North of Castlegregory, The Maharees Peninsula is famous for its long sandy beaches and clean water, making it popular for family holidays, and there is a group of islands off the peninsula, known simply as “The Maharees”.
Activities offered in the area (bookable through Castlegregory Visitor Centre, 066 713 9422) include golf, horseriding, cycling, fishing, windsurfing and, especially, diving.
Waterworld dive centre is located at Pat & Ronnie Fitzgibbon’s Harbour House Guesthouse at Scraggane Pier; they run diving courses here (and their facilities include a swimming pool) and, aside from offering comfortable accommodation in their eight bedrooms, this is a useful place to know about when touring, as the restaurant is open to non-residents and they are usually open for lunch as well as dinner (a phone call is advised).
The restaurant and guesthouse share an entrance and, just inside, you’ll find Fitz’s bar, where you can have a drink before or after your meal. A lobster tank flags the focus of the restaurant - most of the restaurant’s fresh ingredients are landed at Scraggane pier, just 200 metres away.
The dining room is a single slightly curved room, with large windows overlooking the Maharees Islands to the west and ensuring plenty of natural light on a summer evening – and a view from nearly every table; in good weather food is also served on a terrace outside the dining room, although it can get quite windy.
Excellent undersea photos and various nautical and seafood items decorate the room, and the well spaced tables can be arranged to accommodate large groups.
An informative menu includes children’s options and a good selection of wine at reasonable prices. Seafood and non-seafood starters are allocated a full page each, with seafood on offer including oysters, lobster, and mixed seafood dishes as well as a wide range of fish; both origin and preparation of all dishes is described, including the different ways that steaks may be cooked.
Local seafood is well represented by the seafood platter and – served with brown bread and potatoes as well as including a wide range of seafood – it will satisfy the hungriest seafood lovers. Lobsters can be selected from the tank at reception and specials will generally be seafood dishes too - there may be only one or several, depending on the catch of the day.
An ample selection of non-seafood and vegetarian dishes is also offered, and staff are knowledgeable about the menu and ingredients; proprietor Pat Fitzgibbon is very present in the dining room at all times, and provides helpful guidance through the seafood platter.
Although prices initially seem quite expensive, the quality is generally high and the end result should be good value.