Gearoid and Tara Lynch's restaurant is in an old stone building in a neatly landscaped garden which served as a post office until 1974 and, since then, has made an attractive and popular inn. Gearoid is a talented and very committed chef and, with Tara managing front of house, they make a good team - since their arrival here in 2002 they have earned a reputation for fine food and genuine hospitality that has made the Olde Post a destination for foodie breaks.
There's a pleasant rural atmosphere about the place, with a bar with an open fire to enjoy your pre/post-prandial drinks and an old-world style throughout, with dark beams and simple wooden furniture - and a recently added extension to the restaurant has been achieved brilliantly, so it is hardly noticeable (except for the extra space and comfort).
But, comfortably rustic as it may seem (and all the more welcome following the recent rush to shiny modernism), that is far from the case in the kitchen, and the elegantly-appointed tables with crisp white linen and gleaming glasses give a hint of the culinary treats to come.
Gearoid's route to Cloverhill has included time in some fine establishments - at least one of which lives on here, in a house speciality: 'Le Coq Hardi' chicken breast (stuffed with potato, apple, bacon & herbs, wrapped in bacon and served with an Irish whiskey sauce).
His classical training is very evident in the deep flavours and finesse seen in every dish, but the repertoire is constantly evolving and includes a nicely balanced choice of traditional dishes (most noticeably on their excellent Sunday Lunch menu) and others showing contemporary influences. Desserts are especially good, so it pays to go easy on the preceding courses as portions are generous.
A committed Euro-Toques chef, Gearoid won the Euro Toques Young Baileys Chef of the year in 2000 and is a former Commissioner General of Euro-Toques Ireland. This speaks volumes for his commitment to careful sourcing of ingredients, thereby supporting local producers and showing respect for regional and seasonal foods - a philosophy which is abundantly clear to anyone reading the supplier list on one of his (invariably enticing) menus. His excellent cooking is made all the more enjoyable by the service given by Tara Lynch and her friendly, helpful local staff, whose teamwork is seamless.
The Olde Post Inn was our Newcomer of the Year in 2004 and Atmospheric Restaurant of the Year in 2012.
Ample parking. Seats 120 (private room, 25); air conditioning; children welcome (high chair, baby changing facilities) toilets wheelchair accessible. D Tue-Sun, 5.30-9.30pm (Sun to 8.30), L Sun only, 12.30-2.30pm. Early bird D €39, 5.30-7pm. Set 5 course D €55, also à la carte, Gourmet Menu €75. Set Sun L €33. Closed Mon.
While not especially large, the seven en-suite rooms at the inn have been refurbished recently. Comfortable and convenient for diners who don't wish to travel far from the dinner table, most have full baths. Breakfast is another treat in store, so allow time to enjoy it.