It’s safe to say that I’ve seen a fair amount of Ireland during my almost eight years living here. I have been to every county besides one during that time. Elusive Waterford. Somehow this county had escaped from ever being visited, I guess because it is a place where you have to go directly there, if you’re traveling from Dublin. It’s not a county that you’d really pass through if you were en route to somewhere else (sorry Carlow, I’m looking at you!) So with the long weekend due to St Patrick’s Day bank holiday, I decided to make a weekend of it. My boyfriend’s family are from Dungarvan and he has fond memories of spending holidays as a child by this seaside village, so it was an obvious choice when deciding where in Waterford to go.
Dungarvan is a beautiful seaside village 48km from Waterford City, 210km from Dublin, 137km from Shannon Airport. It has stunning views of Dungarvan Bay and the Comeragh Mountains. Despite being a relatively small town, it has a decent focus of food and local produce. It’s most famous restaurant is the Tannery, owned and run by local chef Paul Flynn, and Dungarvan is also blessed with many other fine restaurants, weekly markets and a yearly Food Festival.
(View from Abbeyside, facing towards Dungarvan and Dungarvan Bay.)
If you mention the Tannery to any of your Irish friends, they’ll all nod in knowledge because seemingly everyone knows Paul Flynn. He is well known for his Modern Irish food, for being a food writer for the Irish Times, for being on national television and for his partnership with Lidl supermarkets. So coming here, the expectations were high. Thankfully the food, service and ambiance did not disappoint. The highlight meal was the Comeragh mountain lamb, heritage carrots, cabbage and wild mushroom broth as well as the fries with aoili that was gloriously smokey. Superb! On top of that the staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable, with even Mr Flynn making a point of saying farewell to guests. A lovely touch. Three course meal for two with oysters and a bottle of wine came to €150.
(Comeragh mountain lamb, heritage carrots, cabbage and wild mushroom broth; Oysters; Helvick crab crème brulee, spiced pickled cucumber, olive oil toast; Lemon chiboust, blood orange, burnt meringue and earl grey granola.)
Merry’s Gastro Pub
This place is an absolute delight. From both the outside and inside, it has really cute, mismatched decor and window displays, which provide a really warm and inviting presence. The food here is great for a little pub. Highlight meals were the Black pudding spring rolls with apple sauce and the most luxurious seafood chowder. A starter, a soup, a main, a beer and a cider came to €35.
(Black pudding spring rolls with apple sauce.)
You feel like you’re in a tall sailing ship and out to sea when inside this pub. The decor reflects the maritime history of the area, with dark wooden planks, portholes, a ships wheel and glass floats decking the room. The food is standard pub fare. If I’m honest I was a little worried about ordering here, the place was jammed packed full of people (It was St Patrick’s Day, so all the pubs were heaving) and many things listed on the menu were not available. However, I needn’t fear, as the food was cooked really well. Two mains, a beer and a water came to approx €65.
(Surf and turf with peppercorn and herb butter.)
Lastly, if you do visit Dungarvan, there is a fantastic cycle path/ walking track called the Waterford Greenway, that goes to Waterford City. It was originally a railway line and it has officially opened today 50 years after the last passenger train traveled on this route. Definitely worth a visit to walk off all the calories from all the yummy food.