Rowan Tree Hostel
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St Tola Cheese


So many visitors to the Rowan Tree Hostel come for the history, discovering ancient Ireland at every stop. Some come for the photo opps, catching nature at its best – while others just come for the craic and they’re never disappointed! And now we’re thrilled to be welcoming a new kind of guest at the hostel, with an appetite for the deliciously different and temptingly tasty! More and more, fabulous foodies are finding their hunger satisfied by the local Irish culinary delights that Clare has to offer – and Rowan Tree is perfectly placed for you to help yourself to it all!

Nestled in the heart of Ennis, Rowan Tree is right on the doorstep of The Burren – a vast national park famous for its limestone pavement and megalithic tombs. But the area is also much-loved as ‘nature’s larder’ – because of the wonderful array of local foods and ingredients grown and produced here. Bringing to life the ethic of ‘from farm to fork’, The Burren Food Trail is a great way to sample a kind of ‘natural smorgasbord.’ And whether it’s fresh salmon, crunchy vegetables or rich artisanal chocolate, you’ll discover a host of gems to suit every taste and interest.

From your convenient base here at Rowan Tree Hostel, the Burren Food Trail is a must - and there are 5 different routes to choose from - the Garden Market Trail, Farm to Fork, Taste of the Ocean, the Burren Cheese Trail, and the Nature Child Trail. Or you might prefer to just dip in and out of the routes as you go. Starting out from Ennis and just up the road in Inagh, is the legendary St Tola Organic Goat Cheese Farm. Run by Siobhan Ni Gharbhith, the farm has been producing handmade cheeses since the early 1980’s – and the St Tola range is now among the most sought-after artisan products in Ireland.

Continuing on the theme of cheese, a good next stop is The Cheese Press in Ennistymon. Owned by Sinead Ni Gharbhith – sister of St Tola founder, Siobhan – this fabulous, 5-star treasure offers a magnificent array of locally-produced cheeses, breads and other deli treats, and is just outstanding! Trust us, you’ll love it.

If you’re heading to the Cliffs of Moher, an ideal stop is The Copper Pot in Liscannor – a charming French patisserie serving artisanal pastries, cakes and pizzas. A local hero busy taking The Burren by storm is new Anam coffee – a small artisan company that imports the best, sustainably-produced raw coffee beans and roasts them by hand at their small roastery in The Burren. Sample it at The Copper Pot – coffee aficionados will be spoiled for life!

No West Clare food trail would be complete without a visit to the famous, award-winning Burren Smokehouse. Here, owner and master fish smoker Peter Curtin produces the most delicious smoked salmon, trout and locally caught mackerel – combining raw ingredients with expertise, traditional methods and patience. There are also many proprietary creations on offer – such as Hot Smoked Salmon with honey, lemon and dill or pepper, infused with delicate oaky flavour, or cold smoked salmon with seaweed flakes. Next door at the visitor centre you can also learn more about the fish smoking process – and purchase some delicious take-home treats.

Of course, what better way to end off a day of foodie exploration than by sampling some of its highlights back at your accommodation in Ennis. At Rowan Tree Hostel we are very proud owners of Rowan Tree Cafe Bar – a restaurant right next door to the hostel which is supplied by many of the Burren food producers. The café is loved for its deliciously-tantalising, modern, international menu – using local ingredients in fresh, creative ways. So call in for lunch or dinner and taste Burren Smoke House salmon, St Tola cheese and farm-reared, traditionally-produced meat prepared in style.

So all the more reason to add County Clare and Rowan Tree Hostel onto your foodie bucket list. So make your hostel reservations, come hungry - and help yourself!