Afternoon tea at Lough Rynn Castle Hotel, Ireland

It’s not every day you get to take afternoon tea at a castle. In fact, this might just have been my first castle tea ever – and it will certainly be one that’s hard to beat next time I find myself in a castle on a Saturday afternoon. I was there, in the first place, for my cousin’s wedding, a splendid affair that was made all the more wonderful by the location: Lough Rynn Castle Hotel.

Lough Rynn is a stunning castle on 300 acres of land in County Leitrim, Ireland. Set on the majestic banks of Lough (lake) Rynn, it has everything you could wish for in a castle: rolling green lawns, an ancient walled garden, statues, turrets and, of course, high tea. Irish tea, in fact.

It’s not uncommon for the Irish to label their food: Irish cheese, butter, pork, even sugar, but they really do own tea. The afternoon tea at Lough Rynn certainly lives up to the name. Choose a cosy nook in the castle hotel and you’ll be treated to silver service high tea, with a three-tier array of sandwiches (Irish smoked salmon, cucumber, ham), scones (with jam and cream, of course), cakes (carrot and banana), biscuits (strawberry shortcake) and delicate desserts (chocolate mousse and panna cotta, to name a pair), as well as silver pots of tea or coffee.

It’s the perfect way to while away an afternoon in one of the secluded lounges or libraries, soft classical music playing in the background, attentive staff to top up your pot of tea, and a stack of weekend newspapers to get through. Then it’s time for a stroll around the walled gardens or nature trails of the Lough Rynn estate, where you can lose yourself in the romantic splendour of the ancient grounds… It is a castle, after all.

Images credit: Mark Peddle

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