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Sally's blog

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

Ireland’s butchers have been conquering the world. Here’s how they became champions.

We’ve gotten used to our chefs travelling overseas and coming back with the silverware and the trophies.
But it’s not just our chefs who are doing the good thing. Quietly, confidently, Ireland’s butchers have been slaying the world’s best in international competitions.
Of course, butchers from Northern Ireland have often won U.K. competitions, but the process of conquering the world began when McCartney’s of Moira won the Supreme Award at the Great Taste Awards for their superlative corned beef.

Orla Smyth’s trio of Belfast cafés are the height of hygge coolness.

Kaffe O describes itself as a Nordic-influenced cafe - and not just because they get their pepper grinders from Ikea. It's Nordic because their coffee is roasted in Copenhagen, the interior is minimalist and simple, in a Scandi way - not a budgeting way – their candles are pointedly labelled hygge, and their bread is made with rye grains.

Having taken Cork city by storm, Takashi Miyazaki’s new kaiseki restaurant, Ichigo Ichie, shows he was just getting started.

In Ireland we have lots of restaurants that strain to be gastronomic temples. But Takashi Miyazaki’s new Cork restaurant, Ichigo Ichie, is a gastronomic temple that strains to be a temple.
Mr Miyazaki doesn’t just want to satisfy your appetite, with his High Church cooking. He wants to feed your soul.

A table of great food from the Misunderstood Heron food truck whilst you stare down the fjord is as good as it gets on the West Coast.

Exactitude and instinct are, at the best of times, a pretty good working combination.
But when you bring exactitude and instinct together in a food truck, you can park that food truck anywhere you like, and you can be in no doubt that food lovers will come running from far and wide for a taste of what your E&I combination cooks up.

Danni Barry summons the power and creativity of the great female chefs of Ireland's past in fashioning her dynamic cuisine in Clenaghan’s.

To understand what chef Danni Barry is doing in Clenaghan’s, cooking in an old stone building in the wilds of County Armagh, you need to travel back in time to the 1980‘s, and the work of another starry female chef, Catherine Healy, and to an old stone building in the wilds of County Meath.

Back in the 1980’s Catherine Healy cooked at Dunderry Lodge, a converted stone barn, some 26 miles from Dublin. Dunderry, rather like Ms Barry’s restaurant, was in the middle of nowhere.

The Legal Eagle takes domestic Irish dishes to new culinary heights, and showcases the brilliance of restaurateur Elaine Murphy.

Elaine Murphy is an anthropologist of childhood. Specifically, she explores the foods and tastes of our childhood.
She’s also one of Ireland’s most significant restaurateurs, of course.
In the food she offers in The Legal Eagle, Ms Murphy digs into the discoveries of childhood, unearthing, analysing, and then creating dishes that leap with the excitement of first discovery, first taste.

A Pivotal Piggy in Terenure: With The Brown Pig bringing superb butchery skills to Terenure, local resident Leslie Williams can finally stop worrying, and start shopping.

Is the traditional butcher in Dublin dying out?
Last autumn, I was beginning to worry, as three Dublin butchers that I frequented closed in the previous 12 months - Nolan’s in Rathmines (lamb breasts and shanks for c. €2.50 each) closed due to illness and enforced retirement, while both O’Tooles and Downeys in Terenure closed from what I’m guessing was a simple lack of business. So, Terenure went from having two excellent organic butchers to having zero. 

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