‘Tis the Season: 10 Top Afternoon Teas


Whether an après shopping or at home treat, indulge in a festive Afternoon Tea from one of these Irish hotels …

The new Carol Afternoon Tea at Imperial Hotel in Cork is a tribute to a former (legendary) guest Charles Dickens, who stayed at the hotel, giving a private reading of his masterpiece A Christmas Carol in the hotel’s Clarence Room.  Available until January 6, the afternoon tea takes its structure from this classic story, with three tiers called Christmas past, present and future. Christmas past focuses on traditional flavours (tea brack, classic mince pies and homemade scones), Christmas present tier offers a modern take on sandwiches and savoury bites, while the Christmas future tier features vegan and gluten free  mulled wine truffles, gingerbread macarons and a chocolate and chestnut mousse. The Christmas Carol Festive Afternoon Tea is served in the stylish surroundings of Lafayette’s everyday from 12 noon to 5pm, costing €29 per person, or €36 with a glass of champagne; www.theimperialhotelcork.com

InterContinental Dublin’s Festive Afternoon Tea, €45 per person, is served daily from 12pm to 6pm in the newly-refurbished Lobby Lounge. This ceremony begins with choice of teas or coffee, or a (well-deserved) glass of Perrier Jouët Grand Brut Champagne or Blason Rosé Champagne, €60 per person, before a selection of finger sandwiches are served, accompanied by fluffy buttermilk scones with cream and preserves. As a finale, guests can indulge in an assortment of desserts such as fir tree mint macaroons, a Christmas pudding creme brulée, pecan pie or a coconut and raspberry entremet; www.intercontinentaldublin.ie

At Dromoland Castle, Co Clare, Mrs White’s Christmas Afternoon Tea is a takeaway treat, created by executive head chef David McCann. All you have to do is light a fire, prepare the table and then tuck into a variety of sandwiches with a festive twist, delicious Burren smoked salmon on brown soda, as well as scones with home-made jams and clotted cream, and seasonal treats including rich chocolate fudge cake, mandarin and raspberry fruit trifle and a berry mousse delice. Available until December 23, this feast costs €60 for two, with a collection-only service; www.dromoland.ie/order-online

The Shelbourne’s Festive Afternoon Tea is served in the Lord Mayor’s Lounge – think sparkling chandeliers, impeccable service, piano music playing in the background and the warm glow of a fire … On the menu is an array of sandwiches, including whiskey-cured smoked salmon with Lakeshore mustard on Guinness bread, roast turkey with light mayonnaise and onion stuffing in a poppy seed roll, cherry vine tomato with feta cheese on pumpkin bread and classic egg mayonnaise with cress on white loaf, along with delicious warm buttermilk scones and warm ginger bread. Red velvet trifle, Christmas pudding and log are the sweet finales accompanied by tea or coffee, or a glass of champagne. The Classic Festive Afternoon Tea is €62 per person and Champagne Festive Afternoon Tea is €79. A children’s option is also available for €30, served until January 10; www.theshelbourne.com.

The privately-owned Luttrellstown Castle, Castleknock, on the outskirts of Dublin, is renowned for hosting the most fabulous house parties and cocktail soirees for royalty, movie stars, aristocrats and socialites. The Castle is throwing open its doors on Sunday, December 13 and 20 and on Monday to Wednesday 21 – 23, to celebrate a Festive Afternoon Tea, €50 per person. Prepared by head chef Nathan Greensmith, this includes sandwiches and savouries including treacle cured gammon, smoked Knockanore cheddar and Dijon dressing, a goats cheese and truffle mousse, and a gin and tonic salmon gravadlax. There’s also freshly baked buttermilk and vanilla and orange and rum and raisin scones with homemade mince pies. Other treats include cranberry macaroons, apple and cinnamon mousse, and blackberry and oat strudel finished off with mulled wine. There are two sittings on Sunday (2pm and 4.30pm) and three sittings 21 – 23 (12pm, 2.30pm and 5pm); www.luttrellstowncastle.com.

The al fresco Winter Garden, at The Morrison, Ormond Quay, Dublin, can be pre-booked for après shopping bites and cocktails and hot drinks, dinner, or its Festive Fancy Pants Afternoon Tea, served from 12 noon to 6pm. There’s sandwiches and dainty cakes, served with your choice of tea or coffee, or indulge with prosecco, champagne or a Christmas cocktail. Priced from €30 per person, guests are surrounded by festive décor and twinkling lights on a cosy, heated terrace; www.morrisonhotel.ie.

Afternoon Tea at The Cliff House Hotel is an elegant seaside Sunday experience, for the next two Sundays – December 13 and 20, when tea will be served in The House Restaurant from 2pm to 5pm, priced at €45 per person. Created by Ian Doyle and his team, in addition to savoury and sweet delights, there are some surprises to add art and theatre to the afternoon. Reservations are essential; www.cliffhousehotel.ie.

Choose to relax and unwind at home with The Merrion’s Festive Afternoon Tea – part of the hotel’s takeaway service. Once installed in front of the fire, enjoy sandwiches, gingerbread, Viennese bridge rolls, meringues, mince pies and Christmas gateaux. Priced at €45 per person, make it sparkle by adding a bottle of Mumm Champagne for an additional €30; www.merrionhotel.com.

Classically elegant and comfortably luxurious, The Heritage, Co Laois, hosts its Festive Afternoon Tea in The Galleria, and is available from €32 per person. Some of the highlights include roast turkey sandwiches with cranberry and chestnut on sourdough bread, fresh crab, cucumber and dill mayonnaise on homemade brown soda bread, along with delicious fruit and cranberry scones, a spiced pear fool with mulled wine jelly, a mince crumble and a rich Christmas cake; www.theheritage.com.

Enjoy its Christmas decorations and relax in The Chancery Lounge (or reserve The Writer’s Room) for a Festive Afternoon Tea at Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin, €30 per person. A glass of bubbles, freshly baked scones with red currant preserves and Christmas fruitcake is for starters, before savoury offerings such as roast turkey sandwiches, honey glazed Limerick ham with Dubliner cheddar and Wrights smoked salmon with lime crème fraiche on Guinness bread. Sweet treats include mini mince pies, mulled wine jelly, gingerbread men and much more; www.radissonblu.com/royalhotel-dublin.


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