The Ardagh Hotel is situated in an idyllic location overlooking an inlet of water about 2KM outside of Clifden. This is definitely part of its attraction as all of the front facing rooms have a simply wonderful view. We were blessed with 24 hours of benign weather in an otherwise wet spell. Our reward was a spectacular sunset followed by a delightful morning view with sun shining on the water - all viewed from the room.
The hotel itself is very good, seeming to get a good balance between the privacy of a hotel and the homely feel of a top rate B&B. Part of the latter is given by the common areas that you can use to relax, read or just admire the views. The rooms are comfortable and the beds a good size. TV should not be high on your agenda so forget about the small sets with limited channels - that should encourage you to enjoy the wonderful surroundings.
Regardless of the hotel, the outstanding memory for us (my wife and I had a single night here in early July) was the food. On reading the consistently good reviews, we booked for dinner and were given a table for two at the window overlooking the water and mountains beyond. As a cloudy evening cleared to blue skies, mother nature put on an unforgettable display. Even whilst cloudy, however, I found myself mesmerised by the view - a picture painting.
The food needs some detailed mention. My wife and I both went for the a la carte 3 course menu. The cost of 38 Euros (I think) was slightly less than a seafood only option with lobster. There were also individual selections that you could have which for two courses would be only marginally cheaper than the lower priced set menu. However, forget the price - the standard is worth at least this amount. I chose the seafood chowder for an appetiser (as good as I have had anywhere - and I've had some good ones in New England, USA) followed by cod and chips, with the melt in the mouth cod coated in a very nice tempura batter. A divine apple pie with raspberry coulis and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream ending a memorable meal. My wife had outstanding mussels to begin, a wonderful lamb shank and then a very good cheese plate.
As for plain old breakfast in the morning - superb. The omelettes are light and very, very tasty.
The only reason that I can explain the the restaurant is not packed to the rafters every night is that it is not in the town centre. The food is as good as anywhere I have eaten before!
Our evening was rounded off by a walk along the road at the front of the hotel (busier than you might expect at 10.00PM) and a whiskey back at the hotel for a night cap. If you like peaty, smoky single malts, go for the local Connamarra. It is really very good and compares with the best Speyside malts.
If you are anywhere near Clifden, stay at the Ardagh and more importantly, eat here too. You won't regret it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small comfortable family run hotel with an award winning fresh local seafood restaurant, organic homegrown produce and magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ardagh Hotel Clifden