We LOVE our food at Wood Smoke and have explored the local area looking for lots of wonderful eateries. We are so lucky to live in an area, which thrives on producing such good quality food and endeavors to keep as close as possible to farm to fork ethos. The following are tried, trusted and adored local recommendations – Enjoy – we have!

Ballyvaughan village

Monks on the Pier

Local bar with primarily seafood on offer – although they offer meat and vegetarian options too. We love the prawns pil pil and their fish and chips is very good. Located right on the pier, it is a lovely location on rosy sunset evenings.

The Tea and Garden Rooms

Lovely, fresh food – they do a small range of hot items…really you go here though for the cakes! They are sublime. Be aware that during the summer months, and weekends, you may need to queue for a table. Service at these times is under pressure, so you’ll need to breathe a bit and enjoy your surroundings! Steven Spielburg is a fan of their cheesecake, if you ask nicely, they may just serve you a slice from their secret stash!

The Larder Deli

This one is a hidden gem. Known locally as Shirley’s (the proprietor), this little café serves excellent coffee (we think barista Claire is a coffee artist!) and a fabulous array of deliciousness! Shirley takes off with her two daughters every January and comes back to tempt us with her take on cuisine she has sampled from Vietnam and Japan…we can’ t wait to see where she is off to next. If you are a brownie fan, hers are by far the best we have ever tasted and they are gluten-free. Go ahead and indulge at your leisure – tell Shirley and Claire we said hello!

O’Lochlainn’s Pub

Be prepared to be wowed by their spectacular array of whiskeys (Margaret can provide private whiskey tastings, booking is necessary). Margaret also does a fabulous Gin and Tonic – my favourite is a Brockmans Gin – like a garden in a glass!…

Gregan’s Castle Hotel

This is a place you go to for a special occasion. It is seriously classy with food that is superb. It is not inexpensive, but every plate is a work of art. Get dressed up, arrive on time (they are sticky on timing), or do as we do, arrive early to enjoy an aperitif in their cosy bar while you look at the menu. We treat ourselves once a year for our wedding anniversary and are never disappointed. Book it well in advance…


The Burren Perfumery

This is a glorious spot and one of our favourites when we want to escape the hustle and bustle of big tour buses! They create not only their own perfume range here (as the name suggests!), but a full complement of products for skincare, candles, soap and even tea made from the plants, herbs and flowers flourishing in their onsite gardens. The tearooms here are charming with fresh soup, sandwiches and excellent cakes. If the sun is shining it is rather a special place to sit outside, tucked away between rocks and the turlough in Carron.

New Quay


Located on the pier, Linnanes serves fresh seafood quite literally a stones throw from where you are sitting. We love to go there on a summer’s eve and sip a nice glass of white with a generous plate of oysters! Dogs are welcome with their owners to sit in the bar area – it is actually the area we like to sit in the most as it has a wonderful buzz with people milling around. The service is friendly, efficient and incredibly quick!

Hazel Mountain Chocolate

Our very own chocolatier in the area! This spot is divine. You can taste the chocolates, which are made right there in front of you and sample many more delights in their very vegan friendly café. The hot chocolate though…to die for, as our American cousin says! Well worth a trip (you can always explore the nearby Corcomroe Abbey or walk Abbey Hill afterwards to burn off the guilt!)


The Wild Honey Inn

This eatery is Michelin starred. We’ve eaten there twice before it was Michelin and enjoyed the food very much. One caveat though, the service can be perfunctory and special dietary requests are frowned upon. That said, please do read the reviews, it is well worth a try if you can get a reservation.


Special note about Doolin – this where people go to access the ferry to the Aran Islands. It is also a drop off point for big bus tours doing a “Wild Atlantic Way in a day” whirlwind tour of the tourist hot spots. The bars are usually packed with tourists– perfect for a pint and people watching. At night there’s great music and craic to be had!

OAR Restaurant

This is rustic fine dining at its best. Fresh, local, seasonal food beautifully presented. Check out the reviews on Trip Advisor. They do an early bird menu from 5:30pm and have special offers frequently during the week. Definitely worth a visit! Ask for a seat at the banquette.

The Doolin Café

Lovely spot for breakfast and lunch. Wide array of sandwiches, salads on offer. I love to linger here over a long breakfast and large coffee. Nice atmosphere and friendly staff.


Moher Café

We discovered this place just recently having heard that they won best coffee in Ireland – we just had to test it out! They do in fact, have truly excellent coffee, matched by a small but lovely selection of sweet treats. It also has a charming little gift shop incorporated in the café, to browse away a little while. There is also a great seating area outside on a fine day to look across Liscannor. This café is very dog friendly. Well worth a moment en-route to or from the Cliffs of Moher.


This is a well-known restaurant in the area and reservations are crucial or you’ll be in for a long wait. There are three dining areas, one in the main bar area, a second sort of in-between dining room and then a rather more fancy one at the back. All serve the same menu, so think about where you would like to sit when you are reserving a table. We ended up in the middle section and have to admit were not too impressed, however, we noticed that they tended to sit large family groups in the “fancy” section and were grateful in the end for our little corner (we were having a child-free evening!). Food was very good – generous, tasty and well priced.


The Cheese Press

We love this place. You never know what you will find or the people you will meet when you go there. It is a café/deli/gift shop and very relaxed and casual with locals and tourists alike popping in and out. Sinead the owner has a warm welcome for everyone and is great fun. Lively place to sit for a really decent coffee (Anam a local coffee roaster is their supplier), and we love their sandwiches served on fresh, made-that-morning, sourdough. They also have an excellent range of cheese – Sinead’s family is the owner of St. Tola’s cheese, an award-winning dynamic cheese company local to Co. Clare.

Oh La La

I reckon the name really does sum this up, said of course, in your best French accent! This is an authentic creperie serving a range of galettes and sweet crepes and is very reasonably priced. It is tucked up a side street in Ennistymon (beside Bank of Ireland!). Great atmosphere, run by people who truly care about what they do..



We stumbled upon this place just recently – mainly tempted by their range of micro beers from Western Herd. What a treat! A nice range of tapas, a couple of seafood tacos and a glass of their amber ale and we were in heaven! Definitely going to make it one of our regulars from now on. Check out Western Herd Brewery on social media, they are doing some wonderful work!

Please note: The best way to find any of these spots is on Google Maps, just key in the name and it will direct you to your destination.

Let the Adventure Begin


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Wood Smoke, Ballycahill, Ballyvaughan, Ireland.

Call – 089 229 9347   Email – info@woodsmoke.ie