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Image / Living / Travel

5 must-visit Irish alfresco dining options to make the most of September sunshine

by Eoin Higgins
15th Sep 2020

As September sun makes a welcome appearance, make sure to make the most of the good weather by enjoying the simple pleasure of dining alfresco at one of the country’s top outdoor-friendly restaurants and terraces.


Sage, Co Cork

A gastronomic powerhouse, Sage is a destination in its own right for fantastically sourced, cooked and presented dishes. The outdoor terrace takes that culinary prowess and raises the stakes by several notches to create a dining space that simply has to be experienced.

Expect warm, friendly service and no shortage of pleasant surprises from brilliant chef Kevin Aherne under a (heated if required) canopy.


O’Grady’s on the Pier, Co Galway

Nautical, but nice, O’Grady’s is a seafood stalwart that has been putting out the finest seafood hits for generations. In a stunning position, with views over the harbour and beach to distant mountains, Michael O’Grady’s charming seafood restaurant is a lovely spot on a fine summer’s day, with pretty blue and yellow tables set up outside the restaurant, and old boats around the harbour adding to the atmosphere. Understandably, it’s very popular among Galway diners.

O’Grady’s aim has always been for their seafood to be “simply prepared and very fresh as [his] father did it years ago”.

Interesting dinner menus offer good choice plus daily specials. Speciality dishes include a main course Tasting Trio of Seafood, composed of seared king scallops, pan-fried fillet of sea bass, and grilled fillet of sea-trout. The cooking is skilful and this is one of the most delicious seafood dishes you are likely to encounter anywhere on the island, if not further.



Sika Terrace, Co Wicklow

Boasting a fabulous newly refurbished outdoor heated terrace, Sika at five-star Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa is warming to be an intriguing new hotspot.

Set in the most stunning of locations, the terrace has just launched a new alfresco dining menu to run throughout the coming months. Enjoy a cocktail whilst drinking in the magnificent vistas of the Sugar Loaf mountain and nibble to your heart’s content from the delicious dining menu. Available from 12 noon-4.30pm weekdays and 12.30pm-4.30pm at the weekend, the Al Fresco menu offers guests the option of enjoying a light bite or a more substantial meal making the most of current 90 minute booking slot guidelines. Offering a large selection of beverages and dishes, the new menu caters for all – from fabulous salads to succulent steaks one can happily graze whilst soaking-up the sunshine and surroundings. With dishes from €12 and plenty of open spaces for you to safely roam you can make the most of your summer with a day trip to Wicklow. Also, as the terrace is heated with protective canopies and warm throws to protect you from the occasional inclement weather, it is set to be a popular year round destination.


Cliff House Hotel, Co Waterford

Ireland’s much-loved bijou five-star has had a longstanding reputation for technically-brilliant and beautifully-presented food, see main picture.

Out on the stone terrace, the accompaniment of the cracking views of the surrounding bay for which it is famous, makes for a dining experience that is highly memorable, particularly when the sun dapples the water.

Menus change most days as all produce is fresh and seasonal. Treat yourself to their acclaimed seafood platter, combining oysters, mackerel paté, trout roe, pickled herring, seafood toast, salmon … accompany with something white and chilled and the making for a fantastic afternoon or evening is pretty much guaranteed.

Lunch is served in the Bar Restaurant 12:30-15:30, while dinner is served from 18:30-21:30.


Harry’s Shack, Co Derry

The epitome of cosy, inside and out, Harry’s also has the culinary chops to make it a very worthwhile detour on your trip, or even your journey’s ultimate destination.

Winner of the Observer Food Monthly Best Newcomer award when it opened its doors back in 2015, the Shack has maintained its commitment to serving the very best seafood the region has to offer with integrity and not too much fussiness. Sounds like a simple plan, but very few pull it off as well as this deceptively modest operation.


Read more: A meal that changed my life – Irish food heroes recall a dining experience at a special destination

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