Driving south to Wicklow, when the M50 downshifts into the N11 and you leave the city sprawl behind, there’s an invisible border when you pass through the Glen of the Downs and you suddenly feel as if you’re a million miles away from it all. Not too far from that line is Druids Glen, nestled between the Irish Sea and the Wicklow Mountains in an idyllic oasis that you’d never guess is only half an hour’s drive from Dublin.
Druids Glen is famous for its golf courses (called ‘the Augusta of Europe’ and ‘nature’s gift to golf’), but I’d been lured down by an invitation to spend a Friday evening tasting Porterhouse craft beers with their master brewer, Peter Mosley, sampling their new menu and touring the Hempenstall family’s Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese operations the next day.
Local celebrity chef Catherine Fulvio has worked with the hotel’s head chef, Dheeraj Ramgoolam, to create some signature dishes for the Druids Brasserie featuring some of the best of Irish produce. On the night I ate there, this included a paper-thin aged Kildare Angus beef carpaccio with Desmond cheese, Wicklow cannon of lamb with Dunlavin black pudding and a truffle mash, and Catherine’s own recipe for a refreshing passion fruit and orange tart. They’ve also recently launched a new wedding package at the hotel featuring an Italian menu that Catherine has designed, bringing a taste of the Mediterranean to the Wicklow countryside.
For more casual options, there’s also classic bar food on offer at The Thirteenth bar in the hotel — with a Guinness tap where you can pull your own pint! — as well as an a la carte menu in the atmospheric 400-year-old Woodstock House, which is now the clubhouse.
Golf isn’t my game — I’ve never so much as held a club — but I’d packed my walking shoes. If you misread the map, like I did, you can leave the grounds and head out to the narrow country lanes with views of the sea and the Sugar Loaf mountain, where fields of rapeseed were in bloom and spring lambs were in the fields. Otherwise, there are walking/jogging trails that loop around the edge of the pretty parkland golf course, ending in the clubhouse — just keep an eye out for golfers teeing off — perfect for walking off the hotel’s big breakfast.
Druids Glen is yet another hotel that’s moving food centre stage by showcasing local food on their menus, making it a win-win for the artisan suppliers as well as the guests and making a meal there something special.
I was a guest of Host PR and Druids Glen Resort for their Partners Evening. Photos have been used courtesy of Host PR. Many thanks to Gillian and Tim of Host PR and Aisling and Richard from Druids Glen Resort for a wonderful stay.