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Apr 27, 2012 03:26 PM

West of Ireland in August - Recommendations, Please?

We are headed to the West this August: Kenmare (likely with a Cork day trip - lunch); Cong , County Mayo; Galway (with an Aran Island day trip - lunch); and Doonbeg, County Clare. Any thoughts on restaurants, pubs, and cool stuff, generally, would be very much appreciated. We are diverse diners, enjoying both high end and more pedestrian locations, as long as it's worth the stop. Local food always preferred. Thanks so much.

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  1. Moran's Oyster Cottage (a bit south of Galway, aka "Moran's on the weir") is famous for its oysters, smoked salmon and brown bread. I have not been there since 1994, so I don't know how touristy it has become over the years. I do remember it is set in a pretty spot on the water and I would be happy to go back some time.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      I was there in 2010 and it was wonderful, the smoked fish is impeccable, oysters exceptional, tempura prawns were the best I've had anywhere, and the Irish coffee is not to be missed.

      In Galway, I highly recommend Kirwan's Lane, and Vina Mara was also quite good, though less fancy.

      1. re: rrems

        Thanks for the (almost) current feedback! Nice to know it is still a place worth visiting.

        1. re: DavidT

          We were at Moran's a year ago and it was great. One of the highlights of our trip.

          I can also recommend Wild Honey Inn ( in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare.

          1. re: spli

            I second the Wild Honey Inn! It's really quite high end food, but in the very relaxed setting of a pub. It would make a good stop for lunch between Galway and Doonbeg.

            In Galway, one of the restaurants at Glenlo Abbey hotel is in two old carriages from the Orient Express.
            The food is nothing special, but it's a lovely experience. If booking, as to be seated in the carriage named Leona - it's the nicer of the two and was used in the filming of "Murder on the Orient Express".

            Also in Galway, Aniar is getting a lot of press but I found it more of a miss than a hit. The conept is better than the execution.

    2. On your day trip to Cork, the cafe at the English Market might be a nice contrast for lunch to the higher end meals. Lots of comfort food dishes - like Irish stew, liver& bacon, and the like. And it overlooks the market stallls.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Harters

        Thanks so much - please keep these wonderful suggestions coming.

      2. Hi Amy
        A few years ago I visited the Island Cottage ( restaurant on Heir Island in West Cork. Maybe somebody else on here will have been more recently but I recall it being a memorable experience. A short booat ride to a quiet island, drinks on the terrace at sunset, a fun atmosphere at dinner and a moonlit walk back to the boat.

        Valentia Island in Kerry is very nice. We stayed at Glanleam house and enjoyed a nice dinner there but, again, this is a few years back so I'm not even sure if it is still a going concern.

        In Limerick, we ate well at the hotel on Pery Square.

        I would whole-heartedly second the suggestions of the English Market in Cork and Morans on the Weir

        1 Reply
        1. re: daves2009

          Much appreciated, Dave - you haven't steered me wrong yet!

          1. re: PappyAustin

            Thank you - we're still collecting great suggestions, so I appreciate your adding this one.

          2. Kenmare - we stayed at O'Donnabhain's B&B and Gastropub - great meals, delicious desserts. We had Guinness stew, fish n chips that first night, and some Irish Creme creme brulee - it was divine.

            Aran Islands - I still dream about the smoked mackerel salad I had at Joe Watty's Pub on Inis Mor (had it twice in our two day stay!). It was fantastic! The Greek salad I had as well, as the mackeral was only a dinner offering. Also, farther into the island, at Nan Phaddy's cafe, they make a delightfully rich chocoloate Guinness cake and tasty soup.

            Near the south end of the ring of Kerry, up in the mountains, is a tea and crepe restaurant called Strawberry Fields - seek it out, you won't be disappointed.

            4 Replies
              1. re: kschuman

                Thanks for pointing me to your post, kschuman! Great stuff.

              2. re: GreenDragon

                These sound wonderful - thanks so much GreenDragon - can't wait to try!

                1. re: amy626

                  Thanks for all the input. Here's the report. Best meal we had was at Aniar - it was really exceptional. Wish we had known about its sister restaurant, Cava, we definitely would have tried that during our time in Galway. In Kenmare, although we made it to O'Donnabhain's for a drink and some music, we dined at Packie's, one of the best meals we had during our visit, and at The Lime Tree, also good, but Packie's is better. Also, the bartenders at the Park Hotel make it worth the stop. They are a pleasure and full of great information. We never made it to Cork - next time. In Cong, we had a great dinner at Cullen's, the pub on the grounds at Ashford Castle, preferring that meal to the formal dining room. We did eat at a lovely cafe on the Aran Islands - up near the ruins - great smoked fish salad, but I don't recall the name. Sorry to have missed Moran's - we drove by several times, but the timing was bad. And we did get to Kirwan's Lane - dinner was good, not great. Looking forward to our next visit. It was a lovely trip. Thanks again.