When a weekend away beckons, planning with food in mind is always a good idea.
There are plenty of options around Ireland for food-focused stays, from Michelin meals to hands-on cookery classes. Here are some wonderful places that should satisfy your hunger for a gourmet getaway.
Virginia Park Lodge, Co. Cavan
Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan is the brains behind the beautiful Virginia Park Lodge, so you can be guaranteed food is at the forefront of everything here. There is a big focus on local and seasonal, with a walled garden and on-site polytunnels supplying the restaurants. Look out for their featured lunches like a recent Beef & Oyster celebration. For accommodation, choose from luxury lodges, suites or cosy woodland huts.
Brooklodge, Co. Wicklow
The multi-award-winning Brooklodge is home to The Strawberry Tree, Irelands first certified organic restaurant where they showcase homegrown organic food, wild foraged ingredients and the best of local produce. You can also book in for food heritage masterclasses or foraging walks during your stay, grab a picnic for exploring or indulge in afternoon tea. You won’t go hungry here. Make sure to leave time to unwind in the spa and their idyllic outdoor hot tub.
The Foyle Hotel, Co. Donegal
With chef Brian McDermott at the helm, food has become a leading focus for the charming boutique Foyle Hotel in Co. Donegal. Well-known for promoting local food, his menus here are no different, showcasing the best of Donegal and plenty of fresh seafood coming from the nearby Greencastle harbour. Brian also runs regular cookery classes, events and supper clubs so you can make a real meal out of your weekend away.
The Cliff House Hotel, Co. Waterford
If you’re looking for seaside luxury, consider the Cliff House Hotel in Waterford where each of their well-appointed rooms faces out onto sweeping views of Ardmore Bay. Dinner at their Michelin-starred House restaurant is an event itself, and then there is the Bar Restaurant for seafood, steaks and afternoon tea. Balance out the feasting with a cycle on the nearby Waterford Greenway.
The Mustard Seed, Co. Limerick
This delightful country house hotel in Limerick is well known for its eclectic style and warm welcome that shines through on their menus too. Food from their kitchen garden features heavily along with a plethora of excellent local suppliers. They keep things interesting by hosting curated dinners and events throughout the year, many with a wine focus. They book up fast, so keep an eye out.
The Twelve, Co. Galway
Winner of Georgina Campbell's Hotel of The Year 2018, there are lots of great reasons to head to The Twelve in Barna — one of which is the amount of food and feasting to be done here. Book into The West restaurant for local-focused fine dining, the Pins Gastro Bar for a more relaxed feed, Pizza Dozzina for Italian and the irresistible bakery shop for treats and take-home goodies. You’re also perfectly located to explore all the gastronomic delights that Galway offers.
Ballymaloe House, Co. Cork
The ultimate gourmet getaway has to be Ballymaloe House in Cork - welcoming, elegant and the perfect base for exploring the nearby famous cookery school and gardens. The restaurant is country house dining at its finest, using the bountiful ingredients grown onsite. And make sure to check out the dessert trolley. You can book into various classes at the cookery school and their event space The Grainstore often has food and drink events on.
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