Get a taste for Tullamore as you savour the best local produce in cute cafes, idyllic pubs and buzzing restaurants along this stretch of the Grand Canal.
Don’t let the small-town charm fool you – Tullamore packs a punch when it comes to flavour. And the secret for its success? Great local ingredients that range from farmhouse cheeses and chutneys to artisan meats and organic vegetables. It’s all about the quality of the produce here, with delicious soda bread from O’Donohue’s Craft Bakery, gorgeous jams from the Wild Irish Foragers, and, of course, the famous Tullamore D.E.W whiskey, distilled just outside town. Hearty comfort food graces plates in cosy pubs such as The Brewery Tap, Michelin Guide restaurant The Blue Apron wows guests with delicious dishes, and quaint cafes like The Foxy Bean offer tasty baked goods in snug surroundings.
The Blue Apron Restaurant
A favourite with locals and food critics alike, Tullamore's award-winning The Blue Apron Restaurant prides itself on its locally-sourced fare with a European twist. Tasty dishes include the likes of crispy pecan chicken, pan-fried monkfish and poached spiced pear with Cashel Blue salad. The wine list's great, the atmosphere is relaxed and the friendly staff are a great source of advice on what's good on any given day. Just make sure to leave room for dessert.
This family-run boutique restaurant and guest-house is a bustling hotspot in Birr town. Old meets new in terms of décor with a mix of country design and modern touches. Be warned – portions are very generous and include tasty steaks, lamb shanks, pan-fried hake and a good selection of vegetarian dishes. Hang around afterwards and enjoy a pint – if you're lucky there may be a traditional music session in full swing.
The Brewery Tap
Ask any local around Tullamore town for their favourite pub and most will fondly say "the Tap". It's a fabulous place to enjoy a hearty meal by day and a music session by night in the charming atmosphere of a traditional pub. This is the kind of pub packed with curious knick knacks – and the bar staff are happy to tell you about the stories behind each of them! On weekend nights, the fun lasts into the wee hours, with live DJs and a great mix of locals and tourists letting their hair down.
There's nothing like a hot cup of coffee to fuel you on your adventures, and Chocolate Brown in Tullamore is the perfect place to stop and indulge. As the name suggests, the place has a love for all things sweet, so muffins, cakes and pastries are a big part of the menu. For the perfect blend of both, the mocha is highly recommended. While a selection of freshly made sandwiches and wraps are served with a smile.
Bridge House Hotel
Right at the heart of Tullamore sits the Bridge House Hotel. There's a host of dining options here – from a light lunch in the intimate Library Bar to carvery dinners in the Bridge House Bar. Snack on pub grub and enjoy the live music scene which shakes up the bar area most evenings. And at the top of the sweeping marble staircase in the hotel area you'll find the delectable Balcone Italiano restaurant where freshly baked pizzas and pasta dishes make up the menu. For a more retro experience, dine at Char Bistro where tasty meals are served up under ambient lighting amid vintage style furnishings.
In the heart of Ireland far away from the coast, you may be surprised to find a restaurant with a generous offering of seafood. Tullamore's Captain House is a seafood lover's dream, complete with maritime décor and a huge aquarium display that will make you feel like you're on a pirate set. Mussels, seabass, seafood paella and calamari are just some of the options on the menu, while vegetarian and meat lovers alike are equally catered for. Pair all that with super-friendly staff and you're onto a winner.
The Foxy Bean
For such a new café, the Foxy Bean's reputation precedes it. This great little cafe sits snugly next to Tullamore River in the centre of town, and serves up delicious coffee, tasty paninis and riverside views thanks to lovely square-paned windows. You'll find a sizable selection of gluten-free goodies along with pancakes topped with maple syrup and blueberries, French toast and eggs Benedict. It's the perfect way to start your day of sightseeing.