You can’t beat Sunday lunch for multi-generational get-togethers with family and friends - and it can be a seriously classy outing these days, where a lovely venue, the very best of food and more reasonable prices than are expected at dinner combine to make it a special and relaxing occasion. It’s an especially appealing proposition in spring too, as the days are lengthening - and accommodation is available at (or very near) all of the suggestions below, so why not make a job of it and take Monday off?


Virginia Park Lodge
Virginia Co Cavan

Beautifully located overlooking Lough Ramor and the rolling Cavan countryside, this eighteenth century sporting lodge on the edge of Virginia town is at the heart of a 150 acre estate and has been operated as an hotel for many years. It has a particularly charming combination of informality and grandeur, which has endeared it to many people through the centuries - including a famous local man, the celebrated chef Richard Corrigan who bought the property in 2013 and lost no time in renovating the house and establishing productive gardens, which are now supplying his London restaurants in season, as well as the kitchens here. It makes an elegant and atmospheric private venue for weddings and other events and often opens for pop up weekends and meals, including Sunday lunch. Dates are given on their website (where you can book) and you can sign up for email alerts, which are well worth having as they sell out quickly. Richard Corrigan's famously direct seasonal, ingredients-led cooking is a joy and prices are very reasonable. 


Sha Roe Bistro

Sha-Roe Bistro
Clonegal, Co Carlow

On the borders of Wexford, Carlow and Wicklow, a fine 18th century building in this charming riverside village is home to Henry and Stephanie Stone’s beautifully appointed and atmospheric little restaurant. With welcoming fires for chilly days and a pretty courtyard for sunny ones, it is a destination of choice for the many discerning diners who appreciate outstanding, beautifully simple, seasonal cooking and delightful service. A visit for Sunday lunch makes a great day out and, afterwards, a visit to historical Huntington Castle might be recommended - the entrance is just around the corner and everything is within walking distance. The gardens are open to the public - and, not only may tours of the house also be available, but this interesting place offers B&B too.

VM Restaurant at Viewmount House - Longford County Longford Ireland

'VM' Restaurant
Viewmount House, Longford, Co Longford

Some of the best meals we have enjoyed around Ireland in recent years have been Sunday lunches – and the atmospheric 'VM' Restaurant at James and Beryl Kearney’s beautiful Georgian property, Viewmount House, is one of the best. Demonstrating that it can be done with style and no compromise in quality, in terms of the food, surroundings or service, ‘VM’ is one of those exceptional restaurants where every meal is a treat, with all the little niceties observed - and it manages exceptionally well to balance the demands of local clientèle and diners who have travelled especially to eat here. Any visit to this delightful restaurant is sure to be enjoyable and, not only should diners allow plenty of time to enjoy a stroll around the beautiful gardens, but it’s well worth thinking about an overnight stay in this lovely house too.

MacNean House & Restaurant - Blacklion County Cavan IrelandMacNean House & Restaurant
Blacklion, Co Cavan

People travel amazing distances for the pleasure of one of Ireland’s most exceptional dining experiences - well, over 25 years ago, when a reader wrote in to tell us (at The Sunday Press) about this great little place, we got out the map, found Blacklion, and drove up from Dublin for Sunday lunch. Mad? Not a bit of it, it was magic then and it’s even more so today - just that everyone knows Neven now, so you may have to book a long time ahead, even though they do two Sunday lunch sittings. Neven cooks perfectly judged food that showcases meticulously sourced ingredients from the local and artisan producers he so strongly advocates - and you can stay overnight, although weekends are heavily booked months in advance. It’s worth planning for, though – an experience to treasure.

Hunters HotelHunters Hotel
Newrath Bridge, Rathnew, Co Wicklow

Set in lovely gardens alongside the River Vartry, this much-loved hotel is one of Ireland’s oldest coaching inns. It's run by fifth generation brothers, Richard and Tom Gelletlie, who offer old-fashioned comfort and food based on local and home-grown produce. There’s a proper little bar and a traditional dining room overlooking the beautiful garden where their famous afternoon tea is served in summer. Seasonal lunch and dinner menus change daily, but you may expect classics like traditional roast rib beef with Yorkshire pudding, or old-fashioned roast stuffed chicken with bacon and deliciously simple seasonal desserts such as fresh raspberries and cream. Afternoon Tea and Sunday lunch are particular treats and the whole experience is delightful. There’s nowhere else in Ireland anything like it.

Ballymaloe House - Shanagarry County Cork IrelandBallymaloe House
Shanagarry, Co Cork

Even the most jaded palate will be delighted by the simplicity and real flavour of everything offered for Sunday lunch at Ballymaloe. As is well known, a food philosophy that centres on using only the highest quality ingredients is crucial to everything done at Ballymaloe, where much of the produce comes from their own farm and gardens and the rest, including seafood from Ballycotton and Kenmare, comes from the very best local producers and suppliers. And the other half of the satisfaction equation is that it is so homely - what you get here is pretty much the perfect home-cooked Sunday lunch, even with second helpings of the main course offered, and gentle, unbossy service. And, of course, you will get to choose from the wonderful dessert trolley, which has always been a speciality and was recognised at the World Restaurant Awards as Best Trolley of the Year 2019. A meal here is a treat of the highest order, so make sure you arrive in good time to enjoy the gardens, or an aperitif in the Drawing Room. No wonder everyone just loves it.

Marlfield House - Gorey County Wexford IrelandMarlfield House
Gorey, Co Wexford

Any excuse will get us heading down Wexford way of a Sunday, for the pleasure of experiencing a seriously sophisticated luncheon outing - a gorgeous 4-course fine dining lunch in the Conservatory Dining Room - or an informal lunch in the atmospheric terrace restaurant, The Duck, which overlooks some of the most beautiful- and most productive - gardens in the South-East. Hosted by sisters Margaret and Laura Bowe, Marlfield House has become one of the region’s most desirable dining destinations for all occasions, and Sunday Lunch is one of the most relaxing. As well as excellent food, there is often something extra on offer – Sunday lunchtime recitals, for example, with the bonus of very special bed and breakfast rates if you want to stay for the night. It’s hard to think of a more civilised way to spend a Sunday.

Olde Post Inn - Cloverhill County Cavan IrelandThe Olde Poste Inn
Cloverhill, Co Cavan

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 atmospheric inn. A committed Euro-Toques chef, Gearoid winning the Euro Toques Young Baileys Chef award in 2000 kick-started his career and he 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. This – together with the lovely service provided by Tara and her team - has made the Olde Post a destination for food lovers. Any meal here would be a treat, but Sunday lunch is especially enjoyable - and, with comfortable rooms upstairs too, it’s a lovely spot for a foodie break.

Dunbrody House - Arthurstown County Wexford IrelandDunbrody Country House Hotel & Cookery School
Arthurstown, Co Wexford

Set in twenty acres of parkland and gardens on the Hook Peninsula, just across the estuary from Waterford city, Catherine and Kevin Dundon’s elegant Georgian manor has a long tradition of hospitality - and fans who beat a path to the door of one of Ireland’s best known and most popular chefs are unlikely to be disappointed. There’s a stylish cookery school in converted outbuildings just across from the front door (and, alongside it, a beautiful little spa) and, in the main house, guests can see the team at work in the Kevin’s magnificent kitchens. And the food experience here really is outstanding – the lovely, serene Harvest Room overlooks the gardens and, although mainly an evening restaurant, Sunday lunch here is a very special treat indeed. If you love upbeat classical cooking, don’t miss their roast beef: simply superb. For a more informal alternative, Dundon’s Champagne Seafood Bar & Terrace (2-10 daily) offers a stylish contemporary treat - and, for good measure, you’ll find a totally different experience across the yard at their own traditional pub, The Local, which is full of rustic charm.

Watermill Restaurant - Lisnaskea County Fermanagh Northern IrelandWatermill Restaurant
Kilmore Quay Lisnaskea Co Fermanagh, BT92 0DT

Spectacularly situated on the shores of Lough Erne, this impressive restaurant with rooms offers stunning views over the lough and the lovely rolling countryside beyond. French chef and fishing enthusiast Pascal Brissaud came to the county a number of years ago to fish, and the charm of rural life enticed him to stay and, together with his partner Valerie Smith, build this striking thatched restaurant and accommodation. It’s full of French character and there is much of interest outside too, as visitors can stroll through the water gardens or admire Pascal’s vegetable garden, which provides most of the vegetables and herbs for the restaurant. It’s a lovely setting for Pascal’s cooking, which is ‘Irish with a French twist’. There is usually a sumptuous choice, with local produce to the fore and lobster, scallops and Angus beef among the specialities when available, and, while it is open every day from late afternoon, it is an especially interesting place for a Sunday lunch outing.

Beaufield MewsBeaufield Mews
Stillorgan, Co Dublin

In sensitively modernised 18th century coach house and stables, Dublin city's oldest restaurant has been in the Cox family for over 50 years and - although both the decor and the menu have a pleasingly contemporary slant these days - it remains full of character. Upstairs the Loft Brasserie offers atmospheric evening dining, while The Coachhouse restaurant downstairs is open for weekend lunches and groups. Surrounded by beautiful mature gardens it feels like a lovely country retreat; Sunday lunch here on a fine day is a special treat, with the outdoor patio offering a wonderful place to drink in the atmosphere while enjoying an aperitif or postprandial drinks.

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