Tucked behind the main street in Swords, the comfortably ramshackle yellow exterior of The Old Schoolhouse is hard to miss.
Both a traditional pub and restaurant, The Old Schoolhouse exudes warmth and charm with lots of wood, exposed stone and shiny brass fittings. Old Irish pub memorabilia abounds, but it is well placed and doesn’t seem too twee in this context.
Situated on the first floor, the restaurant is rustic and smart with high back leather chairs and comfortable banquettes, warm lighting and plenty of personality. Friendly waiting staff are quick to show diners to their table, promptly taking drinks orders, offering menus and freshly baked bread.
The menu gets straight down to brass tacks, with options including poultry and pork but an unashamed focus on their signature steaks and seafood. Carnivores are well looked after with an enticing range of locally sourced steak cuts to choose from, including surf’n’turf, all cooked to your liking and served up with delicious sauces, fat chunky chips and onion rings.
Seafood lovers will be well pleased as the fish cookery is particularly good and there’s a great choice of starters and mains fresh from East coast catches, such as mussels, crab claws, lemon sole, monkfish and hake.
Treated simply and classically allowing the quality of this beautiful seafood to speak for itself, many a happy diner would return for the perfectly cooked seafood alone. Side vegetables are a pleasure too although, surprisingly, vegetarian choices on the main courses are a bit sparse.
To accompany, there’s an extensive wine list, covering every taste and budget and beginning at a very pocket-friendly price.
Desserts focus on the classics - chocolate fondant, lemon tart, bread and butter pudding, apple tart, all for €6 - and may not be not the highlight of the meal, but overall the food coming out of this kitchen is dead on: competently cooked, with lots of flavour and comforting to eat.
Offering assured bistro style cooking, in a cosy pub setting, at prices that keep North County Dublin diners very happy indeed - and with lovely service from friendly and efficient staff - The Old Schoolhouse is understandably popular with locals, but also worth remembering whenever a meal in the airport area is needed.