In Galway, most of the hotels can be divided into two types. The first kind have been built in recent years as result of the economic boom, largely run by professional management companies whose brief is to merely keep the business afloat and get 'heads in beds'. Flannery's is the other sort of Galway hotel — part of the landscape and the fabric of life in the city east area, providing employment and welcoming guests from Ireland and many parts of the world since it first opened in 1969.
These family run hotels, in any part of the country, provide a background to Irish life, boom or bust. Communions and confirmations, anniversaries, birthdays, and christenings all pass through their doors. Venues like Flannery's are at the centre of many life events, providing the food and friendly service that make these occasions memorable.
In Flannery's, and named after the hotel’s founder Frank Flannery, Frankie’s is a bustling and relaxing Irish bar. The team pride themselves on their pint of Guinness as well as doing a wide selection of quality drinks. The recently launched Flavours @ Flannery’s is a new sandwich, salad, and bakery counter which opens daily from 11am until late. As a new addition, it has been added to complement the very popular carvery lunch which runs from 12 noon until 3pm from Monday to Saturday.
The bar and dining area have been extended and refurbished recently and offer a bright, airy, space which is elegant and ideal for both large and intimate groups. The attached outdoor area is particularly nice on a sunny day — and you will not be stuck for parking, which is always a good thing.
There is an extensive sandwich menu to choose from; some options are more exotic and some are familiar favourites. The salad bar includes a selection of cooked meats, a variety of marinated chickens, and a choice of salmon to go along with the range of salads. There is also quiche baked daily, including a vegetarian option, while the bakery counter displays the kitchen's pastries, desserts, and treats. It is worth noting that all the ingredients used are locally sourced where possible, always a bonus. This is a hotel that rears its own sheep at the family-owned farm in Glasson, Athlone, so standards are high.
We started with a light and flavourful coconut and sweet potato soup, generally dusted with lime zest. Even on a hot day, this was the best bowl of soup I have had in ages. Chowder and light salads are also on offer, there is a choice of table service or you can go foraging up to the counter for yourself to see what is on offer. As far as the sandwiches go, there are many favourites, from the student classic hot chicken roll to a club sandwich or BLT. There are more to choose from for the adventurous, a Hawaiian bap, tandoori chicken wrap, or a Monte Cristo. Vegetarians often fare poorly in these types of environs, but here there is plenty of choice and a vast number of desserts for under €5 from modern to classical, including that most retro of hotel desserts, a sherry trifle — yum!
As usual in Flannery's the staff were more than competent and efficient, we were never crowded nor were we bereft of attention. They are friendly and attentive and know their regulars by name. In Flannery's, it is not just a hotel restaurant, it is a family restaurant, and an extension of the local neighbourhood. Three generations of local women sat at the table beside us, and all around in this busy spot there were locals sitting among the tourists and overnight guests. The menu reflects the clientele, an extensive sandwich bar with an Irish carvery for those who like a bigger meal in the middle of the day. Food is an integral part of in this lovely Galway hotel; put simply, Flannery's is a family hotel, run by their family to be enjoyed by your family.
Flannery's Hotel, Dublin Road, Galway. Tel: +353 91 755 111. www.flanneryshotelgalway.com