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

Respecting Animals

There was a brisk and lively exchange of letters in this newspaper round about Xmas last.
Gerry Boland, of Animals in Crisis, wrote to the editor to point out that “the hypocrisy of our relationship with animals is deeply embedded. We are capable of being fond of our pet dog while at the same time we tacitly support the inhumane treatment of farm animals in a daily act of condonement: we eat them”.

Readers Letters

We get lots of strongly opinionated comments and mails into Bridgestone Central, and here are a few for your delectation.
The first is from Conor, who sure knows his way around Cork and Kerry restaurants.

Surely Not...

Pádraig Walshe, president of the IFA - Irish Farmers Association – has claimed that supermarkets' use of “predatory pricing” is as great a threat to farming as climate change, or the WTO – World Trade Organisation.
Well, well, who would have believed that a leader of the IFA would talk knowledgeably about what is actually going on down on the farm for real farmers.
Maybe Mr Walshe heard reports about the atmosphere at a meeting we spoke at early last year, when we listened to farmers in Northern Ireland. These fine gentlemen were, quite simply, suicidal. All of them.

Great Fast Food

Alan Goulding

There is a little corner behind Patrick Street in Cork, running from Paul Street to Paradise Place, where you can now find pure, wholesome, delicious ... fast food. Fast Al's delicious pizzas are already legendary in the precinct, where you can walk in and buy a slice of the most echt New York-style pizza. Al has now expanded to a new outlet two doors down where you can buy real falafels, homemade pittas stuffed with chick pea fritters and salads. The last few times we've been to Cork we've stopped at both of Al's addresses and figured he had the market sussed for real fast food.

Mince wi' yer tatties

'“Yes, but can she cook mince?” A young Scotsman extolling the beauty and talents of his intended bride to his family was invariably asked this question. Mince is such an important dish in Scotland that it is virtually written into the wedding contract.’

Your trip to London

Eamon Barrett

Our good friend and Bridgestone editor, Eamon Barrett of the Waterford parish, managed to get some time to grab a bite to eat on a recent London trip, herewith his reports on Rowley Leigh's rebirth and Fergus Henderson's unique, uncompromised cooking. And to think that a mere decade ago London was in the restaurant doldrums.

Capital stuff

Claire Nash

It's become fashionable to bemoan the lack of new restaurant openings in Cork city, and to suggest that this proves that standards are improving elsewhere, but not on Leeside.
This is bunk. Cork city restaurants are as fine as ever, and are all characterised by intense self-criticism and a strong sense of competition.
Just look at Claire Nash's Nash 19. We dipped into the restaurant just before Xmas to see the latest refurbishments and to try the Monday-Friday offer that Claire has concocted to meet with the adapting demands of her customers.

Getting a Roasting

Jennifer and Tommy Walsh

The great thing about aging is that you no longer care to be thought right. In fact, being proven wrong comes to be a pleasure.
We used to be of the opinion that Illy coffee reigned supreme. A superlative product, we thought it had no equal.
But Illy has equals. Indeed it now has competitors that may well outstrip it in terms of individuality, personality, distinctiveness.

Restless Artisans

“We are still beavering away with a steady trickle of new offerings”, writes Stella Coffey from the much-admired Ladybird Organics, makers of superlative organic meat products.
“We have dry cured rare breed back and streaky rashers, preservative-free farmhouse sausages named after townlands and villages in Co Tipperary (Ballypatrick - 100% pork, nothing added; Ballylooby - parsley and garlic; Ballyhickey - sage and sautéed onion; Ballydavid - red wine and garlic).


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