Check out the Great review that Famous American Food Writer and Chef John Shields. John visited West Cork and South Kerry. He ate at number 35 and recommended us on his blog.
Baltimore chef finds the essence of Ireland
Chef John Shields dishes about relaxing getaways to the Emerald Isle
I want to travel more in Spain and Italy. I have visited for short times but really would like to spend a significant bit of time just hanging out and exploring. Bhutan is another exotic spot on my bucket list.
How often do you travel?
As often as possible. Probably several times a year.
How much planning did you do, and do you research it yourself or use a travel professional?
Normally we plan most of the trip ourselves which can be a lot of fun in itself. We’ve used a travel outfit for very customized tours to Italy and it was amazing.
Can you describe your favorite travel bag/suitcase and why you prefer it?
I have a medium-sized, beat-up red suitcase that has served me well all over the place.
What is the one item you will not travel without?
The St. Christopher medal my Grandmother Gertie gave me years ago when I took my first airline trip. Am I a bit superstitious? Well, I am Irish.
Do you have a favorite travel read or author?
“McCarthy’s Bar — A Journey of Discovery in Ireland” by Pete McCarthy. One of the best travel books I’ve ever read. It’s absolutely hilarious and right on the money. Even if you never plan to visit Ireland, it’s a must read.
If you go
John Shields’ beloved Bantry Bay and Sheep’s Head regions are in West Cork, along the Beara Peninsula on Ireland’s southwestern tip. The province’s lush, verdant valleys and mountains are abundant with such archeological treasures as circle stones and wedge graves. The tiny towns aligning its craggy coast host world-renowned cultural, arts and culinary events year-round.
Bantry House, Bantry, County Cork 353 (0) 27 50047, bantryhouse.com. Historic circa 1750 mansion B&B with stunning sea views, lush gardens, full Irish breakfast and afternoon teas. Rates begin at $135.
Casey’s Hotel, R595 Baltimore, 353 (0) 28 20197, caseysofbaltimore.com. John Shields’ beloved lodging spot offers hotel, cottage and townhouse accommodations overlooking the picturesque Ilen River estuary. Rates begin at $50.
No. 35 Restaurant, 35 Main St., Kenmare, Co Kerry 353 (64) 664 1559, no35kenmare.com. Sample nibbles of local producers and authentic Irish fare in this historic house showcasing original limestone and stained-glass windows. Locals love the Kenmare smoked salmon served with a caper and lemon dressing and homemade brown bread appetizer before digging into the slow-cooked Kerry lamb stew. Entrees from $13.
Cycling or walking the 88-kilometer Sheep’s Head Way Trail, thesheepsheadway.ie. Touted as “Ireland’s Best Walk” it circles from Bantry to Sheep’s Head, sidling rock-strewn bayside cliffs while meandering amidst the emerald countryside and tiny towns.
Bantry’s Friday Market, http://www.westcorkmarkets.com/markets.html. You will surely bump into many weekly farmers’ markets in West Cork, but this one, featuring producers of local foods, art and livestock, is a favorite among many.
Festivals, westcorkmusic.ie. West Cork’s three world-renowned festivals: its international Chamber Music Festival (June) Literary Festival (July) Masters of Tradition Music Festival (August)
Go to westcork.com/bantry-tourism or discoverireland.com.