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

Clonakilty, 21 years later

Clonakilty Black Pudding

Here is the text of a speech delivered this morning to launch the newly sited market in Clonakility.
It was only when Jix Kelleher asked me for a few words that I realised that it was just over 21 years ago that the story told in the speech happened. 21 years! And Tom O'Donovan and his sisters are looking as young as ever!

A Good Friday: Dingle Farmer's Market

We are just off on our way to Dingle, to officially open their newly reconstituted Farmer's Market, tomorrow.
So, that will be a very Good Friday in Kerry, and we will post some pics of the stall holders after we have cut the ribbon, smashed the champagne bottle against the trestle table, thanked the Mayor and the Committeeee, kissed the babies, arm-wrestled John O'Donoghue, launched the regatta and eaten our way through the town.
The kids can taste those Murphy's ice creams already...

Double AA in Waterford

Great retail experiences aren't too common in Ireland. We still lack a dedicated service culture, one that expresses the nobility of a retailer who truly understands their chosen calling.
But if you take a trip to Waterford, you can get a Double-AA retail experience, in two very different circumstances.
The first A is Altitude, Eamon and Julie Barrett's store up the hill in Ballybricken. Buying a bike and a pair of hiking boots here offered us two masterclasses: how to find the right pair of boots, and how to get advice to make sure you have gotten the right bike.

Ballymaloe Cookery School - Food Writing Course

Ballymaloe Cookery School

There is great pleasure to be had in introducing food lovers to the extraordinarily rich trove of great writing which underlies the business of cooking and eating. In our one-day course at Ballymaloe Cookery School we are hoping to introduce the class to the great prose stylists who realised that writing about food is the most important thing anyone can do. We are also hoping to show them just how to make a food book, and how to blog!

Ceci N'Est Pas Un Critique

Tord Gustafson

I have several reasons to be grateful to Luc Dubanchet:

1. Two of his photographs look directly down at me from the wall above my computer, and they always make me smile.

2. He once took a photograph of me in which I somehow didn't look like a blithering eejit.

3. He introduced me to the sublime jazz piano music of Tord Gustafson.

4. He was the bloke who helped me to understand why French gastronomy was in dire trouble.

Tom and Me

No More Mister Nice Guy

The well-known wine writer and television celebrity Tom Doorley had a pot shot at me in The Daily Mail this week. The Irish Independent asked if I would like to reply to Tom's criticisms. One rarely gets a right of reply – especially via a different newspaper – so here is what I came up with in defence of what we have written in the new Bridgestone irish Food Guide. I'm still slightly amazed at being allowed to discuss these issues in the mainstream media.


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