured of good places to stay and terrific restaurants and café, and you’ll be well set up for some fabulous sightseeing. Charlesfort overlooks the harbour and is perhaps the biggest attraction in the town. It is open all year and regular guided tours are available. Well worth a visit and you can also see it from the water if you take one of the popular Kinsale harbour cruises.

Desmond Castle, an even older building in the heart of the town, is open during the season. It is also known locally as the French Prison. Built originally as a customs house, it now includes a wine museum as one of its attractions.
Lusitania Museum and the Old Head

The nearby coast includes many small coves that are worth a visit (see here) and not too far away there is the large beach at Garrettstown, the waters here also popular with surfers. On the way, you may stop and admire the famous Old Head of Kinsale and visit the nearby Signal Tower and Lusitania Museum.

Kinsale, often called the gateway to West Cork (see my West Cork Package), is your starting point on the Wild Atlantic Way. It is hardly 30 minutes from Cork City, even less from the airport and not too far away from the ferryport of Ringaskiddy.
In the harbour

Our latest visit was prompted by Kinsale Restaurant Week, a very successful event that finished up on the 24th of February. We had a great meal, a great night indeed, in Finns’ Table, another member of the Good Food Circle. 
Blacks Ale

Breakfast view at the Trident
Finished the night with a pint of local beer (from Blacks Micro-Brewery and Distillery) in the Trident’s Wharf Bar. And said goodbye to the Trident after a hearty breakfast in Pier One, their main restaurant, used mainly for breakfast and functions. 

The lively Wharf Bar downstairs will keep you well fed during the day and evening. And in the good weather, at the water’s edge, the Trident have their self contained Foredeck Bar with some seating for your comfort.

Oh, the hospitality continued at the breakfast table when we were surprised with the gift of a bottle of wine from Anthony of the Trident and congrats from all the servers. He knew we had been been celebrating our 50th anniversary at Finns’ Table. Thanks to Anthony and the Trident. And, before you ask, we didn’t open the lovely Sancerre at breakfast!

Also on this Kinsale trip:
Dinner at Finns' Table
Surprise Mellot Sancerre Tasting at Finns' Table



Sunday, January 6, 2019

Planning 2019? Try A Day and a Night on the Ring of Kerry.


A Day and a Night on the Ring of Kerry.
See. Stay. Dine. Visit.
Some foodie shopping had been notionally lined up for this October morning. But the sun shone so brightly, the landscape looked so inviting, even from our hotel window (above), that we decided to spend the day outdoors, outdoors on the beautiful Ring of Kerry. 

And that was the new, if last-minute, plan as we drove off from Killarney in the direction of Killorglin, the home of King Puck whose feisty statue greets you as you enter the town.
View from Carrig House dining room

We had no need to stop in Killorglin this time. But if you haven’t been, you could well take the short walk from the town centre over the old railway bridge. Go to a big car park just off to the right of the one-way (up) main street. Park there and walk downhill with the church to your left. Then up a slope, again on the left, as a metal bridge looms overhead. Up on to the bridge, the old railway bridge, from where there are very good views of the River Laune and the road bridge that you just crossed.

Feel like a mid-morning snack? Check out Jack’s Bakery & Deli, on Bridge Street, and they’ll feed you well and you can take your well-filled baps outside to the street side tables.
On the Ring. The Dingle peninsula is in the distance

There will be photo stops today, lots of them. After all, you are driving on one side of the Wild Atlantic Way and across the bay is the Dingle Peninsula. On a day like this, you can even see the beautiful Inch Beach where part of Ryan’s Daughter was filmed.

A place worth calling to between Killorglin and Cahersiveen is Kells Bay. We enjoyed a tour of the gardens (and the swing bridge!) there a year previously.
In Kells Bay Gardens

Ancient tracks
On now to Cahersiveen, from where you can take the short ferry to Valentia Island where there are terrific walks and views to enjoy; don’t miss the 385 million year old tracks of the Tetra Pod and also the lighthouse.

Cahersiveen (make sure you spell it correctly when entering it into your Sat-Nav!) is a busy enough town, boasting attractions such as The Old Barracks, the Daniel O'Connell memorial church and ancient stone forts and that ferry to Valentia. But the island, and the Skelligs Ring, is too much of a detour for us today and we carry on towards the pretty village of Glenbeigh.
Views from Valentia Island

Mick O'Dwyer
Our main stop is at Waterville on the huge and scenic Ballinskelligs Bay. Both Charlie Chaplin and General de Gaulle holidayed in the area. Indeed, there is a sculpture of Chaplin alongside the beach but, perhaps because of a rough looking character sitting alongside Charlie, no one seems to be taking his photo today. De Gaulle by the way has his sculpture in Sneem.

A more recent Waterville “statue” of a living legend, footballer Mick O’Dwyer, has no such distraction. There is also another sculpture here and it commemorates the Commercial Cable Company that in 1884 laid two cables across the Atlantic connecting Canada, Britain and France all via a station in Waterville.

Snack in Waterville

The first message from Waterville to St. John, Nova Scotia, passed along the transatlantic cable on Christmas Eve 1884. The cable station in Waterville was operational from 1884 – 1962. Read more here.  

We had enjoyed a hearty breakfast, as always in the Cahernane House Hotel, and didn’t need much of a mid-day meal. Not too many cafés in Waterville - bigger choice in Sneem. After a good walk, we headed for the Beachcove and enjoyed an excellent pot of tea (of generous proportions) and slices of well made apple tart, chunks of real apple here, none of that stuff squeezed from a tube!).

Sunshine on the edge of the sea at Waterville

They say do the Ring in the anti-clockwise direction and so we did, leaving Waterville and heading now towards Sneem, with the Atlantic on our right, one fabulous view following another, some back towards Waterville and the bay, and more as we came towards Derrynane, home of The Liberator Daniel O’Connell.

And soon, we were in Sneem, the sun still shining strongly, people eating and drinking outside, a man playing classical guitar, another serving coffee and crepes from a mobile van. Hey, I asked myself, what country am I in. But look, I know where I am. Maybe my momma told me, maybe she didn’t, but I often get days like this in Ireland.

We have been in Sneem quite often and have seen quite a few sculptures here. This time, on the road in, we saw signs for a Sculpture Park and started looking for it. But, as we walked around, we found it is really a sculpture trail, spread over three small parks. 

We did see one new one, that of the famous Kerry footballer John Egan who died too young. Like his family and friends, we would have preferred to have had to wait much longer for the event that gave rise to the memorial, nice and all as the statue is.  
Steve "Crusher" Casey, in Sneem

So now, we said goodbye to the Ring of Kerry. We could have headed into Kenmare but we had been there a few weeks earlier and instead took the high road towards Molls Gap. Again, there are spectacular views, this time mostly of the mountains. We also pass the Strawberry Field and its Pancake Cottage (below) where we’ve enjoyed a tasty snack from time to time! 

The views as we pass the high point of Moll’s Gap are now of the Lakes of Killarney and spectacular views they are and you can easily see how they would have attracted tourists especially in Victorian times when the railway arrived in the town. Soon, after negotiating 1001 bends on the narrow road, we would arrive in the town.
Superb steak at Murphy Browne's

We have dinner at a relatively new venue, Murphy Browne’s on High Street. Nothing cutting-edge in the cuisine offered here but they do their stuff well and turn local produce into very attractive meals indeed and the service is also excellent.

Our base for the night is the very centrally situated Killarney Lodge. It has 17 rooms and is just three minutes from the town centre. The rooms are spacious and very well equipped and the breakfast is top notch, served with a smile and a chat. 

And so it was with a smile on our faces that we left the Lodge and headed up the N22, back to our city by the Lee, knowing that the magic of the Kingdom is just about 90 minutes away!
Chill unit keeps breakfast items cool at Killarney Lodge




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.
Bruschetta 

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.
Salmon

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
Killarney
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.




Monday, October 8, 2018

My West Cork Package


Sandycove, near Kinsale
My West Cork Package
Summer 2018

I'm often asked where I've been for the holidays and I often get sympathetic looks when I answer Ireland (can't bring myself to say staycation!). But I'm not in need of that the kind of sympathy! Far from it. 

Didn’t realise I spent so much time (not to mention money) in West Cork this marvellous summer of 2018. But I did and I enjoyed it, every minute. So I’ve put it all together in this “package” and am hoping it will give you a few pointers if you are heading in that direction in 2019. 

Bastion

Restaurants:
Pilgrims Rosscarbery
Richy’s Clonakilty
Fish Kitchen Bantry
Supper Club Kinsale
Monk’s Lane Timoleague
Lifeboat Inn Courtmacsherry
Jim Edwards Kinsale
Cru Kinsale
Bastion Kinsale
Manning's

Lunch:
Richy’s Clonakilty
De Barra's Pub in Clon

Pubs:
Scannell’s Clonakilty
De Barra’s Clonakilty
Eccles. Window view

Stay:
Fruit at De Barra Lodge
De Barra Lodge
You'll find it hard to get a B&B breakfast better than that served up by Sinéad at their lovely house near Rosscarbery. Here you'll see the cows grazing, the rabbits sunning themselves and the hens (who provide the eggs for your breakfast) in their run by the house. The dining-room is brilliantly lit by a series of Velux windows. It, and indeed, the bedrooms are comfortable and spacious. And Sinéad and her husband will themselves drive you to the village if you have your evening meal booked there.

Glendine House
Mick and Mari are the owners of Glendine House on the edge of Clon. Both are "blow-ins" but each is well involved in the life of the town and contribute much of their time. They too have their own hens and the produce for the breakfast is more or less all local including that of the Clonakilty Black Pudding Company. The house is about an eight minute walk downhill to the town centre (a bit further on the return!). You get a terrific welcome here and plenty of help and advice on what to do in the area. It is comfortable and well equipped (loved the shower-unit here!).

Inchydoney Lodge
Courtmacsherry

Maritime
I usually stay about once a year in Bantry's Maritime. It it so central with an underground car park just across the way and a very warm welcome. Well equipped too and spacious, with a lovely dining room where you may enjoy your breakfast. The bedrooms have all you want and all have great views out over the magnificent bay. Lots of music in the bar during the season. Would love to see some local craft beer on tap here but they do carry some good ones in bottle.

Ballydehob

Visit:
Garinish Island
Gougane Barra


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Best of the Wild Atlantic in Quinlan’s Seafood Bar Killarney


Best of the Wild Atlantic in
 Quinlan’s Seafood Bar Killarney

Got a lovely welcome and a lovely lunch as well when we stepped into the bright and airy Quinlan’s Seafood Bar on High Street Killarney on a recent wet Thursday. It was quite busy, but the one or two bottlenecks were dealt with capably by the friendly front of house lady, working calmly on her own.


We got a seat by the window that looks out on to the street in this long narrow restaurant that also does takeaway. A banquette, at right angles to the street, provides much of the seating up the long side and opposite that you have the counter for service and takeaway. By the way, there is no wine or beer licence here but you’ll get plenty of water, teas, coffees and soft drinks.

Soon we were studying the menu. We needed no more than the main course so skipped, a little reluctantly, the promising Valentia Chowder. No shortage of fish and chips here - they are famous for them. You have quite a choice of fish: Whiting, Plaice, Haddock, Cod and Hake. No shortage of sides either: chips, onion rings, garden salad, mushy peas.

CL had heard only good things about their own smoked salmon for which the family has won quite a few awards and she picked the Open Sandwich. Here the salmon is served on brown bread and comes with a straightforward salad and lemon wedge, all for €11.95. The amount of “smoking” is nicely judged and the flavour of the salmon itself is not diminished but rather enhanced by its engagement with Irish oak. A lovely dish indeed. And do watch out for that smoked salmon at the Quinlan's fish shops.

Most of the fish here comes from the nearby Atlantic coast, much of it caught by Quinlan’s own boats. They have been at it since 1963 and export fish “all over the world”.  They have had fish shops in Killorglin and Caherciveen since the late 1980s and added two in Tralee and Killarney in 2009, with the Tralee shop winning National Seafood Specialist of the Year in 2011. Now, with the fish-bars, it is out of the blue and straight to you from people who know what they are doing.

Now back to my lunch. I could have had Portmagee Crab Claws, Dingle Bay Wild Squid, Homemade Fish Cakes, an Open Shrimp Sandwich but, in the end, couldn't resist the Deep Water Atlantic Prawns (14.95) in a light tempura batter. Chips were an option but I choose the salad. The Prawns were magnificent. Indeed, there was so much looking across the table at the other’s dish that we swapped plates half-way through, both of us very happy with this very tasty lunch.


Quinlan’s Seafood Bar,  (opposite Quills Woollen Market). 
77 High Street, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Tel: 064 662 0666
Opening Hours:
Monday   -  Sunday  12pm - 9pm
Summer Hours may vary.
Quinlan's Seafood bars also in Tralee, Killorglin, Kenmare and Cork City.

See also
Celtic Whiskey Bar and Larder
Visiting Killarney's Big Houses
Dine and Stay at The Brehon Hotel Killarney
The Yew Tree at The Muckross Park Hotel
36 Hours in Killarney, inc Killarney Brewing