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Sally's blog

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

Food Festival of the Year

Festival of the year - Connemara Mussel Festival
Tullycross became the epicentre of the West Coast in early May, as the small and splendiferous Connemara Festival took over the village and delighted everyone with great food, great demos and great dancing, from the Curley School of Dancing. You can reckon you've been to every festival and seen it all, and then something as small, community-focused and simple as this great weekend simply takes your breath away. Only brilliant.


Read other Awards...

Food Communicator of the Year

You know how it is: three restaurants to run, two kids to rear, a book to write, a Ph.D to complete, festivals to demo at, cook-ins to learn at, foraging to get stuck into. Not only is all of this no more than an average day's work to Jp McMahon, of Aniar, Cava Bodega and Massimo in Galway city, and author of Cava Bodega Tapas but he does all this stuff whilst also proving himself the quintessential communicator on social media.

Event of the Year

Event of the Year - Kerrygold Ballymaloe Lit Fest
At the end of Litfest 2013, Rory O'Connell and Darina Allen must have wondered how they could top their inaugural festival of food, books and drinks. In 2014, with the enlightened support of Kerrygold, they turned Litfest 2014 into a barnstormer of an event, with the world's greatest food writers and cooks queueing up to take part and get involved. The atmosphere over the two days was electric, with a powerful sense of involvement from the huge audiences.


A Dozen Hot Chefs for 2015

A Baker's dozen of #hotchefs to watch out for...

Kevin Murphy, idas, Dingle, Co Kerry
Like the fine artist that he trained to be, Kevin Murphy hides the work. You eat his food in idas, in Dingle, his many marvellous signature dishes, and coo at it and enjoy it. But it's only when you interrogate the chef that you discover just how much graft went into the background, the foreground, the detail, the characterisation, before the man was happy to send the dish out. That's not just cooking: that's art.

The River Lee Hotel, Cork City

“Everything about it was top class”, said our friend Eugene, after a stay at Cork's super-swish River Lee Hotel.
So, what's top class about the River Lee Hotel? Well, everything, actually, right from the greeting – smartly-dressed, super-polite staff – to the rooms – some of the most comfortable beds we have ever encountered – to the style – modern design that is thoroughly comfortable – to the food – steak and lobster dinner in The Weir bistro for €20 was a special offer the night we stayed!

Brabazon Restaurant, Tankardstown House

Aoife Cox heads to County Meath to sample Robbie Krawczyk's cooking at the Brabazon Restaurant, in Tankardstown House, and enjoys the big flavours.

As I write this, I find myself imagining the job ad for a place on one of Rob Krawczyk’s dinner plates: “Wanted: Quality ingredients for high end dishes. Flexibility and ability to work well with others a must. Strong flavour profile a plus. Bulking materials need not apply.”

The Stop B&B, Galway City

The Stop is a West Coast classic.
It has the most singular aesthetic, explained by the fact that Russ Hart and Emer Fitzpatrick were both gallerists in a previous life, so every detail of the house is showcased at its best, from the pictures on the wall, to the buffet table, to the food on the breakfast plate. Bathe it all in the bright light of a Galway morning and you have a superlative destination, a place where everything is shown in it's best light.


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