Making the case for a picnic

Every Galwegian is looking forward to the last section of the motorway from Galway to Athlone opening. This will mean that you can hop in your car and be at the Liffey Valley Centre in approximately two hours.

However, can anyone please tell me why we should not be allowed to eat, rest, or go to the loo on our long awaited motorway? And although my title above suggests that you bring a picnic there is, I’m afraid, no facility to pull in and eat! The Government is looking for ways to get revenue — well surely a very simple idea would be to auction or rent six or eight pieces of the already compulsory acquisitioned land on the Galway/Dublin motorway and I can guarantee that there would be a queue of people willing to find several million for such guaranteed revenue generating enterprises.

During a recent trip to Dublin I discovered a new way to spend a day or two in the capital where you can stay in a top class hotel and be able to walk within five minutes to some choice eateries, and all without breaking the bank.

The hotel is the new Radisson SAS Royal Hotel in Golden Lane in Dublin 8. The breakfast is the best buffet I have had. It includes champagne, a design your own omelette station, and thoughtful extras like cholesterol free rapeseed oil to fry your eggs plus low sodium porridge if requested. If you read last week’s article you may now think I am in ‘love’ with the Radisson group — not so, this was purely coincidental and the quality was too good not to recommend to you. However that’s not my real reason for mentioning it. The real reason is what you can enjoy while there and within a few minutes’ walk. Next door is Ireland’s first Argentinean Steak House, it is quite a large restaurant and the kitchen has a big window and both diners and the people on the street can view the cleanliness and the chefs at work. The steaks are massive and are dry aged for 60 days. It is called Buenos Aries grill and the menu can be viewed on www.buenosariesgrill.ie There is also a top class wine list with many imported by the owner.

Five minutes away is Jaipur Indian Restaurant which has been one of the best Indian restaurants in Dublin for several years. It is very stylish, service is top class, and for me one of the great pleasures is being able to sample seafood in an Indian restaurant. My Goan seafood curry with crab claws, prawns, and sea bass was excellent as was my starter of sea bass in a delicious spicy coating. There is an early bird menu between 5pm and 7pm every day for €25 and it includes a starter, main course with rice and naan bread, dessert or coffee. That is excellent value as the Goan seafood curry alone is €22 on the main menu. You should consider booking online at www.jaipur.ie

After dinner, you are three minutes walk away from JJ’s Bar. This is the best bar in Dublin for lovers of blues music, every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 10pm you can hear some of the best live blues music for €10 in a small uncrowded room.

During the day you are only 10 minutes from the biggest and best deli in Ireland. Fallon & Byrnes has become one of the most visited places in a short time mainly due to the quality of the goods on sale and the excellent prices. There is a casual sit down and eat area and there is a more formal wining and dining area upstairs. The deli is in Exchequer Street beside the Central Hotel. Finally, you are also a short walk from Burdock’s fish and chip shop, the oldest and most famous in the land. A portion of fish and chips can feed two people for about €15, and don’t forget to ask for a free portion of the crispy bits.

Next week sees the start of a new series of articles where I will interview some of Galway’s chefs. If you have any comments or feedback, please e-mail me on [email protected]

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