Friday 17 August 2018

24 Hours in Kenmare: A perfect day in the kingdom's foodie gem

Pack an appetite for this Kerry gem, says our travel editor. The small town packs a big foodie punch...

Margaret McCarthy of Kenmare Ice-cream. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Margaret McCarthy of Kenmare Ice-cream. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
French flavour: Kenmare
Kenmare Ice-Cream... don't let it melt!
Park Hotel Kenmare. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Maison Gourmet, Kemare. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Prawns from the tasting menu at the Park Kenmare. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Pól and Karen Coakley in Kenmare
Sinful sausages at Roger O'Sullivan's butchers
Aileen Crean O'Brien and her son Cian in Kenmare. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Strawberry Field pancakes. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Kenmare has a surprisingly French flavour.

10am: Raison d'Être

Take a 3.5-hour tasting trail with Karen Coakley's Kenmare Foodies, watching pastries come to life at Maison Gourmet, tasting Benoit Lorge's handmade chocolates, and supping Gallic specials with Alain Bras at The Wine Shop. Irish mouthfuls include sinful sausages at Roger O'Sullivan's butchers and Expedition Ale made by Tom Crean's granddaughter, Aileen, with Torc Brewing.

1pm: Scream for ice cream

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Kenmare Ice-Cream... don't let it melt!
 

Murphy's is the ice-cream everyone associates with Kerry, but Margaret McCarthy and Rose Glynn's Kenmare Ice-Cream has eked out a nifty niche - offering all the TLC at a great price. Starting with Lee Strand Milk, getting the vanilla right ("It's a bit like a pub getting its Guinness right"), scoops start from €2. Don't leave Kenmare without trying the lemon meringue. It's killer.

How: 4 Henry Street; facebook.com/kenmare.ice.cream

More: 15 of the best ice creams in Ireland - scoff these as soon as possible!

4pm: Pancake o'clock

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Strawberry Field pancakes. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
 

It's the Kingdom's worst-kept secret. A short drive from Kenmare, The Strawberry Field is a giggle-inducing yellow cottage serving pancakes... and more pancakes. Start savoury - with bacon and mozzarella, perhaps - before going all out on a 12in pop of pure, Instagrammable pleasure.

How: 11am-5.15pm; strawberryfield-ireland.com

8pm: Park life

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Park Hotel Kenmare. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
 

Chef James Coffey is breathing new life into Francis Brennan's flagship dining room with a bold switch to tasting menus. Bag a window table and tuck into deeply Irish dishes ranging from organic Kerry lamb to pillowy prawns from Castletownbere (below). This is a rich, thoughtful and delicious riff on The Park Kenmare's locality.

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Prawns from the tasting menu at the Park Kenmare. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

How: B&B with tasting menu from €210pp. parkkenmare.com

Do it

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French flavour: Kenmare

Food tours with kenmarefoodies.com from €55pp. See kenmare.ie and wildatlanticway.com for more info.

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