Right in the centre of this lovely planned town, Mary O'Leary’s traditional Tea Shop is dainty and chintzy in a beautiful way, and suits its surroundings perfectly.
The net curtains and mismatched china, along with lots of pink, makes for a tranquil scene that will bring back memories of yesteryear for many visitors and it is a lovely place to while away an hour and watch the world go by outside.
In fine weather, there are a few outside tables on the pavement, and there’s a patio area out at the back - but, for many customers, the old fashioned atmosphere indoors is what sets this little restaurant apart from others and you need a table in the tea room to experience it to the full. It appeals to people of all ages, and children seem to enjoy the ambience as much as adults.
Although other drinks are offered, their focus is the huge range of beverages - 27 varieties of loose leaf tea are listed, as well as a number of coffees – and the well-trained young staff are especially knowledgeable on all matters relating to tea and coffee.
Light meals, including smoked salmon salads and a variety of quiches (about €10) are available all day and portions are generous, but freshly cut sandwiches and home baking are the specialities.
Several versions of ‘afternoon tea’ (with sandwiches and cakes) and ‘cream tea’ (with scone, jam and cream) are offered, including a Cupan Tae Special Tea for Two (with soup, sandwiches and cake) at about €35, and a version served with a chilled Proscecco (about €55 for two).
Wines are available by the glass (about €5.00) or the bottle (typically €21.00 for a Sauvignon Blanc).
This is the original tearoom that inspired the popular café of the same name in Galway city (see entry), and both are well worth a visit.