Best of Ireland 16 Jun - food & hotel review

Best of Ireland – food & hotel - comments and suggestions

The food on the trip was excellent overall. If fresh seafood doesn’t come your way often this is a great trip to take advantage of it. Not sure I haven’t grown gills at this point. We all over ate and kept hoping for lighter options.

Gallaghers Boxty House – we had dinner there on a free day before the tour start. It was great. The hotel had a magazine that said if you mentioned “Dining in Dublin” when you ordered you’d get a free pint of Jack Smith. Sure enough we got 2 pints and a half for free. Their menu is available online. You’ll know you’re in Ireland here.

Matt the Thresher – great seafood restaurant a short walk from the Conrad Hilton (or Merrion) in a Georgian
neighborhood. Voted best Fish and Chips by our group’s connoisseur but all the food was good. Their menu is also available on line.

Lunch at Avoca. It’s in a small dept store with several locations in Ireland but they have lunch rooms with good food and light options.

KC Peaches – several locations in Dublin – lunch is either fresh made sandwiches or a buffet

Kilkenny Design Center – locations in Dublin across from Trinity College and Kilkenny across from the castle. A food hall with take out cold items and a cafeteria style sit down restaurant

Bushmills Inn – lunch on day 4 was outstanding – an excellent fish followed by yummy sticky toffee pudding (TD gave us their recipe)

Lunch in Waterville on day 11 was very good with light options like ceasar salad and the best grilled salmon

Lunch at Jameson was also good – the starter was soup but when asked the server gave us a green salad – after the tour
you’re offered a choice of drinks made with Jameson – the cocktail with ginger ale and lime was surprisingly good

The tour hotels were also good with some high and low notes. The biggest thing to get used to is the fact you can’t blow dry you hair in the bathrooms. Dryers are provided but the only plugs are in the room and often not conveniently located. The European tradition of down duvets without a top sheet is an issue if it’s hot and there is no AC. Housekeeping was always willing to add a top sheet so don’t be afraid to ask.

Conrad Hilton – nice hotel, modern feel, well equipped rooms, good food especially the welcome dinner – don’t order the oat pancakes for breakfast though (in fact pretty much avoid pancakes on this tour) – not much of a view - quiet neighborhood which also means it’s a 10-15 min walk to get to most things – ATM right on the corner where you cross to walk through St Stephens green.

Merchant Belfast – lovely hotel, fantastic room (suite) with a 4th floor view of the city – Titanic tasting menu on the first night was good but not great – breakfast was good but ala carte i.e. no buffet which I prefer for cold items

Lough Eske Castle – my least favorite – bathroom was nice but the room while large felt a bit in need of updating and the bed was the worst of the trip – no ac – we opened the windows and propped open the door when possible – 2 dining options which is good – some of the food was outstanding (gin cured salmon, pea/truffle soup, and monkfish BBQ) others not so much (avoid the crab cakes) – I utilized the pool which was nice but had to buy a swim cap

Glenlo Abbey – outstanding view of the lough and the golf course, tiny bathroom with the hardest to operate shower ever – another hotel without ac or window screens - dinner at the Pullman restaurant (old rail cars used in the Orient express movie) was worthwhile experience but don’t order the beef unless you like it well done or ask for it 1-2 shades rarer than normal – dinner the 2nd night in the River Room was great – walk around the estate if you can and visit the attached chapel

Old Ground – very nice room (yeah AC) – dinner in a private room was great along with the musicians and dancers who preformed for us – wished I’d dressed a little nicer - breakfast probably the least favorite of the tour

Aghadoe Heights – modern with the most fantastic views of Lough Leane – more AC (we were in the 80’s at this point) - dinner at Killeen House/Rozzers just down the road was outstanding – breakfast and ala carte dinner with more of the amazing view – walk across the street to the view point, the tower and the cemetery if you have the chance

Mt Juliet Estate – we all stayed in the newer Hunters Yard section and ate in the restaurant there – lovely, modern, clean – good breakfast and farewell dinner – mixed reviews on the ala carte dinner – lots of walking to do on the estate if you desire but easy to get lost

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