Roark's Kitchen and Teahouse is one of our fondest memories during our 1270 mile (2073 kilometer) drive around Ireland. We would've never thought to turn toward Ballintoy Harbour and find this superbly located teahouse with the friendliest staff without kindly suggestions from an endless stream of friendly locals that we found everywhere in Ireland. The sign to turn to Ballintoy is one of those black & white ones that might seem to indicate the road is not worth taking or would not be a worthwhile "detour." This couldn't be further from the truth.
Sure, the food is good, but this is one of those places that brings it all together. Once you turn onto the narrow road that leads down to the Harbour, there is already a sense of adventure as the road winds its way down . . . down to a destination you can't see until you're nearly there. When you arrive at the teahouse you might ask yourself: "What the heck is this place doing all the way down here and how do people know to find it and know to stop?" Locals love it and love to recommend it. The location is at the water's edge of one of the most beautiful harbours one could hope for. Trip Advisor doesn't allow for posting of large pictures, but I hope the small ones attached to this review give you an idea of the soul relaxing beauty here.
A young, beautiful, friendly waitress then informed us of the "Coastal Walkway" that runs right by Roark's Kitchen. The weather was beautiful and we decided to walk part of the Walkway until we ended up on a secluded beach maybe a kilometer to the west. The beauty along the way is all one could ask for -- walking in the green fields, amongst the lambs and sleep, striding unhindered alongside part of Ireland's rugged and beautiful coastline, capturing some of the best pictures of our trip.
For a "simple" stop at an "out-of-the-way" teahouse and kitchen, we ended up spending between 2 and 3 hours here when our walk is factored in. And we still made it to Bushmills in time for the final tour!
There are magical places all over Ireland. This is one of them.
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