Destination Tea: Dromoland Castle

Where: Newmarket-On-Fergus, County Clare, Ireland
Style:  Castle resort
Tea Selection:  18+ loose leaf teas
Teatimes:  Feb.-Nov., Daily 1-4
Reservations:  Highly recommended
Contact:  800-346-7007
Cost: €29+ Mrs. White’s Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tips: Dress up and prepare to luxuriate. If you are staying at sister hotel The Inn at Dromoland, there is a paved walking path that cuts through the golf course to reach the castle in about ten minutes.exterior Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland

Destination Tea Notes:  On occasion, I have been known to say “wow-wow-wooey,” and now only slightly apologize for using such an informal turn of speech in describing our reaction to the elegant Dromoland Castle. The ancestral home of Irish royals, Dromoland Castle was transformed into a resort hotel in the ’60s and is now actually Irish-American owned. The historic, majestic backdrop of the castle lends the ritual of taking tea an authentic air. All things served are excellent, from well-executed teatime standards to locally sourced unique flavor combinations. Servers are just as happy to answer questions as to leave us to our leisure. A piano gently plays. The Dromoland Castle afternoon tea experience, full of delicious lavishness and regal ambiance, ranks as one of our all-time favorites.

hallway at Dromoland Castle
Royal reds and golds guide your chandelier-lit approach
afternoon tea room at Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland
The rooms where afternoon tea is taken are appointed with a balance of light and dark tones, and classic touches like fireplaces, ornate crown molding, gilded mirrors, floor-to-ceiling drapery and to our delight, a pianist.
afternoon tea at Dromoland Castle
The rooms feel intimate and grand all at once.

Tea Service

china pattern, tea menu at Dromoland Castle
I derive much joy from the little details in life, and so must compliment Dromoland on carrying over their china pattern onto their printed menus and teapot markers. It hints that we are the guests of attentive, exacting hosts.
silver teaset at Dromoland Castle
Silver tea set and summer garden china pattern
tea is poured at Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland
Each guest has her own branded Dromoland Castle teapot with identifying tag (love this idea), and strainer. Though we would prefer that the kitchen steep and strain black teas to prevent them from overbrewing at the table, it doesn’t stop us from delighting in our Dromoland house blend, Irish Whiskey Cream and Milky Oolong teas we share around the table.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

afternoon tea trays at Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland
Feast your eyes on these curates, and try and believe this: our server brings us a variety of 7 sandwiches and invites us to request more of our favorites. I enjoin myself to attempt moderation.
tea sandwiches at Dromoland Castle
Outstanding tea sandwiches include turkey, lettuce, cheese and stuffing wrap; shrimp cocktail with sundried tomatoes and chives; beef slider with horseradish; egg mayo (aka egg salad) with watercress; Galway salmon with capers on homemade brown bread (aka whole wheat); bruschetta with mozzarella, Parma ham and tomato salsa; Limerick ham and white cheddar cheese with onion-tomato chutney; and bruschetta with blue cheese mousse and red onion marmalade. Incredibly, we do not request reinforcements of the blue cheese mousse and mozzarella-ham-tomato bruschettas (the table favorites). Our motives are not so pure:  we have seen the dessert tray.
scones at Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland
The traditional is done well here. Plain scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam are just right.
afternoon tea desserts at Dromoland Castle
It is always a special treat when a pastry chef crafts desserts beyond our imaginings or skill level. Dromoland Castle’s sweet offerings include chocolate mousse tartlet with toasted meringue; orange passionfruit and chocolate délice cake with raspberry meringue domes; chocolate choux pastry with butterscotch glaze; opera cake, vanilla panna cotta, (and not pictured) butterscotch cupcake, lime and chocolate macaron, and orange and lime battenburg cake with marzipan frosting.
DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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