The Meyrick Hotel sits at the bottom of Eyre Square, dominating one side and looking very imposing and elegant. The hotel has been here since 1862, when it was built by the predecessor of Irish Rail, and became famous as the Great Southern. In the last few years it has been renovated, and recently the Gaslight Bar has had a complete makeover, as has the basement Number 15 restaurant. It was dinner here that prompted the visit, a couple of weeks after Paolo raved about their sister hotel, The G.
From the outside the Meyrick is the epitomy of grandeur and elegance, the large windows are in perfect proportion, and the grey granite building has been cleaned and looks as good as it probably did when it was gleaming and new. Inside the reception area is a surprise, it is painted in dark grey and modern pieces of furniture are dotted about. There are some good paintings in the walls and the contrast of old and new works very well.
The reception is off to the right, afternoon tea is served in the lounge ahead, and off to the left is the new Gaslight Bar. It’s a good idea to have a drink here at least as the room is a delight. The large windows let in streams of evening light, and afford lovely views of the square beyond. The bar is a square in the centre and the room is laid out around it. Light coloured paintwork and tiles give it an elegant, clean feeling and the food menu is varied, without being overly long, and offers great value for money, in what is, lest we forget, Galway’s premier four star hotel. Bowl of mussels will set you back €14, a seafood platter for one is €12.75 and there are a selection of sandwiches, including a very nice pulled pork for €8.95.
The main restaurant, No. 15 is in the basement, but it is a light and spacious room with the open plan kitchen dominating the back wall. The kitchen teams’ hard work adds a bit of action, and the tables are set with crisp linen and sparkling stemware and cutlery. The room is divided into sections, so each smaller area seems busy, and the staff are attentive and prompt. The menu again is short, there are eight starters and main courses, and the prices are more than reasonable. Starters are all under a tenner, and the main courses offer some in the teens, and mostly barely break twenty; the silver Hill duck is on at €21; this is a dish I usually see in the late twenties.
It seemed almost rude not to have the Oysters and I had a half dozen plump mollusc’s with a shallot vinaigrette and a bottle of Tabasco, just to be sure. They came on crushed ice and were a perfect start to any meal. There may be no cooking involved here, but there is careful selection; and that was obviously done.
Main course brought me the aforementioned Silver hill duck, a roast supreme with pancetta and fresh thyme stuffing, with a crème the peche (peach liquor) sauce. I found room for dessert and a chestnut and pear mille feuille did the job, as did some fine coffee.
The Meyrick is an old classic, given a fresh and vibrant feel with its new additions. What hasn’t changed is the warm welcome and the friendly and helpful staff, who make a visit a real pleasure. It would be difficult to explore Galway from a finer base; this is a piece of history that is writing its own new chapters. Make a visit.