Thursday 23 January 2020

Eating out: The Moorings, Portmagee, Co. Kerry

The Moorings
The Moorings

"Sitting overlooking the harbour, it was hard to have a care in the world"

Category: Bar/Restaurant

The Moorings

Portmagee, Co Kerry

Recently in the spotlight thanks to a certain massive movie franchise descending on the area, the Moorings bar, restaurant and B&B is a charming stop off on the Ring of Kerry. Tourist-central it may be, populated by coach loads of Americans throughout the summer, but it's not gimmicky, nor does it scream "typical Irish bar" tourist trap.

Make no mistake - this is simple fare, hearty grub and local seafood, and glamour is not high on the agenda. However it is completely charming with stunning views across the harbour near the Skelligs, and has even more American clientele than usual thanks to Star Wars: Episode VII filming nearby.

We happened across the place on a gorgeous July day, mid-way between a tour of the aforementioned ring. The proprietor Gerry was friendly and welcoming, and we ordered a lunch of pints, fish and chips and sambos from the Bridge Bar to a table outside.

Guinness was a bad choice in the heat, but a great pint nonetheless, and when the fish and chips arrived we knew we were on to a winner.

The Moorings

Breadcrumbed instead of battered, the enormous portion of haddock and chips was delicious. When we were full of fish, we were still guilty of eating the delicious skin. The sandwiches were standard pub toasties, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Sitting overlooking the harbour, it was hard to have a care in the world, and Gerard wondered if we'd stick around for the nightly trad session. Nothing touristy here - the guys and girls play because they love it, and said that even if it wasn't planned, a sing (and play) along would break out.

The restaurant opens 6-10pm and is definitely fancier than the bar menu, rich in fresh fish and local flavour. It may not be as fancy as some of the eateries in nearby Waterville and Caherdaniel, but it has a certain something that keeps locals and visitors coming back for more.

So if you're on the Wild Atlantic Way, or heading for the Skelligs, this is sweet stop. In Ireland of the welcomes, often the service is what's most important, and the staff here aren't short of friendly conversation. A wee gem.


No bling here. Not even faux-bling, popular in Dublin's hippest bars. Authentically retro.


Perfectly adequate.


The staff are sound as a pound.


Chilled out and homely. With tourists, yet not "touristy".

In the hood?

Take a trip to the nearby Skellig Chocolate Factory. Free in, and lots of chocolate to sample and buy, it's all made right on the premises.

Irish Independent

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