Restaurateur & Owner of OAR Doolin
About Kieran O'Halloran
Kieran O’Halloran – Restaurateur and Owner of OAR Doolin
Kieran O’ Halloran left school at 15 years of age to focus on food. He joined CERT in Galway to begin his studies, however, having worked in kitchens from the age of 11 Kieran found that he was learning nothing new so decided to move to Edinburgh at 16 to study Culinary Arts. Having earned his Culinary Arts Degree Kieran moved to London where he worked front of house assisting the food and beverage manager and growing his skills. There followed a move to Aberdeen in 1992, when Kieran leased his first restaurant (Hobsons) at the age of 19. After a year the property was sold to a national Pizza company and Kieran was approached by Mitchells & Butlers, now one of the largest operators of restaurants, pubs and bars in the UK, to work on a converting a pub in Aberdeen to an Irish bar (O’Neills) which went on to have another 120 open across the UK.
Kieran travelled the world gaining experience and knowledge working, on many occasions free of charge, to learn local cuisines. Mitchells & Butlers came calling again having lost the original authenticity of the O’Neills brand and looking for Kieran to help them rediscover, rethink and recentralise.
In 2011, in the midst of the recession, Kieran made the decision to move back to Ireland to his home county of Clare and this is where Kierans’ Kitchen – now a roaring success having won multiple awards – was born.
However Kieran still had that urge to get back to his original love, discovered during his Culinary Arts Studies in Edinburgh where he welcomed a clientele that included Prince Charles, the Duke of Westminster, Margaret Thatcher amongst others. He had noticed how they loved good food but without the micro portioning that was so prevalent in Fine Dining establishments at that time.
This has now come to fruition at OAR Doolin where Fine Dining is a rustic experience, allowing guests to relax, chat and enjoy themselves. OAR Restaurant does not have a dress code focusing instead on the food and the positive energy of happy guests.
Attention to detail is huge for Kieran. As a lover of fine wines Kieran counts the ‘bane of his life’ as restaurants and hotels that offer fine wines in cheap glasses – simply insulting.
Kierans’ Philosophy on creating a successful business:
- The Right People – Without the right people you will have no business so it is imperative to find and look after the right staff for your business.
- Produce – Sourcing Well. Kieran is a champion for local food producers and seasonal ingredients, which can be experienced at OAR Restaurant.
OAR Restaurant is already attracting favourable reviews and Kieran, along with Head Chef Cezary Sodel, work hard to deliver an authentic fine dining experience with a rustic twist.
Working closely with Head Chef Cezary Sodel, they have brought together decades of experience in the industry to create a menu that features the best of Co Clare produce.
With a very short lead in time Kieran has created a room that reflects the very localised colours and tones of the Clare landscape.
“We wanted to create a space that was evocative of the landscape, so you’ll see that in the restaurant we have used tones of sage green and grey, complemented by crisp white linen. I worked closely with local designer – Ciara McGrath and together we were able to define a space that is a relaxed and ambient space for dining.”
On the walls of this light and airy room you will find artwork by Manus Walsh who happens to be Ciara’s dad, which beautifully describe the landscape and complement this peaceful space. To finish the room Kieran and his team spent many hours searching for the perfect cutlery, linens and glassware.
“You know those small touches are so important, we want to deliver an experience for our guests. The guys in the kitchen work very hard to achieve the level required for these dishes and how we present them to our guests can only improve the experience.”
What better way to conclude your evening than to pop upstairs and spend the night in one of the newly renovated rooms at Oar.
An amazing culinary experience from start to finish. If in Doolin and want amazing irish food using locally sourced ingredients...this is the place to go....and really something special.
We chose the Oar based on other reviews, but could not get a reservation during our trip. We asked to be put on a cancellation list, and to our delight, we got a phone call to say we had a table. It is a beautiful...room, the design detail is gorgeous, from the salt and pepper thingies to the wine glasses, the lampshades, the artwork and obviously, the food & wine. We had great craic with Kieran, the owner, and the staff were wonderful. If you are a foodie and love the experience of eating in a lovely place where the staff clearly care about every detail, this is it. More
My friend and I went for dinner last night.We had been an excellent dinner there previously.We opted for the three course menu at 35€. I ordered pan-seared scallops and steak which was cooked exactly as I asked and the cheesecake for dessert sooo delicious. The...More
We decided to treat ourselves and try Oar which has replaced the former Roadford House. From the moment you walk in you sense you are in for something special. The food from starter to dessert was excellent and unusual- I had never tried a homemade...More
We stayed in the OAR Restaurant and Rooms while staying in Doolin and it was a delightful experience. It's in a great location as it has the OAR restaurant right downstairs and is walking distance from pubs such as McDermott's and McGann's. The rooms are...More
A welcoming, relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and food that you will not be able to beat, no matter where you eat in Ireland. Understandable why Oar has just been named best new restaurant in Ireland. The best of Local Irish Produce, served up by what...More
We had a truly divine dining experience at Oar, the service was impeccable and the food expertly prepared and presented. There is an extensive wine list and a small but perfect list of craft beers. To start I had a mouthwateringly good prawn and crab...More
We ate tonight for the first time in Oar and we so highly recommend it. From the moment we booked with Kieran this place felt special. Oar is a small but stylish fine dining restaurant in Doolin where u feel you are on a special...night out from the time you arrive. The ambience is relaxed and stylish, the food we had between us the pate, fish 🐟 starters followed by duck, halibut & Pouilly Fume - all served and tasting superb. Kieran and his team are warm, friendly but yet you can relax as a couple and enjoy every moment. If you want one good meal in Doolin treat yourself and go to Oar. We will be back 💚 More
We stayed in the guesthouse associated with this Restaurant. Accommodation functional- as was the welcome. €80 room only, noticed several places of similar standard afterwards which including full breakfast for same rate. Also it’s a 10 walk into the village, certainly not in the centre...More
we’ve found the best restaurant in County Clare - it‘s the Oar in Doolin, run by Kieran and his team. We had such a wonderful time there yesterday evening and just had to spread the word. Service is top notch and genuinely friendly. The dining...More
The first experience last year was so unforgettable, I had to return. Again I was not disappointed. Amazing from start to finish. Even the warm in house sourdough bread brought me joy. Wine selection on point and service was also excellent. All local produce with...More
We just dined here last Sunday and it was such a perfect surprise. I wonder why we went there for the first time just last Sunday and not earlier, like in Summer. We loved the place, the romantic and elegant atmosphere. We immediately felt welcome...by the lovely owner of the restaurant and had a memorable, top notch dinner. The Raviolo as a starter was stunning. The pasta was so perfectly cooked with a delectable filling and a broth to die for. Then we had a gorgeous rib eye and goose that we loved. Even the vegetables were amazing. And for dessert we got an apple tart which concluded a dinner we will always remember. This place is truly a hidden gem in Clare. Every single detail catches your eye and contributes to give you an experience that will be very difficult to live somewhere else. More
Doolin is great place to visit but like a lot of tourist locations it has its fair share of over priced and over rated restaurants / cafes. Happily we found The Oar and it’s far and away the best paper to eat in the locality....More
This is a big step up from the pub food available in the rest of Doolin. The chef has some creative adventurous dishes, but a little overdone for our pallets The steak was excellent, but you really need Gorgonzola sauce?The vegetarian in our group had...More
We celebrated our second wedding anniversary with the dream-team at Oar... a fresh and exciting new venture in beautiful Doolin. These guys devised and served our wedding meal so we couldnt wait to see/taste what awaited us. Kieran has created something so special... from the...More
This is IMHO a top class restaurant. We had been in its predecessor years back and it was excellent too. However, there is a new broom and a new brush to make Oar Restaurant a very memorable dining experience. The decor is so peaceful and...restful. You can just sink into those chairs and let yourself be looked after for the evening. I had beef carpaccio for starters and my husband had scallops. I had salmon and scallops for main and my husband had lamb. I had caramel parfait for dessert. Everything was cooked and presented to perfection. We couldn't find fault with anything. The owner had a little chat with us before leaving and we liked this. Makes one proud to be Irish when one visits an establishment of this high quality. More
Make no mistake despite my cheesy review title The Oar is a place of seriously excellent food. They describe it as rustic fine dining but I would say more like refined fine dining. The Chefs clearly understand flavour, flavour combinations coupled with first class technique....More
Lovely hosts, helpful, attentive and friendly.. beautiful food with great attention to flavors and presentation.. restaurant has a lovely warm atmosphere and we will definitely be returning..
I wanted to go somewhere nice for my 40th dinner and I am so happy we chose Oar. It was outstanding. The food was excellent, cooked to perfection, the decòr is so relaxing,a beautiful calm, happy atmosphere where the owner Kieran effortlessly floats from table...More
We stayed in the oar restaurant rooms from the 12 to the 15 june 2019. We had originally planned to stay only 2 nights, but because of the location and also the friendliness of the staff, we decided to stay an extra night. The rooms...More
We ate here in August. We had the beef Carpaccio, ham hock terraine, Duck, fish special & shared the cheese board. Food was locally source. Fine dining with great flavours but not over complicated. Just the right seasoning too. We ordered the Douro wine from...More
I came for dinner at Oar with a group of friends recently and I'll say that I cannot stop thinking about the place. Fantastic from start to finish. The restaurant is beautifully decorated. It's fresh, tasteful and clever. The staff are friendly, delightful and look...More
I visited with my mother to celebrate her birthday and it was a great experience. The food is EXCELLENT and the staff is very attentive and friendly. I would definitely eat here again!
We stayed one night at this restaurant with rooms and it is important to separate the two. The restaurant was amazing , beautifully set for dinner, very classy . We were greeted with a warm welcome from Kieran and shown to our table. The food...was outstanding, impeccably presented and served . Good menu choices and good portion sizes. Crab starter was delicious. We both had fish (Salmn and Halibut) for main, it was fresh and cooked well. Desserts were a work of art Overall excellent experience for the restaurant . We arrived late afternoon to check into our room and you could already see the chefs working and smell the most delicious smells coming from the kitchen. So that was a great start as we unpacked the car. Our welcome and the information given was excellent including where to have breakfast which was a great recommendation . However , the bedroom was very disappointing and in stark contrast to the elegant restaurant. but at 80 euros it was value for money for one night but the rooms could be so much more . Perhaps more in keeping with the quality and standards of the restaurant and charge a little more . We will go to Oar restaurant again and look forward to our return visit but we will stay somewhere different in Doolin. Doolin it self was an absolute cracking find. We loved it. So the dining option at the Oar is a great asset to this fabulous village. It is hard to write a negative review so I felt it important to separate the restaurant out from the accommodation. When staying in restaurants with rooms in England both restaurant and the room are of an an equal standard for an overall experience. More
I have traveled world wide and I live in a part of the world where seafood is plenty . I have had the pleasure of eating in beautiful places , with respected chefs. The scallops and warm salad I had at Oar last night has...More
We had a wonderful experience at Oar restaurant. The service were fabulous and the place was very relaxed. We had starters, main courses and desert, which were all delicious and beautifully presented. Undoublty the best meal we've had in a long time!
Conveniently situated in the village of Doolin, an easy walk from Hotel Doolin. This attractively appointed restaurant with letting rooms ticks virtually all the boxes. We had a memorable meal there last week, with outstanding beef carpaccio, scallops, Dover sole, etc., on offer. The servings...More
We are a family of 3 adults who love to travel around Ireland and experience great food. The Oar came highly recommended and it did not disappoint in any way! Every inch of our meal was thought out, fine tuned and served up with perfection....Their food really is exquisite! It has a lovely relaxed, easy atmosphere and it is evident that the staff are more than happy in their work. Kieran was very friendly, welcoming and chatted away to us at various points throughout our meal. We were made to feel very welcome and we absolutely adored our experience in The Oar. We made a 2 hour round trip to experience the food and we would happily make that trip again. Looking forward to our return! More
I’ve waited a year to write this review. My family’s experience here was so bad, my mother asked me not to write anything g to wait a year and if I still felt like writing, then do. Well here I am. Last august myself and...several family members stayed here. I booked specifically because I have a dog and my sisters family have a dog. I spoke to Kieran on a couple of occasions prior to the stay and he could not have been nicer. Or more accommodating. So then we visit. My mother and sister and daughter were there the night before I arrived. Myself. And another sister her children and 2 small dogs arrived for dinner. There were 10 of us for dinner. Some had good food, some had great food, one had an ok main course. But we were all in agreement about the scallops. Consequently the next day on check out we all advised the waitress of our thoughts. On principle I refused to pay for them but paid a 20% tip on the. Rest of the meal. 30 minutes later I’m driving up the road with my mother brother in law and sister. And Louie the dog, and the phone rings, and it’s Kieron. And he is in a rage. He could barely speak, foaming at the mouth. He was on speaker and I advised him I was with my family driving along narrow country roads. But he want having it. He was disgusted. What did I know about scallops? What was I expecting. Scallops are supposed to be served cold. And raw? Nobody’s ever complained about them before. I never told him my sister had a dog. Your whole family were disrespectful. (They’re the absolute opposite) How dare my sister write a bad review on booking.com) On and on he went. My mother was really upset. She noted the man was clearly in a rage. I advised him I could not discuss my sisters review as I did not write it. I advised him he’d no business being in business if he could not respond to critical feedback. I had to cut him off. It was so upsetting. When I got to Kinvara. and dropped my mother off I rand him back. He said ‘you’re alright, I’ve calmed down now’ I told him that I was delighted for him that he’d calmed down. But I had not..... You remember it Kieron. The worst dining and accommodation experience I’ve ever had. August bank holiday 2020. All the rave reviews and there’s something altogether different underneath. More
Myself and my wife visited this restaurant in October. The food was fantastic, the service was fantastic. We would certainly recommend this restaurant to anyone travelling through Doolin.
Pearse, at Blackberry BnB in Doolin where we are staying, recommended Oar, and we went there this evening. The food was spectacular—exceeding that offered at many of the superb restaurants we’ve eaten at in New York City. We had the salmon appetizer, Dover sole, scallops,...More
I ate here with my partner just over a week ago. I can't fault the food or the service. I had the summer salad to start which was beautiful - my partner had the scallops. I had the gnocchi for main and even though I...More
Dinner in Oar last weekend was everything I look for in a meal and more. Portions were plenty big, the ingredients were fresh and delicious and the dishes showed a creativity and level of skill that is often hard to find. Particular mention to the...More
This is our 3rd visit, and it’s a pleasure every time. Style with substance, from the warm welcome to the the fantastic flavours. We are usually cheese people but pictures of deserts had me tempted. My fella had the special tiramisu which was delicious and...More