We stayed in this place for only one night, but I will always cherish our time here with a great fondness. Hospitality was over the top, delivered with a friendly and helpful attitude. Dromoland Castle is surrounded by a golf course, of which the Irish PGA were having a tournament when we arrived.
The entry featured a long drive, at the front of which we were greeted and our names checked off the list. The castle has 2 parts, one from the 1700s one from the 1800s and featured a maze of hallways and doors opening onto courtyards and gardens. The rooms were outfitted handsomely, with full mini fridge, snacks, and souvenirs to purchase. (I did bring home a khaki baseball cap.)
Upon arrival we walked down to the golf center and picked up two bicycles to explore the grounds which wove around the golf course through wooded areas and through the green pampered lawns past the golfers. We did not opt for helmets, which might have saved us from a golf ball meant to go elsewhere!
We made a reservation for dinner at the Earl of Thomond, whose name seems straight out of a Game of Thrones episode. [Aside: as told to me by the manicurist there who grew up in the area, lots of her friends were extras on the show. She looked just like Sophie Tucker, who plays Sanza].
(photo at the top of this post) Fireplace in the bar. Right, our pre-dinner champagne. Let the evening begin.
Before heading to dinner we stopped in the cocktail bar, and met Alex Beyou, a Frenchman who created the unique cocktail menu. He and his staff based the menu on the Major Arcana cards from a Tarot deck. Twenty-two in all. To come, an actual tarot deck which feature drawings of all the special areas in and around the castle. I cannot say enough about how lovely this castle was, and do hope one day to return. dromoland.ie
As luck would have it, we had front-row seats to a mixologist with passion and flair. What a find and bonus to add to our already exemplary experience. I had to capture these beauties we eyed before our dinner and vowed to return for a nightcap (or two). Alex Beyou had the perfect audience. Right, the whimsical lamp which sat on the bar.
Here I am, happy, pre-dinner at the gorgeous bar. Right, we got a sip of Ireland’s own vodka made from a local tree fruit, known as sausages. It was quite good. The bottle was red, and I was hoping the liquid would be as well, but it was clear.
A traditional espresso martini. Right, Alex Beyou in action.
Another view of the bar with its whimsical touches. Right, an extra special garnish on I believe the cocktail called Judgement made with Dingle Gin infused with lemon and green tea, Grand Marnier, quince jelly, lemon, pink peppercorn, and bitter lemon.
I’ve never seen a drink made this way, a glass within a glass. See more in next photos.
Alex Beyou built the drink around the overturned glass, and as a final flourish, pulled up the glass to let it mix in fully. Bravo!
When Alex Beyou called it a night, a fresh bartender took his place and continued the spectacle. We had so much fun here, we did not want to leave and wondered how long the bar would stay open—but it seemed as long as we were there, it would remain open. I think we made our exit around 1:30.
More posts on Ireland:
Ireland: Drinking Around Dublin
Ireland Road Trip From Killkenny to County Clare: Driving and Dining
Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 1
Ireland: Dublin Ultra Fine Dining Part 2