Sunday lunch at the Arches Hotel

Who among us has not sat in traffic in Claregalway at least once? Like most small towns it has a good takeaway and a cosy cafe, but it is the Arches Hotel that is many of the locals' preferred escape from the traffic in this bustling little spot. Owned and operated by the Dunleavy family, The Arches is a three star hotel located in the heart of the village, just across the Clare River from the historic Claregalway Abbey.

This popular small hotel is kept busy throughout the summer with tourists and those travelling for business but it is a regular haunt for locals too. In some hotel restaurants the food comes second to the accommodation, but here it is firmly placed first. Whether staying for business or pleasure, The Arches ticks all the boxes. It is a great location to explore Connemara and the west and there is ample parking for guests. The relaxed atmosphere and welcoming staff means it has won a large share of repeat custom, ensuring its popularity through the cold winter months.

With comfortable seating in a startling shade of blue and great service, it seems to be the place to meet friends or colleagues for a coffee. During the day the bar and restaurant is a hub of activity with friends enjoying lunch. By night the atmosphere is fun and relaxed, it is a place to enjoy good food and drink.

The choice from the Sunday lunch menu starters ranges from traditional garlic mushrooms to the more exotic Thai chicken salad, all very competitively priced. Thereafter follows the choice of mains ranging from Sunday roasts to steak to fish and chips. The Arches has a well earned reputation as a quality, value for money, establishment, while most of the menu is made of traditional favourites, there are some more interesting dishes for the adventurous eater such as butternut squash, spinach, and feta roulade. A succulent pan fried fillet of salmon was perfectly cooked and plentiful with accompanying mashed potatoes, pea puree, and citrus beurre blanc. A Cajun chicken burger came on a toasted brioche bap with chips and plenty of salad. The portions here are very generous, another reason, I suspect, for its popularity with the locals. There are a few desserts on offer, from apple pie to profiteroles, prettily presented and competitively priced at €4.95.

This is a great local bar and restaurant which continues to please with its well priced menu. It has become firmly rooted in the community and developed strong relationships with the customers. It has recognised that an emphasis placed firmly on customer service, choice, and value will ensure people keep coming back.

It does sleeping, meeting, dining, and relaxing well, and mix these things with an enthusiastic, personable staff - who clearly enjoy what they do. A very welcoming retreat with competent, uncomplicated, cooking, and Irish hospitality at its finest. The Arches is not so much a hotel, it is more of a restaurant that happens to have rooms.

The Arches Hotel, Cois Chláir, Claregalway, Co Galway. T: (091 ) 739 000 E: [email protected].

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