Beautifully situated alongside the Grand Canal, with the entrance - guarded by stone lions and a new lodge which sports the trademark soft Lyons green - just beside the 14th lock, the Lyons Demesne opened to some acclaim in 2007.
The two restaurants - the fine dining Mill Restaurant, and informal Café La Serre – were originally envisaged as the first stage of an unusual project, The Village at Lyons, to include some small specialist shops, a cookery school and accommodation, and the completed sections sit well in their imaginatively landscaped setting with delightful little gardens and ever-present water.
Following the untimely death of proprietor Dr Tony Ryan in 2008, there was a noticeable slowdown and the stunning fine dining restaurant, The Mill, was closed.
However, The Mill reopened styling itself as Ireland’s premier Wedding and Corporate Venue. The Mill, (and several other areas, including The Garden Room and The Shackleton Room) makes a delightful venue for private gatherings, including exclusive weddings - there is a tiny chapel (it has to be seen to be believed), and the accommodation, in luxurious 2-bedroom ‘cottages’ (complete with Aga in their bespoke kitchens, amongst many other unexpected features), will delight all who stay here.
Restaurant La Serre:
You approach the main entrance past stone statuary and a bed of box balls, over a little bridge (pausing to admire the mill race below) and in through a massive front door which leads straight into the bar; known as The Lyons Den, it’s a welcoming room with a huge fireplace, plenty of comfortable well-worn leather furniture and a full figure portrait of a lady to welcome arriving guests.
The former Café La Serre is along a corridor towards the back of the building, and it’s a very relaxed and informal space, with a covered courtyard area, an oyster bar and a high-windowed Turner-style conservatory that offers tables in a bright space alongside the maturing gardens.
The Courtyard & Cookery School:
Open in recent years, The Courtyard (open Wednesday to Sunday) contains a collection of retail options which include NP2 Jewellery, Design by Renaissance & Nature in Harmony. While the cookery school which was initially run by chef Clodagh McKenna now has several chefs in residence offering an array of cookery classes designed to cater for different levels of interest and ability.