Tuesday 22 May 2018

A Plate in the Sun: These are the places (to eat) to make a beeline for while the skies are still blue

We’re so used to rainy bank holiday weekends in Ireland that the opportunity to head off to a pub or restaurant and eat in the open air often takes us by surprise.

The Bulman Bar, Kinsale, County Cork
The Bulman Bar, Kinsale, County Cork

Katy McGuinness

We’re so used to rainy bank holiday weekends in Ireland that the opportunity to head off to a pub or restaurant and eat in the open air often takes us by surprise.

But there’s nothing quite as magical when it comes to food experiences as eating the freshest of seafood caught within metres of where you’re sitting, especially if someone else is doing the driving and you can wash it down with a few glasses of something chilled. Katy McGuinness has put  together a list of the places to make a beeline for while the skies are still blue – most of which cater well for fish-phobes too, because a good burger with a local craft beer comes a close second...

Deasy’s Harbour Bar

Ring, Clonakilty

(023) 883 5741

Facebook: Deasy’s Harbour Bar & Seafood Restaurant

A couple of miles outside Clonakilty, Deasy’s Harbour Bar in the fishing harbour of Ring has a reputation for excellent seafood, while in the restaurant Caitlin Ruth dishes up more complex, contemporary dishes using plenty of foraged ingredients – such as sea vegetables, pickles and ferments. 

The Cliff House, Ardmore

Co Waterford

024 87800


There probably isn’t a hotel in the country with a better terrace than the one that you’ll find at the five-star Cliff House in Ardmore, which offers smart-casual bar food with spectacular views. Reservations are recommended. There’s Michelin-star food by Martijn Kajuiter in The House restaurant, too.

The Tap Room, Rathmullan, County Donegal
The Tap Room, Rathmullan, County Donegal

Harry’s Shack,  Portstewart

Co Derry

+44 28 7083 1783

Facebook: HarrysShack

Locally caught fish, served on the beach. Sounds simple, but it’s surprisingly hard to find in Ireland. Harry’s Shack has been a runaway success ever since it opened and now takes reservations, which is a good thing if you’re planning a road trip. You can book online, and there are options for non-fish-eaters.

Moran’s Oyster Cottage, The Weir, Kilcolgan

Co Galway

091 796 113


The original and still one of the best, a trip to Galway just isn’t complete without a visit to Moran’s for oysters, crab and all manner of good fishy things to eat, washed down with plenty of cold white wine. Be sure to bring along a designated driver, prepare to queue for a table outside, and pray for the water to come up over the road so that you are stranded there for hours – through no fault of your own.

Templars Inn, Templetown, Fethard-on-sea

Co Wexford

(051) 397 162


The Hook Peninsula in the sunny south east was home to the Knights Templar in Norman times, and the ruins of a church used by the Knights and Kilgoggan Castle still remain in the area. Templars Inn has views across Templetown Bay towards Dunmore East and specialises in seafood, but serves a full bar menu.

The Taproom, Rathmullen, Co Donegal

(07491) 58200


Wood-fired Neapolitan-style sourdough pizza by Scarpello & Co, and a selection of craft beers from the local Kinnegar Brewery, served in this lovely place on the banks of Lough Swilly. Relaxed, casual and family-friendly, think about planning ahead and checking into the hotel so you don’t have to drive home afterwards.

Ard Bia at Nimmo's, Galway City
Ard Bia at Nimmo's, Galway City

Linnanes, New Quay, Co Clare

065 707 8120


Eileen and Vincent Linnane’s seafood and lobster bar is one of the essential stops in Clare, with a reputation founded on the best and freshest of the local catch. You can see boxes of crab being landed as you sit outside, which is always good for the appetite. It’s a glorious setting – and go for the simple dishes rather than the more complicated ones. All will be good.

The Bulman Bar, Kinsale, Co Cork 

021 477 2131


Fishy Fishy is rightly famous for serving excellent fish in Kinsale, and the town is something of a foodie paradise – with plenty of great restaurants. Toddies at the Bulman Bar in Summercove is another winner. Sit outside eating lobster and mussels in the sunshine while watching the Atlantic Ocean, and congratulate yourself on making it through another winter.

Shells Café, Strandhill, Co. Sligo

071 9122 938


A casual, no-reservations, all-day café overlooking the sea at Strandhill, Shells is popular with the surfing crowd. Myles and Jane serve breakfast, lunch and dinner – and cake in between – with special diets catered for. There’s a wine licence and also a deli, so you can buy the makings of a picnic.

Wineport Lodge, Glasson, Athlone, Co Westmeath

(090) 643 9010


In an idyllic spot on the banks of Lough Ree, Wineport Lodge – familiar to viewers of previous series of The Restaurant – has a casual all-day dining menu that’s available to non-residents.

Arundels by the Pier, Ahakista, West Cork

(027) 67033

Facebook: Arundels By The Pier

Located on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula overlooking Kitchen Cove and across from photogenic Dunmanus Bay, Shane and Fiona Arundel’s bar is a favourite of food writer Trish Deseine. Expect good, simple seafood outside, and a more complex offering in the restaurant upstairs. There’s a playground to keep the children entertained while the adults scoff and linger.

Vasco, Fanore, Co Clare

(065) 707 6020


Located in the heart of the Burren, on the coast road between Doolin and Ballyvaughan on the Wild Atlantic Way, and within walking distance of a great surfing beach and a friendly dolphin, Vasco is one of Failte Ireland’s food champions. It serves seafood, local and foraged produce, Burren cheeses and micro-brewery beers.

Oliveto, Haddington Terrace, Dun Laoghaire

(01) 2800011


Oliveto has established itself in Dun Laoghaire as a place that can be relied upon to serve good, simple Italian pizzas, steaks and seafood. It’s part of what was the Kingston and is now The Haddington Hotel – and the beer garden in front, which is just opposite the East Pier, is a fine place to catch the sun over a pint or two. The Fish Shack, further along the seafront towards Sandycove, is good too.

Padraicins, Furbo, Co Galway

(091) 592 444


Padraicins is a bar, restaurant and – handily – a B&B overlooking Furbo Beach and Galway Bay. When the sun is shining, it’s thronged with happy punters soaking up the rays and feasting with abandon. There’s a children’s menu, barbecue offering and a beer garden. There’s traditional music at night, too.

The Glyde Inn, Anagassan, Dunleer, Co Louth

(0429) 372350


The bar serves an all-day menu that features all the usual favourites, with locally-landed seafood and crab from Clogherhead. There’s a restaurant too, which takes the food offering up a couple of notches and which is a popular spot with locals.

The Rising Tide, Glounthaune, Co Cork

021 435 3233


Located on the tidal estuary of the River Lee, 10 minutes east of Cork City on the old Cork-Waterford road, Sandra Murphy’s restaurant is a winner with locals and tourists alike. Sit outside and take in the scenery, while feasting on local seafood and good gastro-pub fare. Regular barbecue nights, too.

Babushka Kitchen Café, South Pier, Portrush

+44 7787 502012

Facebook: Babushka Kitchen Cafe

Good coffee, scones and cakes and an all-day food offering in this café on the pier in Portrush, where owner George Nelson collaborates with local brewers and food producers to produce something a little out of the ordinary – and quite beguiling.

Diamond Rocks Café, West End, Kilkee, Co Clare

086 372 1063


The family-run Diamond Rocks Café is located on the cliff walk in Kilkee, from which you can see the Aran Islands to the north, Kerry to the south and Loop Head to the west. The café is a meeting place for walkers and swimmers, and is family-friendly, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The crab and apple open sandwich is a lunchtime favourite, and the pizza specials at dinner are popular and good value.

Ard Bia at Nimmos, Spanish Arch, Galway City

(091) 561 114


One of Galway’s favourites, there’s something on the menu to please everyone at Ard Bia, with food that takes its inspiration from all around the world. Tables outside are at a premium, as the people-watching is so good that there’s a temptation for anyone lucky enough to nab one to linger all day.

Pyke ‘n’ Pommes, Foyleview, Derry


Facebook: Pyke’n’Pommes

Kevin Pyke’s food truck on the banks of the Foyle serves restaurant-quality food that you eat from a takeaway carton sitting at picnic tables under a canopy. Prices are low, flavours are big and – unsurprisingly – it’s a huge hit. Pyke uses local and organic ingredients whenever possible, and it shows. The pulled pork burgers are legendary.

Octopussys, West Pier, Howth

(01) 8390822


Howth has an abundance of seafood restaurants with outdoor seating, and the town is thronged with visitors whenever the sun shines. One of the most popular with locals is Octopussys, a casual spot serving great tapas. The Oarsman is great, too.

Ely Bar & Brasserie, CHQ, IFSC, Dublin

(01) 6720010


The terrace at Ely is one of the most spacious in the city, and it’s right by the Liffey. The selection of wines by the glass is better than anywhere else, and the food is well-conceived and more than a match for all the good things to drink.

The Locke Bar, George’s Quay, Limerick City

(061) 413 733


Limerick’s best gastropub has a big outdoor garden by the river and hosts barbecues for groups of 20-plus, so it’s a good place to head with a gang. There are seafood platters, oysters, craft beers and all manner of superior pub grub – even if you don’t have a crowd to bring with you.

O Grady’s On The Pier, Barna, Co Galway

(091) 592223


It’s a simple combination – oysters, mussels, fresh fish, scallops, crab and lobster, all served within feet of the waters in which they were caught, right beside the little sandy beach at Barna, the small village located just six kilometres from the city centre. O’Grady’s is one of those places where summer memories are made.

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