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Shop, Artisan, Food & Drinks Awards

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

SHOP OF THE YEAR: Strandfield, Ballymascanlon, Co Louth
You have to queue in Strandfield, Hannah Byrne’s inspired mash-up of artisan food/speciality flower shop and restaurant, at Ballymascanlon, a few miles outside Dundalk. Sometimes the queue is enormous; other times it’s a little more concise. But, no one minds the queue, because this is such a special shop, and such a special place to eat. strandfield.com

ARTISAN OF THE YEAR: Sceal Bakery, Smithfield, Dublin
Shane and Charlotte met on day 1 of their studies at DIT Cathal Brugha Street, and they have been working together ever since. Working with great bakers and bakeries in California has blessed them not just with fearsome baking techniques, but also with that West Coast sang froid: they make the supremely difficult look sublimely simple. Their breads and cakes are the bomb: you can’t eat better breads than these. scealbakery.com

FOOD OF THE YEAR: Dooncastle Oysters, Connemara, Co Galway
John Ward minds his oysters, carefully, in their beds in the cold waters off the Connemara coast. The result is some of the best oysters you can eat, and Mr Ward is one of the dynamic band of oyster growers who are finding ever greater appreciation of their magnificent product here in Ireland. Just remember to ask for them by name: half a dozen Dooncastle will float your boat. dooncastleoysters.com

DRINKS PERSON OF THE YEAR: David Llewellyn, Lusk, Co Dublin
Imagine being able to make a wine that will match with every single course of a 15-course dinner. Impossible? In theory, it is. But David Llewellyn doesn’t let the little matter of the impossible interfere when he is fashioning his blush wine, which accompanied – perfectly – every single course of the extraordinary 15-course ZEROKM dinner at Evan Doyle’s BrookLodge Hotel, in Macreddin, County Wicklow. llewellynsorchard.ie
 

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