Afternoon tea at Glenlo Abbey

Tucked away just two miles from Galway city is the five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel, in vast acres of rich, lush, scenery on the banks of Lough Corrib. The abbey is the ancestral home to one of Galway’s famous tribes, the Ffrench family. The graceful, gothic, two-storey house was built in 1740, with the abbey itself being constructed in the 1790s as a private church for the family. In the 1980s, the house and estate were bought, restored, and converted, transforming it into a unique hotel.

Glenlo Abbey offers something different from other hotels in Galway and, despite major renovation, it has not lost any of its old world charm. Most importantly it boasts friendly staff who show genuine interest in their guests. It is perfect for people who want to 'get away from it all’ without actually travelling so far into the wild west. Arriving through the doors of the reception area is like stepping back through time. Each bedroom at Glenlo Abbey Hotel has been beautifully refurbished and many of the rooms have river and lake views.

One of the biggest attractions is the waterside golf course and top class driving range. Fishing with the resident gillie is also a popular activity at Glenlo Abbey. Being located on the edge of Lough Corrib puts guests a stone’s throw from a profusion of trout, salmon, pike, perch, and bream, making it ideal for anglers. Upon returning to the hotel, your catch will be prepared in whatever manner you like by the hotel kitchen. Other activities that can be organised from the property include horse riding, boating, and falconry. In many ways it is the ideal base from which to explore Connemara and the west of Ireland.

Food and drink at Glenlo Abbey is excellent and a visit to the Pullman Restaurant is truly unforgettable as the dining room comprises two original train carriages from the famous Orient Express. The Oak Cellar Bar is ideal for casual dining and has a varied menu, lively atmosphere, and cosy surroundings in what was once the estate’s kitchen. Three grand reception rooms comprise the French Room, the Kentfield, and the Palmer Bar, where guests can enjoy a relaxing drink by the open log fires, the perfect spot to curl up with a good book or a stiff drink. The Kentfield also plays host to the afternoon tea during the week, at the weekend it is served in the timeless elegance of the River Room.

Breakfast and dinner is also served in this beautiful room with views overlooking Lough Corrib and the estate. With bespoke menu options, sumptuous food, and special attention and service from the staff, it is an charming dining venue, you are instantly transported from the hustle and bustle of Galway life to the middle of the countryside. This tranquil setting, with beautiful gardens is an institution in itself and the perfect venue to enjoy this most sophisticated mini-meal. There is a real air of grandeur from the beautiful wallpaper, to the finely polished wooden furniture and floors, to the twinkle of the crystal glasses. With tall windows on all five exterior walls, guests are afforded the pleasure of views of Lough Corrib and the estate grounds wherever they are seated in the restaurant.

The menu offers guests a selection of Ronnefeldt loose leaf teas or Java coffee. There is the option of prosecco, champagne, or a cocktail for those who want something a little more celebratory. The waiting staff flit among the tables busy with the gleaming tea service and the all-important three tier stand. From the bottom up it holds plain and fruit scones, freshly baked and still warm from the oven, with glistening strawberry jam and silky quenelles of clotted cream. The second tier has savoury sandwiches which manage to be both filling and dainty. Crusts are removed from fresh white and brown breads, the delicate slices are filled with smoked salmon, chicken, whipped goats cheese, and garnished with chive flowers. The final and smallest tier is the plate of miniature cakes and tartlets, exquisitely presented and scrumptious to boot. Among the irresistible treats are delicate lemon eclairs, slices of Battenberg, and teacakes, all made in the hotel's own kitchen.

The Glenlo Abbey Hotel is a five-star hotel that prides itself on old-world luxury and opulent dining — nowhere is this more evident than at afternoon tea, a true celebration of a more opulent time. A perfect way to while away an afternoon.

Afternoon tea is served every day from 1pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday in the intimate Kentfield Suite, and in the River Room Restaurant at weekends.


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