West Cork is a foodie paradise - tucked into every little village along this beautiful coastline are amazing displays of the best of Irish food. You are completely spoilt for choice and need at least 2 weeks to give this tasty trail proper justice. Pack some loose pants - this is not a time to be worrying about calories! Here is just a sample of some of my favourite places that we tried out during our week in this gorgeous part of the country - I can't wait to go back and try some more! We found the Wild Atlantic Way Food Guide by John & Sally McKenna invaluable for recommendations along the way - thanks to that we arrived back in Dublin a few stone heavier!
Mannings Food Emporium (Ballylickey) I wish there was a Mannings around the corner from my house - I would be there everyday! An absolute gem of a place which focuses on quality West Cork produce, serving tapas style dishes and incredible cheese and antipasti boards. There is a lovely relaxed, cosy atmosphere inside and the staff clearly know their food and love what they do. A must visit! www.manningsemporium.ie
Grove House (Schull) A family run B &B in a gorgeous old Georgian house without any of the grandiosity you sometimes find in country house hotels - it's the kind of place I could imagine myself curling in front of the fire for a nap. We were tucked into the little conservatory for lunch which was delicious - simple, fresh home cooking. If you're lucky enough to get a sunny day there is seating outside with spectacular views to the harbour. It also opens for dinner (3 course set menu) which I hear is very highly recommended. www.grovehouseschull.com
Glebe Gardens & Cafe (Baltimore) Glebe House (pictured above) is a real treasure. Surrounded by beautiful wild gardens and vegetable plots it feels like something from a children's storybook. We just stopped for a coffee and one of their delicious cakes in the cafe, but were seriously tempted to hang around for dinner in their gorgeous candlelit restaurant. During the summer they hold small concerts and barbecues in the outdoor amphitheatre. The sort of place I dream about owning! www.glebegardens.com
Fish Kitchen (Bantry) Amazing seafood. Simple as! www.thefishkitchen.ie
Organico (Bantry) Stepping into the beautiful light filled Organico cafe (and shop) is a lesson in how other healthy eateries should be - unpretentious yet sophisticated and filled with original, delicious and soulful dishes. It has a lovely buzz while still being calm and serene. One of those places that makes you feel healthier by just being there. www.organico.ie
Dzogchen Beara Retreat Cafe (Beara Peninsula) I am hoping that I will get to spend a proper visit to this amazing retreat one day as it's the somewhere where you instantly feel your heart rate slow down and your stresses float away with the amazing views. For now if you are lucky enough to drive around the stunning Beara peninsula I can't recommend enough stopping for a coffee here to take in the breath-taking scenery, you won't be disappointed. www.dzogchenbeara.org