Miss Marples Tea Rooms
One lump or two...
Early 1900s music crackles through an old-fashioned radio as laughter trickles through the room. Groups of people sit clustered around antique wooden tables, sipping warm tea from vintage tea cups. Come pull up a chair at Miss Marples Tea Rooms and enjoy a proper "cuppa."
The History of Afternoon Tea
Tucked away in a small strip mall on the outskirts of Limerick is a tea room that transports visitors back in time. Indulge in afternoon tea without the fuss of modern living and enjoy one of Ireland’s favorite pastimes at Miss Marples Tea Rooms.
For centuries, Irish people have been drinking tea. Collette Fitzmaurice, owner of Miss Marples Tea Rooms, said the trend began when England’s leftover teas were shipped off to Ireland.
Evan Fitzmaurice pours a cup of tea at Miss Marples Tea Rooms.
“That’s why the Irish like really strong tea because at the time, you had to brew it within an inch of its life to get a taste,” Fitzmaurice said. “Now we have better quality tea, but the Irish still like their tea strong.”
The Irish have also adopted afternoon tea from the English. Traditionally, there are three courses: finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and desserts. At Miss Marples, Fitzmaurice offers the courses on an ornate, three-tier stand.
The star of the show is the tea, which offers a robust flavor with a smooth finish. Fitzmaurice is particular about how she brews her tea, and she said she swears by tea leaves.
“Tea leaves are always better than tea bags,” Fitzmaurice said. “That doesn’t matter if it’s black tea, green tea, white tea. It’s always better to have leaves.”
Step Back in Time
Fitzmaurice originally opened up her tea room not only to share her love of tea and baking, but also to create a safe space from the outside world.
“I really wanted a place that had no radio, no newspapers, no clocks so you could leave life outside and come in and disappear,” Fitzmaurice said.
Visitors won’t find many modern amenities in this tea room, including the internet. Evan Fitzmaurice, Colette Fitzmaurice’s son and employee at Miss Marples Tea Rooms, said this allows people to escape.
“We don’t have Wi-Fi so there’s no connectivity to the outside world unless you have your data turned on,” Fitzmaurice said. “It gives people a place to go where they don’t have to be reachable all the time.”
This English china tea cup is one of many in Collette Fitzmaurice's collection.
The shop has many other old-fashioned touches, from a wall of photographs dating back to the mid-1800s to vintage tea sets customers use for afternoon tea.
“My mom has been collecting china for a very long time, so all the china is antique,” Fitzmaurice said. “Most of it is either bought in second-hand shops or given to us by customers.”
Afternoon Tea Treats
In addition to tea, Miss Marples also offers a selection of cakes and other treats that are made from scratch each day. Fitzmaurice said he grew up learning to cook as part of the family business.
“I love to cook because I love to eat,” Fitzmaurice said. “My mom taught me how to cook, so it just kind of came naturally really.”
Collette Fitzmaurice is also head baker at Miss Marples and works in the kitchen to create all the afternoon tea baked goods. She said she believes preserving Irish history is important, and with that comes the tradition of afternoon tea.
“For a long time, people thought that Ireland didn’t have its own cuisine, but it does,” Fitzmaurice said. “It might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s ours.”
How to Make a Proper "Cuppa"
(according to Collette)
cup·pa | \ ˈkə-pə\
1. a cup of tea
"a good strong cuppa"
Scald the Pot
Pour in the Water
Put boiling water in the pot, swish it around for about 10 seconds, then empty it out.
Add your water, then leave it infused for about four minutes before you pour it.
Add the Tea Leaves
Put your tea leaves in. Add two scoops for tea for two.
Add Milk and Sugar
Drink the tea straight up or add a lump or two of sugar and a splash of milk.
Top 3 Must Dos
Drive south on O'Connell Street from Limerick city center. Continue heading south then take a right on Father Russell Road. It will be on your right. It takes about 10 minutes.
Take the 304 bus from Sarsfield Street in Limerick heading toward Raheen and get off at St. Nessans Road. Walk south on Father Russell Road for about 15 minutes. The trip takes about 30 minutes.
Miss Marples Info
Address: Unit 13, Racefield Centre, Father Russell Rd, Gouldavoher, Limerick, Ireland
Website: Miss Marples Tea Rooms Facebook
Phone: +353 89 421 9889
Cost: Afternoon Tea for Two under $33.92 (€30)