Meet, eat, repeat! The weekend plan includes places to visit by the sea, Instagrammable coffee and cocktail venues, a bracing boat trip to the Aran Islands, as well as booking these pretty outdoor dining venues …
The Terrace at Cliff House Hotel is open for casual dining, where menus are created by Ian Doyle with a particular focus on local ingredients and seafood, served with a side helping of magnificent views of Ardmore Bay, Co Waterford. Cliff House Hotel also recently launched a food truck – a sleek airstream van – The Pantry at Cliff – serving lobster rolls on homemade brioche bread, homemade bagels, custard tarts and all sorts of delicious things for day trippers; www.CliffHouseHotel.ie.
The Sea Terrace at Dunmore House, perched on the coast overlooking Clonakilty Bay, West Cork, is one of the best dining options in the country. The menu reflects its location with fish from Union Hall and greens from the Ocean Garden at Dunmore. It’s dog-friendly too. Make haste! www.dunmorehousehotel.ie
Drogheda Arts Festival is back and starts today Friday, June 4, with an exciting programme of music, theatre, podcasts and visual arts taking place over the summer. One of the participants is mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty (pictured) who will be performing in a concert on Saturday, June 5 at 8pm, with pianist Úna Hunt. Their programme will celebrate female composers; these include Mélanie Bonis (1858-1937) Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944) Augusta Holmès (1847-1903), Hope Temple (1859-1938) and Fanny Robinson (1831-1879). Opening the programme is a collection of songs of the sea by composers Ethyl Smyth and Rebecca Clarke and the haunting ‘My Grief on the Sea’ by Enniskillen-born, Joan Trimble. For more information on this and the full programme visit www.droghedaartsfestival.ie.
Talking of the sea, it’s ship ahoy for Aran Island Ferries, which has just launched a new route today, June 4, from Galway City to Inis Mór and the Cliffs of Moher. This is exciting news, as passengers who board the state of the art Saoirse na Farraige (Freedom of the Sea) ferry can enjoy a 90-minute cruise along the Wild Atlantic Way coastline of Connemara and Clare before docking in Kilronan on Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands. The return journey to Galway City will bring passengers on a cruise along the iconic Cliffs of Moher. Ticket prices for a return journey from Galway City Docks will be: Adult: €49, Student/Senior: €44, Child: €25. Day and overnight tours, single tours and family rates are also available to purchase. Do pick up a copy of THE GLOSS & The Mix, where you will find my recommendations of where to stay and what to visit on the Aran Islands; www.aranislandferries.com.
Did you know The K Club has a Picnic Concierge who will lay out your picnic in your chosen setting somewhere on the 550-acre estate? This is part of the five-star treatment when you check in for a two-night stay. Get out in the fresh country air with the resort bicycles to explore the private lanes and paths of the estate, or simply follow one of the mapped garden walks, exploring the specimen trees, unique planting and the formal gardens laid out by the Barton family who built the original Straffan House at the heart of the resort in the 19th century. A two-night stay in elegant accommodation, with full Irish breakfast in the River Room Restaurant and an afternoon tea picnic is available from €304 per person. The picnic is available to non-residents with pre-booking; www.kclub.ie.
InterContinental Dublin’s Terrace Garden might just be one of Dublin’s best keep secrets – the ideal location to enjoy a long lunch, cocktails, dinner a deux, or Afternoon Tea with friends or family. My choice would be a chilled glass of champagne and the “Wine & Cheese Delight” which at €45 is a cheese and charcuterie board for two people served with a bottle of Don David Malbec Reserve; www.intercontinentaldublin.ie.
The Meadow Terrace is a garden oasis on the banks of the River Lee in Cork, the perfect setting for a leisurely weekend brunch. The team has been busy transforming the terrace with the help of Fox Flowers into a haven of Irish wildflowers in partnership with Ketel One Botanical. Guests who purchase a bespoke Ketel One Botanical cocktail on the terrace will be gifted a wildflower seedbomb to take home to sow in their own garden. Cocktails are priced from €10 to €13 with €1 from each cocktail going to the VITA Honey Project – an Irish charity supporting impoverished families to work in the sustainable honey industry in Ethiopia. Meadow Terrace will be open from the June 7; www.theriverclubcork.ie.
The Ivy Dawson Street is reopening for al fresco dining from Monday, June 7. Celebrating a summer of love, it will be launching a 1960s-inspired cocktail menu of colourful creations such as the Age of Aquarius, with vodka, mint, lemon and prosecco to sip, savour and enjoy. On the menu is seasonal dishes including organic Galway Bay smoked salmon (€13.95), and (my favourite!) crispy duck salad (€10.95). Summer specials will also include warm asparagus with hollandaise (€9.95), and steak tartare with Dubliner Whiskey (€23.95) – that’s hand-cut raw beef striploin with a Tabasco mustard dressing, cornichons, shallot, parsley, egg yolk and chips. To book an outdoor table visit www.theivydublin.ie.
Killashee Kitchen, at Kilashee Hotel, Co Kildare, has a range of take-out treats including The Picnic Box (from €40 – €60 for two adults and two children), Traditional Afternoon Tea (€25 per person), the Assiette of Miniature Desserts (eight pieces at €20) and cupcakes (four for €10 of 24 for €60). These can be enjoyed on the magnificent grounds of the hotel or at home; www.killasheehotel.com.
Lush and luxurious, and just half an hour from Dublin city, why not drive out to Cliff at Lyons this weekend for a coffee or a picnic? The Pantry at Cliff has a tempting array of homemade goods to eat al fresco or to take away, including toasties, sandwiches on their own sourdough and Guinness breads, light lunch options, including pizzas at the weekend. You can also order The Pantry Picnic and then wander the grounds and gardens until you find the perfect sun dappled spot to enjoy your pastries, sandwiches, hand pressed juices, wine and bubbles. Do check out the new Mill Restaurant and its outdoor dining restaurant, beside the waterfall; www.CliffatLyons.ie.
Among the many delights that await visitors to The Westbury this summer is a new partnership with the Grandes Marques Champagne House of Charles Heidsieck. To welcome this new addition, The Gallery in The Westbury will be serving up Champagne and Oysters featuring six Carlingford Lough oysters, shallot mignonette and a glass of Charles Heidsieck NV Brut Réserve, €40; www.doylecollection.com.
For more casual dining, Balfes will be re-opening on June 7. As one of Dublin city centre’s largest outdoor dining terraces with 45 seats – there’s now even more room with an additional new terrace on Clarendon Street. The Terrace at Balfes is available to enjoy on a walk-in basis only; due to high demand, spaces cannot be booked in advance. New opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am-11am for breakfast; 12pm-9.30pm for the all-day menu; and Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm for brunch; 5pm-9.30pm for dinner; www.balfes.ie.
The Terrace at The Shelbourne is celebrating the finest things in life, with a new partnership with Laurent-Perrier. Choose from a Laurent-Perrier flight for €50, featuring four fine champagnes or from a selection of six different “Pinktails” from €16, each based on a Laurent-Perrier Champagne, or a selection of Laurent-Perrier by the glass (from €23) or bottle (from €115) from the carefully curated list. As well as the regular Terrace menu, there will also be a special menu created by head chef Garry Hughes to complement and enhance the tasting experience, including a charcuterie board and a mini seafood tower; www.TheShelbourne.com.
Situated at the iconic former Guinness Power Station, in Dublin’s Liberties district, Roe & Co Distillery is collaborating with six local restaurants to bring an exciting line-up of global tastes to their Dublin 8 Cocktail Village this summer. D-8TE is a unique, gastronomical experience that celebrates flavours from around the world. Restaurants such as Spitalfields, Pickle, Bahay, Nightmarket, Matsu and Lil Portie will be serving up vibrant set menus featuring a unique Roe & Co whiskey cocktail pairing. D-8TE is set to become this season’s must visit destination; there is a different restaurant to try each fortnight offering set menus priced at €40 per person, with the opportunity to explore curated Roe & Co whiskey cocktail pairings at €30 per person. To book a table at D-8TE at Roe & Co Distillery’s Cocktail Garden visit www.roeandcowhiskey.com/outdoor-dining.
The Courtyard Bar at Carton House is a new addition to the reimagined and refurbished estate, which has just reopened. Serving light bites alongside an impressive wine and cocktail list, The Courtyard Bar opens out to a picturesque terrace area – perfect for long overdue catch-ups with family and friends this summer; www.cartonhouse.com.
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