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

Curraghchase Farm Shop

Here is a Sunday afternoon jaunt with a difference. Pack the kids in the car. Drive to Kilcornan in west Limerick, with Curraghchase Forest Park as your general point of reference. From the N71, around Kildimo, look for signs that say "Farm Shop". Follow the signs.

These will take you to a tall, dark-red house, with a small stone shop just across from it. You have arrived at Caroline Rigney's Farm Shop, home of Curraghchase bacon and pork products.

Eamon's Bridgestone Diary: On The Road

Saturday May 19th
After work we head for Richmond House in Cappoquin, one of our favourite places for a 'Dinner & Duvet' stay over. It's a lovely evening and the grounds are very restful. Since we're a little earlier than usual we bring a bottle of wine down to the conservatory and read the Saturday papers. Dinner is wonderful, as always, and service is efficient, gracious and very, very friendly.

Eamon's Diary

You probably reckon it's all fun being a Bridgestone Editor. Well, here is the reality behind the red-carpet glamour, the paparazzi moments, the celebrity endorsements and the pro-golf tournaments, courtesy of Eamon Barrett of the Waterford parish.

We begin with the reality of checking out accommodation for the Bridgestone 100 Best Guides, and just what can be discovered in Ireland. Names have been changed here to protect the guilty: E. A. Poe House isn't actually the real name of this place, though it probably should be.

We come to bury Chicken Caesar

Believe it or believe it not, but I have sitting on my desk a menu from a popular Irish restaurant which offers its customers "Classic Chicken Caesar salad".

I'm not making this up. We are living in an age when Irish chefs think Caesar Salad comes with chicken.

The same guys who have desecrated Caesar Cardini's classic creation, however, tend to be less inventive and rather more derivative when it comes to the rest of their menus.

Leslie Williams sprinkles the salt and calls for the mustard: Steak Frites

Steak Frites is the quintessential French Bistro dish. Whenever I am in France this is the dish I order more than any other as I can be fairly certain they will get it right - or at least less wrong. The chips might be cooked from frozen and the steak underdone (to some Irish palates) but I have come to trust in the simplicity of this dish.

IOFGA at Athenry

Yesterday's IOFGA conference yielded a rich crop of intellectual stimulation. Peter Melchett of the Soil Association gave a dazzling presentation which seemed to touch on every point from grey partridges to GMOs. Charles “Merf” Merfield gave the most intoxicating presentation on soil and organics – with some truly revolutionary thinking that revealed the weaknesses of what we think of as “agricultural science”, and Michael Hickey gave a splendidly droll and witty talk on the history of the Association.

25 Years of IOFGA

The Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Asociation celebrates 25 years of inspiring work at its annual conference on Sunday. Minister Trevor Sargent is kicking off proceedings, Dr Charles Merfield of Teagasc will be talking about soil, Peter Melchett of the Soil Association will be speaking along with organic farmer Michael Hickey and John McKenna of the Bridgestone parish will be chipping in a few words.

Eating Little Furry Animals

The culinary arts provide the most gracious and delicious solutions to environmental and farming problems.
Too many cockerels causing trouble in the hen house? Get out the pot and we shall have coq au vin. What to do with that pig’s head? Let’s brew up a succulent and satisfying brawn, and whilst we are at it, we will use the trotters to make jambon persille – jellied ham.
The great cuisines are full of elegant answers to problems such as these. But now, a new problem faces us, and it is time to take direct action.

The First Savour Kilkenny Festival

Kilkenny food festival

The confident culinary chutzpah one expects of Kilkenny was fully in evidence during the Bank Holiday weekend, when the first Savour Kilkenny Festival brought markets, producers, restaurateurs and punters to Ireland's most handsome, Italiante city.
Pride of place goes to Mary Shortis and Chris Wong, who were awarded the first Savour Kilkenny Award. Their shop sells everything you could possibly imagine, not to mention the best street food in Ireland – this was a richly deserved prize.

Why isn't a great restaurant like Shanahan's in the Bridgestone 100 Best?

Thursday evening in Shanahan's, and the place is leppin'. It's so busy, that there are folk who are even eating downstairs in the bar, and elsewhere there isn't a table to be had. Confident, smart staff negotiate the three floors of the complex, always charming, completely in control.
The little amuse of foie gras is perfect, the trio of Irish salmon is spot on, the scallops are small but excellent, and the meats are pitch perfect – the petite filet, the New York striploin, the fine rib-eye. Side orders are simple as they should be – good mash, good creamed spinach.

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