The best gourmet getaways in Ireland this summer
Take a break and treat your taste buds to the best food our country has to offer
With the country slowly emerging from a lockdown the like of which has never been seen before, people will be anxious to escape the confines of their homes and kitchens and experience new things, sleep in different beds and perhaps even have someone else cook for them. Hotels are opening after what has been an absolutely horrendous three or four months and many are enticing domestic tourists with all manner of tasty treats.
The Marker Hotel, Dublin 2
There can’t be many better places to spend a warm summer’s evening than the Marker’s rooftop bar overlooking the Grand Canal. It is celebrating its reopening with guaranteed rooftop access for hotel guests and new menus featuring the best of local produce. The gourmet package offers two cocktails and grazing boards on the rooftop or a three-course all-day dining menu on the ground-floor terrace.
There are also upgrade options which include flame grilled blue lobster and a bottle of Champagne for an additional €60 per couple or John Stone tomahawk steak with all the trimmings and a bottle of Bordeaux for an additional €40 per couple. The three-course dining experience, full Irish breakfast and overnight stay is available from €330 per room per night.
The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Clifden, Co Galway
Surely among the most charmingly old-school and convivial family hotels in Ireland, the Abbeyglen is taking its reopening slowly to keep guests and staff safe. It is also taking advantage of the wild Atlantic waves on its doorstep with a menu full of seafood caught by local fishermen. It is seafood that – at another time – might have found its way to the Continent. The hotel will also be rolling out its famous piano outside. Offers include dinner, bed and breakfast and seafood specials from €99 per person per night.
Gregans Castle Hotel, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare
The Burren is full of wild and romantic empty spaces, secret hideaways, unusual archaeology and empty beaches. It also has the most perfect picnic places and Gregans near Ballyvaughan will show you the best and lesser known spots. It is offering a basket lunch of treats from its award-winning kitchen using the produce of the Burren Food Trail or the picnic version of its traditional afternoon tea. There will be inhouse non-alcoholic cocktails, local Western Herd beers or maybe even a bottle of bubbly. The evening fare includes creative, modern and seasonal cooking from chef Robbie McCauley with almost all the produce grown in its gardens, locally sourced or foraged from land and sea. Prices start from €369 per person sharing for two nights’ bed and breakfast, a six-course gourmet dinner on one evening and a picnic on the Burren.
gregans.ie, 065 7077005.
Ashford Castle, Cong, Co Mayo
There is a reason the five-star Ashford Castle has been winning international awards and accolades all around it in recent years. It’s because its mixture of stunning surroundings, effortlessly friendly staff, luxurious accommodation and great food are up there with the best in the world. To mark its reopening, it has launched a special getaway. Priced from €1,160, the offer includes a two-night stay based on two people sharing, a fine dining experience in the George V dining room, and a full (and genuinely amazing) Irish breakfast each morning. The Gourmet Getaway menu, created by executive chef Philippe Farineau and executive head pastry chef Paula Stakelum, promises to exude seasonal flair. Oh, and there is also a cinema if you want to watch The Quiet Man.
ashfordcastle.com, 094 9546003.
Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarberry, Co Cork
West Cork is renowned for its food and this hotel is a champion of local produce. The kitchen and bar forage for ingredients with everything made from scratch by executive chef Alex Petit and his head chef, Shane Deane. It is offering three Foraging and Cocktail weekends in August, September and October. Upon check-in you can look forward to Five Farms West Cork liqueur and homemade chocolate brownie followed by dinner. After breakfast on Saturday there is foraging along the Pier Road with Deane and a local forager. Then there are cocktails and more eating followed by a tasting menu made with ingredients sourced within 50km of Rosscarbery. Prices range from €349 for the August to €310 for the September and October weekends.
elticrosshotel.com, 023 8848722.
Ballyfin, Ockanaroe, Co Laois
Another Irish hotel which ranks with the very best in the world. When the hotel reopens, just over half of the rooms will be available. Along with two dining rooms, a conservatory and options for private dining there are also 600 acres of grounds.
Its full-board deal includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails and dinner with an emphasis placed on ingredients which are, wherever possible, sourced locally. Prices start at €1,350.
ballyfin.com, 05787 55866.
The Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford
A spectacular hotel in a spectacular location and a spectacular Michelin-starred restaurant. Originally from Carlow, newly appointed executive chef Ian Doyle, has arrived after a period working in innovative and respected kitchens including four years as head chef at two-Michelin star Oaxen Krog in Stockholm, and before that a spell in Noma. He and his team have developed menus which explore local ingredients. The Signature Experience features a 10-course tasting menu in the House Restaurant, including overnight accommodation in a sea view room and a full Irish breakfast, costing €419-€615 for two people sharing a deluxe sea view room. The Gourmet Package, which includes the six-course tasting menu, costs €355-€515 for two people sharing a deluxe sea view room including overnight accommodation and breakfast.
cliffhousehotel.ie, 024 87800.
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Recess, Co Galway
The Victorian country house and estate is full of character, luxury, history and style, with endless perfect picnic spots. It has three beautifully curated picnics. The rucksack is filled with sandwiches, goodies and refreshments, ideal for those going on a hike, a wander through the 700 acres of the hotel’s estate or a cycle of the nearby greenway. There is a cheese and wine hamper to enjoy on the grounds or further afield or a lavish picnic laid out for you in the gorgeous walled garden at Ballynahinch, complete with blanket, basket, radio and a deck of playing cards. Guests can join Alan McArdle, head chef, and Cian Cunniffe, head gardener, on complimentary guided walks each morning, to forage and chat about the produce. Pick your picnic at Ballynahinch from €440 per person for two nights’ bed and breakfast, and your choice of three luxurious picnics.
Alternatively, book a two-night stay with bed and breakfast and dinner on one night in Owenmore Restaurant. Rates from €410 per person sharing.
ballynahinchcastle.com, 095 31006.
Cliff at Lyons, Lyons Rd, Celbridge, Co Kildare
Aimsir is the two Michelin-starred restaurant on the grounds of the sister hotel to the Cliff House and the young, multi-award winning team are looking forward to welcoming guests for its summer reopening with the stunning gardens at Cliff at Lyons providing plenty of inspiration for new dishes. A special opportunity for dedicated food lovers keen to experience Aimsir firsthand, discover chef Jordan Bailey’s contemporary take on exceptional Irish ingredients with a luxurious overnight stay at Cliff at Lyons. There is limited availability, from €545, to include overnight bed and breakfast in Cliff at Lyons, and Aimsir tasting dinner for two.
Adare Manor, Adare, Co Limerick
Treat yourself to an indulgent 5-star stay at Adare Manor as it reopens in July with a two-night stay in a deluxe room, breakfast each morning and a candlelit seasonal dinner menu for two in the Michelin-starred Oak Room Restaurant on one evening. Prices for the two-night Adare Manor Retreat start from €725 per person sharing.
adaremanor.com, 061 605200.
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin 2
A night in a five-star hotel? Lunch in a two-star restaurant? Add five and two and you get the Merrion’s Seven Seal steal deal. For just €199 per person sharing, you can steal away and enjoy a four-course lunch with surprise tasting menu at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, followed by bed and breakfast in the hotel beloved of pop stars and presidents. Availability is said to be limited and we can see why.
merrionhotel.com or 01 6030600.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate, Galway
Reopening overnight experiences include a stay with afternoon tea for two created by executive chef Dominique Majecki. The package also includes breakfast and costs from €255 per room per night. If you’d prefer dinner in the Pullman Restaurant, the cost rises to €315 per room per night, for two sharing. Glenlo is also offering a choice of three-night packages that include a picnic to enjoy while exploring the Wild Atlantic Way, dinner on one night in the Pullman Restaurant, and a round of golf, from €255 per room per night.
glenloabbeyhotel.ie, 091 519600.