- Special Offers
This award gives recognition to the best of those valuable all-day operations – usually small and owner-run – which not only lift the visitor’s spirits in a flash, but also the reputation of any town or village lucky enough to be its chosen location. The Guide seeks out good simple cooking based on quality ingredients - and especially the home baking that can be the highlight of a day out. Tea rooms have been popping up all over in recent years, which is good news for visitors who need a comforting pick-me-up to see them through their days - and this one goes back to the days when the sight of a tea room was as rare as it was welcome.
In fact, the building that houses this famous West of Ireland tea room dates back to 1790, when it was built as a residence for 'coast security officers'. Nearly two centuries later it was bought in a derelict condition, reconstructed, and then opened as a tea room and gardens in 1981.
In second generation ownership since 2009, since Jane O’Donoghue took over from her mother, the delightful stone restaurant and gardens seem to become more charming with each passing year.
It is good to find that things are done just the way they’ve always been done: everybody loves the informal arrangement of old furniture and the tempting display of home-baked fare laid out on an old cast-iron range.
In fine weather the beautiful back garden or the conservatory can be idyllic and - while lunch specials are also available - even something as simple as a cuppa with a freshly baked scone and home-made jam tastes even more delicious in such charming surroundings.
Queues form in summer (it took us three attempts on our last visit) but they do picnics and takeaways too. Just the ticket, rain or shine.