The Samhain Festival, from Boyne Valley Flavours centered around Kells, and showed that County Meath has arrived as a food destination. Westport has also powered ahead as a food destination, attracting new talents like This Must Be The Place and Savoir Fare, to a town already replete with great culinary riches. County Donegal really got its swerve on in 2019, and the team of chefs, producers and hoteliers dotted throughout the county are delivering that North West culinary destiny with a smiling confidence.
In Waterville’s Butler Arms, and in Lisdoonvarna’s Sheedy’s Hotel, we experienced two Irish family-run hotels operating at the peak of perfection. The Huggard family and the Sheedy family show everything that is special about Irish family hotels. Up in Manorhamilton, in W8, Shane Kerrigan opened a truly visionary concept, working alongside great locals cooks and designers to create a stunning new arrival for your bucket list. The Metropole Hotel’s concierge, John Coleman, is nothing less then an Irish hospitality star.
Conor Spacey is a guy who is changing the very way we think about food, and the No Waste policy of his FoodSpace company challenges us all to challenge the very idea of food waste. Hearing Mr Spacey talk will change how you cook, and live. Chad Byrne, of ChefCollab is another cook rattling the foundations of the way food businesses operate, encouraging new talent, and undermining the old-school brigade braggadocio. In Cork, Regina Sexton brought Myrtle Allen’s Ballymaloe House papers into UCC where they will be archived, organised the first Myrtle Allen memorial lecture, and originated the new post-graduate Diploma in Irish Food Culture. Ms Sexton had an annus mirabilis in 2019.