It's worth making the drive out from Nenagh to Garrykennedy to visit this picturesque little pub on the banks of Lough Derg. The village location is as typical and idyllic an Irish scene as any you'll see. Larkin's, owned by Cormac and Maura Boyle, is over 300 years old. Just the sort of country pub you want to find when you come to Ireland. Larkins is one of those rare gems. It's traditional thatched roof, old white-washed walls and little red painted cottage sash windows sum up a time gone by.
Location on the water means peace and tranquility come as part of the deal. Larkin's draws a huge crowd from the sailing fraternity during the summer months. Maura and Conor's son Cillian is also involved in the business, bringing a dynamic young second generation view point to the mix. Cillian follows the family traditions of good Irish hospitality his parents have created, bringing his own special energy and input in new ideas. Just inside the front door, a few tables set in the oldest part of the pub, with its original open fireplace and well-trodden flagstone floor allow you to sip your chosen poison in old-fashioned surroundings. The snug Music Room has photographs of local musicians on the walls, and on Sundays, is the place to come to listen to great Irish fiddle music. Sessions regularly feature traditional and folk bands, and there's often chance for an impromptu performance. So if you fancy it, you can always strike up a note or two!
Step inside to the main bar area with its worn timber floors, make your way over to the long wooden bar, pull up a stool and order a pint of Guinness, a shot of fragrant Irish whiskey, one of the collection of Irish craft beers and ciders, gin and vodka produced in Dingle, Co. Kerry, or anything in between. Wine is also served by the glass. As with its traditional pub approach, so it goes on the entertainment front. Larkins bar area is home to live Irish music and dancing.
The lunchtime blackboard menu changes daily, and is served throughout the day. Use of local and Irish produce and the marriage of old and new dishes often features old fashioned Bacon and Cabbage just like you want it to be - meltingly tender meat, fluffy mash, fresh garden cabbage cooked to perfection and the creamiest white sauce. Prices are good for starters and mains, and there's always a sandwich or wrap if you want something light. The Irish cheeseboard platter for one or two, featuring Tipperary farmhouse cheeses in particular, is impressively presented and comes with a glass of vintage port if you wish.
As well as serving pub lunches in the bar, Larkins has a dedicated evening restaurant with an A La Carte menu. This extension of the old building, is conservatory in style, with large sash windows looking out of over the walled garden to the water beyond. Irish produce is at the forefront of the menu. Hereford steaks and fresh fish feature in starters and mains, with a vegetarian dish always on offer and some influence from abroad in dish choices. House desserts at Larkins Restaurant make a very happy ending to all that. The Irish artisan cheeseboard is also popular, served with vintage port if you wish.
Platters for one or two are impressively presented and showcase Tipperary farmhouse cheeses in particular. The wine list has a good selection of old and new world bottles and by the glass, and for a small country pub, it's lovely to see dessert wines served by the glass to accompany your pud. The full bar service is also available if you fancy a pint with your meal. Try the selection of Irish craft beers and cider, or an aperitif of vodka or gin made in Dingle, as well as a fine selection of Irish whiskeys for after dinner.
House desserts finish off the meal, with coffee or tea from an Irish roasthouse. A joy to visit this pretty pub, and avail of its fine pub lunch. Tables outdoors with views over the Lough are perfect for sunny days.
SERVING TIMES: Monday - Saturday 10.30 - 21.45 Sunday 12.00 - 21.45 November - March Monday - Thursday food served 17.00 -21.45