Twenty five years on and still drinking well…..

Over the 27 years that we have run Thorn Park in both of its incarnations (by the vines and Country House), we have obviously met many, many guests. This weekend’s group was our serious ‘wino’s’. They have decamped in Clare every winter for the past twenty five years and set David on a mission to create meals to match their extensive, and in many cases, expensive wine collections. Many phone calls, letters and in later years, emails, are exchanged to produce the perfect meal for their perfect wines. David would question if some of their wines were the perfect matches; occasionally they had been aged to ‘imperfection’. It does pay to drink some wines whilst they still have some youth left in them!

Menu 22nd July 1989                    Menu 19th July 2014

This wonderful group, while very serious about their wines and food, are very generous in their offerings, so we also get to taste and enjoy (and sometimes reject) some amazing wines. Every meal and menu has been recorded. It’s a little walk back in history when we view their collection of photos and mementos of the past quarter of a century. Have we changed? Aged? Never! Well perhaps just a little. The photographs show the boys being presented with their third ‘Michelin’ star in the mid 90’s.

Photo Circa 1996 Michelin Star

To celebrate this milestone, we created a menu to match the selected wines (see photo) and it is recreated here along with the 1989 version, sadly without the wines. The weekend concluded with discussions on what could be drunk and eaten at the “golden jubilee celebration” weekend due in 2039: what wines should be laid down now? Michael was far more concerned about practical things like the colour and style of his waiter’s walking frame!



  1. As one of the 25 year veterans referred to by David it is not just by luck that we have returned year after year. We have always been treated wonderfully and with respect and compromises have always been found when some of our more “unusual” ideas and enthusiastic expectations have needed calming. Never has it been said that we can’t do something but rather there has been a suggestion that there might be a better way. Well might it be said that the customer/guest is always right – even when they are wrong.

    Some of our group have been fortunate enough to travel quite widely over the years and when comparing notes about our various experiences we have always decided that there is still no place we have ever experienced that offers the quality of service and accommodation and especially food quality while at the same time offering the friendly conviviality that some would say comes from long association but is always there for newcomers as well as frequent visitors.

    My visits every year have been a high point of my life and it has been a great joy to introduce newcomers to this particular experience and most recently to give my adult children a sample of the pleasures I have enjoyed for so long.

    Bacchus and Dionysus willing I will be pleased to attend the golden jubilee.

    Andrew G

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul & Nancye van der Lee · · Reply

      Fully endorse all of Andrew’s comments!
      Andrew did not acknowledge our diminished capacity over the years, both in terms of menu courses and the wines.
      By 2039 we will have dwindled to purely an inhalation – of the aromas and memories past!
      Paul & Nancye van der Lee

      Liked by 1 person

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