Determined to visit as many of Irelands beauty spots throughout the remainder of this strange year, I rounded up two of my best friends and we excitedly planned a much needed and highly anticipated night away.
Between us we decided on Wineport Lodge. None of us had previously visited but we were all endeared by the gorgeous instagram posts that regularly popped up boasting beautiful lakeside views and stunning sunsets over Lough Ree.
We booked the ‘Girls Getaway’ Offer, €550.00 for a triple room including a three course dinner and breakfast in bed. Hello heaven! We hit the road to The Hidden Heartlands and within an hour and a half, driving from Dublin, we were immersed in the eminent beauty of Wineport Lodge.
Eager to check in to our glorious lakeside retreat for the night we arrived a little before official check-in time but this posed no problem. As luck would have it our room was ready and we were escorted by one of the very friendly reception staff to our room. We were handed a check-in sheet, which meant no need for unnecessary time spent in reception, in room check-in was a new one on me and definitely a super idea for optimum efficiency all round.
All Covid policies and procedures were in place. It was very evident that the staff in Wineport go above and beyond to make sure all of their guests needs are catered to and the additional work that the current guidelines bring is carried out seamlessly.
Upon entering our triple room for the night, we were thrilled to find ourselves in such an elegant, spacious and natural light flooded space. Large glass doors leading out onto our balcony with all encompassing views across Lough Ree, this really was an idyllic, tranquil room. An ideal base for popping the champagne open and indulging in a monumental catch up.
Our balcony had a little gate that allowed us to wander right down to the waters edge and fully immerse ourselves in our utterly sublime surroundings. There is something very, very majestic about the still waters of Lough Ree.
After indulging in some bubbles, with each one of us out talking the other we were finally ready to extract ourselves from our room and make our way to dinner in The Restaurant. Once home to the original series of TV show, The Restaurant where the late great Paolo Tullio and Tom Doorley feverishly debated over a host of dishes prepared weekly by a mystery celebrity chef. Interestingly, The Restaurant was one of the most viewed food shows of its time due mostly to the charm, wit and innate knowledge of food and wine that the aforementioned gentlemen brought to our screens.
We dined from the Wineport Summer Menu, opting for starters of Apple Wood BBQ Smoked Chicken Salad, Fried Calamari and House Smoked Salmon, Prawns, Avocado.
I ordered the Apple Wood BBQ Smoked Chicken Salad which consisted of slices of smoked tender chicken breast dressed with aged balsamic and dotted with fresh juicy strawberries. A divine combination of flavours.
The ladies starters of crisp calamari and sensational smoked salmon went down a treat also.
For the main event, I ordered the Prime Fillet Steak, served medium with a silky smooth Tullamore Whiskey sauce and a side of sinfully delicious rosemary, sea salt & thyme chips. This with a glass of our chosen wine for the evening, The Missing Virgin, Stellenbosch €66.00. This wine is a Pinotage and Petit Verdot blend and is so smooth, rich & satisfying, as all wine should be!
My dinner dates ordered the Fresh Catch of the Day which was a fantastic hunk of beautifully cooked Hake, its sweet flesh fell apart at the mere sight of the fork and had the most moreish little pressed potato cakes on the side. The third main was a Fish & Chips which I was reliably informed was very tasty indeed, so tasty in fact there wasn’t time for a photo of it!
We shared a sumptuous trio of desserts which included lemon & lime cheesecake, chocolate fondant and a vanilla creme filled chocolate cup. A blissful little trio if ever there was one. A couple of lively looking cocktails later we were ready for one last stroll before retreating to our heavenly haven for the night.
Rambling outside to make sure we soaked in as much of the serenity on offer as possible, it is easy to see why people that have been to Wineport Lodge return time and time again.
How gorgeous are these little outdoor dining pods that have been installed for anyone that would prefer to dine in a completely separate space. Such a thoughtful touch in a time when some people are still so nervous about venturing out.
Our cosy beds and supersize flatscreen were calling. We settled in for a night of movies, treats and chats and honestly gals and guys, if you haven’t had a night like this with your besties in quite some time, I highly recommend you rectify that and no better place that then the very wonderful Wineport Lodge.
WRITTEN BY OLIVIA BYRNE