The Mernagh family of Killiane Castle understand hospitality, and they understand cooking. Put these two fundamentals to work together in this lovely house – which does, indeed, have its own castle tower – and you have one of the finest destinations in Ireland’s South-East.
First, the hospitality. Paul Mernagh and his family have that quiet charm, which hides extreme efficiency and the ability to do a million things all at the same time, and which makes you feel welcome from the moment you walk through the door.
And then there is the cooking. Fusing elements of Irish domestic cooking with a touch of Corbon Bleu, and using ingredients grown out in the fields of the castle, this cooking is powerfully tasty and delicious: honestly, it is worth the trip to Killiane just to eat the potatoes and carrots, because they give you the true flavours of the Sunny South-East. But spuds and carrots are just the accompaniments to some really elegant and singular cooking: superb goat’s cheese salad; perfectly cooked fresh cod with caper and lemon butter; Wexford strawberries with basil pavlova. The quality of the baking is just as fine as the savoury cooking, so fresh breads and scones are beautifully executed and, if dinner is excellent, then breakfast may be even better: there really is no better start to the day.
And do not forget to buy a jar of their superb Killiane Castle honey as you leave, saying goodbye to Paul and the family, and vowing to return. And return is what you most certainly will, because there is nowhere quite like Killiane Castle.