The Abbey Hotel in Roscommon has passed through three generations of the Grealy family since they opened in 1962. Located on the outskirts of the town it is a very beautiful and popular destination for weddings, a family getaway or a really good meal.
When an invitation came through the post a couple of weeks ago inviting us to attend an exclusive press event showcasing one of our favourite destinations, the 4* Abbey Hotel in Roscommon, the date was immediately put into the diary
Located on the outskirts of the town it is a very beautiful and popular destination for weddings having been finalists for Wedding Venue of the Year Connaught 2015, a family getaway or a really good meal. There are several dining options within the hotel, from their bar menus to the a la carte in the restaurant where they have won the best hotel restaurant in Roscommon for the past two consecutive years as well as being a recent winner of a Restaurant Association of Ireland Best Customer Service Award
The dining room is located to the rear of the hotel, overlooking the private manicured gardens and the ruins of the old Dominican priory which dates back to 1253. This stunning room has high ceilings, fantastic Rococo plasterwork on the ceiling and large picture windows ranged around the room. The draped curtains and burgundy coloured carpets give an air of decadence. The staff go out of their way to make everyone’s experience a good one while there is always a member of the family ensuring everybody is made to feel welcome
Guests were welcomed to the hotel with a champagne and canapés reception in the main bar. Tom and Geraldine Grealy welcomed everyone on arrival and the atmosphere was terrific and the press reception and flowing wine got the night off to a good start. Of course, following on was an impressive 5 course dinner which was prepared by Abbey Chefs Mark Treacy and Alison Crean,
The menu for the evening was carefully chosen to showcase the skills of Mark, Alison and the team. With a choice of six tantalizing dishes to start including goat’s cheese filo parcel, a tian of crabmeat and melon, Abbey chicken salad or chicken and black pudding croquettes. There was a further eight mains including Castlemine Farm lamb, Thornhill duck breast, a seared fillet of beef or baked Atlantic salmon.
I started with salmon & prawn salad, presented beautifully with Mill House Farm leaves on a bed of mustard & chive potato salad; it was light, fresh and full of flavour. Other appetisers to make their way to the table were an excellently presented crabmeat salad garnished with melon and pink grapefruit, which showcased the delicate fish perfectly. Our daughter had the warm cream of tomato and roast red pepper soup, which she thought was very good.
For my main course I chose grilled fresh sea bass; two succulent pieces of grilled fish placed on a bed of butternut and fennel puree plus a chive and beure Blanc sauce; perfectly cooked fish treated with respect and let sing its own praises. Fred thoroughly enjoyed the seared rack of lamb served with parsnip, rosemary and sweet potato Dauphinoise with a red wine demi glaze. Again, cooked perfectly pink and what was wonderful was the simplicity of the dishes, where the skill of the chef plays through sourcing the finest of ingredients locally and allowing them to speak for themselves
When it came to dessert the boat was really pushed out and Alison Crean presented a decadent chocolate truffle torte, a New York cheesecake, a caramelized cinnamon and honey crème brulee or a selection of Irish cheeses.
Dinner finished with teas and coffees with a plate of Roscommon chocolates and a couple of words from Tom Grealy, Manager at the Hotel and fourth generation member of the family. It was a first time trip to the Abbey for some of the invited press, including Irish Times Features Writer Patrick Freyne, Irish Tatler Man Editor Domhnall O'Donoghue and Noelle Kelly Deputy Editor Woman’s Way Magazine.
We all retired to the bar for after dinner drinks and enjoyed the good company, with many of those present promising themselves a return trip for a Spring break between deadlines.