The good gourmet: The Irish National Stud
Now that the weather has picked up one of our favourite places to visit is the Irish National Stud. Firstly it's the Japanese gardens where the kids get to pretend they are Peter Pan and we play follow the leader; walking on the stepping stones, going up and down the windy little pathways, through tunnels and over all the bridges.
It's not a playground and there is water and plenty of sharp stones but under a watchful eye it's adventurous and beautiful. However, our favourite place to visit after a couple of hours play is the restaurant. I normally dread this part of the day as the dessert display is magnificent and they look so good I have trouble getting the children away from them.
It's taken some time but they now know that if they eat a good hearty bowl of homemade soup first they can have whatever they want after. We spend the whole lunch discussing what pudding we are going to have. Their favourite is the Pavlova; packed with fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, €4.50, or apple crumble, €4.50. My favourite is the chocolate cake with a lemon curd cream, €4.50. They also have a really tasty pear and almond tart with an apricot glaze, €4.50, which I have had when I've taken a little time for myself. One portion is ample to share, especially of the Pavlova as the serving is enormous.
If you feel like a full lunch they offer various main dishes including chicken curry or beef stroganoff both served with basmati rice and a choice of salads, €10.95. The salads are excellent quality and homemade. We all really like the coleslaw and potato pesto-type of salad. The children normally share a large bowl of soup or their new favourite is a tasty, homemade sausage roll with toasted pumpkins seeds, €9.95, with salad and a couple slices of ham. I normally have the salad.
They also serve a selection of panini including mozzarella tomato, pesto and mayo, €5.95, or with salad, €9.95. Ham, tomato, cheddar cheese, €5.95, or with salad, €9.95, and will happily make you a sandwich.
Although the choice may not be the same every day they normally have two to three hot dishes, soup and salads. If you wish to have a relaxing lunch a full bottle of Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc is €16, or there is a little quarter bottle, €4.50, which the Frenchman has in the past had himself.
They also have excellent fruity scones with jam, €2, or homemade shortbread biscuits, €1, or my daughters' favourite are the chunky squares of rocky road with marshmallows, €2, and I have a good café latte, €2.60. Sometimes we just pop in for our favourite Raspberry Heaven; a combination of raspberries, blueberries, mango and pineapple and the girls love getting an ice cream from the freezer.
Another and probably more obvious reason to visit the National Stud is to see all the beautiful horses. Spring is breeding season and at this time of the year the fields are full of beautiful mares, their foals and of course all the stallions are on show. If you intend to go more than once or twice a year they do an annual membership, which is great value as you can visit all year round.
If you don't want lunch in the restaurant there are a couple of picnic tables near the car park.
This Easter they have a number of events to keep the children entertained. Mila is already designing her Kimono for the Easter Sunday Parade and we'll be there Easter Monday for the big egg hunt.
The Irish National Stud, Tully, Kildare, Ireland
Tel:045 521 617