Wednesday, 19 April 2017

MacNean House ~ Culinary Delights in Co.Cavan!

A visit to MacNean House and Restaurant has been on my list for years but every time I went to book the only available dates were months and months away. I was overjoyed to receive an email a couple of weeks ago advising me of a cancellation for the following Friday, not only for a meal but also an overnight stay! I immediately called Sue to let her know to cancel her plans, and my husband to ensure he’d be working close to home that day so he could get home on time to mind the children. I collected Sue from work on Friday afternoon & we set off up the N3 like Thelma & Louise. 

What is MacNean House and Restaurant?

Multi award winning MacNean House and Restaurant is where celebrity chef Neven Maguire shares his passion for food. Not only is it a restaurant, it’s also a guesthouse and a cookery school where Neven shares his top tips and recipes. He personally teaches each class so you’ll be learning from the best. The restaurant has been in Neven's family since 1969; 16 years ago Neven took the reins and has transformed the restaurant into one of the most successful restaurants in Ireland, well and truly putting Blacklion on the map. 

Where is MacNean House & Restaurant?

If, like me, you’re Kildare based, or anywhere south of Dublin, be prepared for a drive as MacNean House is located in Blacklion, Co Cavan, just a stone’s throw from Enniskillen.
It was perfectly fine with me though as time spent on a road trip with my favourite sister catching up is time well spent! (I'm her only sister but I'll take it - Sue)

Our Experience at MacNean House & Restaurant

From the moment we checked in we knew we were in for a special evening. Each member of staff we encountered was so lovely and welcoming. Our opulent room for the night was fabulously decorated with muted tones, complete with an ornate chandelier. There’s even an option to change your pillow for a goose feather pillow. In hindsight, taking them up on that offer is our only regret from the entire experience. 

As soon as we arrived at the restaurant we were seated and presented with our menus. Neven’s signature tasting menu comprises of eight courses of the finest dishes made from locally sourced, quality ingredients. There’s also a vegetarian menu. You are free to choose your dishes from either menu, as we did as some of the vegetarian dishes were mouth-watering.

We both opted for the wine selection; the Sommelier did a wonderful job pairing each dish to a specially selected wine. Each course was well thought out, perfectly executed and presented superbly. Truly, this was the only meal we have had that we literally couldn't keep up with the wine. In both volume and quality, we were floored. 

They certainly don’t do things by halves at MacNean House; breakfast is yet another example of this as it’s a magnificent lavish affair. It’d be a pity to go for dinner and leave without having the full MacNean experience. By including an overnight stay you get to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast fit for a queen. 

Though we're usually a little sceptical about waiting lists as long as your leg, it's easy to see why this Blacklion gem is booked out months in advance.

How much does it cost?

Neven’s signature tasting menu costs €85pp, €135pp including wine selection. Overnight stays start at just €55pp on a bed & breakfast basis, mid-week. We didn’t pay for our experience as I was lucky enough to have a gift card, but rest assured this didn't make one iota of difference to the service or our experience. The atmosphere in the dining room on both occasions was incredible, with audible appreciation from every table for every course; a definite first for us.

As an aside, the dining room atmosphere is, without doubt, one of the reasons this was one of the best meals we've had. It felt intimate & conspiratory, as though we were each in on a secret that no one else knew, part of something special. Tables conversed easily with one another or between themselves and the noise level remained comfortable and comforting. No mean feat for a room filled to capacity.

My Top Tip for MacNean House

My Stone Travel Tip would be to keep an eye on the cancellation section on their website HERE and do yourself & a loved one a solid by leaping on the first available booking you can find.

Have you ever been to MacNean House? Maybe you've completed a cookery course with Neven Maguire?

What did you think? Please let us know!

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Newgrange ~ Visiting Ireland’s Ancient East!

Newgrange in Co Meath is somewhere I’ve wanted to bring my kids for a long time, as I remember really liking it when I went on a school trip many moons ago. We tried to visit a few years ago but only got as far as the visitor centre to be turned away as all the tickets were sold out. They limit the amount of tickets sold per day for conservation reasons. 

Tickets are not available to purchase online so it’s first come first served, we needed to be there early if we wanted to secure a place on a tour. That meant booking an overnight stay in the area and in the hopes that there wouldn’t be too many people visiting Ireland’s Ancient East we went off season.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Monday's Moments ~ 27/03/17

Leaving the house early this morning in hazy sunshine with the heat already rising, I thought it's been a little while since I've shared some Monday's Moments. If you're new around these parts since my Truzee's Snapchat takeover today (more on that below) Monday's Moments are where I take a minute to recognise five moments from the previous week that chase away my Monday Blues. It's ridiculously cathartic & I can't recommend it more. 

In no particular order of deadliness this week: 

1. Announcing this week that I'll be hosting the Blogger Panel once more at Blogger Conf. On May 20th in the Mansion House, it's one of the most practically valuable conferences in Ireland right now, if you've ever been you'll know what I mean. 

You'll know why I'm thrilled to the taking and/or dropping the mic once more too. (Are ya coming?) 

2. Aaron made my year this week when he arrived home with the most perfect earphones for my tiny lugholes. 

I've been searching forever for a decent pair, that fit & perform. These are Sennheiser, noise cancelling, full base GODSENDS! 

3. Managing a last minute Mammy's Day glass of wine with Stone Travel & our Momma because Corrina got back from her trip early!

4. Having a MARE with Stila's new Metallic shadow in Smouldering Satin, not only did it COVER my face in glitter and survive two subsequent showers but, while interviewing a client today - by the time we finished up HE had glitter on HIS face!

5. Doing ALL the talk about Motherhood in Ireland today to kick off a week of #TheMumBrigade in aid of Crumlin over on Truzees Snaps today. 

The reaction has been phenomenal! Be sure to tap in during the week to see some truly inspirational Mamas share their stories too (mine is live now HERE 

Tell me, what's been one Moment this week that's chasing your Monday Blues away? I'd LOVE to hear? 

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Friday, 24 March 2017

Things That Rustle My Jimmies ~ 24/03/17

I tried to let a week go without unrustling my jimmies but you know, PEOPLE. 

There are many, many incidents of assholery this week, to name but a few: 

1. People that share graphic pictures of those injured in terrorist attacks

2. Youtubers using ever more ridiculous implements to put makeup on their faces... A condom covered Beauty Blender, A BOILED EGG?!

3. The 'People You May Know' section on Facebook consistently being dolts I've spent my entire life avoiding ...

4. Trusting the March sunshine in Ireland 

5. Old American men that infest the Facebook comment threads on women's rights in Ireland!

Tell me, can you relate? What's been rustling your jimmies this week. Release that Kraken!

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CHiPS - Movie Review!

Who's In It?

Dax ShepardKristen BellVincent D'Onofrio, and Michael Peña

What's It About?

An undercover FBI agent is paired with an ex-motocross rookie officer to take down a ring of dirty cops in the CHP (Californian Highway Patrol).

Any Good?

CHiPS seems to have tried to go the route of 21 Jump Street with a more 'R-Rated approach' to comedy, and completely failed.

I can kinda see what it was trying to do, but it just kept devolving into screams of homophobia and making fun of a guy who's wife is cheating on him. It's not even like they're the main offending jokes - they're two of maybe four or five IN THE WHOLE MOVIE.

I'm not quite sure what to say about the acting, because there wasn't really a wide range on display. Dax Shepard is therapy-quote spouting man shouting about homophobia and Michael Peña is sex addict man shouting about not being homophobic and his partners wife having sex with others. I guess Vincent D'Onofrio is good as the leader of the dirty cops, but that's just because he's still Kingpin sized and is really threatening.

My best guess is that the studio wanted a new 21 Jump Street and after reading Dax Shepard's previous (they're all pretty interchangeable) scripts they thought it could be the right stupid style film to have him shine, but it just came out the same AGAIN. 

It's not even a Beerfest or Eurotrip type of trash movie (that are incredibly enjoyable) - it's just boring.