Pauline Carey has run Carey’s Viking House Hotel for the past 11 years and has gradually put her mark on it. It now means different things to different people; the pub to the locals, a get away to guests who want to explore the remotest and probably most breathtaking parts of Donegal, and a great restaurant to all. Located at the top of the hill in the village of Kincasslagh, it is a great base for discovering the North West.
The hotel is small and friendly, with 12 rooms. It was previously owned by singer Daniel O’Donnell, who still lives locally. The restaurant has only recently been refurbished and on entering through the double doors from the bar there is an Americana theme, with classic prints on the wall, while striking patterned red curtains form a backdrop. The surroundings are casual with seating informal and relaxing.
The dinner menu is great value at €29.95 for 3 courses plus tea/coffee and if you book in advance you receive a complimentary glass of house wine. The menu does change weekly serving the freshest ingredients in season. Starters include a combination of duck crackers and mini spring rolls, a homemade seafood chowder or a dish of potato wedges served with bacon & prawns in a creamy white wine sauce. Main courses include chicken cord en bleu served with garlic mushroom sauce, half roasted duck served in orange & cranberry sauce or a pan fried sirloin served with a pepper sauce.
The wine list was short and well priced with house wines from €16, going up to €20 for a Pinot Grigio Veneto villa Teresa, while there was also a ½ bottle of Paulita for €11 and, of course, the option of drinks from the bar.
This time we started with the homemade seafood chowder and the breaded garlic mussels served with a tossed salad. The seafood here is as you’d expect, locally sourced and morning fresh and both starters were flavoursome and well made. For the main course I ordered the monkfish which had been pan fried and came with a brandy & tarragon sauce, which worked very well with the meaty fish, while himself had the pan fried sirloin, cooked medium rare as requested, and all mains came with a selection of potatoes and vegetables.
The desserts were all freshly prepared and at only €5 each would be too good not to try, and while tempted with a choice of crème caramel, bread & butter pudding, and crepe suzette, we decided upon the apple pie with cream and the baileys & brown bread ice cream.
After dinner most people seem to retire to the bar and one thing you can be sure of in Carey’s is craic and a good sing song with the locals, so if you’re looking for somewhere in the northwest yet undiscovered, a place to lay your head, good food and to be made feel right at home with the locals Carey’s is your spot.