Liam Mulcahy reviews McAlpin's Suir Inn, Cheekpoint
I've been a frequent visitor to the picturesque seaside village of Dunmore East for many years. This a working fishing port so activity is constant all day long but I prefer to relax on the beach near the renowed Strand Inn in the Lower Village - weather permitting.
It's a popular destination for all sorts of people and you never know who you'll bump into.
One day, when I was taking it easy, I spied out of the corner of my eye a former journalist friend turned politician who happened to be on holiday there with his children and his wife. And there were more surprises in store!
One sunny afternoon we headed off to McAlpin's Suir Inn which is situated on the harbour front at Cheekpoint near the confluence of the Rivers Barrow, Nore and the Suir.
As we drove along the roads of East Waterford, I suggested to my colleague and our respective spouses that you never know what could be around the next corner - in fact, there might even be a cruise liner.
Two minutes later, as we rounded the bend leading down to Cheekpoint, an imposing cruise liner loomed larger than life and everyone was amazed at how I could have predicted this. Of course, what I hadn't told them was that I had seen the liner earlier at Waterford port and knew it would be making its return sooner or later.
Anyway, so began an evening of good food, great craic and much talk of days gone by.
Known for its excellent seafood, the 300-year-old McAlpin's Suir Inn is situated in beautiful, scenic surroundings seven miles from Waterford city. You cannot pre-book - just queue on the quayside, relax with a drink, reflect on life and wait - things could be a lot worse!
After a wait of about ten minutes, we were inside the door and the atmosphere felt electric.
'Known for its seafood, the 300-year-old McAlpin's Suir Inn is situated in beautiful, scenic surroundings, seven miles from Waterford'
Food is served from 6pm to 9.45pm and the friendly staff coped well on what proved to be a very busy night. A few minutes after sitting down, a waitress came over to us, took our drinks order and apologised for the fact that we wouldn't have a table for about 10 minutes. No problem!
The menu at McAlpin's is quite extensive. For starters, Denise had the shrimp and prawn cocktail while her hubbie Conor had mussels in garlic butter. My wife Anne had the shrimp cocktail and I tried the hot smoked mackerel with salad. Of course, we all sampled each other's dishes in order to taste the delights on offer.
The ladies had a bottle of the house white which, they assured me, was medium dry and fruity. Conor, meanwhile, had a pint of Heineken and I, as the nominated driver for the evening, was stuck with the still water - River Nure 2004. An excellent vintage I can assure you!
For the main course we all had the seafood pie, which contained salmon, cod, prawns and shrimps and was topped with a cheese and potato crust.
Another bottle of the house white was ordered, another pint of Heineken and once again, it was more spring water for me. The food without exception was excellent - in fact, it was so good that we were too full for dessert.
We did make room for some coffee, however, and following that, made our return to Dunmore in the late evening for a quiet drink at the Strand Inn.
The rotating light from the Hook Lighthouse was by now a familiar sight to us as we walked back to where we were staying.
Our bill for the evening at the Suir Inn was €166 for the four of us, which in our estimation was very good value for the relaxing evening and pleasant food we'd had.
We'll definitely be back.