Many thanks to Dr. Jessie Voigts for this delicious look at Irish cuisine! Dr. Jessie Voigts holds a PhD in International Education, focusing on intercultural adjustment for sojourns abroad and acquired disabilities. She co-authored the book ‘Bringing the World Home: A Resource Guide to Raising Intercultural Kids’, publishes WanderingEducators.com, the online resource for global educators, and recently founded the Family Travel Blogger Association.
On the Ring of Kerry, that is…
Often when we were driving in Ireland, we’d be hungry and want to stop. A few dry as toast roast & potato experiences taught us that pubs weren’t the best location for gourmet dining (excepting the seafood chowder, which was always good). Luckily, scattered throughout Ireland are some spots of fresh, local cuisine – at Avoca.
Avoca is a family-run business with ten different locations across Ireland. Avoca started from a handweaving mill established over 280 years ago, and is now a gorgeous shop, café, and source of beautiful textiles (and gifts!). The Mill at Avoca Village (County Wicklow) was started as a co-op for farmers to spin and weave their wool. By 1960, the looms were mostly silent, until Donald and Hilary Pratt bought the mill in 1974. This turned around the mill, as Avoca began to make a name for itself again. Now, Avoca is known almost as much for its cafes as for its gorgeous textiles. The cafes have won awards, publish cookbooks, and feed hungry customers by the droves.
We drove to Avoca in Moll’s Gap (it was recommended to us as a beacon of gourmet light on the Ring of Kerry) after a few meals in Ireland that did not live up to my expectations…I was hopeful. And indeed, Avoca lives up to its name and recipes.
The Avoca café in Moll’s Gap on the Ring of Kerry sits atop the shop, with a stunning view and plenty of fresh food. From fresh soups, salads, and gourmet deli items to amazing house-baked fresh bread – everything is delicious and a treat. Don’t forget the desserts – so many to choose from!
Kids will appreciate the bright colors and tasty dishes. Our daughter couldn’t decide between salmon and a fresh salad, so we got three entrees and split them. I think we all got the best of the bunch! Be sure to save room for dessert, and quaff plenty of chilled ice water with lemon or another beverage.
The cafes are clean, brightly lit, with incredible views. The plates and silverware are kid-friendly (nearly indestructible). The food is amazing. But best of all, the staff are extremely welcoming to kids – this more than anything, makes me put Avoca on our #1 place to eat in Ireland.
You can find Avoca shops and cafes at:
Kilmacanogue Store, Cafes & HQ, Wicklow
Suffolk Street, Dublin City Centre
Rathcoole, N7 Naas Road, Dublin
The Mill at Avoca Village, Wicklow
Letterfrack, Connemara, Co Galway
Moll’s Gap on the Ring of Kerry
Powerscourt House, Enniskerry, Wicklow
Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, Wicklow
Avoca Food Market and Salt Café, Monkstown, County Dublin
Belfast City Centre
Find out more at: http://www.avoca.ie/
© 2012, Jody Halsted. All rights reserved.