It’s been quite a while since I posted. A little too long, so I figure now’s the perfect time to play catch-up; as chronologically accurate as my mind will allow. I’ve been quiet, but I’ve been around, contributing here and there. It’s good to keep a little mystery. Isn’t that what they say?
I’m a little shocked that this trip to Tankardstown House was back in February. Yikes! Even though it was some time ago, I haven’t forgotten my overnight stay there. It came at a good time – that particular week, I remember the thoughts in my head were deafening. Yet once I arrived, I was able to switch off. Tankardstown House is so peaceful, that when I did hear sounds, they were nothing but soothing. A crackling turf fire, creaking floorboards and a mix of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra songs echoed through the long corridors.
I stayed in the main house, but there are also seven courtyard cottage suites on the grounds. My room was called Laragh, and I was in love. Laragh is a room with a view of the quieter grounds of Tankardstown. Its got high ceilings, old furniture and enough throw pillows to build an impressive fort. What more could you want?
I will add that a coffee machine all to myself and a bottle of prosecco did sweeten the deal.
The lobby outside Laragh was kitted out with another coffee machine, bottles of water and plenty more fancy furniture. The table in the window was set for a quiet game of chess.
Tucked away within the grounds you’ll find the Hideout. This is Tankardstown’s little spa and beauty hut. I mosied on down for a facial and they offer a lot of other treatments from hot stone massages to pedicures. Before you find the hideout you’ll see bicycles. Feel free to cycle these around the grounds. I have no idea where my picture of the bikes went, but there are very much real bikes there. You’ll have to take my word for it.
Post facial and it’s getting dark outside. I love how the house looks in this lighting. It looks grand, luxurious and sort of..eerie (in a good way!) Owners Brian and Patricia Conroy have done such an amazing job with the restoration of the mansion and estate (which dates back to the 17th century) I was looking forward to having a proper look around since my arrival. Houses like this always beg to be explored, when they have so much history and character, once known so intimately by people I’ll never know. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect either. Grey and cold with plenty of drizzly rain. The roaring turf fires had real purpose. Clusters of candles flickered in every corner. I didn’t want to leave!
I circled the rooms a few times, compelled to touch everything. Fingertips on cool marble, along the spines of books I have yet to read. I settled in this particular room to relax and read for a while before dinner and a lovely member of staff brought me the prosecco from my room. The staff are really friendly and helpful. It felt like home away from home.
When you walk toward the courtyard cottages you’ll find yourself at Brabazon Restaurant, which is named after the estate’s owner during the 18th century. This area is like a little village where the Brabazon Restaurant, Tea Gardens and The Cellar Restaurant reside. Plenty of dining choices for the Tankardstown guest. Brabazon was recently awarded two AA rosettes, so I was looking forward to trying the seven course tasting menu at a place that was a farm building in a past life.
Of all tasting menus I have tried, this one was by far the most unique and innovative. We started with homemade breads and smoked butter, followed by amuse bouche; dinky little cones with crème fraîche. Our first course was smoked salmon with pickled vegetables. The salmon was gently cooked in a water bath, at 40 degrees. A hen’s egg followed, which was cooked at 61.5 degrees for four hours in a water bath.
Our third course was gurnard fish with cauliflower, pollen and ink. Fourth was my favourite; hay smoked duck with leek and parsnip. The first dessert course was organic chocolate, rose and olive oil.
The second dessert course was crème fraîche soufflé, serve with blackberry sorbet which we dropped into the middle of the soufflé. It was such an odd flavour, something I have never tasted before! We finished things off with coffee, petit fours (the wrapper on the toffee was edible..mind blown) and a hot port.
After a long and leisurely dinner (close to three hours…my kind of meal) I disappeared among the pillows for the night.
A better look at the courtyard cottages and village
Breakfast is cooked to order – A full Irish, eggs benedict, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, or American pancakes. There was also a breakfast buffet with plenty of fresh bread, meats, fruit and yoghurt.
Walking back from breakfast, I had to take a picture of the conservatory where weddings take place at Tankardstown. It’s the perfect setting for an intimate gathering and I can see why they have so many testimonials from couples who spent their big day here. A stay at Tankardstown is relaxing, comfortable and personal.
Click here for the website and here for Brabazon Restaurant.
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