37 great places to eat outdoors around Ireland, as recommended by Irish Times readers

Responses flooded in when we asked where you had enjoyed dining out. This is a selection

Recommended by Irish Times readers: Urban Brewing

Recommended by Irish Times readers: Urban Brewing

 

Indoor dining is returning next week, but for a variety of reasons many people will still want to dine and drink outdoors. Recently we asked readers to tell us about the places they have found, all over Ireland, where they have had an enjoyable experience dining outdoors. The responses flooded in, and we reproduce a selection of them here. Thank you to all who took the time to share their discoveries with us. 

  • You can also consult our comprehensive list of places around the country where you can eat and drink in the great outdoors.
  • In addition, Irish Times restaurant critic Corinna Hardgrave has selected her favourites, where, no matter the weather, you’ll be able to enjoy your meal in comfort.

CLARE

Linnanes
New Quay, Co Clare, linnanesbar.com
“We started with half a dozen oysters, calamari and clams in white wine, following up with lobster and crab claws. On a beautiful evening it was just heavenly. The service was really friendly and very attentive; you could tell that Daniel, our young waiter, enjoyed his job. They have a large canopy and umbrella cover in case there might be a little rain,” writes Declan Maxwell.

CORK

Dockland Deli & Restaurant
City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork, dockland.ie
Tricia O’Callaghan went to Dockland for dinner and says she was impressed by the “great service, really good food, lovely atmosphere, and really well set up for outdoor dining”.

Arís in Clonakilty, west Cork
Arís, Clonakilty, Co Cork

Arís
Asna Square, Clonakilty, Co Cork, ariscafe.com
“On sunny days it’s like being on Italy or Spain,” says Louise Kingston of this cafe in the centre of town. “It’s a great spot to watch the world go by. The yellow furniture is beautiful and the outside area is dog-friendly. She rates the “great coffee, cakes, artisan pizza and sandwiches, along with a brilliant wine list”.

Cafe Townhouse
Doneraile, Co Cork, townhousedoneraile.ie
“This place makes me feel like some level of normality is returning to our lives,” says Elaine H. She also mentions the “amazing outdoor setting in a walled courtyard just outside Doneraile Park, and says: “It is great for breakfast or lunch followed by a walk. Also now open until 6pm on Friday and Saturday serving a new wine and cocktail menu. Which I am looking forward to trying.”

Brick and Feather Coffee, Derry
Brick and Feather Coffee, Derry

DERRY

Brick and Feather Coffee
42 Great James Street, Derry, facebook.com
“Brick and Feather Coffee in Derry is such a quirky find,” says Shane. “Situated between two redbrick townhouses, it has a surprising wee oasis out the back. Great coffee, friendly staff and unreal scones.” Mary adds: “ There is a beautiful courtyard, which is dog-friendly and surrounded by plants and trees. Lovely coffee and fresh food.”

Quay West Restaurant, Donegal
Quay West, Donegal town

DONEGAL

Quay West
Quay Street, Donegal town, quaywestdonegal.ie
There were several recommendations for this popular spot. Josephine Roarty describes it as “a beautiful addition to the outdoor dining scene. At night there are pretty twinkling lights which make it more romantic. I had the crab linguine while my partner had the tasty ribeye with surf. We felt we were on the continent.” Frances Gallagher says she “felt very safe and of course it helped that the sun was beaming down, although you would be well protected if the weather wasn’t good.” 

Maddens Bridge Bar and Restaurant
Bundoran, Co Donegal, maddensbridgebar.ie
“The outdoor dining area is second to none and they even provide Donegal tweed blankets for eating outdoors. The little things make all the difference. The view in the evening is also fabulous,” says Donna Kelly.

Anderson’s Boathouse Restaurant, Killybegs, Donegal
Anderson’s Boathouse, Killybegs, Co Donegal

Anderson’s Boathouse
Killybegs, Co Donegal, andersonsboathouserestaurant.com
This family-run restaurant received more endorsements than any other in this reader callout. “The food in Anderson boathouse restaurant in Killybegs was the absolute best we have had in years,” says Marie Kieu. 

“The dining experience is under a stylish, sail-type awning, overlooking Killybegs harbour and with great outside atmosphere, without compromising on safety,” Bernadette Costello says. Niamh Gatins also mentions the “stunning views of the harbour and marina”. “It is well covered up with lovely lighting and heating. As an outdoor experience it was by far the best one I have had,” says Julieann Frame. “Always start with their award winning chowder,” recommends John Gillard.

Elaine Donnelly wrote a long and glowing review of Anderson’s, with highlights being: “Very comfortable seating. Gorgeous tableware. Perfect waiting staff, attentive and unobtrusive. And that’s all before we get to the food. Sublime and faultless were words used within our party of seven.” Kate Finnamore likened the location to a postcard setting, “with boats moving in and out much to the amusement of the little people amongst us”. 

Yellow Pepper, Letterkenny, Donegal
Yellow Pepper, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Yellow Pepper
Letterkenny, Co Donegal, yellowpepperrestaurant.com
Greg Cullen wrote from Germany to recommend this establishment. “The Yellow Pepper is one of the best restaurants in Ireland. Every visit to Letterkenny is only complete when you have dined and wined there. And don’t forget to finish off the evening with a Crolly whiskey.”

Claire Donaghy says the proprietors have “transformed a small concreted area to the side of their premises into an outdoor oasis”. Derek Meenan says: “The social distancing was managed perfectly, and all staff were friendly and efficient. The outdoor covered space is sheltered at the side of the main restaurant, so it is more cosy and private rather than being on the footpath. The food was excellent as ever and it was just great to be back.”

Buffers Restaurant, Oakfield Park, Raphoe, Co Donegal
Buffers, Oakfield Park, Raphoe, Co Donegal

Buffers
Oakfield Park, Raphoe, Co Donegal, oakfieldpark.com
“Buffers restaurant in Oakfield Park has an amazing outdoor dining area and serves its usual delicious food from a full menu in such a beautiful setting. It seats around 100 people on big wooden benches with plenty of space in between. As the train goes by, with the playground right beside you, it really is a perfect setting for families,” says Ida Fisher.

The Lagoon Restaurant and Guesthouse
Termon, Co Donegal, facebook.com
The Terrace at the Lagoon is an absolutely fabulous addition to an already wonderful eating and drinking venue. Their new Woodhouse pizzas are amazing, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re on the N52,” says Madeline McDaid.

Simpson’s Bar and Restaurant
Tulnaree, Carndonagh, Co Donegal, simpsonsbar.ie
“Had a wonderful experience at Simpsons Bar & Restaurant, with amazing food, friendly staff and exciting cocktails, and it was a pleasure sitting outside to dine, as they have done everything to keep the wind and rain away with a large marquee. But if the sun is out, plenty of places to dine and enjoy the atmosphere,” says Sarah Bromley.

Afternoon tea at the Old Music Shop, Castle Hotel, Dublin
Afternoon tea at the Old Music Shop, Castle Hotel, Dublin 1. 'The outdoor dining area is a fantastic,' says Jane Waldron

DUBLIN

Old Music Shop
3-5 North Frederick Street (entrance through the Castle Hotel), Dublin 1, oldmusicshop.ie
There were several enthusiastic endorsements for the afternoon tea on the terrace here. Catherine Fowler says: “My daughter-in-law and I were regulars before Covid. During the lockdown we missed our afternoon teas. To say we were delighted when they were able to facilitate outdoor dining is an understatement. Service and standards didn’t drop. Staff go above and beyond.”

Olivia Kelly mentions the “lovely space created to cater for outdoor dining. Even though it was raining, the space was lovely and relaxing and heated.” Monica English says: “The staff made us feel safe and welcomed.” Jane Waldron says: “Food was amazing, staff lovely. The outdoor dining area is a fantastic, airy addition.”

Las Tapas de Lola
12 Wexford Street, Dublin 2, lastapasdelola.com
“Arriving at Las Tapas de Lola on a grey evening recently, we were immediately transported to Spain. The small covered terrace was warm, the welcome even warmer. A small glass of tinto de verano gave us a taster of all the delicious food and drink that was to come. We tasted our way through tapas dishes and drinks that reminded us of holidays in Spain, and left with a return reservation for a few weeks time,” says Naoise Waldron.

The Yacht
Clontarf, Dublin 3, theyachtbar.ie
Myself and some friends (a group of six) met for a brunch in the Yacht’s Upper Deck last weekend to celebrate two of my friends’ birthdays,” says Kat Piszczek. “The roof terrace we sat on was amazing: overlooking the sea, lined with artificial grass and sheltered from the wind. Service was great, food amazing as always, couldn’t have wished for a better day out.”

Timbertrove Cafe 
Killakee Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, timbertrovecafe.com
Siobhan Brennan describes this as “a little bit of heaven. Timbertrove Cafe is located in Kelly’s sawmills and nestled in the Dublin Mountains adjacent to the entrance to the Hell Fire Club. This little gem transformed itself during the pandemic by opening up its display sheds in order to cater for customer seating.”

Sandyford House, Dublin
Sandyford House, Dublin 18

Sandyford House
Sandyford Village, Dublin 18, sandyfordhouse.ie
Legions of fans got in touch to tell us how much they liked the outdoor-dining options at this location. “Booked in to eat outdoors in the beer garden, which we love, but they put us in their brand-new outdoor area at the front, which was built during the lockdown. Both areas are covered and protect against the elements. When the sun comes out, they whip off the awnings and it’s alfresco dining in the sunshine.”

It’s a spacious option, capable of accommodating more than 150 people, according to Simon Davey, who says: “They have always adhered to all the Covid guidelines without ever making you feel uncomfortable or rushed.” Edel Mulvihill mentions “creamy Guinness” and “plenty of TVs to keep sports fans happy”. “You can go there for a coffee in the morning and some beautiful food in the evening. There is a lovely buzz about the place,” says Breege Muldowney. 

James Whelan is a regular who rates the food highly. “All in all a very enjoyable and relaxed experience each time – and, importantly, while all the required healthcare measures are being adhered to.” 

Urban Brewing
CHQ, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1, urbanbrewing.ie
“Even pre-Covid, Urban Brewing made fantastic use of the west-facing terrace at the side of the CHQ building at George’s Dock. Serving craft beer made on site at their microbrewery, and with a lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus, it’s the best place to enjoy the sunshine with friends,” says Carl Hall.

Volpe Nera
22 Newtown Park, Blackrock, Co Dublin, volpenera.ie
“Volpe Nera in Blackrock has a beautiful terrace, superbly set up and serving wonderful food. We’ve had multiple meals there in the last two months, and every time has been exceptional,” says Jon Oliver, who also mentions “a lovely dinner outside 1826 in Adare from Wade Murphy’s new outdoor menu”.

Hartley’s
n Laoghaire, Co Dublin, hartleys.ie
“Gorgeous food, relaxed vibe and super attention to detail, on top of an allergy request. Can’t wait to go back,” says Sophie O’Brien.

Riba
Stillorgan, Co Dublin, ribarestaurant.ie
“We went to Riba in Stillorgan for my husband’s birthday a few weeks ago, and it was so enjoyable and relaxing. The staff constantly monitored the carefully spaced tables in the outdoor area to make sure that guests received everything they needed. The food, as always, was delicious, and we didn’t feel rushed at all. Oh, and the staff are great singers too – a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday was much appreciated,” says Aoife Ryan.

KERRY

Gregory’s Garden
Castlegregory, Co Kerry,gregorysgarden.jimdofree.com
“They have a casual pizza area which has lots of seating both covered and open. Doggies allowed! Best-ever pizzas and really well set up,” says Mary McCaffrey.

The Fish Box
Dingle, Co Kerry, thefishboxdingle.com
“Our family love the delicious, innovative, trawler-fresh-fish cooking in this family-run gem with delightful outdoor booths,” says Anne O’Brien.

Molly Js Courtyard
Benner’s Hotel, Tralee, Co Kerry, bennershoteltralee.ie
“This is the outdoor area in Benner’s Hotel in Tralee. It is a magical setting with inventive implementations of the social-distancing protocols. The bar/eating area was populated by everyone from lively young people to middle-aged couples on staycations. The manager has a great personality and interacted with all the customers, ensuring that we were all happy and taken care of,” says Marie Cronin.

Smugglers Inn, Waterville, Kerry
Smugglers Inn, Waterville, Co Kerry

Smugglers Inn
Waterville, Co Kerry, smugglersinn.ie
Eileen Casey recommends “dome dining” at the Smugglers Inn. “The best food in Ireland. Great atmosphere and friendly staff. The dome overlooks the beach and Waterville golf course – a spectacular setting.”

KILDARE

Silken Thomas
Market Square, Kildare town, silkenthomas.com
“Amazing area for outdoor dining. The food, service and staff are outstanding,” says Carol Daly.

The Red Bank Restaurant, Carrick-On-Shannon, Leitrim
The Red Bank Restaurant, Carrick-On-Shannon

LEITRIM

The Red Bank Restaurant
St George’s Terrace, Carrick-on-Shannon, theredbankrestaurant.ie
The Red Bank has a new, completely weatherproof outdoor dining area that can fit 70 people comfortably.

LIMERICK

Dolan’s Pub and Restaurant
3-4 Dock road, Limerick, dolans.ie
“Dolans on Limerick’s Dock Road is an amazing venue. Lots of outdoor seating. Wonderful menu at a very reasonable price. Attentive staff, great atmosphere. We’ve been back a number of times,” says Patrick Stanley.

LOUTH

Nosh Cafe Bistro
Ardee, Co Louth, noshcafe.ie
“Delicious and delightful lunch at Nosh. Dining alfresco in their sun-drenched garden was a real treat and the home-cooking very tasty. Five stars from three ladies lunching after several lockdowns,” says Adrienne Abbas.

MAYO

The Cot & Cobble
Clare Street, Abbeyhalfquarter, Ballina, Co Mayo, facebook.com
“I dined with my husband and family in the Cot & Cobble last night. We were seated outdoors in the balcony area, where we had a lovely view of Ballina and the River Moy. There was a varied menu with lots of options, much of which was locally sourced. The food was superb, and I felt very safe knowing that the current rules for outdoor dining were strictly adhered to,” says Elizabeth Fair.

Nevins Newfield Inn
Newport, Co Mayo, nevinsinn.com
“The road side patio with a 50 per cent cover is like a glass house/sauna. It’s safe, it’s covered and it’s socially distant. They run a one way system to enter and exit the bar and they have a huge courtyard at the back,” says Kate O’Malley. “Outdoor dining will continue long after Covid. It’s the safest I’ve seen locally and would return because of it.”

Supper Club, New Order District, Birr, Offaly
New Order District, Birr, Co Offaly

OFFALY

New Order District
Birr, Co Offaly, facebook.com
“There is a great little place that runs a supper club,” says Sarah. “They have converted an old warehouse for an outdoor-dining experience with art on the walls and lovely light. The food is also awesome.”

SLIGO

Harrison’s Bar & Restaurant
Cliffoney, Co Sligo, harrisonsbarandrestaurant.com
Colm O’Neill is a fan of this well-established outdoor-dining venue. “The Terrace at Harrison’s is excellent in the way they have accommodated people with outdoor dining and a great menu.”

WESTMEATH

Hodson Bay Hotel 
Athlone, Co Westmeath, hodsonbayhotel.com
“Hodson Bay Hotel have a fantastic new outdoor-dining restaurant, with beautiful views over the lake and a delicious menu also. We enjoyed a lovely summer evening there with good service and lovely food and drinks. Heaters and cover make it lovely and cosy,” says Louise Duncan.

The Martello, Bray, Wicklow
The Martello hotel, Bray, Co Wicklow

WICKLOW
Pergola

The Martello hotel, Bray, Co Wicklow, themartello.ie
“The outdoor Pergola at Martello on Bray’s Esplanade is an oasis of safe, comfortable and attractive design. The food menu is simple and freshly cooked, and the friendly, attentive staff make this the go-to outdoor dining experience on Bray’s Golden Mile. It can be difficult to get into if you haven’t prebooked, but it’s well worth the wait, as some tables are always held back for walk-ins,” says Graham O’Donnell.

Poulaphouca House & Falls
Poulaphouca, Blakestown, Hollywood, Co Wicklow, poulaphouca.ie
“Phenomenal food, great service and plenty of outdoor areas to enjoy this summer,” says Maeve Parkins. Anne Hetherington adds: “Poulaphouca House have done a beautiful job with their outside space. The food is great, and the service is friendly and efficient.”

The Smokehouse
Woodenbridge Hotel and Lodge, Vale of Avoca, Co Wicklow, woodenbridgehotel.com
This comes recommended by Anne-Marie O’Riordan and by Treasa O’Brien, who says: “The Smokehouse Restaurant has a large outdoor space. They use a barbecue rig to cook, there is an outside bar and the views are stunning.”

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