IT’S not every day you can enjoy a relaxing getaway without driving too far from Dublin, but one destination that provides all the luxury of a country escape, without the hassle of trekking too far down the motorway, can be found on Dublin’s own doorstep in Dunboyne, Co Meath.
Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa offer the best of both worlds – an idyllic rural setting that’s just a short drive from our hectic city centre.
Located just off the N3, and minutes from the M50, it’s also really easy to access. Plus, with the recent relaunch of The Ivy brasserie, it’s the perfect excuse to sample food that is lovingly and thoughtfully prepared.
In fact, that’s what really tempted us to the four-star destination recently. The brasserie was re-opened this month by the hotel, under the talented hands of their new executive head chef, John Nagle, previously executive head chef at The Westbury Hotel.
John offers diners a range of dinner menus featuring the best of local foods and items from Ireland’s best producers.
An early-bird menu is available all evening midweek and until 7.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, while a Sunday lunch menu is also available with two courses at €20 and three courses at €23.
The a-la-carte dinner menu might set you back a little more, but with good reason; besides, it’s still very affordable.
The price of starters float slightly below the €10 mark, while a wide range of main courses are available from between €17 and €29.
For the launch evening, guests had the chance to reap the benefits of the chef’s many talents, thanks to a once-off tasting menu.
A duck liver and foie gras mousse started the evening, accompanied with rhubarb chutney, rhubarb ribbons, toasted brioche and port gel, which was followed by seared scallops with cauliflower puree, black pudding powder and crispy pancetta.
Being a fan of food that is more savoury than sweet, tasting a few of the starter options was always going to be a plus.
Next on the menu came a herb-crusted St Tola’s goats cheese, served with poached baby beets and roasted hazelnut crumble, which quickly became a favourite, before a taster of pan-fried halibut, crab cannelloni and crab bisque cream sauce.
The main course for the evening was a roast rack of Wicklow lamb and braised neck, while dessert brought with it opera chocolate, cherry mousse and smashed chocolate.
The new chef has introduced these mouth-watering dishes as part of the new summer menu, which includes some of the country’s highest quality produce such as a delicious herb-crusted St Tola’s goats cheese salad, chargrilled Angus beef fillet and pan-fried West Coast scallops.
The Ivy also provides specially created menus to cater for all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and lactose-free options.
The new menus are strongly influenced by John’s passion for using Ireland’s seasonal and world-class ingredients.
He has also introduced a new afternoon tea menu which guests can enjoy in the hotel’s light-filled Terrace Lounge, overlooking the grounds.
With 145 spacious rooms that are in keeping with the signature style set by the hotel, why not forget about the car, enjoy a glass (or two) of wine and make the most of your meal by booking a room for a night?
With views of the castle gardens, free Wifi and 24-hour room service, you can really forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life, however brief, and wine and dine yourself for a change.
For further information on the hotel and The Ivy, contact Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa at www.dunboynecastlehotel.com, or call 01 801 3500.