Last weekend I was delighted to be invited, along with a few other food bloggers, to the award-winning four star Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa for a weekend of pampering. I've never been there before and it was actually my first visit to West Cork. The hotel is situated just outside Clonakilty, which is a drive of approximately four hours from Moate. It always seemed a little too far to travel, especially with the children, however after taking the journey I realise that it's not such a long haul. The drive south is so picturesque and there are numerous options of pretty towns to stop at along the way.
It was just Diarmuid and Millie that joined me for the weekend, while the boys were perfectly happy to be dropped to their cousin's house. We arrived a little later than planned on the Friday evening so there was only time for a freshen up before accompanying the group for a very delicious meal at Dunes Pub & Bistro . I happened to be seated beside Des O' Dowd who's the owner of Inchydoney. A very down to earth man who was more than proud to proclaim that the hotel provides great employment in the area, not only by the staff he employs but also by the strong focus of sourcing the restaurant's ingredients locally. This was ever evident on Saturday night when we were joined for dinner by many of the hotel's local suppliers. A great opportunity for us as food enthuastias to chat with world class food producers such as Clonakilty Black Pudding, Ummera Smokehouse, Devoy's Organic Farm, Shellfish De La Mer, Coolcower Meats and Caherberg Free Range Pork Ltd & Rosscarbery Recipes.
For me, a deciding factor of which hotel we choose to stay in can often come down to what activities are in that particular area. Inchydoney definitely ticks the box for this one as there were so many exciting activities within a close proximity to the hotel and many that the children could partake in. The hotel is working with many of these companies and can have a full activity programme organised for you, before you arrive for your stay. I have one man in particular that has been dreaming of getting on a surf board for some time and just to the right of the hotel West Cork Surf School is situated. Throughout our stay I could see many out enjoying the waves. Another activity that I know the children would love is Whale Watching but one activity that I'm sure we'd all really love is the Sea Kayaking. At the dinner, on Saturday night, I was sitting next to Jim and Maria Kennedy - such an interesting couple. They run Atlantic Sea Kayaking and they offer a huge range of kayaking courses to include seaweed foraging and even children's summer camps. I'm actually already looking forward to booking us in for one of their courses, when we return to Inchydoney. Other activities in the area include golf, beach walks or maybe just go enjoy a dip in the sea.
There is a package available at the hotel called 'Fish for your Dinner', whereby you get to go on a half day fishing trip and whatever you catch will be cooked up for you in the restaurant that evening. After breakfast on Saturday we headed out to sea and most of us actually managed to catch some fish. I've never been fishing before and what an amazing experience it proved to be. A lovely leisurely way top spend a Saturday morning.
|Saturday's lunch was scrumptious and consisted of a bbq which included the fish that we caught that morning.|
|Before dinner we had a very informative talk form Jim Kennedy and Sally McKenna on the marvellous benefits of seaweed. For something so rich in nutrients it is hard to believe that it is available to us for free!|
|Some of the impressive dishes that were served us for dinner. The top right photo was dessert!|
|What a beautiful view to enjoy over breakfast.|
|Part of the extravagant breakfast display. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Bircher Museli.|
|A really nice touch is that at reception there are delicious home-made goodies available to purchase. A very convienient present or just a nice treat to bring away with you from your luxury break.|