Nourish your body, mind and soul with a trip to The Happy Pear in Greystones
Oh January, how we both love and loathe thee so. With Christmas overindulgence still a very real memory and the side effects of it still etched so deeply in our psyche (physically, emotionally and financially), it’s hard to feel enthusiastic about January. Post New Year’s Day can often feel like the ultimate anti-climax after all the merriment December has bestowed upon us. Once the back to work grind settles in, it’s business as usual with a few extra pounds on our bodies and few less Euros in our pockets. But all is not lost. January also brings a sense of excitement at the New Year stretching out ahead of us and all the opportunities that it might bring – it can be chance to start afresh. While this may appear daunting to many of us, one of the most effective ways to clear the January cobwebs and take a baby step towards that new regime you have committed to, is by taking a day trip to the garden of Ireland, and embarking on a brisk jaunt along the breath taking cliff path that runs between the seaside town of Bray to the picturesque haven that is Greystones. The best part? You get to finish your afternoon off with by a brain and body fuelling lunch at The Happy Pear on Church Road in Greystones.
With a journey time of approximately 2 – 2.5 hours, the cliff walk from Bray to Greystones extends to 7km of stunning coastal vistas at a pace that you decide. Starting at the bandstand on Bray seafront, the path meanders along the jagged Wicklow cliffs with a view over the rugged Irish Sea, and has a highest point of 100m. The route is suitable for all levels of walkers and the can get quite busy at weekends, especially in January with all the new resolutions being strictly enforced, so plan ahead. Nature lovers will particularly enjoy the walk with a vast variety of flora and fauna to be admired.
Gazing out to sea, one might be lucky enough to spot a native dolphin or perhaps even a basking shark lurking in the water below. The path is well signposted, keeping you abreast of your progress, and if you start off around 10 am (best to ease ourselves back in to the early rises), by 12.30pm you could be sitting down to a delicious, well-earned lunch in the now iconic The Happy Pear.
For over 15 years, Dave and Steve Flynn have been feeding and educating the residents of Greystones and beyond. What started off as a simple fruit and vegetable shop has morphed into a thriving business with an almost cult like following. And it’s no surprise. The Café followed the shop, and were soon followed by a torrent of loyal fans, in response to their no nonsense approach to a plant based diet and lifestyle. 15 years on and the twins now employ over 120 people in their cafés, along with running a variety of courses to educate on living a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise while producing a range of cookbooks for their loyal followers to create their delicious meals at home. And delicious they are. This Happy Pear were the first in Ireland to bring plant based dining to the masses without sacrificing taste and quality, and that in itself is an achievement. Think Aubergine and local Cheddar Frittata with Apple Cider Onion & Thai Basil served with homemade Sourdough, or perhaps a Japanese Rice Bowl is what you are craving after completing the walk. With Short Grain Brown Rice, Pak Choi, Samphire, Tempeh and Carrot Salad it’s a good choice.
On my most recent pilgrimage to the home of health it was the Reuben Sandwich that caught my eye. Toasted Sourdough with Crimson hued Sauerkraut, barbequed Tempeh, grilled Veg, Gherkins and Mayo slathered in melted Cheese was quite the revelation.
Being quite the committed carnivore, I was more than happy to devour this without hesitation, and honestly, if I could eat like this every day I would be a very happy girl indeed. The food is colourful and interesting, with great options for every palate. To drink, you can’t really go wrong with a jug of their homemade cordial, my poison is the Strawberry and Raspberry but there are numerous flavours available.
The vibe in the Greystones café is always upbeat and positive, and there are plenty of sweet treats available too. Vegan Carrot Cake does not disappoint, nor does the coffee. The shop offers some lovely meal options to take home should you be too tired to cook after your long walk, and I highly recommend a homemade vegan Twix make the journey home with you as a reward for taking this first step on the path to a new you. Or just because.
When lunch is done and dusted, there is always the option to return to your car (should you have parked in Bray) along the same 7k path that took you to Greystones, but a far more appealing option is to hop on the Dart at Greystones and bask in the knowledge that you have achieved something great and that there is a (healthy) Twix to be eaten once you return to your oh so welcoming couch. Doing the return walk? That’s for next time.
Feature By: Ciara McQuillan