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The Garryvoe is Someplace Special

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

We don’t know anyone who chines and grills a better lamb chop than Kevin O’Sullivan, the chef in the Samphire Restaurant, at the Garryvoe Hotel, facing Ballycotton Bay in east County Cork.

Grilling is an art form that eludes many Irish chefs. When you order grilled meats, you are looking to enjoy the char of the grill, and the tenderness of the marinading. The chops should be precisely trimmed, so that you can pick up the meat like a lollipop, and get all the lush goodness of that umami hit.

Mr O’Sullivan knows all this, and his grill technique delivers char and heat and succulence in abundance, so ordering the sharing board of meats should be a first choice when you find yourself sat down in a big booth in this happy, happening dining room.

Kevin O’Sullivan’s cooking isn’t the only special thing about the Garryvoe, however. The refurb of the restaurant has created a lovely space – informal; comfortable; inviting – and the staff here, under manager Stephen Belton, are as good as it gets. If you are lucky enough to have one of the rooms that faces out onto Ballycotton Bay, you pull the curtains back in the morning and inhale a mighty lungful of one of the finest views in Ireland. And when that is followed by an excellent breakfast, again served by superb staff, then you know you are in someplace special.

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