Friday, June 11, 2010

On Raglan Road…

Raglan Road is a fantastic Irish pub and restaurant with live music and dancing. It’s located at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island, which used to be an awesome place to hang out at night. (We miss you Adventurers’ Club. Kungaloosh!) The name Raglan Road comes from a poem by Patrick Kavanagh that was later put to music by singer-songwriter Luke Kelly. A statue of Kavanagh sits outside the restaurant and is a replica of one that sits near the Grand Canal in Dublin, Ireland, a place he frequented to gain inspiration for his work. If you don’t call ahead, do expect to wait for a few minutes for a table inside or out. They have a very large outside seating area, however, outside doesn’t get the band or the dancer. Inside has the feel of an old-world pub (only larger) filled with dark wood tables, chairs and floors. One of the side rooms appears to resemble a study with a fireplace and large painting on the wall of Patrick Kavanagh and Luke Kelly and “Raglan Road”

The food is exceptional and I usually make a trip over to Raglan Road once per vacation. Personally, for appetizers I have tried the Dalkey Duo, battered and fried sausages with a mustard sauce, and the Scallop Forrest, lightly battered and fried scallops (some of the most tender I have ever eaten) with dipping sauce. For main dishes, the Fish and Chips, the cod is almost as big as the plate and is battered and fried crispy with fries...salt and vinegar to taste with tartar sauce on the side. Keen Eye for Shepherd’s Pie--now I will try a shepherd’s pie anywhere that has one, and this was one of the best, made with beef and lamb with flavor I don’t have the words to describe. Paddy’s Pork, a delicious pork loin with sausage with a honey glaze and cabbage and mashed potatoes, and similarly Kevin’s Heavenly Ham, a very large piece of ham, sliced and a sweet Irish Mist glaze also cabbage and mashed potatoes. On my last trip I had Traditional Guinness and Onion Banger. My brother-in-law had gotten a banger and mash the day before at the Rose and Crown; he tasted mine and said the previous day’s dish didn’t even compare to Raglan Road’s. I would recommend any of these and would gladly have any one of them again.

Raglan Road is a pub after all and has a bar to prove it. The bar area itself was built in Ireland and shipped over to Orlando. For beer, they have most all of the major domestics and the imports are pretty nice, with New Castle, Strong Bow Cider, Harp, Smithwick’s and of course Guinness. If you are up for an adventure try a carbomb, because the IRA called and they don't like you. I have developed a taste for Scotch and they have a nice variety. One of the more expensive brands being offered is Macallan, which is a single malt scotch. I usually go for the 12 year that has a very smooth mouth feel and a well rounded finish, with hints of honey and sherry to the nose. But I do believe I saw the 18 and 25 years on their shelves. They also have my “go to” in times of indecision; Johnny Walker Black, as well as a wide range of other spirits from Ireland and Scotland.

Right now the house band is Tusker Rock. They are a light-hearted trio playing traditional Irish music that has been “rocked” up just a bit. They keep the crowd happy and singing along (in most cases, however my brother-in-law looks at me funny when I sing along.) Just when you thought it wasn’t going to get any better, their “darlin’ dancer” comes out and performs. She is really a sight to behold, hailing from Dublin, Danielle Fitzpatrick is an award winning Irish dancer who has performed all over the world and with some very large and famous companies. Raglan Road welcomes everyone in and doesn’t mind if you pop in for a moment to see the happenings inside, just please don’t block the servers or the view of the stage.

The poem/song that started it all.

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.

--Patrick Kavanagh

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