Ennistymon (or as the locals call it, “Shtymon”) is a gorgeous and bustling little town just south of the Burren. Having historically served as a market town for the surrounding community, in recent years the area has gained a more widespread reputation for itself as that of a veritable “foodie hotspot”.
This is all thanks to the local businesses that have committed themselves to providing the best quality culinary delights that the country has to offer, and serving it up with a touch of that inimitable ‘Shtymon shtyle.
From cosy cafes to trendy deli-come-butchers, consider the below your "Must Try" bucket list for the next time you find yourself in beautiful Burren country.
Bright, light, clean and airy, the decor of Little Fox – what with its mix-match furniture and hanging plants – is undeniably delightful. As nice as the interior is, however, you can bet that the throng of people coming through Little Fox's doors seven days a week aren't just there to admire the greenery. Owners Niamh and Sam Fox are committed to ensuring that every dish here is created with the utmost care, using local produce that is in season and at its most delicious. All this, alongside a commitment to zero waste, results in a really innovative menu that changes regularly and never fails to impress.
Note: Keep an eye out for Little Fox's new candle-lit dinner offering available on Friday and Saturday evenings which features natural wines and low-key music and makes for a perfect date night setting.
Market House is a butchers, gourmet delicatessen, foodhall and café run by father-daughter duo Sean and Fiona Haugh.
Having only opened in July 2015, it hasn’t taken long for word to spread about the fantastic produce on sale in what is Ennistymon’s former butter market (dating back from the 1870’s, it remains largely unchanged to this day); making it a veritable comestible hotspot. In fact, such is Market House’s reputation for top quality, locally sourced meat, organic wine and edible wonders, that people from all over the country (and further afield too) flock to its doors to get a taste of the treasure.
For the last 20 years the Byrne family have been running Byrne’s “WineDineStay” (restaurant, bar and accommodation) in Ennistymon’s old railway hotel which dates back to 1881. The premise is located alongside the town’s cascading river and visitors often remark about the stunning views that can be enjoyed over afternoon tea, or indeed over one of the more hearty meals later in the evening.
Seafood is the big speciality here, so if you should ever find yourself hankering after a bowl of chowder or pot of mussels whilst in the area, then be sure to follow the river to Byrnes.
Ask anyone in the area, and they’ll tell you it’s “not for nuthin” that Pot Duggans was voted Mckenna’s Guide Irish Pub of the Year 2018.
Another brainchild of the Bodytonic crew (who run the likes of Wigwam and Beatyard in Dublin), the focus here is on keeping people fed, watered and entertained in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way, all whilst having a laugh as you go. The Pot Duggans crew also pride themselves in supporting local businesses and initiatives, as can be seen in their exclusively Irish-made beers and spirits; their locally-sourced food; and in the regular craft fairs and community events they host throughout the year (incl. ping pong tournaments, music gigs, table quizzes and “Sunday Session” dinners with top Irish chefs). These guys really have it sussed.
If it’s a home-cooked feed after a blustery stroll along the Cliffs of Moher you’re looking for, then shuffle those weary legs over to An Teach Bia. With scones as fresh as the staff are friendly (seriously, their staff go above and beyond to make you feel welcome), time seems to lose all meaning here as customers while away entire afternoons in its cosy surroundings. The value is also second to none, and when there are as many locals at the tables as there are tourists, you know it’s got a good thing going on.
“Special” is one word many associate with The Cheese Press in Ennistymon, and it’s not hard to see why. Sinead Ni Ghairbhith has undoubtedly created something very special in her premise that looks like a small cheese shop from the outside, but which incorporates so much more within. Here you can expect to find an incredible array of Ireland’s finest fromage, alongside other tasty picnic essentials such as fresh sourdough bread, pestos, chutneys, olives, and locally-roasted coffee.
What you might not expect to find here, however, are the impromptu sing-songs and musical performances that can often take place at any point on any given day. Add in weekly yoga classes and crafting workshops, and you’ll agree that the whole offering combined is very gouda indeed...
Sacre bleu – it’s a little slice of Brittany in West Clare! This gorgeous little creperie has everything from nutella-filled crepes and ice creams, to cheese-loaded galettes and authentic french cider too. In short, it’s the stuff of any francophile’s dreams.
Coeliacs will also be pleased to hear that the buckwheat galettes are naturally gluten-free, so you can eat away to your heart’s content (or to as much as your waistband will allow).