If West Clare were a person it would be magician. Like pulling rabbits out of a hat, here’s a region that lists Cliffs of Moher, a world-famous matchmaking festival and unparalleled traditional music among its temptations.
Not impressed? We’ll throw in its location on the Wild Atlantic Way, the award-winning Loop Head Peninsula AND, a personal favourite of J.R.R Tolkein, The Burren.
There’s one more place where magic is made in West Clare: Sheedy’s Hotel.
When the New York Times visited the Burren-adjacent Sheedy’s Hotel and restaurant (a member of Ireland’s Manor House Hotel group), they were impressed.
“I had an entree of Black Sole so exquisite; I wonder if I'll ever eat fish as fresh and good again", read the review.
For John, the chef, and Martina, his business partner and wife, this wasn’t only a victory for their hotel and their cooking. It was a victory for their supplier, too.
“Sourcing organic, local produce is essential for making our food stand out. Why? Because that’s how we and the diner can guarantee that this is produce at its peak.”
Burren Lamb at Sheedy's
Scan the menu, and you’ll notice that Garrihy’s are not alone in supplying Sheedy’s kitchen with local fare. Their Rack of Lamb, a dish that Martina describes as “a real taste of West Clare”, is sourced from Bernard Roughan in nearby Ennistymon.
“With Bernard’s lamb, we can guarantee that this is the best lamb you will get”, adds Martina. “Bernard is an excellent butcher and all the lamb is Burren lamb. The Burren is just five minutes down the road – you can’t get more local than that.”
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Local suppliers aren’t just for hunting, gathering and delivering. As John reminds us, meeting local producers, touching and tasting their food is where inspiration begins:
“We are part of Burren Ecotourism and we meet a lot of the local suppliers that way. That’s where you see what’s in season and what’s fresh. It’s then that you start thinking about new dishes.”
A refined and restful retreat on the Wild Atlantic Way, Sheedy’s is where the essence of this rugged region ends up on your plate. We asked Martina and John to suggest a dish that represents their strip of Ireland’s wild west coast.
They were only too happy to oblige.
A starter of Liscannor Crab Claws
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 20 (800g) Liscannor Crab Claws
- 1 Lemon
- 2 oz Garlic Butter (homemade where possible)
- 2 oz Irish Cream
- Handful of flat leaf parsley
Have the crab claws precooked, cracked and shelled and ready to go.
Place the claws into a pot and barely cover with Irish cream.
Bring to the boil and add a squeeze of lemon juice per person.
Add homemade garlic butter and finish with extra chopped flat leaf parsley.
Serve with slices of homemade brown bread or soda bread.