Calling all food lovers, the Burren Food Trail is one of the most enchanting food destinations in Ireland.
Irish Winner of the 2015 EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) Award, the Burren Food Trail invites visitors to this beautiful region in Co Clare to taste food grown and produced locally from a list of recognised establishments in the area.
We stayed three nights in the Wild Honey Inn, a charming establishment with stylish accommodation and award winning restaurant that includes a Michelin Bib Gourmand award for good food at a moderate price. I also learned that it is the first pub in Ireland to receive this award. Perfectly located in the small village of Lisdoonvarna and about a 15-minute drive from the Cliffs of Moher.
It was late in the evening when we arrived but just in time for dinner – our first taste of the Burren! My starter, an Endive and Roquefort salad, was incredible followed by probably the best steak I’ve ever tasted, finished with the gooiest, yummiest chocolate fondant dessert I’ve ever experienced. We shared a bottle of red and found our surroundings easy and relaxed.
Owned and run by Aidan McGrath and Kate Sweeney, their passion and love for Irish food and hospitality is obvious. Our room was delightfully quaint and an absolute steal at €40 per person, per night, which included breakfast. Kate also offered her advice on things to do in the area.
For our second day we set off early for a tour of the Burren National Park with Tony Kirby, recommended by Kate. A lovely tour, which we followed up with a visit to the Burren Perfumery for some tea and cake. You can read more about our experience here.
For dinner on our second night, we opted to stay close and walked five minutes up the road from our accommodation to the Roadside Tavern, winner of the 2016 Best Gastro Pub Award at the recent Restaurant Association’s Food Oscar Awards for the Clare and Munster regions. (The Wild Honey Inn won Best Restaurant in Clare).
The Tavern is legendary for its live music and friendly atmosphere. We were seated immediately and kept nicely entertained by a live acoustic session until our food arrived. Forming part of the Burren Food Trail, the Tavern’s restaurant ‘Kieran’s Kitchen’, is also associated by family with the Burren Smokehouse (located just beside the Tavern). Several of the dishes on the menu feature smoked salmon from the family’s award-winning Smokehouse. I went for the baked ‘Hot Smoked Salmon’ dish, which was fresh and tasty.
On our third and final day, a storm was headed our way. We decided to chance the walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher, which was about 8km and took about 2 hours each way. One of the most stunning walks I’ve ever experienced. Read more about the walk here.
Although we wanted to check out another restaurant along the Food Trail on our final night, our bodies told us to stay put. We spoiled ourselves once again in the Wild Honey Inn. I went for the scallops this time. Amazing.
By morning the storm was in full force, an orange weather warning was in place. The drive to Dublin seemed daunting. Kate offered us tea and cookies and time to relax and read our newspaper in the drawing room until the worst of it was over.
Finally the weather cleared and there was one more place we wanted to check out – the Tea and Garden rooms in Ballyvaughan and one of their house specialities, home baked berry cheesecake. The cheesecake was made famous in 2011 when Hollywood director, Steven Spielberg flew in to Shannon on his private jet en route to Monaco to pick up a slice! He had sampled the cheesecake during a visit to Ireland two years previously. He travelled the 70km from Shannon airport with his family to pick up the cheesecake and returned to his private jet to continue to Monaco. I totally understand why he did this! Delicious cakes and a lovely end to our Burren Food Trail.
The Burren is a magical place in Ireland with so much to see and do to excite the senses. Find out more about The Burren here.