By the time we left it was late in the evening, so we packed our overnight bags into the car as quick as we could in the biting winds and lashing rain, kissed everyone goodbye, and put the wipers on full speed. Temperatures had plummeted from the previous week and anything that wasn't nailed down literally took flight!
It was the perfect night for a country pub with a roaring fire, and luckily that was exactly where we were headed.
We pulled up outside Riverbank to the welcoming glow of lamps and candlelight and when we pushed open the door all was finally calm - and warm! The fire practically hugged us hello, and the smoky scent from the hearth was urging us to pull up a stool and order a pint (or a glass of wine!). We didn't need much more of an invitation than that and quickly dropped off our bags and coats (in our gorgeous room) and went straight back down to the bar where we ordered our favourite tipple to acclimatise our new surroundings!
Riverbank has the most warm and welcoming feel.
We sipped our drinks and chose our food at the bar before settling down at our table for a delicious meal with the fire crackling in the background.
We started with the sticky pork ribs in Brehon Brewhouse & red onion marmalade, and Thai fish cakes with lemon, dill and crème fraîche.
Followed by hearty braised lamb shank and duck with confit potato, braised red cabbage and orange & port sauce.
We could barely fit in dessert but couldn't resist sharing the apple pie.
Historic reminders from the pub of bygone days hang proudly on the walls and tell a story of a public house overlooking the river Glyde that has been in the Byrne family for over four generations.
The next morning, loaded with magazines and our kindles, we headed downstairs for breakfast.
The pub was set up for the first meal of the day and we tucked into one of the nicest breakfasts.
Fresh berries with yogurt.
Kilbeggan organic porridge with fresh cream, whiskey, brown sugar, and berries (berries definitely cancels out the splash of whiskey in there!).
Followed by scrambled and poached eggs, and another pot of coffee - I'd brought a lot of magazines to read!
Loughlainn Byrne, the proprietor, who runs riverbank with his wife Barbara, came over and chatted with us and showed us the newly converted barn that has become a hugely popular wedding destination.
As we walked to the barn we passed a charming wooden porch just off the bar that I hadn't seen the previous night, which would be perfect for sipping morning coffee and taking in the views during the summer months.
Riverbank is a unique guest house. A place where - as soon as you step through the door - you automatically relax. It's a place where you almost unintentionally feel like you want to unplug and treat yourself to a digital detox. There is wifi, by the way, if you're not into the screen-free vibe like us! But while we were there we happily ate, drank, read and pretended we were living a decade ago and chatted to each other instead of getting distracted by twitter and Instagram!
The pub is a gem and the hospitality was as warm as the greeting we got the previous night from the fire.
It's a place we can't wait to visit again, and come to think of it a nice little Christmas gift idea for someone special. I'm really good at giving gift ideas by the way (especially to David!). In fact, that's just given me an idea for a blog post!