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

The Blog Returns

Bridgestone Irish Food Guide

“What's happened to your blog?” writes a friend.
Well, you are looking at what happened to the blog. The new Bridgestone Irish Food Guide, the 9th edition, is 624 pages long, a full 100 pages more than the 2007 book, which was 100 pages more than the 2003 book.
624 pages of the good stuff, coming your way just before Xmas, and more on this in the future

The Blackboard Bistro, Dublin

The Backboard Bistro

Jean and Pierre are doing all the right things in Dublin's little Blackboard Bistro.
Caroline Byrne admires the cooking and the value.


I went here last Thursday for my weekly early bird with my brother and I was very pleasantly surprised by this little place. Even my brother said it was his favourite of all the French places I’ve brought him too, and that’s really saying something coming from him!

The Irish Times, August 2009

On a crisp Saturday morning, my wife, my sister and I joined our friends Harro and Gisi on their 1895 boat, the Grainne, in Ahakista pier for a spot of mackerel fishing.
Harro and Gisi are the sort of confident boatpeople who are expert at looking after those whose sealegs are not so well established.

Sarah Carey: Not Even Wrong

Sarah Carey

The new crew of columnists on The Irish Times reflect well on the choices of editor Geraldine Kennedy.
Whilst our fave is the punky Ph.D, Elaine Byrne, on Tuesdays – don't start a fight with that girl! – Tony Kinsella on Mondays and John Gibbins on Thursdays both qualify as essential reading, their efforts intellectually crisp and cogent.

The Irish Times Healthplus

Ten years ago, the Swedish government stated in very simple terms its environmental objective: “To hand over to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems have been solved”.
In the ten years since, as Frank McDonald reported in this paper back in May in an article entitled “Sweden’s Green Approach”, the Swedes have been working hard to reduce Co2, to use biofuels, and to get to a place where they will be carbon neutral.

Chop House, Lismore

O'Brien's Chop House

Eamon Barrett enjoys seeing Justin and Jenny Green get it right. Again.


Over the years I have found that it pays not to have pre-conceptions in this job.
Over enthusiasm inevitably leads to disappointment; underlying suspicion is often cast aside with pleasant surprise. But with Justin Green's announcement of the opening of the old Barca premises in Lismore as O'Briens Chop House I couldn't help but feel that tingle of anticipation that something was going to be good; very good.

And I wasn't wrong.

West Cork Literary Festival 2009: Food Writing

I have just enjoyed the enormous pleasure of spending a week discussing food writing with a brilliant bunch of students for five mornings, as part of Bantry's annual West Cork Literary Festival.
My thanks to my students – Hedy, Susan, Mo, Damhnait, Leeanne, Aisling, Doreen, Michael and Brian – for their commitment and engagement, which was at times unbelieveably potent and intense.
We discussed many books and writers, and the following list is my attempt to draw them all together.

July 1st, bendy cucumbers, Hallelujah!

This morning, Reuters reports the following. It might seem trivial, but actually it is very important, because it is the application of common sense to the marketplace.
Now, the EU needs to stop regulating vegetables, and get around to regulating those who sell them in supermarkets...

"July 1st marks the return to our shelves of the curved cucumber and the knobbly carrot," EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said.

Your Staycation 2009

Blair's Cove, Durrus

Regular readers will have noticed how intermittent this column has been of late. The reason is simple: we are working on the 500-page Bridgestone Irish Food Guide!
But, those 500 pages aside, it is time to share some discoveries and hot tips that might prove useful for your summer staycation. Here we go...

West Cork

Blairs Cove, Durrus

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