Outdoor Dining in Ballyhoura Country Offers more than just Great Food
With dining outdoors having become the new norm this summer, Ballyhoura Country – celebrated worldwide for its rich food heritage – has stepped up to the plate to offer a wealth of dining experiences across the region. The picturesque Munster landscape is home to many of Ireland’s finest artisan food producers (Ballyhoura Apple Farm, Bluebell Falls Goats Cheese, Old Irish Creamery, Hodgins, Ballinwillin organic venison, wild boar & goat farm and many more) and therefore–not surprisingly–to some of the tastiest cafés, restaurants and eateries in Ireland, most of whom have adapted to facilitate outdoor dining. The area is a natural pantry brimming with tasty, local food, and is a veritable feast for the eyes, the palate and the soul. As the saying goes, “you don’t need a silver fork to eat good food”, and foodies visiting Ballyhoura Country will be spoilt for choice.
The Ballyhoura region has long been recognised for the beauty of its landscape, its small traditional communities and the rolling pastureland of the Golden Vale, which is home to some of the best dairy farms in the country. It’s a place with a rich food heritage, whose people have a love for life’s simple pleasures, and where local and personal are core values. Whether your outdoor dining choice takes you to a stylish hotel or to a cosy café, you can be sure Ballyhoura Country will hit the spot.
For those looking for hotel dining, Deebert House in Kilmallock offers outdoor dining at The Mill which has overhead heaters, warm blankets and an enclosed space. They cook with locally-grown produce, some of which is from their own garden. Originally built in 1807 as a mill, it was later converted to a creamery, producing milk for the famous Cleeves Toffee. No less than three outdoor dining areas are available in the Charleville Park Hotel, 7 days a week, from lite bites to full dinner as well as a delicious new Summer Afternoon Tea. Tucked away amid tranquil woodlands, Springfort Hall Country House Hotel in Mallow has made plans for its outdoor diners should the Irish summer turn rainy, with a brand-new marquee-style area to dine in.
If you prefer a restaurant or café experience, Ballyhoura has an abundance of eateries to choose from–with local and personal at the heart–and who offer outdoor dining. Nestled in the heart of Ballyhoura Country in Ardpatrick, Co. Limerick, the family-run Spruce & Willow promises to satisfy appetites with local, fresh, simple produce and finest local coffee supply from Badger & Dodo Irish Artisan Coffee Roasters, while the Thatch and Thyme Café, Kildorrery, offers the freshest home-cooked food, from fisherman’s stew all the way to Mexican spicy pan-fried chicken salad! Old-world charm and elegance are abundant in the walled garden of Doneraile’s Café Townhouse, which seats 60 outdoor diners, and where you can enjoy a superb selection of wines to complement your meals or desserts from the new menus, as well as iced teas, lattes and mochas.
They say good things come to those who wait, and Shannon House in Castleconnell is the perfect example of this. An inspiring, two-year journey for the community saw the former Shannon Inn building, which had fallen into disrepair, being refurbished into a modern community centre, which now serves food and coffee in the new canopy in the back garden!
If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to pass by Mitchelstown’s Praline Pastry Shop & Café. Although open for take-away only, it’s the go-to destination for superior quality cakes and pastries. On the other hand, you can choose a healthy option in Bruff at The Yarn Café, where beautiful salads and nourishing smoothies are on the menu alongside a tempting menu of homemade hot foods. If you’d prefer a caffeine boost, enjoy a delicious coffee from 8.30am daily in Hook and Ladder in Croom, surrounded by the relaxing vista of the river and park.
For the more relaxed dining experience, tasty cocktails and drinks are served alongside top-class bar food in The Four Winds + Second Wind in Charleville; their semi-covered beer garden is equipped with gas heaters and fairy lights, making it the perfect spot for a night out with friends!
“If your mother wouldn’t pay for it, don’t expect the customer to” is the motto which sums up the care taken by O’Callaghan’s Deli & Bakery in Mitchelstown, who have gained a reputation for providing fresh homemade food using locally sourced and whose wide selection of healthy salads, pastries and desserts, which can be enjoyed in their garden terrace.
For a variation on the outdoor dining theme in Ballyhoura, the Outdoor Farmers’ Markets are worth a visit. On Saturdays, the Sli Eile Farmers’ Market and Kilavullen Farmers’ Market are both open; one Sunday a month you can sample culinary delights at Rockbarton Farmers’ Market, while each Friday Castletroy Farmers’ Market is open.
There are outdoor culinary delights for everyone in Ballyhoura Country - where will your feeling take you?