At the centre of the village, pristine thatched cottages overlook Lawlor’s Strand where, despite the soft rain that was falling when I arrived, children played happily at the shoreline building sandcastles and splashing each other with sea-water. Although Dunmore East is located relatively close to Waterford City, you really get the sense that it is a place where you can cast aside the stresses of everyday life. We all need the chance to relax and unwind sometimes and I was really looking forward to doing exactly that during my stay at The Strand Inn which is known for its warm welcome, comfortable rooms and top-notch food.
|The Strand Inn Bedroom|
Inside, I was greeted by the friendly staff and shown to my large, comfortable room on the top floor of the hotel. I Immediately loved the spacious but simply decorated room with its enormous bed, comfortable couch and the spectacular views of the sea which could be seen through its windows. Walls painted white along with the white bed-linen gave this unpretentious but tastefully decorated room a lovely airy feel whilst striped velvet cushions added a cheeky splash of colour and prevented the room from seeming too austere.
|The Strand Inn Dining Room|
The restaurant at The Strand Inn has been cleverly designed with large expansive windows to showcase the wonderful sea views through its windows. The dining room is bright and spacious and feels stylish but not intimidating. The Foyles are avid art collectors and many of the paintings that they have acquired over the years hang on the walls of the restaurant and throughout the rest of the hotel.
|Pan-Fried Lambs' Liver|
As I waited for my starters to arrive I chatted to Clifden Foyle, nibbled on the very tasty homemade soda bread and sipped on a rather nice glass of Prosecco. Clifden is a charismatic host and you really feel that he wants each guest to enjoy their time at The Strand Inn. Throughout the evening, he stopped by the tables and talked to the diners many of whom he knew by name as they had stayed at the Strand Inn previously.
My other starter - Pan-Fried Crab Claws in Garlic Butter (€14.50) was also fantastic. It was full of garlic and made with loads of butter which dribbled down my chin in a very satisfying way as I sucked the sweet crab-meat from the claws. Both dishes were very different but equally good and it was obvious to me that there was talent in the kitchen and that a lot of care and attention had gone into creating the dishes.
The dessert menu features many old-school classics including one of my favourites - Sticky Toffee Pudding. In the end however, I decided to go for the Strawberry Pavlova (€6.50) which was everything you would want it to be - light and airy with a slightly chewy centre, packed full of juicy strawberries and cream. Simple, but delicious. In many ways, the Pavlova reflected the rest of the food at The Strand Inn, which is simply prepared but primarily focused on flavour.
After a deep and refreshing night’s sleep in my comfortable bed, I awoke to the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs. I had left my bedroom window slightly ajar and during the night the tide had come in. Still groggy and slightly disorientated I was confused by the sound of water so close by and for a moment or two thought that I was on a cruise ship. I quickly realised where I was and in a relaxed fashion got up out of bed, showered and made my way down to breakfast.
As I packed up my bags and got ready to leave, I can truly say that The Strand Inn is somewhere that I will definitely return to. I have stayed in many top hotels around Ireland and whilst they may be luxuriously decorated and situated on large country estates etc., they often feel soulless and as a guest it sometimes seems that you are on a hospitality conveyor-belt. This is not the case at The Strand Inn. You know that your needs as an individual really do matter. Many of the guests return year-after-year and having spent some time there, I can understand why.
The Strand Inn
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This article first appeared in TheTaste.ie
|The Strand Inn Balcony|