Fine Food with excellent service at The Oarsman, Carrick-on-Shannon
Carrick-on-Shannon is one of the prettiest towns in Ireland. Located on the banks of the Shannon it has for years been known as the centre for boat hire for the gentlest of leisure activities; that of meandering along a river at a slow pace.
Carrick also boasts one of the finest Gastro Pubs in the west of Ireland – The Oarsman. The owners, Conor and Ronan Maher, have impeccable lineage when it comes to hospitality, coming from several generations of hoteliers/restaurateurs. These two brothers are delivering fine food in the The Oarsman located on Bridge Street and just a stone’s throw from the river. They took over the running of this restaurant in 2002 and are very much a fixture on the ‘Good Food Trail’.
On a recent visit I enjoyed some really delicious penne pasta with herbed pork sausage. The other half went fishy and opted for hake. My dad’s hobby was fishing so I grew up knowing good fish and how to fillet them at sea, which we then ate immediately. So often fish is not fresh enough with a greyish colour. This fish appeared as if it had been caught just before we arrived and I was almost startled by its crisp blanched white freshness and firm flesh. I did a little tasting swap so I got a nibble too.
I wasn’t going to have dessert as we were dining later that evening and the best way to do this is not to look at the dessert menu. Unfortunately the attentive server knocked that on the head by presenting some fabulous cakes and yes I did enjoy a pecan cake which was deliciously piquant and I didn’t share so much as a crumb.
We dined in the pub itself which imbues a relaxing ambiance. Next time I hope to sample their restaurant upstairs. One could easily tell how good this pub is by the number of people dropping in for lunch. If The Oarsman were in Dublin the queue would be around the corner. There is nothing more delightful that dining in an establishment run by two committed owners, Ronan and Conor and discovering that they genuinely deserve the accolades they have earned, including that of best Gastro Pub in Ireland. Visit their website for opening hours or follow on Twitter @TheOarsman