Ireland’s reputation as a gastronomic haven is well-deserved, as the Image Interiors & Living team discovered following several recent jaunts around the country. Here, they select three more of the best gourmet-centred escapes for you to discover.
DELPHI ADVENTURE RESORT, GALWAY
Nestled in the hilly terrain of Connemara, the Delphi Adventure Resort and its four-star hotel boast spectacular coastal views that provide the backdrop to its extensive range of outdoor activities.
FOOD & DRINK
The real star of Delphi is its cuisine. The Chef’s Table is Michelin-star chef Stefan Matz’ latest venture, and in this intimate restaurant, you can sample some of the freshest produce from the area, while watching the maestro at work.
On the plate, rope-grown mussels, harvested just outside the door, were utterly delicious in a simple broth of vegetables and white wine. The rare seared Killary Harbour prawntails came with a swirl of tagliatelle and a meaty piece of turbot with red chard, and a riesling cream were served with smoked oysters. Quite the arrangement, especially when teamed with an excellent selection of white wines.
Throw in a Ruby brie cheese plate was served with pickled mushrooms and a glass of Black Donkey Ale and a sweet and fruity tea-based cocktail for dessert and you have an unmissable culinary experience in an unforgettable landscape.
With no television and little to no WiFi outside of the main building, a trip to Delphi offers you the chance to unplug from modern life. No bad thing, and you won’t be short of distractions with Wild Atlantic Way treasures like Kylemore Abbey and Connemara National Park just 30 minutes away and Louisburgh and Croagh Patrick even closer. There’s also an adventure hub, a yoga and wellness studio and an award-winning spa to comfortably while away the hours.
1826 ADARE & THE DUNRAVEN ARMS HOTEL, LIMERICK
A mere two-hour drive from Dublin in order to devour probably the best Sunday lunch in all the land? Sounds like a fair deal. Add in the kind of welcome that makes you feel part of the family and you’ll be hitting the road in no time.
FOOD & DRINK
First up, the rustic cottage setting of the 1826 Restaurant in Adare where a pre-lunch Bloody Mary with freshly grated horseradish and crushed vine tomatoes makes for an adventurous kick-off. Follow that up with a perfectly-cooked starter of baked Irish scallops with Connemara air-dried ham, breadcrumbs and herb butter served in the shell for a sweet yet balanced experience.
For main course, the slow-roasted, dry-aged beef is comfort food at its best: a mound of buttery whipped potatoes with bacon and crispy onions propping up a tranche of roast beef. Even if you’re not usually a pudding person, don’t miss the chance to sample the peanut butter and salted caramel parfait with bitter chocolate mousse and toasted peanuts – in essence, a deconstructed Snickers bar. Absolutely divine.
The people. Wade and Elaine Murphy have earned a string of accolades since throwing open the doors to 1826 Adare in 2013 and their dedication and attention to detail is present in every nook and cranny. Staying in the lovely Dunraven Arms Hotel, general manager Louis Murphy and his staff have hospitality down to a fine art – nothing is a problem and every request is met with a smile. Breakfast of eggs with truffles and freshly baked Limerick ham carved on a silver trolley leads to feeling truly spoilt and wanting to return in a heartbeat.
BALLYNAHINCH CASTLE, GALWAY
One of Connemara’s most magical gems, Ballynahinch Castle instantly envelops the visitor in a sense of tranquility. There’s plenty to get stuck into, too, with fly fishing, tennis, clay shooting and refreshing hikes all available on the grounds of the estate.
FOOD & DRINK
Only the finest and fresh ingredients will do for head chef Ultan Cooke and his dedicated team of culinary specialists. Local and seasonal produce plays a major part in the kitchens of Ballynahinch Castle, with the oak-panelled Fisherman’s Pub and the cosy Owenmore restaurant offering elegant dining options. A breakfast buffet of cooked ham, fresh fish of the day, Eggs Benedict and pancakes is a sumptuous way to start the day, while a seafood chowder lunch goes down swimmingly. At dinner, we devoured our own catch of the day, served with dash broth, barley, samphire and clams.
Fishing on the grounds of Ballynahinch afforded us the opportunity to reel in and later enjoy our very own catch of the day. Seafood features strongly in the Owenmore restaurant and the halibut with braised chicory and pickled carrots comes highly recommended.
Featured image: Ballynahinch lobster by Marlene Wessels