Tony Parker has created a little oasis just outside of Kilcock in co Kildare. His ambitious, and quite mad, seven year transformation of his barn into a posh weekend retreat that wouldn't be out of place in New Hampshire is a triumph of vision over common sense, and shoes that if you have the passion and patience, just about anything is possible.
The barn now provides luxury accommodation in the heart of the countryside, they do photography and creative writing courses and organise dinners for groups who can either be a large single group, or a disparate collection of people staying in the luxury accommodation and sharing an evening together at the long dining table, before moving to the comfortable sofas and sharing life stories with no longer strangers. It's actually a lot of fun.
Tony does the cooking himself, and while not a trained chef he is a passionate cook who has some skills. I am not even sure we should be comparing the barn to a restaurant, it's more like going around to a dinner party at a friend’s house, and meeting extended friends you don't know.
The menu changes with each evening, but on our visit we had a choice of home made terrine, pan roasted pigeon breast on a mushroom risotto or homemade pâté and brioche. So you see, it's more master chef than come dine we me.
The terrine and the pigeon were both very good, and we simply didn't try the pâté. The selection of brads would pit a bakery to shame, and we tried the brioche, a crispy rook and home made soda, which we all very good.
Main courses impressed with pan fried venison, organic chicken or salmon. Again these were well made dishes, and if I have again misgivings, it's that tony perhaps does too much, but that's a luxury problem, and the evening, food and company were lovely.
The barn is a breath of fresh air, so book it with a few friends and create your own memorable dinner party of lovely surroundings. A great fun night away.