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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 24 October 2020

'Sit on the pier and tuck in': 7 seaside chippers around Ireland that are worth the drive

Caroline Hennessy on the spots serving up the freshest fish, the crispiest chips and the best views.

Fisherman's Catch serving up fresh fish and chips in Clogherhead, Co Louth
Fisherman's Catch serving up fresh fish and chips in Clogherhead, Co Louth
Image: FacebookFisherman's Catch

IN A WORLD OF super-cool taco trucks and farmer’s markets, let’s not forget the classic seaside chipper.

It’s the place that cheers up small, sandy, almost-sunburnt children when they don’t want to leave the sea, the spot that brings comfort on a wet, rainy togs-and-raincoats beach day, and the relaxed feeding place of choice for those who don’t want to get properly dressed and go indoors for food.

Then there’s the fact that chips, super salty and vinegar-soaked, always taste best eaten in the sea air. Here are seven beloved seaside chippers around the country to get your chips-with-a-view fix this summer – and what else to do while you’re in the area…

1. Reel Dingle Fish, Dingle, Co Kerry

Reel Dingle Fish is one of the West’s true destination chippers. There’s an impressive line up of McKennas’ Guide plaques over the door and even as you queue (you’ll always queue) to order, you already know that you’re somewhere special.

Everything is sourced locally and there’s no freezer so it’s all made fresh and cooked to order. Wait for your order to be ready (don’t forget the incredible homemade tartare sauce), and then stroll to the harbour and sit to watch the sun drop into the sea across Dingle Bay. Bonus points if you spot Fungi the dolphin frollicking.

2. Julia’s Lobster Truck, Burren, Co Clare

Julia Hemmingway is the brains (and the name) behind Julia’s Lobster Truck, serving up unmissable hand cut chips alongside her superb fresh lobster rolls and Flaggy Shore oysters. She’s a movable feast, posting on social media about her weekend locations, so check ahead and plan accordingly.

If you can catch her in her Kinvara spot outside Tully’s Bar, you’re only a few minutes walk from the picturesque Dunguaire Castle, which has a lovely grassy area out the front for summertime lazing. Beware though, you’ll probably end up appearing in the background of the Insta-perfect photos of several tourists.

3. Morton’s Fish & Chips, Ballycastle, Co Antrim 

Love Game of Thrones? Fairhead Cliffs on the Causeway Coast in Co Antrim made a cameo appearance in Season 7. Before you get there, stop at Ballycastle, home of Morton’s Fish & Chips, just ten minutes’ west.

The unprepossessing waterfront chippy (we’re in NI now, and that’s the lingo here) has its fresh cut chips – “normally Maris Piper” – delivered each morning from a local farm in Limavady. The local crab cakes are legendary and they even have a gluten free-batter option. Wrap up that precious package, head for Fairhead Cliffs and, as you devour your food, wonder if Daenerys was just trying to get her hands on a decent bag of chips when she put ashore at Dragonstone.

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4. Fisherman’s Catch, Clogherhead Pier, Co Louth

Before there was a chipper, there was a fresh fish shop and, before that, there was a 160-year, four-generation history of fishing off Clogherhead. The Kirwin family take their food seriously and when they opened their fish and chip van last summer it was with a fully locally sourced menu, including Oriel Sea Salt which is harvested nearby.

The fish is straight off their own boat, and you can pair your chips with freshly shucked oysters or bring your own mug for a serving of homemade chowder. The chipper, open on weekends only, has been a runaway success, with families spending the day on Clogherhead beach then walking to the headland for supper.  If it’s dry, there are outside benches, and a marquee has just arrived for the more inclement days. 

62399745_2345485442185487_6299440236829081600_n Source: Facebook/Fisherman's Catch Fish Shop

5. Henry & Rose, Bray, Co Wicklow

The Bray Head Cliff Walk has some of the most spectacular scenery on the East Coast and it’s one that is suitable for walkers of all abilities. Start at Greystones and follow the 7km track to Bray, stopping as you come around the Head to appreciate the perfect view of this quintessential seaside town, before you hot foot it to Henry & Rose.

Load your chips (cooked in beef dripping for the best flavour) with garlic sauce, don’t forget to order a chocolate milkshake, and then head for the old school Victorian promenade to relax and enjoy your seaside feast. Oh, and if you decide to stick around to take in some of Bray’s late night highlights, Henry & Rose stays open until 3.30am. Just saying.

58378190_2816087055085203_4093026132834648064_o Source: Facebook/HenryAndRose

6. AndChips, Dungarvan, Co Waterford

“We’re not your average chipper” says Dungarvan’s AndChips. It’s a bold statement but they have the chops (and chips) to follow it up. Set up by dynamic chef Eunice Power in April 2019, the fish, chicken and beef are all locally sourced, the spice bag is already a legend, and this is one of the few spots where you can dip your chips into béarnaise mayonnaise. And you’ll definitely need that, if you’ve just landed in the door after cycling all 46km of the Waterford Greenway.

Stagger across the road with your warm bundle – all in environmentally friendly packaging – and set up your eating station on the sun-soaked quay side.  

7. The Fish Basket, Long Strand, Co Cork

There’s no shortage of great beaches and good food in West Cork. When you get the two together, then it’s a match made for summertime. Long Strand is exactly what it says on the tin: a gloriously long, sandy stretch of a beach, just perfect for walking off a meal – or building up an appetite for top class chips at the distinctive matt black structure in the sand dunes that is The Fish Basket. Get your meal to go (the mushy peas are a must), head for the beach and sit back to enjoy the big skies of this great Atlantic view.

More: 7 unmissable stops for an ice cream around Ireland – and what else to check out when you park up>

About the author:

Caroline Hennessy

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