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Sally's blog

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Wellness in the hotelness of the Connemara Coast Hotel

A small number of Irish hotels exude hotelness.
By hotelness, we mean that they are destinations that exemplify the art of being an hotel. For us, the Connemara Coast Hotel at Furbo, a few miles west of Galway city, is one of those rare destinations.
In our minds we all have a picture of exactly what hotelness is – comfort; a warm welcome; delicious cooking; subdued but confident style; a place where you can truly relax thanks to charming and efficient staff who look after you and your needs; calmness; a place where you can switch off.

The spirit of Kilkenny, in Thomastown! The Blackberry Cafe

The spirit of Kilkenny is bottled up within the lovable former cobbler’s shop that is the Blackberry Café.
Everything about this phenomenal pocket rocket of a place invites you to believe in the totem that is Killkenny, invites you to believe in everything small, handcrafted, and organic.
Walking into Jackie Hoyne’s café is just like stepping into a Beatrix Potter book, the real deal with an unbeatable classic country aesthetic. As the name suggests, this little place is simply sweet and simply divine.

Following the Bronte trail to Banbridge and to Blend and Batch

The little town of Banbridge has always been blessed with a thriving food culture. Local butchers, Quails, have provided legendary service to the community for decades, and recently opened a pizza restaurant in addition to their cafe and deli. There has long been good home baking in the form of The Windsor, on the main street, whilst the two best country houses in the province, Blackwell House and Newforge House, are nearby.

Winging the wines of the world

There are 2 factors that distinguish the wine merchants of Ireland.
First of all, they have great taste. They find the best, most interesting wines, and bring them into Ireland for us.
Secondly, they are super efficient. Mail in some complex, mixed-up order, and chances are a courier is going to be calling you 48 hours later asking where you want the cases brought to.

Sally McKenna falls hard for the sublime new Michie Sushi in the IFSC, Dublin

Michie Sushi isn’t just a food company. It’s a food company with a philosophy. And that food philosophy runs deep.
Just look, for instance, at their crispy salmon skin sushi. It’s delightful, delicious, and it’s a piece of edible philosophy, which comes straight from the Japanese ambition to cherish every piece of every food ingredient.
Eating it makes you feel good, in two ways. Firstly, it’s tactile, crunchy, and divertingly wholesome. Secondly, you feel good to be enjoying, and paying respect to, a part of the fish that the Irish traditionally disregard.

Brian and Helen bring surgical precision to the legendary breakfast in Castlewood House, Dingle says John McKenna

Surgical precision. That's what Brian Heaton brings to the breakfast table at Castlewood, the elegant lodgings he runs with his wife, Helen, at The Wood, in Dingle, County Kerry.
Just look at that breakfast bap. Sounds simple, but look carefully at the thin folded slices of bacon under the thin slices of tomato under the perfectly poached eggs under the perfectly executed hollandaise sauce.
Surgical. Precise. Astounding, actually.

Heather Flaherty is the ultimate It Girl in Builin Blasta, Spiddal

Sit down to have a chat with Heather Flaherty, and Ms Flaherty will quickly start to talk about how some people in the food business have "just got it"
“It”, of course, is not just the love of food, it’s not just the love of cooking, it’s not just the love of the pell-mell of service in a busy restaurant. “It” is the total, complete and utter immersion in the nitty gritty and the detail of the kitchen, the dish, the food, the space, the buzz.

8 Times a Week is the Performance menu in The Bay Tree, Hollywood

8 performances a week. That's the theatrical timetable for the culinary hoofers in Holywood's The Bay Tree. They revise the old Broadway maxim, however, giving seven daytime performances, and a nightly production on Fridays evenings.And like any theatrical endeavour, The Bay Tree is a machine: sleek; slick; polished; professional; designed to please.


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