I am a big fan of Afternoon Tea. Okay so its not something I partake of regularly but when I want to treat myself and and feel a little bit special I like nothing better than to take Afternoon Tea. Think Miss Marple and grand houses and you are getting the idea. Its a little bit of high society at and accessible price.
Mount Juliet has a wonderful Afternoon Tea. It offers the usual afternoon tea fare of dainty cakes and sandwiches along with scones, cream and preserves The tea and coffee are served in silver pots and the tea is, of course, made from tea leaves. The surroundings have all the old world charm of a beautifully maintained country manor and the staff are courteous and polite. Although you do not need to dress up, you might as well.
The Hotel is best accessed by car or taxi, as the main road from Thomastown is not walkable due to the large volume of traffic and narrow nature of the road. This may be a nice thing to combine with a visit to Jerpoint Abbey which is just near the turn for Mount Juliet along the N9.
Mount Juliet is one of the most wonderful, secluded and peaceful places to stop for lunch.
As you drive through the meandering estate, watching the horses graze lazily, you find an anticipation of delight building at its own momentum.
There are several eateries both in the golf clubhouse and in the the main house itself. As I wasn't particularly hungry I opted to eat in the bar of the mansion.
A liveried doorman greeted me as I walked through the front doors. A red carpet was laid out, presumably for a wedding, but I still managed to feel the thrill.
I walked to the bar, admiring the elegant decor and exquisite antiques along the way.
The bar itself has one main room into which it opens - decorated like a horsey man's study, it is fascinating to observe the wall decorated entirely in a large woodden series of plaques detailing the money the McCalmont family (original owners of the estate) made from their horses.
There are two other rooms leading off this one, both elegantly comfortable sitting rooms with giant log fires, but I decided to stay in the bar. I chose a seat by the window and gazed out at the frosty landscape. I was the only one there.
Favorite Dish: I ordered a fillet steak sandwich, a coffee, and some sparkling water. The bar table was quickly transformed into a linen and silver set lunch table. The food followed without delay. The steak sandwich was more than plentiful, with the perfectly rare fillet steak diced and served in a crisp ciabatta bread, garnished with wild mushrooms, onion, scallions, a little garlic, and mixed leaves. There was a small side salad of more mixed leaves and a big bowl of chunky home made type fries.
Instead of a meagre cup of coffee, I was delighted to be served a large silver pot of fragrant freshly ground blend.
My waitress returned twice to see if I was alright. I could not have been better.
I sat there more or less undisturbed for two hours. A man read a newspaper before the log fire in the next room. There wasn't a sound.
This gourmet bar lunch with coffee and moneral water cost a mere €22. Not a lot considering the service and the surroundings.
I can hardly wait to return.
Bus Eireann and Kavanagh's Coachs run a regular bus service to and from Thomastown along the N9. The route services Waterford, Carlow, Naas and Dublin as well as some smaller locations along the route.
For the Bus Eireann times:
For Kavanaghs look for Dublin-Waterford timetable:
Kavanaghs are a privately owned company and often have nicer newer buses. They also have the added bonus of taking you to the airport in Dublin (is extra but can be purchases at time of buying ticket. They are white.
Bus Eireann is a semi-state company. Their buses have a wine stripe along the side with the symbol of a Red Setter Dog along the side.
Both offer similar service at regular times, HOWEVER THEIR TICKETS ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE! Tickets can be bought at the local shop beside the bus stop and timetables are also available there too. Keep the numbers for their information lines handy and make sure to check what services will be running on public holidays.