It was that legendary lady (and great ambassador for Achill) the late Vi McDowell of nearby Gray’s Guest House who introduced us towards The Cottage, when Karan and Paul McNamara first opened their purpose-built cottage-style restaurant here in 2008 – ‘Auntie Vi’, as she was known locally, was thrilled to have a new restaurant on her side of the island dedicated to providing quality daytime food for visitors and run by a committed and energetic young couple, and she lost no opportunity to tell everyone about it.
Charming in its simplicity, The Cottage is thriving as visitors delight in the wholesome, genuinely home-made food and fresh flavours. Everything is supplied locally, especially fish, and they take particular pride in their home baking.
There’s always a homemade soup of the day offered, together with their own freshly-baked bread, croissants (plain or chocolate) for morning coffee – or maybe with hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and chocolate powder -and a wide range of panini (honey roast ham, perhaps, served with extra mature cheddar, onion and ploughman’s pickle).
A BLT bap special is topped with melted cheese, then there are vegetarian panini (such as roasted peppers with goats cheese & country relish), wraps and sandwiches a-plenty.
Crab and Achill salmon salad is a speciality, also homemade quiche - but many people come here specially for the delicious desserts: chocolate cake, carrot cake and fruit pies are regulars, fresh fruit pavlova is a speciality – or you can opt for the healthy choice and have fresh fruit salad (with cream or ice cream if you like) and round it all off with a herbal tea instead of coffee.
The McNamaras also have some crafts on sale, including cards and prints, some Avoca products, and Achill Island pottery.
Right beside Dugort’s lovely beach, this is just the kind of place that holidaymakers like best.