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Introducing Lough Ree & Around

Many of the 50-plus islands within Lough Ree were once inhabited by monks and their ecclesiastical treasures, drawing Vikings like moths to a flame. These days, the visitors are less bloodthirsty, with sailing, trout fishing and birdwatching the most popular pastimes. Migratory birds that nest here include swans, plovers and curlews.

Poet, playwright and novelist Oliver Goldsmith (1728–74), author of The Vicar of Wakefield, is closely associated with the area running alongside the eastern shore of Lough Ree. Known as Goldsmith Country, the region is beautifully captured in his writings.

The Glasson Village Restaurant is a wonderfully informal place serving excellent food, including a reasonable €27 three-course menu. Nearby is the upmarket Wineport Lodge, which has a reputation for the finest modern Irish cuisine, and also offers fabulous lakeside accommodation. Another popular gastropub, the Fatted Calf, is slightly out of town and known for its ambitious dishes based on seasonal local ingredients.

Golfers may want to head for the Glasson Golf Course, part of the Glasson Country House Hotel & Golf Club complex and winner of the 2011 IGTOA Golf Resort of the year. The course was designed by legendary Irish golfer and Ryder Cup player, Christy O'Connor in 1993.