Pay a visit to The Tannery in Dungarvan, County Waterford. Restaurant and cooking school combined, the simple surrounds don’t give away the explosion of flavour that chef Paul Flynn serves up with every morsel. The seafood really shines in this waterfront restaurant – sample Harty’s oysters with Gubbeen chorizo, crack open crab créme brulee and dig in to charred cod with samphire. Divine. Before leaving this corner of Ireland’s Ancient East, head to Henry Downes Bar in Waterford city. Founded in 1759, it has all the hallmarks of a great Irish pub and they bottle their own whiskey. Passing through without sampling Henry Downes’ No.9 is practically a crime.
Sage, found in Midleton, County Cork, has a unique philosophy: everything eaten here has to come from within 12 miles of the front door. This ethos results in an ever-changing menu that can only be described as delicious. Imagine dipping chips fried in beef dripping into fresh green onion aioli, cutting into a perfectly orange egg yolk atop house favourite black pudding, and the sweet creaminess of a white chocolate and goats cheese cheesecake – bliss!
Round out your trip at Scholar’s Townhouse in County Louth, where simple techniques bring out the very best flavours in local produce – Atlantic scallops, Irish Hereford beef and Irish cheeses served with sweet Boyne Valley honey are all on the menu. The decadent surroundings mirror the food, with oak panels, local art and, if you look up as you dine, handpainted frescoes on the ceiling depicting the Battle of the Boyne.