As it was a glorious evening in May, we decided to head to Strandhill. Strandhill is a small seaside town in Co.Sligo situated along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Strandhill has seen a bit of a revival during the last few years, mainly driven by the collaboration of the local businesses, the great restaurants and pubs, the ice cream parlour and surfschools, the famous seaweed baths,...
Strandhill has even it's own hugely popular market in an old hangar at Strandhill airport and
Strandhill even has it's own dedicated website (http://gostrandhill.com/). Where Strandhill was mainly popular with the weekend tourist, nowadays it is popular at any time of the day. And it is not hard to see why.
Firstly, the views are spectacular.
After a short walk and some pictures, we decided it was time for an ice cream. So Mammy Johnston's it was, an award winning ice cream parlour. That being said, they have fabulous crepes in loads of different varieties, cakes and sweets as well.
The ice creams just look amazing, and if we could have managed, we would have sampled every single one of them.
And it must be said, they also taste amazing.
Mammy Johnston's is busy, and at weekends it can be a task in itself to find a seat, but on this particular lovely Tuesday evening in May, we had a table at the back of the parlour. The interior is cosy and inviting.
Where Finn ordered the chocolicious crepe which is a lovely crepe with Nutella and a tub of ice cream, i went for the cone with the Hazelnut icecream. And as it was just the evening for it, I decided to order another ice cream (Blue surf) for the road. So after an enjoyable break, we decided to leave this beautiful seaside town alone and head back home.
What do you do when you love coffee, food and the great outdoors? You stop at a roadside food truck and sample what is on offer.
This is what happened to us when we travelled from Clifden to Leenaun in Connemara. Close by Jamie Young's Killary Adventure Company is a small road to the left where a signpost "food truck" awakened our curiosity. We have always loved this part of Ireland, and the area around Killary Harbour has always had a special place in our heart.
Killary Harbour is Ireland's only fjord, and the views are just amazing.
After having parked the car, we followed the sign pointing us in the direction of the food truck. Shortly afterwards, we reached the food truck named the Misunderstood Heron. The food truck is cladded in wood making it blend in with Connemara's amazing landscape.
The menu on offer, although small enough, is just fantastic. On offer are the famous Killary mussels, smoked salmon served with brown bread , sweet potato and spinach quiche,...not the food you expect to find at a roadside truck We arrived here just after having eaten lunch somewhere else, so we opted for mocha's and carrot cake.
And we must say, we can see why Reinaldo Seco and Kim young opened the Misunderstood heron.
The food is to die for. The carrot cake is by far the best we have ever eaten. It is moist, tasty and accompanied by the great mocha and the views, it is very difficult to leave this place behind. Unfortunately, as we had eaten prior to arriving at the Misunderstood Heron, we weren't able to sample the great food on offer.
But as we visit Connemara quite regular, we will be back to sample all the other food on offer.
There are plenty of picnic benches around, and on the rainy day we had selected for our Connemara trip, a canopy had been erected to protect customers from the weather.
Even the birds are catered for, a bird feeding place provides nuts for the many birds around. The Misunderstood Heron is a hidden gem along Killary Harbour, one which provides the many travellers along the Wild Atlantic Way some great, decent food.
On a rainy day in August, we arrived in the beautiful village of Roundstone which is situated in Connemara, Co.Galway. Roundstone is a small seaside village renowned with artists who flock here for the amazing scenery and surroundings. For example, seeing Dog's Bay Beach on a sunny day is just amazing, a white beach flanked by the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic.
But we had just arrived in Roundstone and were hungry, and as Roundstone has a thriving harbour bordering the Atlantic, we decided that seafood would make a smart choice for lunch.
So we decided that O'Dowd's Seafood bar & restaurant (http://www.odowdsseafoodbar.com/) was a great spot to have a great lunch.
Walking into the bar, the first thing you notice is the old world charm of the interior of the pub. We decided to opt for the bar menu, and as it was only 12o'clock and to early for lunch we had the opportunity to study the mouthwatering menu in great detail. Our choice for the day was each of us starting of with the seafood chowder followed by the grilled stuffed Cashel Bay mussels for myself and the Seaweed hummus for Dolores.
The seafood chowder was served with a brown homemade scone, the chowder was beautiful and contained the freshest salmon, prawns, white fish,....
The homemade hummus is made using locally supplied carrageen , 2 slices of Nori bread accompanied it beautifully.
And normally, i wouldn't be a big fan of hummus, but this seaweed hummus was lovingly made using the best of ingredients. In O'Dowd's bar and restaurant, they have a vegetable plot as well which provides them with the freshest vegetables. And all the awards they have won over the years is a testament of the quality of the food served.
The mussels were fresh and the garlic taste was just perfect, not to overpowering still providing the mussels with a lovely texture.
The bar has a great set-up, as the tables are close together, it is hard not to talk to the other customers. The people seated beside us were from Washington DC and were enjoying the beauty of Connemara from the bike.
After the meal, we decided to hit the road again enjoying the scenery of Connemara. The meal came for the 2 of us to €29, great value for a very enjoyable seafood lunch.
O'Dowd's bar & restaurant is a must visit when you find yourself in Connemara, a place where you can sample the freshest ingredients mixed with the old world charm of an Irish pub.
A few days before Christmas, we escaped the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping in Sligo town and found ourselves in the seaside village of Rosses Point.
It was a dreary day, so we headed straight into The Driftwood restaurant, a restaurant which opened it's doors during the summer of 2017.
We were pleasantly surprised to find the interior to be bright and open, giving The driftwood a modern feel, but still feeling cozy on this rainy day.
A wood fire and a Christmas tree were lit and welcomed us into The Driftwood. Around the wooden tables were cool leather seats which were comfortable. We picked one of the tables along the wall where a huge long bench with comfortable cushions welcomed us.
The menu's were handed to us by Andrew, an Australian lad from Melbourne who has been working in The Driftwood since September. He was very friendly and was up for a chat.
After having scanned through the menu, I decided to go for the daily special which was smoked fish fingers with thick cut chips. Dolores decided to go for the grilled chicken with toasted pita, beetroot hummus and roast vegetables. While we were waiting, Andrew told us that they have now a smokehouse dinner menu, so we had a quick peep through it. All we can say is that we will be back for it. From monkfish to pork tomahawk chop - it sound delicious. Another thing we learned is that they are opening guestrooms as well.
And then we got our food, 2 plates with beautiful cooked homemade food. I loved the smoked fish dippers, the tick cut chips and the homemade dip.
Dolores didn't talk to much, so that means the food was lovely.
With the meal finished, we were a bit disappointed - NOT with the beautiful cooked meal, but that we hadn't visited The Driftwood before.
The Driftwood opened it's doors quietly, don't even think they have a website or a twitter page - but honestly, the driftwood doesn't need those things.
The food speaks for itself, from the friendly staff to the great food to the beautiful location (although it rained when we visited) - it is a must visit location. But just so you know, they are on facebook (www.facebook.com/driftwoodsligo/)
On a stormy day in February, we rolled into Rosses Point where the views towards oyster Island and beyond were limited due to the teeming rain and waterspray of the waves.
So, as it was lunchtime, we decided to head into the little cottage cafe located in Rosses Point.
It is a lovely renovated cottage in the village of Rosses point along the seafront, outside were the signs of early daffodils against the wall of the cottage.
It was busy enough inside and most of the 10 or so tables were taken up by customers.
A small Stanley stove on one side of the room was lit and the glow and heat from the burning woodlogs warmed us up straight away.
The menu is varied and will provide a good food selection for everyone's palate. There is also the daily specials which are displayed on a board behind the counter.
I went for the little cottage smokies, a little pot of naturally smoked Duncannon haddock with creme fraiche cherry tomato, spring onion, melted Dublin cheddar and dressed organic lea.s, all served with toasted brown bread. At €8, great value in our eyes.
Dolores went for the chicken flatbread, a large piece of homemade flatbread with spiced marinated chicken , dressed rocket, salad of red onion , lemon, chickpea and feta, all for €11.50 .
Other items you can find on the menu are sandwiches, an Irish chorizo & bean hot pot and little cottage sourdough bruchetta.
For drinks, we went for a latte and a pot of tea, all of which were piping hot which is great. I hate it when you get a luke warm coffee/latte , but at the little cottage cafe, they were perfectly served.
As for the food, I loved my little "hot" pot of haddock which was nicely accompanied by toasted brown bread.
Dolores loved her chicken too. To me, her dish looked on the dry side, but when i tasted it, I must admit I couldn't be more wrong. The salad of red onion and feta cheese made the chicken flatbread dish even tastier, and there was nothing to fault regarding any of the food or drinks.
With the total bill around €24 , we can highly recommend " the little cottage cafe"
It was one of these typical Irish autumn mornings, one minute the sun beams down, the next it starts raining. The great thing about these days is that you get an amazing display of rainbows.
On this morning, we decided to go to Strandhill, enjoy the waves crashing against the rocks and go for a nice breakfast in Shell's cafe.
Inside Shell's cafe was busy enough with people enjoying their breakfast on this blustery day. The decor is inviting and cosy, and it didn't take long to warm ourselves up again.
I ordered the Eggs benedict , Dolores ordered Eggs Arnold. For drinks, it was a tea and a spicy pumpkin latte .
The eggs benedict came out on a home baked slice of bread, tickly sliced ham and 2 lovely poached eggs . The yokes from the eggs were dark orange, so they must have been free range eggs, all covered with lovely Hollandaise sauce.
The eggs Arnold were presented on a fresh slice of bread. There was smoked salmon and 2 freshly poached eggs. We both enjoyed our breakfast and stayed around for a good while. After our breakfast, we went in the gift shop which is connected to Shells cafe and looked at all the great books and gift and food they have on display.
Afterwards, we took a small detour to Rosses point where we got welcomed with a rainbow display.
After having competed in Gaelforce West, we were tired and hungry. And we hadn't booked a dinner table either, so it would be difficult enough to find a table on a Saturday evening during the summer holiday period.
We had ones eaten before in La Bella Vita on High Street, so we decided to try our luck and see if they had a table available.
We were in luck, we entered the restaurant and we were told there was a table for 2, only condition was that we would give the table back for 9pm.
After browsing through the menu, we decided to go with the fresh fish which was on the daily menu, monkfish for me and Dolores would take Hake.
When we ordered, we were asked if we wanted a starter as well, but as we had to give the table back at 9pm, we told our waitress we would stick with the main course.
But we were told that there was plenty of time to try one of the starters, so we decided we would share an antipasto Italiano.
The restaurant itself is cosy and inviting. We were placed upstairs in a small room which had books on a shelf and a fireplace.
The restaurant was full, and that is always a good sign.
And to celebrate us finishing Gaelforce West, we picked a great bottle of Italian wine as well. And then the antipasto Italiano arrived, fresh lettuce, dressing, salami, ham freshly baked bread, olives... we enjoyed it thoroughly.
And then came our mains, fish as fresh as can be. The monkfish and hake were both cooked to perfection, both came with a salad and roasted potatoes with rosemary.
We enjoyed the food and would love to recommend La Bella Vita. If you are after fresh fish and fresh ingredients, this is the place to be.
And although we were told to leave the table by 9 pm, we never felt rushed by our waitress. The staff are very professional and very friendly and we are grateful they managed to give us a table. We ended a great day and night at Matt Molloy's where we met loads of the other competitors. A nice pint was taken while discussing the days events while listening to some traditional Irish music.
Link: La Bella Vita Website
I found myself with my dad in Dublin for the Holiday Show at the RDS, so we decided to spoil ourselves with a Saturday lunch at Asador located at Haddington Road, Dublin 4.
Asador is a BBQ restaurant which is located in a modern brick building on a corner not to far from the Grand canal.
From the moment you walk in and you are shown to your table, you are immersed in a professional service.
The interior is pleasant, one where White and brown colours dominate the stylish interior and leather seats and benches provide a comfortable seating arrangement. While seated, you can admire the chefs being busy in the open kitchen BBQing above the open flames. A sign above the kitchen displays the different sizes and types of beef available, and we can't but admire the chart with the different steaks available, some ranging up to 31oz if you are feeling hungry enough to finish one of these monsters.
The weekend lunch menu which is available from 12pm to 3pm, is a 2 course menu at a cost of €22.95.
As I starter, i selected the beetroot and tart tatin, bluebell falls goat cheese with walnuts and aged balsamic where my dad selected the halibut ceviche with avocado mousse and ginger bread toast.
While we were waiting for our starters to arrive, we got a plate with different types of bread accompanied by a dip.
When both starters came out from the kitchen, we were happy to find 2 colourful plates with fabulous tasting food.
For the main course, I decided to go for the baby back ribs with Jack Daniel's sticky sauce, chargrilled corn on the cob and chips where my dad selected the 8 Oz dry aged Picanha seved with onion in the peel and chips.
Both were fabulous, I especially loved the ribs which turned out to be a very generous portion with extra sauce if needed.
The fabulous food with the professional service makes Asador the perfect location to eat beautiful BBQ'd meat (or fish if you prefer).
The weekend menu at €22.95 is great value for the quality of the food served. Highly recommended.
When you arrive at the Beach Bar in Aughris, you can't but notice the fabulous views across Sligo Bay towards the Dartry mountains.
But another thing which really stands out is the Beach Bar itself and it's location. The Beach Bar is a traditional thatched pub and restaurant ( www.thebeachbarsligo.com/ ) located on one of Sligo's finest beaches called Dunmoran Strand.
We arrived at the beach bar on a bitterly cold morning. It had not even turned 12 o'clock, but we were hungry. Lucky for us, we were invited in by Ciara who was just finishing up cleaning the bar. Inside, an open fire welcomed us. Being the first in, we had a great look around the bar, which hasn't changed much as can be seen from the old pictures on the walls. Where a lot of Irish pubs worldwide are specifically build using old materials to make them seem authentic, the Beach Bar is Authentic.
The Beach Bar is a truly old style establishment, one where the thick walls and small windows together with the cladded wooden ceilings make it a cosy place to be.
The Beach Bar has a great menu every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during winter time, where it is served 7 days a week during the summer.
That being said, they always have bar food available, even during the winter.
We opted for the seafood chowder which was hopefully going to warm us up a bit. And out came the chowder 10 minutes later, a generous bowl of soup full to the rim with fish accompanied with 2 slices of homemade bread.
And here we go, I have eaten a lot of seafood chowder over the years, to me this was one of the best chowders I have ever eaten.
It was served piping hot, there was an amazing amount of fish in it, that much actually that it turned out to be a meal in itself.
We would recommend the Beach Bar highly for their fabulous seafood chowder and it's authentic style which transports you back in time.
We found ourselves in Donegal town around lunchtime, and as we were hungry we decided to have lunch at the Blueberry Tea room & restaurant.
And going by the amount of customers who were on that particular mid-week day in the Blueberry, it looks like it is the place to be in Donegal town. The interior is quirky and colourful. From the teacup wallpaper to the clock wall, there is loads to look at. But my eyes were glancing on the daily specials, and the chicken and bacon sandwich with BBQ sauce sounded delicious. Dolores opted for the chicken pasta.
The friendly waitress looked after us, and before we knew it we were served are large plates.
The pasta was huge, came with garlic bread, broccoli and a separate pot with Parmigiano Reggiano slices. And it was great, the chicken was hidden underneath the pasta and was plentiful.
My chicken and bacon sandwich was devine, and where I always have a great appetite, I was struggling to finish the huge sandwich which was stuffed with a huge amount of chicken and bacon. And that is not all, it came with a fresh salad and chips.
And if that wasn't enough, the chef came around asking if I wanted more chips, now that is what I call customer service.
And I declined nicely, just as I was struggling through my fabulous huge portion.
In our opinion, the Blueberry tea room and restaurant is a brilliant spot to talk to the locals, eat a great lunch and just enjoy the Donegal hospitality.
Sometimes, an unplanned event can turn into a fantastic experience. One of these unplanned events was a dinner in Waterford city. On a wet Saturday, we found ourselves walking along Waterford's streets enjoying an afternoon of shopping, admiring Waterford's treasures and just relaxing.
There and then, we decided to book ourselves in for a dinner at L'Atmosphere (https://www.restaurant-latmosphere.com/), a French bistro located in one of the quaint streets of Waterford. By 6:30pm, we walked into an already busy restaurant.
As the name suggests, the restaurant is just cozy. We were welcomed and brought to our table where a candle awaited our arrival. Glancing over the menu, we decided to go for the early bird which is very competitively priced.
What we noticed immediately is how professional the staff are, just 2 people serving approx 16 tables without any glitches, both floating around effortless serving delicious food, having friendly conversations with the guests, welcoming people and providing advise on the correct wine selection. We had our choice quickly made, Dolores went for the vegetable risotto where I opted for the chicken liver pate. Making a perfect risotto is not easy, but at L'atmosphere they have just mastered it to perfection as the risotto is served with a gorgeous texture and flavour. The chicken liver pate was homemade and came with a beautiful onion marmalade and toasted bread
For the main course , i opted for the confit duck leg where Dolores went for the beef Bourguignon. By the time the main dishes came out, we knew we were in for something special.
The duck came with the best roast potatoes and vegetables, the beef Bourguignon which had been cooking for a couple of hours was brought to the table in a cast iron pot. The succulent beef with a mixture of organic vegetables was just rich and and was just perfecton a cold November evening.
In the meantime, the restaurant had filled up, and we are not surprised with the high quality of food being served.
A lady on one of the neighbouring tables recommended that we should try the desserts too, so decision was quickly made. I went for the chocolate souffle where Dolores went for the Creme Brulee. We enjoyed it that much that I forgot to take pictures of these mouth tantalizing desserts.
The final bill came to a very reasonable €74 which also included a bottle of Malbec ... In our view, the three course early bird menu which comes at €23 is amazing value for money.
All we can say is that L'Atmosphere is a must visit restaurant whenever you find yourself in Waterford, a hidden gem where the professional waiters and the team in the kitchen create an unforgettable dining experience.
About the Author
We are Peter & Dolores De Bie. We love the great outdoors, discovering new parts of the world and writing about our adventures along the Wild Atlantic Way and further afield