In the first of our new ‘Taste of’ series – which will offer readers a flavour of some of Ireland’s most exciting foodie regions – Georgina Campbell takes a trip around West Waterford to sample some of its culinary delights
Ah, wonderful West Waterford: that diverse and somehow mysterious area southwest of Waterford city. Embraced by the borders of Tipperary and Cork, and with a long coastline backed by mountains and river valleys, it is one of Ireland’s most exciting food regions. Once Ardmore’s old Cliff House Hotel re-opened as a quirky, modern five-star property with destination restaurant in 2008, West Waterford was guaranteed a place on the must-visit short breaks list for a new generation of food-lovers… who also make a bee-line for Dungarvan, where Paul and Maire Flynn’s pioneering restaurant, The Tannery, has been a culinary beacon since 1997. In addition, the West Waterford Festival of Food (10-13 April 2014) is fast gaining a reputation beyond these shores.
Yet, despite its newfound popularity, the area remains unspoilt and serene. It is a place of great beauty and exceptional hospitality where talented artisans go quietly about their business producing outstanding foods, which dedicated chefs take pride in showcasing on their menus. And it would be no hardship to be offered solely the foods of West Waterford, with Comeragh mountain lamb, fresh fish and seafood from Helvick, organic fruit and vegetables, an unusual range of cheeses, great baking (including the famed Waterford blaa), and farmhouse ice-creams among the local specialities. And, to wash it all down, the area also offers some great craft beers.
Kinsalebeg, Youghal, Co Cork
(www.stayatnewtown.com) In a quietly stunning waterside location, Georgina and Michael Penruddock’s lovely nineteenth century house is actually on the Waterford side of the Blackwater estuary, with magnificent views across to Youghal.
Dungarvan, Co Waterford
(www.cairbrehouse.com) An address of choice for many discerning visitors to Dungarvan, Brian Wickham’s fine old house is just across the bridge from the town centre. Brian’s extensive bird-feeding stations provide entertainment at breakfast, which can be served in the garden in summer.
Dungarvan, Co Waterford
(www.gortnadihalodge.com) A former cheesemaker, Eileen Harty cossets guests in this very comfortable B&B, quietly located west of Dungarvan in the Ring Gaeltacht. In a lovely quiet setting, with woodland gardens, it enjoys wonderful land and sea views.
Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford
(www.hanorascottage.com) Beautifully located in the Nire Valley, this a very special place, where the genuine hospitality of the Wall family is matched by luxurious accommodation and the good food offered by Euro-Toques chefs Eoin and Judith Wall.
Cappoquin, Co Waterford
(www.richmondhouse.net) Genuine hospitality, high standards of comfort, caring service and excellent food are all to be found in the Deevy family’s fine 18th century country house and restaurant.
Ballyrafter Country House Hotel
Lismore, Co Waterford
(www.waterfordhotel.com) You could easily drive through this Heritage Town and miss Joe and Noreen Willoughby’s laid-back country house hotel, but this quirky place has become something of a cult destination of late. Fishing is a big draw, as well as a relaxing atmosphere, log fires and good home cooking in the bistro.
The beach and village in Dunmore East