We had read and heard quite good things about this venue, and so, in early January, as we wanted to share an enjoyable evening with "Old Friends", we thought this would surely be a good place to go for Dinner as a Foursome - maybe it was just the wrong time of year, or we picked the wrong night, but, while, as ever, we greatly enjoyed the company of our Friends, we would certainly not say the same about our experience here.
"Cronin's Sheebeen" is well-located on the road that leads from Westport's Quay area out to the road further West, towards Louisburgh, and on from there. From the outside these are attractive premises, but parking is certainly a big problem. The Bar area, immediately inside the door has a bit of character, so, if you're lucky, you might well get to enjoy a Drink and/or Food in one of the alcoves.
So, our experience, having booked ahead ?. We were lucky (presumably because it was a "Quiet Night") to get a parking-space, close to the Entrance Door, but it was hard to find someone "on duty" to whom we might say "we're here" - we eventually did.
Pretty quickly we learned there were no Eating Tables available in the (front) Bar area, and were brought to what was called "The Back Room" : Oh, what a dreary, depressing area - "Barn" like, with very basic, dark furniture, it would be extremely hard to find a redeeming feature for this Room.
On to Dinner : the offering was 6 "Starters" + 6 "Mains" as well as a number of "Specials". Our little group of 4 went with Sea-Food Chowder, Goat's Cheese & a Pigeon & Parma Ham Salad for "Starters" - of these, the Chowder was deemed "OK", with the Goat's Cheese & Salad dishes considered a bit better..
For "Mains", two of our group had the "Special" Monkfish (again deemed "OK"), I had the "Clare Island Organic Salmon" (an over-cooked tasteless lump), while my "Better Half" M, had great difficulty figuring how her delivered "Thai Curry" in any way resembled what it was meant to be.
From the very limited, (and unimaginative) Wine-List, we selected what, again, was a quite OK "Albarino".
We declined Desserts - the descriptions seemed quite interesting, but so did what was said about earlier Courses.
"Service" throughout appeared to be well-intentioned, but with very limited in skills - at a very basic level, we had difficulty getting Knives & Forks for our 2 Courses, or Spoons for the Vegetable Dishes.
So, overall, this was not quite a "Happy Experience" at "Cronin's Sheebeen", but we allow for the fact that things might be better at a different time of year.