In the summer holidays of 2012, my family and I went for a holiday to in Southern Ireland, in the small and rural village of Donard, south of Dublin. We were there because of a large endurance event taking place in which every British nation plus Ireland took part in. Whist none of us were competing, instead helping put another rider, we were hoping to get a taste of Irish culture and cuisine. We were sorely disappointed. The first meal out we had was in a nearby town called Blessington. We searched for ages for a good place to eat, even though there were many restaurants and cafes. Every one of them was either closed, too expensive or unsuitable for our vegetarian diets. After looking at many cafes, we eventually came across a pretty little pink cafe called ‘Sweet Blessington’. Whilst a touch on the expensive side, it was open and served a few vegetarian dishes, although it was very few. There were nine of us there, and out of the nine of us, six ordered a baked potato, due to it being the one of the only meat-free meals on the menu. We waited. The three paninis we ordered arrived along with a solitary potato.
We waited fifteen minutes more. Another potato arrived. Another fifteen minutes, another potato. This was getting ridiculous, so we asked the waiter what was taking it so long. Turns out then could only cook one potato at a time, just one. And having ordered six, it would have taken an hour and a half to get them all had a couple of people not changed their orders after hearing this. The potatoes we did get were also cold in the middle, so all in all, it was not a great meal. The next couple of meals we had were in local pubs, and whilst the service was great and the food delicious, our vegetarianism got in the way again and the only possible thing to order from both pubs was margarita pizza and chips. Although tasty, one can get a bit sick of pizza and chips after some time. Even when travelling home and stopping off at service stations for a bite to eat, every single sandwich on sale contained meat. Even for me, a pescatarian, there were no tuna or salmon sandwiches either, being too inland. Thankfully, the ferry did overly priced veggie burgers and fish for us to eat onboard.
Upon getting home, we decided to have a light lunch the next day, feeling full and bloated on pub grub. Unfortunately, my dad fell ill and was unable to do our weekly food shop, as we had initially planned. Due to there being no food in the house, there was only one option and that was to head up to the Culdees for lunch. First of all, it was open as always (Tuesday- Saturday, 10am-5pm), which is a good sign. Although I was planning on eating a light lunch, I couldn’t resist the lure of the nachos with cheese. The food came very quickly, in less than 10 minutes despite there only being one chef to cook it all. Even though the Cudlees is very small, the menu is huge, with a large variety of things to choose from, including plenty of vegetarian meals. Upon finishing, we found ourselves extremely full and satisfied, too full in fact to order any of the delicious assortments of home-made cakes on sale, as fantastic as they sounded. The food is also extremely reasonably priced for the quality and quantity that you get.
It’s amazing to think that such a small tearoom in a quiet village could be quite so brilliant, with a full menu and great quality all at a good price. It definitely outshone Sweet Blessington, despite that café being situated in a far larger village and being far larger itself. So if you are hoping for a meal out, look no further than your own wee village, after all, there truly is no place like home.
First prize winner - Senior Section - 2012