13 July 2018

A late lunch in Bray,
a glass of Sicilian wine
and a walk on the beach

Bray Head in the afternoon summer sunshine (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018; click on image for full-screen view)

Patrick Comerford

If it was three months or more since I had been in Bettystown and Laytown, Co Meath, for a walk on the beach and lunch in Relish, then it has been even longer since I had been in Bray, Co Wicklow, and five months or more since I had lunch in Carpe Diem.

I was in Saint Vincent’s University Hospital at lunchtime yesterday [12 July 2018] for another procedure on a benign growth on my nose. I thought this might be the last in a series of visits, but I have been told I need to return again in about six weeks’ time. These hospital visits have been easy-going in so far as visits like this can be, and I am constantly reassured by the professionalism and attentive car of everyone I meet.

It was 2 p.m. before we left, and two of us decided to return to Bray for a late lunch in Carpe Diem on Albert Avenue and an afternoon stroll on the stony, pebbly beach.

A glass of Regaleali Bianco in Carpe Diem (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Carpe Diem is one of the finest, authentic Italian restaurants in this part of Ireland, and with a fine range of Italian wines. On Thursday afternoon I had a glass of Regaleali Bianco from Sicily with my lunch.

This was the first wine produced by Count Tasca d’Almerita on the Regaleali estate. It is primarily a blend of three Sicilian grapes: Inzolia, Catarratto, and Grecanico, with some Chardonnay.

This wine is cool-fermented in stainless steel to create a versatile, refreshing, and delicious white of true Sicilian character. It is straw-yellow in colour, and aromas of green apples and pitted fruits complement undertones of pears and grapefruits. It has a crisp acidity and a rich body that make for an easy-to-drink white wine that is particularly refreshing on a hot summer day.

The weather had picked up as we finished lunch and went for our stroll on the beach. I find Bray attractive for its Italian caf├ęs and restaurants, its long beach, its Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and its harbour and boat clubs.

But I was amazed on a bright summer afternoon that Bray still has many of the attractions that I associate with the childhood seaside towns of my childhood and early teens in the 1950s and 1960s.

At the end of a walk back along the promenade, we sat down to ice cream hand-made in traditional Italian style – and a double espresso.

Bray still has many traditional seaside town attractions (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

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