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Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Two Hotels in Ireland That Treat Gluten-Free Guests Like Royalty
Are you planning a trip to Ireland any time soon? If so, please check out the featured review this week on the Gluten-Free Travel Site. A family friend has been doing a lot of traveling both pre- and post-Celiac diagnose so her insight about places to stay and dine are very thorough and insightful. Her reviews are specifically about the Killarney Avenue Hotel and the Mespil Hotel in Dublin.

Featured Review: September 2009

Two Hotels in Ireland That Treat Gluten-Free Guests Like Royalty

Celiac Friendly Hotels in Ireland – On vacation, we stayed in five hotels in Ireland during April 2009. Trafalgar booked them all as part of our tour. About 3 weeks before departure, when I received our trip package, I emailed each hotel informing them of the dates I would be their guest and of my dietary needs. I asked for acknowledgements in response to my email to assure safe eating at least at breakfast each day. Two of the hotels deserve special recognition for their professionalism and attentiveness to my diet requirements, not restricted to Celiac Gluten-Free.

Killarney Avenue Hotel

Location: Kenmare Place (in town centre facing the Golden Gate entrance to Killarneys National Park), Killarney County, Kerry, IRELAND
Phone: Tel: +353 (0) 64 21100
Reserva: +353 (0) 64 21111
FAX:+ 353 (0) 64 31755
Trip Type: Group tour of Ireland with Trafalgar Tours
Travel Dates: April 2009
Review Posted: August 2009

KILLARNEY AVENUE HOTEL in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland – The tour included breakfast and dinner in this hotel. For both meals, Restaurant Manager Norman reserved a separate table for me and my husband, at Chef Khairul’s request. The chef came to meet us, saying he was responsible for us and wanted to ensure the best for our dining experience. He and his staff took every precaution to avert cross-contamination. Both meals were delightfully varied, fully flavorful, served attractively and in complete compliance with safe gluten-free requirements. We were told they hosted 35 Celiacs (Coeliacs) not long ago so all staff members were aware of Coeliac and safe food handling and the consequences if not followed carefully. I soon knew I was in a truly “safe” environment for my food concerns.

The Killarney Avenue Hotel was a true joy, not having to question every ingredient or method each step of the way. Every staff member exhibited understanding and courteous compliance in a friendly, professional manner. During our dining visits, the manager came several times to our table to assure that all things were well and the chef came to our table to discuss how he prepared for my arrival. They made me feel completely at home away from home. In addition, I let them know what a superb job they do.

Upon arrival at Killarney Avenue Hotel, I was handed a list of what I could safely eat. Items which were either on the menu or would be prepared for me while I was their guest. They were terrific in every aspect. They fully addressed every one of my diet concerns, the first time, every time we dined with them.

Around the corner from the Killarney Avenue Hotel was Murphy's, a safe, fresh ice cream shop to indulge in unusual and regular flavors as a Celiac. Yummy!

One other hotel we stayed at on our tour also deserves special recognition for their professionalism and attentiveness to my diet requirements, and that was the Mespil Hotel in Dublin County, Dublin, Ireland.

Mespil Hotel

Location: Baggot Street Bridge on Mespil Road, Dublin 4, in County Dublin, IRELAND
Phone: Tel: +353 1 488 4600
FAX:+ 353 1 667 1244
Trip Type: Group tour of Ireland with Trafalgar Tours
Travel Dates: April 2009
Review Posted: August 2009

MESPIL HOTEL is centrally located in Ballsbridge within Georgian Dublin, an elegant and stylish part of Dublin city centre and just 15 minutes' walk from St. Stephens Green. When I entered the restaurant for breakfast, the manager paging “the gluten-free guest” greeted me. He had prepared fresh containers of cereal, a sweetener, and bread - each labeled with my name – as well as a new cold carton of soymilk. All were gluten-free. I combined these items with preserves, fresh fruits and coffee for a first class breakfast and a great start for touring Dublin and Ireland.

A few other venues of note:

Across from Kilkenny Castle was a tasty luncheon room located on the second floor above the gift shop that overlooks the castle courtyard. Their soups were all gluten-free, made fresh daily and most tasty. They offered fresh gluten-free muffins and huge brownies that would satisfy a giant’s sweet tooth. Their salads and soups were robust. They understood Coeliac (celiac), gluten-free dining was quick, and easy which was such a delight. This lunch place was at our leisure and one we were happy to find suiting my gluten-free diet quite nicely.

Nancy Hands Bar & Restaurant, 30-32 Parkgate Street, Dublin 8, Ireland, is a classic bar and restaurant situated close to Dublin’s Phoenix Park, the National Museum at Collins Barracks, and a short stroll from Heuston train station. Telephone +353 1 677 0149 and Fax +353 1 677 0187.

This was a nice find. They seated 50 people upstairs promptly. Our Trafalgar tour manager Bernard Creegan was terrific at making things happen and appearing to be effortless. This was our last dinner in Ireland for our group. Nancy Hands’ Dominic took care of our traveling group and was most helpful in every way as the menu planned for the group was not gluten-free. Dominic accommodated my celiac diet most happily. The full meal was hot, tasty and most pleasant. How nice to dine with so many and not be singled out because of a special diet. Touring the bar alone is worth the trip. I was served in a timely manner and my dishes were flavorful.

**Note: When planning a trip outside the U.S., I email each place we will be staying, informing them of the dates I will be their guest. Along with my dietary needs, I also email examples of what I can eat in my emails, not only what I cannot eat. I ask for their email acknowledgements in response to assure safe eating at least at breakfast each day. I make sure to have replies from each before leaving on my trip. Dinner usually works the same way. Upon arrival at each place, I also remind them of whom I contacted in advance and again give my diet cards prior to meal times to the head chef, maitre d', and whomever I discuss my food selections. I usually don't have to ask the tour guide to contact the next hotel on departure morning to verify that gluten free needs are on order but I do confirm every day they did this reminder for me.

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