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Culinary highlights: ideal spots for food on a roadtrip in the west of Ireland

From foraged and locally sourced grub to afternoon tea and ‘bubbles and bliss’

Afternoon tea at Ice House Hotel: a wonderfully elegant affair.

Afternoon tea at Ice House Hotel: a wonderfully elegant affair.

 

A huge part of the appeal of any road trip is the food – after all, it’s not just cars that need fuel.

Check out the award-winning Nephin Restaurant at the Mulranny Park Hotel, headed up by chef Chamila Manawatta, where local produce is always on the menu.

It’s why the hotel came up with the concept for the Gourmet Greenway seven years ago. A delicious adjunct to the Great Western Greenway – a mostly off road hiking and biking tour from Newport to Achill – the Gourmet Greenway overlays the trip with stops at local artisanal producers in a self guided tour.

There’s more home grown produce on offer at Eccles Hotel in Glengariff, where head chef Eddie Attwell has a passion for growing his own, foraging and locally sourced goods. Given that Cork is the country’s primary food-producing county, there’s no shortage of treats to eat here.

For something even sweeter make a beeline to The Ice House Hotel in Ballina, where they go all out in the afternoons. The hotel has a special space newly dedicated to afternoon tea, where head chef Anthony Holland has devised a leisurely event served daily from 2pm to 5pm.

It’s a wonderfully elegant affair, but filling too. Expect finger sandwiches featuring Ice House baked gammon and Dozio Ella cheese – don’t be deceived by the name, it’s produced locally, or Connemara smoked salmon on homemade treacle bread with citrus crème fraiche, and cucumber and herb cream cheese and spiced coronation chicken mini brioche.

On the treat front you’ll find homemade buttermilk and fruit scones with house jams, lemon curd and Chantilly cream, dainty macarons, mini cakes and bite sized desserts. For such a super modern hotel, it’s a very traditional interlude and well worth a detour.

Unless of course you opt for the Prosecco or Champagne versions, also available, in which case it’s worth making it a detour that lasts at least a night, because you won't be driving after that one. Happily, the hotel is offering a “bubbles and bliss” package that allows you to do just that.