Life Food Reviews

Friday 19 September 2014

Lucinda O'Sullivan: Holiday eateries in Cork, Clare and Galway

Lucinda O’Sullivan catalogues the ultimate guide through Cork, Clare and Galway in search of great nosh for all the family to enjoy.

Published 28/07/2014 | 02:30

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Barley Cove, Mizen Head, Co. Cork
Barley Cove, Co. Cork: Stashed towards the southwesternmost tip of Ireland on the Mizen peninsula, Barleycove is one of the most remote Blue Flag beaches in the country, but worth every inch of the journey. It’s a model Irish dune system, topped with whispering mops of grass (watch out for the floating pontoon bridge designed to manage visitor access), and a perfect stop on your way to or from Mizen Head Signal Station and its awesome bridge.

Eating out is all part of the holiday experience, says Lucinda O’Sullivan, as she catalogues the ultimate guide through Cork, Clare and Galway in search of great nosh for all the family to enjoy

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This week and next, I am taking a look at places to eat in holiday spots. After all, eating out is very much part of any holiday experience. Starting in east Cork, you are spoiled for choice. In Ballycotton, Pier 26 eatery at the Inn by the Harbour does lovely fresh fish in a setting that’s as close to the trawlers as you could find. See

The nearby Bayview Hotel also has an excellent Bayview Terrace Menu and great views. See

Across the bay, in Garryvoe, the Lighthouse Bar at the Garryvoe Hotel is great for  all the family. The scampi  is second to none. See

In bustling Midleton, you will find the legendary Farmgate Restaurant & Country Store, see, which has just added a garden room.

You might want to visit  the Jameson Experience  in Midleton; they also have a bar and restaurant. See

One of my favourite places is Finin’s gastropub on the main street; it has a pillar-box-red exterior, see Look out for Finin’s seafood platters; the crab is to die for, as are the Dublin Bay prawns.

In Cobh, you can check out the Titanic experience, see, and chow down in Gilbert’s Restaurant & Townhouse. See The Pepperstack Bistro, see, and The Rising Tide at Glounthaune are also good places, see

Moving towards west Cork, in Carrigaline, O’Crualaoi’s Butcher’s & Deli have a great value carvery and cafe. Also, if you’re around on a Thursday or a Friday, Micheal O’Crualaoi barbecues out the front, see

Kinsale is famous for its restaurants, with plenty for all the family. Philip Horgan’s Man Friday is one of the best-known restaurants in Kinsale; it’s atmospheric and excellent. See

Barley cove, Cork 2 (1).JPG

Jim Edwards’s gastropub in the centre of the town has an extensive seafood menu, see

In Summercove, Pearse and Mary O’Sullivan’s Toddies at the Bulman serves bar food downstairs, and casually elegant food upstairs. See

Jean Marc Tsai’s Shanghai Express,, is unbeatable for Asian tapas, while down the street, the new Black Pig Winebar & Cafe, serving artisan antipasti platters, is also proving a real hit. See

On Pier Road in Kinsale, you will find Dino’s Family Chip Shop. See

On the Clonakilty side of Bandon, The Poacher’s Inn does delicious casual food, with lots of local produce and seafood. See

In Clonakilty itself, An Sugan is a hugely popular pub, with an extensive range of local produce and excellent seafood. See Across the road, Richy Virahsawmy’s Richy’s Restaurant & RCafe has a vibrant, eclectic menu from breakfast through lunch and dinner. Look out for Richy’s Mauritian beef curry. See

Down in Baltimore, Youen and Kate Jacob’s Waterfront Hotel incorporates Jacob’s Bar, The Lookout Restaurant and La Jolie Brise Pizza and Grill, with wonderful views out to Sherkin Island. See

The Seaview House Hotel at Ballylicky is a lovely place to stay or to have dinner. See; while there are also a number of good eateries in Bantry including The Fish Kitchen, see and The Stuffed Olive, a deli and cafe. See

In wild and wonderful Co Clare, The Long Dock at Carrigaholt on the Shannon Estuary is very popular for seafood. See

Facing the beach at Lahinch is Randaddy’s, where the family can watch the surfers out front and have great casual food — pastas, steaks, pizzas and big burgers. See

Move up the road to Liscannor and you will find Vaughan’s Anchor Inn, with superbly cooked seafood  by Denis Vaughan. See

The Wild Honey Inn at Lisdoonvarna is a place of note, where Aidan McGrath delivers amazing flavour in everything he cooks. See If you fancy bacon and cabbage, as well as Burren Smokehouse salmon, look out too for the Roadside Tavern. See

And so, across the Bay to Oranmore, Co Galway, to Moran’s Oyster Cottage — try the Blasket Island white crabmeat and a pint. See In Galway city, at JP McMahon’s Eat Gastropub on William Street, try a salted cod and mackerel burger on a Waterford blaa, with wild garlic pesto and chips.

They also have a kids’ menu. See

McMahon also owns Cava Bodega Spanish restaurant, see; and Aniar, which achieved a Michelin Star in 2012 and 2013 for its terroir-based Nordic-style food. See

Dela on Lower Dominick Street is another cool place advocating the sharing concept, with dishes that are passed around, family-style. See Jess Murphy’s Kai on Sea Road is another interesting new-wave eatery worth a visit. See At Moycullen on the road to Clifden, both the White Gables, see, with its lovely cafe and deli, and The Forge Pub, see, are perfect stop-offs.

In Clifden itself, there are lots of eateries and Mitchell’s Restaurant, see, is one that really stands out. In Roundstone, O’Dowd’s is a legendary atmospheric bar, restaurant and cafe, with excellent eats for all. See

Also worth a visit is Mitchell’s Cafe at Kylemore Abbey, see

Finally, you might fancy something really different in the heart of Connemara. Dillisk is a pop-up experience with a tasting menu, running three nights a week in an  old converted boat shed,  until early September.

See to book. Happy holidays.

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