postcards from ireland | dingle peninsula

Dingle Peninsula 001

I’m sure you’re wondering when this food blog will return to its habitual content, so I promise this is my final lot of travel photos from gorgeous green Ireland…

As you’ll know from previous posts, our travels brought us to the Dingle Peninsula, which juts off into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from County Kerry.

The Northern side of the peninsula (where we were staying) is home to peaceful, endless stretches of sandy beach, bordered by emerald pastures.

Dingle Peninsula 009

Dingle Peninsula 003

Dingle Peninsula 002

Our wonderfully luxurious B&B – Shores Country House Bed and Breakfast – overlooked this beautiful vista.

The property offers several private apartments, all furnished with the elegant hand and creative eye of the lovely proprietor, Annette.

Cosy and comfortable, it’s a serene place to retreat from the world and weather and enjoy the wild beauty of the surroundings.

Shores Country 001

Every day, breakfast was a decadent affair in the aptly named fine dining room, decorated with rich gold furnishings, high-backed chairs and pristine white linen.

Along with personal orders from the menu, we were served a delicious selection of homemade brown bread and cakes that changed on a daily basis.

From such details, you would not have been surprised to be served by a troop of white-frocked waiters.  But in true, unpretentious Irish fashion, Annette’s team were a group of cheerful local ladies who warmly welcomed us each morning and gladly gave us tips for our daily expeditions.

Shores Country 002

Annette also made a couple of suggestions for eating out locally and indeed the best meal I enjoyed in Ireland was at a nearby restaurant.

The Milesian Restaurant resides within a traditional Irish cottage in the heart of a small town called Castlegregory, just a short drive from the Shores.

Warm, rustic and intimate, it’s a cosy nook to enjoy a superb meal specialising in regional produce.

We had a wonderful chat with Head Chef Greg O’Mahoney after our meal, comparing tasting notes and professing our love for all things County Kerry.

Milesian 002

The theme of the meal, carried from entree to dessert, is easily described as brilliantly understated.

Although appearing at first to be simplistic dishes, there was such a delight tucking into each course and being totally blow away by the skills and care given to each element. Totally spot on.  What an amazing (dare I say, perfect!) composition of flavours…

Milesian 001

The cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean are home to an abundance of seafood, which is reflected by most menus all over the Dingle Peninsula.

The hake fillet with potato cake, green beans and citrus vinaigrette was so moist and perfectly cooked, with a lovely crisp skin and subtle lemon sauce that had just the right amount of acidity and zest.

Also a stand out dish, the squid and caramelised onion risotto with squid ink (and a generous shaving of parmesan) was perfectly al dente and incredibly flavoursome.

Dingle Peninsula 006

This region seemed bent on surprising us with great culinary finds and what’s more surprising than ice cream in a place where an average summer day is the equivalent of winter in Australia?

Murphy’s Ice Cream in Dingle uses milk from the indigenous breed of Kerry cow (which apparently is a rarer species than the panda) to make their oh-so-delicious creations.

They even distil the local sea water to collect salt for sea salt ice cream, which was the first sample flavour I tasted and was a beautiful creamy contrast of sweet and salt.

However, after many, many more samples I finally settled on rum ‘n’ raisin and refreshing raspberry sorbet.

Dingle Peninsula 007

Okay, nothing surprising about the brew above but what was amazing was that it came with the best burger I’ve ever eaten in my life.  Ever.

A small country pub called the Seven Hogs offers a pretty decent menu of gourmet burgers and handcut chips, so without a whole lot of expectations I chose the Seven Hogs Special – chargrilled chorizo and local beef burger with house garlic sauce.

I don’t know how many of you have seen the How I Met Your Mother episode where Marshall recites a heartfelt and moving accolade about the best burger he’s ever eaten, a critique whose eloquence could be compared to that of a Mozart symphony.

But I felt like reciting my own impassioned speech in praise of this exquisite burger – it was that unbelievably good.

Smokey, creamy, garlicky and meaty; the finely shaved and grilled chorizo providing the crowning glory to a foundation of tender, moist beef, melted cheese and oozing aioli.  This is the stuff dreams are made of…

Dingle Peninsula 008

Right, enough drooling – back to the grandiose scenery.

On our first memorable drive over Connor Pass, the thick mist and rain clouds hid all the views that the mountains had to offer.

However, we were lucky to make numerous trips across during our Dingle stay and caught some amazing breaks in the weather.

I’ll leave you with pictures from our hike part the way up the mountain, to a tarn of dark water overlooking the surrounding peaks.

Connor Pass 006

Connor Pass 005

Connor Pass 003

Connor Pass 009

Connor Pass 004

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