WHY STAY HERE?
- Great Gastro Pub food at Shannigans.
- Contemporary refurbished decor and excellent facilities.
- Family Friendly hotel with exceptionally friendly staff.
Located in 450 acres of wooded countryside on the Dromoland Castle Estate, this hotel has a wonderful setting which impressed me immediately. Easy parking close to the Reception brought me swiftly into the bright open style foyer where I was met with a smiling friendly welcome. To the left I spied Shannigans where I was planning to eat later on, and to my right was a large comfortable lounge area with an open fire which beckoned me to come in and relax. Although it was not school-holidays, I could see play areas for children which would be perfect for young families, and also as I discovered that evening entertainment, especially for children is provided during the high season. I also spied a room set up for a wedding and thought what a lovely setting for those wedding photographs!
ACCOMMODATION AT THE INN AT DROMOLAND
My bedroom was bright, spacious, extremely comfortable and afforded fantastic views over the Dromoland Golf Course and the Shannon Estuary. There were two double beds complete with quality linen, flat screen television, super fast and free WiFi, and all the extras you want in a good hotel room - tea and coffee making facilities, iron, full length mirrors, comfortable work station and lots of sockets. I loved the bathroom with walk in shower and excellent water pressure, great lighting and good quality fluffy towels. While the large window gave fantastic views over the grounds, I was also delighted to see that the window also actually opened to allow that fresh Clare air to come in. So many contemporary hotels in both cities and countryside offer large glass panels and windows that are completely sealed up, leaving you are the mercy of the air conditioning. An ideal room for me would have heating with controls, and windows that you can open!
DINING AT SHANNIGANS GASTRO PUB
Without doubt, one of the highlights of my visit to The Inn at Dromoland was my experience at Shannigans. These days so many bars that offer little more than a toasted sandwich and a carvery will call themselves a 'Gastro Pub'. A proper Gastro Pub should offer imaginative dishes that incorporate the locality and seasonality of the area and should include handmade and home-made dishes using traditional and artisan products. Shannigans ticked all those boxes, and some. Firstly the interior is very tastefully appointed offering a range of seating options from high stools to cozy corners, and it incorporates a mix of rustic and contemporary decor in a bespoke design that is immediately pleasing. It has that "there is a place for everybody here" feeling.
And so to the food - from fancy sandwiches to local roast lamb, handmade pizzas, roast wild fish, pasta and curry - the menu also reflects that broad appeal. But it is the special dishes that caught my eye - the Smoked Haddock Brandade & Poached Free Range Egg with steamed spinach and aged cheddar cheese sauce. Then there was the wonderful Minced Burren Lamb Kofta kebab with spiced vegetable couscous, coriander and yoghurt dressing. These are the kind of dishes that make Shannigans worthy of its Gastro Pub title. Each can be ordered as a starter or main course, as can the excellent Super Food Salad with Multi Seeds, Macadamia, Artichoke hearts, cranberries, Quinoa, Broccoli Stems and Vine Tomato. The real surprise here was the creamy St Tola Feta. While I have been a fan of the nearby St Tola Goat's Cheese farm with their beautiful Saanan goats for many years, this was the first time I had tasted their Feta. What a treat!
DINING AT DROMOLAND
Guests staying at The Inn also have the option of dining at Dromoland Castle, the five star sister property located on the same estate. Here you can choose from the Earl of Thomond, The Gallery or The Fig Tree Restaurants. Details of menus and dining options can be found on Dromoland Castle Website.
At The Inn itself, there is also the elegant Deerfields Restaurant which is open every evening and for breakfast during the busy season. On quieter mornings, such as the one I was there, breakfast is served in Shannigans. Here I enjoyed fresh fruit salad and yoghurt followed by cooked to order eggs and bacon. Interesting breakfast options also included a Waterford Blaa filled with scrambled eggs bacon and cheese. Alternatively,for the seriously hungry, there is the steak with mushrooms and eggs!
It is not surprising that The Inn at Dromoland is so popular locally, for weddings and for families. The range of facilities and activities, the friendly service and that beautiful setting make it a very special place. Very highly recommended by Hotel Reviews Ireland for 2017.