People that know me well may be surprised by this post. I’m about to gush over a small, and I mean a really small town. As a rule, I’m not a big fan of small towns and my worst nightmare would be to live in one. So, what’s so great about the village of Doolin, in County Clare, Ireland, with a population of less than 500? It was the craic (pronounced crack), of course, among other things.
First of all, it’s along the Wild Atlantic Way and perfectly situated to visit the Cliffs of Moher, covered in my last post, and the Burren, which will be the subject of my next post. We could have stayed at least a week and found plenty to see and do to keep us busy.
Our B&B, the Roadford House, owned and run by Frank and Marian Sheedy, was a gem. Our party of four stayed in a suite which was really two bedrooms separated by a hallway with a full bath and another half bath downstairs. It was comfortable but not fancy and cost €140 per night. But the best part was the restaurant. We enjoyed some of the finest food of our entire trip at the Roadford House Restaurant in this small village. With locally sourced, organic ingredients, the dishes were delicious and beautifully presented in a bright modern setting.
Breakfast the following morning was just as pleasing to the eye and palate. But the pièce de résistance was the gourmet egg dish with salmon, beet root, brie, and basil pesto. Without a doubt, it was the loveliest, most colorful egg dish I’ve ever seen and it was delicious, too.
If you haven’t already assumed as much, this is a hearty endorsement for the Roadford House (with no remuneration). I know they’ve appeared on lots of lists and received plenty of impressive awards but I’ll just add my two cents worth. Frank and Marian are lovely local people who are knowledgeable about the hospitality industry with experience working in Europe and the U.S. They returned to their home area to put their talents to good use building their own business with hard work and top-notch skills. If you visit this area, be sure to at least eat here if not stay and eat. By the way, they also have a lovely dog named Beans and a neighbor cow whose name we didn’t get but it might be Hamburger.
Doolin calls itself the traditional music capital of Ireland so a visit wouldn’t be complete without checking out the pubs featuring live trad music. Here’s where the craic really got started. Craic is an Gaelic word that means fun and there’s a lot of craic to be had in the pubs in Doolin. After dinner we went first to McDermott’s where we shared a table with German tourists who I was told arrive by the busload to Doolin.
They spoke very little English and we speak no German but in a pub with live music and Guinness flowing, that didn’t matter. Then it was on to McGann’s Pub for another round and more live music.
The village of Doolin taught me the meaning of the song “The Craic was Ninety in the Isle of Man.” I have listened to that song for over 30 years and never understood what it meant until now. The craic (fun) was mighty in the Isle of Man (an island between Ireland and Great Britain). Have a listen to it as sung by the Dubliners. It’s grand.
The craic was ninety in Doolin of the Emerald Isle.
Based on events in April, 2015.