The affair began innocently enough. One evening, about a week ago, I was driving from Killarney back to Sneem via Moll’s Gap when I decided to pull over and watch the sunset. Clouds rolled over the sandstone mountains, gathering color from the horizon and red earth. Two black lambs grazed next to their mother on the craggy hillside below, and the only sound was that of the wind carrying the faintest newborn bleating. When I got back in my car to continue on to Sneem, my heart had been primed by the raw Kerry beauty. Minutes later, in a romantically vulnerable state of mind, I wended a corner and saw it – the most beautiful Irish building I’d ever laid eyes on. Gold and gleaming on the green hillside stood The Pancake Cottage. It was love at first sight.
I wondered what it would be like on the inside. Would it be filled with the sweet aroma of buttermilk treats, cooking on a grill? Would those scents mingle with fresh strawberries and brewing coffee? I needed to know. Having driven by long after they’d closed, my heart broke a little. To wait would be to suffer. A few days later, I drove by again on a trip to Listowel, but with no time to stop, I could only watch other satisfied patrons exit the gates, patting their stomachs. I burned with jealousy.
Longing to step inside and fulfill my curiosity, I planned a visit to The Strawberry Field Pancake Cottage and Craft Shop this morning. I arrived just after opening time and walked through the wrought-iron gates, flanked by the sculptures of two buxom women, carrying baskets of strawberries.
My American friends may envision something gimmicky at this point. They’ll think the inside will be a tourist trap, gaudy and brimming with Ireland t-shirts, wool sweaters, and postcards. For a minute, I worried this might be the case.
Instead, I opened the door and stepped into a room that weakened my writer’s knees. There was a wood burning stove set in a stone fireplace, and copper pipes connected lighting fixtures made from old, metal colanders. Candles burned in the center of each table. The young, Irish waitress gave me the time and space to run around with my camera phone before settling down to look at the menu.
Peter and Margaret Kerseens, owners of Strawberry Field, not only use a 200-year-old secret pancake recipe, they offer hundreds of different individual toppings and possible combinations. I could have spent an entire Irish summer making a decision. Sweet or savory? Goat cheese and salmon or marshmallow and chocolate? Help!
Because I’d already had a savory breakfast that morning, I finally decided upon sweet: strawberry, banana, and dark chocolate chips.
The pancakes come in two sizes, 11″ or 8″. I, of course, ordered the larger size. They’re firmer than your traditional American pancake, delightfully less sweet and almost like a crepe, which allows you to enjoy it with a variety of toppings and without syrup.
As I sipped my Americano and let the pancake settle, a group of ladies came in and sat next to the fire. One of them asked, “Do you have loyalty cards? My friends here have been here three times in the past two weeks!”
15 minutes from Sneem, The Strawberry Field Pancake Cottage is close enough to become an addiction for me too. I think that this could be the start of a great love affair. Maybe next time I’ll try the honey, goat cheese, and walnut…
October – March:
Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
from 11 am – 6 pm (last orders at 5.30)
April – September:
7 days a week
from 11 am – 6 pm (last orders at 5.30)
Be sure to check out Margaret’s oil paintings, hanging in the dining room.
Outdoor seating is also available.
12 thoughts on “Strawberry Field Forever: My Love Affair with a Pancake Cottage”
Lovely descriptions and photos Jolene! One day I hope to hop across the pond and see it (and taste it) firsthand.
I hope so too! And if you ever need a tour guide…. 🙂
Hi Jolene! That looks like a very neat place! I enjoyed your use of words to describe the place!
That’s my mother-in-law’s home place.. It was a dairy farm when her family lived there. When I visited for the first time, she explained that the owners had not changed much of the original building.. Those beautiful pipes & that cozy fireplace were there when she lived there. She goes often & happily explained to me what each of the rooms used to be..,
Thanks for sharing that bit of history, Vickie! I love that they’ve retained some of those original features.
Hi Jolene, just found your lovely words on your beautiful website-page. I’m writing you, to thank you for the story and photographs of my Pancake Cottage. Kind regards, Margaret
Thank you, Margaret. I had such a lovely summer living in Sneem and visiting your Pancake Cottage. I tell everyone who’s visiting the Ring of Kerry to stop in!
Looks like you have found a true Irish jewel! We are jealous. Enjoy and keep writing, Jim and Marsha
Thanks, Jim! When Julia gets here, I’ll take her to this place.
Looks very cute and delicious! I think you should go back and try every one. 🙂
One year and a twenty-five pounds later… 🙂