Georgina Campbell Review Of Hanoras Cottage
The Wall family’s gloriously remote country guesthouse is now a very substantial building, yet Hanora’s still nurtures the spirit of the ancestral home around which it is built. The Walls are caring and hospitable hosts and this, plus the luxurious 4 star accommodation and good food they provide, makes Hanora’s a very special place - and especially wonderful for foot-weary walkers. Spacious, thoughtfully furnished rooms all have jacuzzi baths and there is an especially romantic one for honeymooners or special occasions - and there’s also a spa tub in a conservatory overlooking the garden, with views of the mountains.
Overnight guests have the privilege of starting the day with Hanora’s legendary breakfast buffet, which was the National Winner of the Guide’s Irish Breakfast Awards in 2002; it takes some time to get the measure of this feast, so make sure you get up in time to make the most of it. Local produce and an amazing variety of exotics (some of which you may not previously have encountered) jostle for space on the beautifully arranged buffet: there’s freshly squeezed juice and luscious Crinnaghtaun Apple Juice from Lismore, more fresh fruits, homemade muesli and Nire Valley Porridge, then the bread section... an incredible dozen or more types of bread, scones, muffins and buns are freshly-baked each morning, including organic and gluten free varieties. Then there are local farmhouse cheeses, smoked salmon and home made jams - and the cooked breakfast options are yet to come: for your hot dish you can have Syl Murray's home-made sausages, Clonakilty black & white puddings, Biddy Cooney's free-range eggs (various ways) and much else besides. This is truly a gargantuan feast, designed to see you many miles along the hills before you stop for a little packed lunch (prepared that morning) and ultimately return for dinner.
Dinner visitors travel from far and wide to mingle with residents at the fireside, have an aperitif and ponder on Eoin and Judith Wall's imaginative, well-balanced menus. Then, difficult choices made, you move through to the restaurant, which overlooks a lovely garden and the riverside woodland. Enthusiastic supporters of small suppliers, Eoin and Judith use local produce whenever possible and credit them on the menu - fresh fish from Dunmore East, free range chickens from Stradbally and local cheeses, for example.
There's a separate vegetarian dinner menu on request as well as an à la carte which offers a choice of six or seven dishes on each course, usually including some vegetarian options. A typical menu might include starters of sautéed lambs kidneys with wholegrain mustard mash and mushroom paté on crostini with mixed salad and, as lamb is abundant locally, roast rack of lamb makes an excellent main course choice (served, perhaps, with a delicious mint hollandaise), while fish doesn't have far to travel either and is beautifully fresh and accurately cooked. Classical desserts include home-made ice creams, and are often fruit based. Not suitable for children under 12.
About Georgina Campbell
Georgina Campbell is one of Ireland's leading food and hospitality writers who specialises in Irish cookery, restaurants and accomodation. You can read more of Georgina Campbel's reviews at Georgina Campbell's Ireland.