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29 June 2009

Your Staycation 2009

Regular readers will have noticed how intermittent this column has been of late. The reason is simple: we are working on the 500-page Bridgestone Irish Food Guide!
But, those 500 pages aside, it is time to share some discoveries and hot tips that might prove useful for your summer staycation. Here we go...

West Cork

Blairs Cove, Durrus
Reports of Richard Milnes' cooking in the country's most beautiful dining room are uniformly ecstatic. There is also a simpler bistro-style menu available, so bring the family one night, and save the dinner menu for a special night for 2.

Dillons, Timoleague
Currently run by Julie and John, who formerly worked for Dan Mullane of Echo Lodge in Limerick.

Toddies at The Bulman
Pearse O'Sullivan is doing great things in this lovely bar at Summercove.

Taste is the shop of your dreams, especially on Thursday afternoon when all the good Cork stuff arrives down direct from the Mahon Point Market.

Sheridan's on the Docks
Here is what our friend Leslie wrote about his last visit:
Lunch at Sheridan's on the docks last week - fab lamb stew with barley, truly great. Excellent bread, funky atmosphere while still a regular pub. Outstanding espresso for 1 euro: outside of Italy I don't know anywhere with coffee for 1 euro!

Knockranny House Hotel, Westport
Chef Seamus Commons is making serious strides in this big hotel, and has even started smoking his own salmon, and doing so superbly. Definitely the hot Mayo spot.

Gregan's Castle Hotel, The Burren
At the risk of over-stating ourselves, the cooking here is off the chart, and so is the place itself.

The Wild Honey, Lisdoonvarna
A pretty pub with rooms, from that fine cook Aidan McGrath, which is shaping up rather nicely.

Valentia Ice Cream: don't miss the chocolate in particular.

An Leith Phingin Eile: some nice cooking is taking place in this most atmospheric little restaurant.

The Lemon Tree, Dunmore East
Joan Power is now offering evening meals on Friday and Saturday evenings, with super cooking.

Banyan, Tramore
Eugene Long is doing the good thing here in the former Coast building:lovely food, lovely room.

The Barking Dog
The former Rain City room at the bottom of the Malone Road is firing out some ace cooking. Sunday brunch is particular is very fine indeed.

Happy travelling!