A couple of weeks ago The Ban Chéile* and I went to Galway for a three-night weekend in the Ardilaun Hotel. We hadn’t been away for a weekend in ages and high on the agenda was a lot of rest, food and booze. It proved to be just the right antidote to the stressful work life we both have and went a long way toward recharging our batteries.
The Ardilaun Hotel is 3km from Galway City itself and set right smack in the middle a number of well-established housing estates. Set back in its own grounds it lives up to its 4-star rating. The room was comfortable if a bit dated and the view from our room was out across a small fountain to a well-kept garden.
The best feature of the Ardilaun all told was the staff. Without exception, they coped with small queries and large crowds with both polite professionalism and more importantly, they demonstrated the characteristic friendliness that we all hope for when on holiday but only too often fail to find.
Blazer’s Bistro in the hotel was cosy with a reasonably populated menu. The food was a little too strong on presentation and weak on volume for my liking but it was tasty and well prepared. The highlight of the one evening meal we had there was ironically the Guinness and seaweed brown bread that accompanied the seafood dish. It was made in the hotel kitchen and sadly wasn’t on sale. However when the Ban Chéile enquired if it was possible to buy a loaf the extremely helpful and pleasant waitress brought us out some wrapped in aluminium foil.
An evening stroll through the city led us to the Quays Bar and a hearty meal in the snug restaurant area downstairs. Far from the posh nosh in the hotel, this meal started with an amazing chowder and then ended with a fully loaded plate of lamb with mash, chips and veg. We left stuffed to the gills and happy to have chosen the famous pub.
A second visit to the Quays Bar a couple of days later led to a bit of a disappointment. The seafood starter was both tasty and filling with a varied dressed salad. The BC ordered salmon which was apparently well prepared, but I’m afraid the fish and chips I settled upon was well below par. The fact that the side salad was a replica of the starter was a little off-putting too.
In between the trips to the Quays Bar we had the pleasure of stopping off at the Dáil Bar for lunch. Not the actual Dáil Bar (the bar in government buildings) but an establishment on a side street off the city with a very welcoming atmosphere and a decent lunch menu.
Ardilaun: 7/10 – Blazers: 6/10 – Quays: 7/10 – Dail Bar: 7/10