Wednesday, March 17, 2010

al fresco dining in ireland.. in march!

Wheeler&Co was closed is after all a public holiday in Ireland.
The clan set out for Wicklow this morning and arrived to find a garden with the first buds of spring on the branches, a lawn of delicate crocuses and miniature daffodils waking up in a balmy 12 degrees...I can officially say that spring has arrived in Ireland.
Mount Usher Gardens in Ashford, Co. Wicklow cannot be celebrated enough. At all times of the year this garden typifies all that is great about the Irish wears its seasons on its sleeve without this in-between non-descript weather that we all think that we have - we do have seasons, you just need to know where to find them! At the minute I manage to cultivate no more than a few sprigs of parsley on my rooftop and, as this is in no way a mirror for the seasons, perhaps that's why I am so enraptured by visiting real gardens.
Anyway aside from my failings as a gardener, Mount Usher is pretty fantastic.
An added bonus is that you can eat really well there without breaking the bank, and today it was warm enough to sit on their lawn and have lunch.
The cafe is run by Avoca and I am a good solid supporter of this particular venture. The food is really good, much better than their effort in Powerscourt but I wont get into that now - it will take another bad lunch and an entire post to deal with this mess and the significant stress!
Anyway if you are considering a jaunt to Wicklow, my advice is to drive that extra twenty minutes and go to Mount Usher...better food (did I mention that?) and the garden is organic, wild and beautiful without feeling too tended and precious. Go there soon, it will be worth your while.
As Wheeler& Co had a rare day off there are no recipes but I am planning fish for tomorrow's tea so stay tuned. In the meantime I will leave you with a little taste of springtime from Co. Wicklow.

This beech hedge is something else....horticulturally, aesthetically and of course architecturally!
Oh and there is nothing better than 16 year old scampi!

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