With socially distanced entertaining on the cards for the foreseeable future, there’s every reason to plan ahead and book a table somewhere special. With this in mind, here are 7 of the best private dining experiences for small groups in Ireland, whether you’re planning a special birthday celebration, a wedding or simply looking to swerve another evening of washing the dishes.
Small but perfectly formed, Delahunt’s glass-panelled snug can easily accommodate a cosy party. Located at the back of the Camden St restaurant, this is the perfect spot for a private dining event. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry certainly thought so when they chose the space for their lunch date during their visit to Dublin in 2018. In case you’re wondering, home-smoked salmon, roast hake, sirloin of Irish lamb plus an obligatory pint of Guinness was the order of the day for the royal pair.
Located beneath Dublin’s Writers Museum, in a building that was once home of the Jameson family (yes, they of the whisky), Chapter One has long been regarded as one of the top private dining restaurants in Ireland.
Guests of this One Michelin star restaurant can expect to enjoy a truly memorable experience. Chef Ross Lewis is renowned for working closely with local artisan producers to create his award-winning dishes. Meanwhile, the service, headed up by Danny Desmond, is warm and welcoming and always friendly.
Set on a picture-perfect 300-acre estate in Cong, Co. Mayo, Ashford Castle offers some of the most beautiful venues for private dining in Ireland. Whether you choose the Connaught Room (traditionally reserved for afternoon tea), Cullens at the Cottage (casual dining), opt for bistro-style cuisine in The Dungeon restaurant or a formal sitting at George V restaurant, you can be guaranteed a luxury five-star private dining experience like no other.
The gorgeous ivy-clad Hayfield Manor is located in Cork city and has a range of private dining options fit for any special occasion. As a member of Good Food Ireland, the hotel and its restaurants are committed to championing Irish cuisine and promoting local and artisan food producers in their menus. Overlooking the gardens, Orchids Restaurant provides a scenic backdrop to any celebration, while the elegant surroundings of Perrotts Garden Bistro make it a favourite with Sunday lunch guests.
This 5-star luxury resort overlooks the spectacular Lakes of Killarney and offers guests the option to dine in the cosmopolitan of The Lake Room where the expertise of Executive Head Chef Jakub Jurusik promises to elevate any private dining experience. Meanwhile, The Heights Lounge & Piano Bar is the ideal setting for a casual catch-up over drinks. When the sun is shining, there’s no better spot to enjoy the glorious sight of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mirrored in the Killarney lakes than The View Bar & Terrace.
The team at the Ballyfin Demesne in Co. Laois are passionate about promoting seasonal and local produce from their walled garden and grounds. Private dining guests are invited to arrive from 5.30pm to enjoy the house and demesne before dinner at 7.00pm in the State Dining Room and Van Der Hagan Room.
With celebrity chef Kevin Dundon at the helm, and a thriving cookery school on site, Dunbrody House in Co. Wexford is a dream destination for foodies. Guests can look forward to private dining in The Harvest Room where the seasonal menu makes the most of locally sourced produce. Dundon’s Champagne Seafood Bar provides a cosy venue to enjoy the Dunbrody Classic Afternoon Tea or a fabulous champagne-filled evening celebration.
This list is by no means exhaustive, these are just 7 of the best private dining experiences to enjoy in Ireland – needless to say there are plenty more to be found throughout the country and there’s no time like the present to plan ahead for your next staycation.