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Restaurants were dying to try out this summer

One thing we've all really missed this time around is the chance to sit out somewhere with friends, having a meal, or a drink or even just coffee and pastry. 

It was grand during the first lockdown and even for parts of the second one, because the weather was bearable, but for January, February, March and even parts of April, we were barely able to to stick our noses out the door for fear or rain or thunderstorms. Socialising happened huddled under umbrellas and raincoats, wrapped up so that we could barely see out them.

But with outdoor dining opening soon, it opens up a whole world of social possibility for us. Somewhere to sit and relax and catch up, rather than running around our local walks within our 5k, trying to keep warm. Not to mention, the food! We've been daydreaming of this for months now, and we've compiled a few places that we're dying to try now that counties are open for travel and restuarants will be opening soon. Here's hoping these spots open up their reservations lists soon!

Frank's Place 1860, Wexford town, Co Wexford

Frank's Place is a modern food store that places an emphasis on high quality, organic and Irish produced goods. At Frank's there is a passion for great quality food. Their marketplace inside the restaurant is packed with perfectly curated speciality products from around the globe.

Franks Place has an international menu that is full of sumptuous and handpicked ingredients that cater to the discerning foodie. Enjoy your food in relaxed and tasteful surroundings and watch the world go by with your seat right in the middle of Wexford town. Peruse the menu with an array of speciality wines and choose between delicious seafood suquet and venison casserole with truffle polenta.

The Riverside Cottage, Dunmore East, Co Waterford

The Riverside Cottage is nestled on the outskirts of Waterford, a brief drive from Dunmore East. A true labour of love, it is ideal for a long, sun-drenched afternoon lounge in the garden.

A welcoming Irish bar which is frequented by locals and visitors alike, it takes its name from the river that flows beside it and the cute traditional cottage at the entrance. Relax on the patio while eating some fabulous food and enjoying a delicious pint of creamy Guinness. The fresh seasonal food is served daily from lunch through to a tasty supper all accompanied by a fine selection of wines, craft beers and the best coffee in Waterford.

The River Club, Cork City, Co. Cork

The River Club Bar & Terrace brings a dash of easy glamour to the Cork scene and is an exciting destination to eat, drink and be social.

The Bar, entered through a garden of lush, riverside planting is a tall handsome room with an abundance of natural light. It is enlivened by glamorous light fittings, colourful textiles and rich Mediterranean tiling.

On the Terrace, their outdoor area, the soft riverside light and tropical tree ferns create a balmy urban oasis that can be transformed into a heated winter hideaway. Weekend brunch and stylish small plates, perfect as starters or for tapas-style sharing, are served in the Bar & Terrace areas, perfect for a catch up with friends.

The Ivy Cottage, Doolin, Co. Clare

The Ivy Cottage offers Quality Fresh Fish of the day, with homemade chips, along with bakery selection and lunch and dinner specials. Made with local ingredients, they are currently offering takeaway, but the garden setting hopefully means they will be opening their doors on June 7th.

Offering gorgeous seafood as part of their menu, enjoy sitting out in the sunshine this summer with your succulent dish, prepared just for you and gang of great friends.  

Customs House, Baltimore, Co. Cork

The Customs House has a proud heritage as a fine dining restaurant. Completely renovated in 2019 with an emphasis on energy efficiency, environmental conservation and the ambition to have a restaurant dedicated to local, sustainable produce, they aim for their customers to create happy memories there. Their customer experience is based on warmth, attention to detail and service in a relaxed and informal environment.

With a new outdoor covered dining area, a log burning stove, overhead heaters, ethical Irish sheepskin rugs for warmth and an outdoor kitchen, they are well set up for operating within restrictions. Their outdoor kitchen has a wood burning oven and a BBQ, lending itself beautifully to Turkish cooking.

No. 3 Wine Bar and Restaurant, Collon, Co. Louth

A unique bar and restaurant combination where you can avail of aperitif pre-dinner cocktails before your meal, pair their of their wines with your dish and enjoy some of exquisite dessert cocktails or cake tails once your meal has ended!

Their internationally inspired food menus are designed to accommodate customers with varying dietary requirements. Their menus include fish, meat and poultry yet incorporate flavoursome choices for vegans and vegetarians. They also provide various gluten free options to be as coeliac friendly as possible.

No. 3 Wine Bar & Restaurant is a beautifully designed space infusing old with new in a restaurant and bar environment. Nestled in the village of Collon, their trendy eatery was founded in October 2016 by mother and son duo, Martina & Wayne Fitzpatrick. No. 3 provides a casual yet luxurious mature evening out.

The Rusty Mackerel, Carrick, Co. Donegal

(Donegal Daily)

The Rusty Mackerel is a renowned traditional Irish bar made famous for its traditional music and warm, friendly atmosphere. Sitting at the foot of Sliabh Liag, The Rusty Mackerel hosts a vibrant mix of both locals and visitors who come together to enjoy craic, ceol and the warmest welcome in Donegal.

Their menu reflects the best seasonal local produce Donegal has on offer served in the flag-stoned bar with fish caught at night and delivered fresh to the door every morning. A spot that used to enjoy music seven nights a week, we will hopefully see some of that returning in the coming months!

The Sea Hare, Connemara, Co. Galway

The Sea Hare partners with local Connemara producers to bring you some amazing tastes from the west. The food they produce is either grown locally, caught in the waters surrounding Cleggan or foraged from the shoreline.

Serving “hyper-local” and home grown produce like seaweed butter peas, horseradish crab, and freshly caught fish from the surrounding waters around Cleggan, we’re keeping an eye on their website to see when their reservations open so we can snag a table!

The Duck Restaurant, Marlfield House, Gorey, Co. Wexford

Marlfield’s reputation was built on its food much of which is grown in the garden and surrounding area. Fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits grow abundantly and are gathered daily. Wexford fish and shellfish, Spring lamb, beef, local cheeses and Wexford Summer berries feature very strongly on all the menus. less formal dining in the stylish and casual environment of The Duck Restaurant and its south facing terrace, we’re really excited for some afternoon tea here!

The Duck Terrace Restaurant, bar and café is in restored courtyard buildings including a coach house, potting shed and gardener’s tool shed, on the grounds of Marlfield House. Situated in a long stone building with French doors opening onto a sandstone terrace overlooking the kitchen garden filled with vegetables, soft fruits, a plethora of herbs and beds of blooming roses! Glam!

Ely Wine Bar, Maynooth, Co. Kildare

Erik and Michelle Robson refurbished a vacant Georgian building on Ely Place, a place which would quickly change the Irish wine-scene. Serving stunning cheeses and charcuterie, perfect for sharing and known as the ELY Charger, they are as popular as ever today. Food provenance was as important as the wine with their organic beef and pork coming from their own farm, and the lamb from their neighbours. Today they work very closely with their suppliers to help find great, fresh Irish produce.

ELY has revolutionised the wine bar scene and continues to pioneer wine through its knowledge and research, repeatedly being awarded best wine bar and best wine experience in Ireland. Their Maynooth venue has some outdoor seating so fingers crossed we see them up and running in June!

The Thatch Cottage, Granagh, Co. Kilkenny

The Thatch Cottage Café is a destination café, at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East in Granagh, Co. Kilkenny. Underneath the thatch you will find two women with a passion for locally sourced, farm fresh ingredients that are prepared on site.

Enjoy quality food in relaxed, cosy surroundings that uses the freshest locally sourced ingredients that are prepped from scratch on site each day.

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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