The spirit of Kilkenny is bottled up within the lovable former cobbler’s shop that is the Blackberry Café.
Everything about this phenomenal pocket rocket of a place invites you to believe in the totem that is Killkenny, invites you to believe in everything small, handcrafted, and organic.
Walking into Jackie Hoyne’s café is just like stepping into a Beatrix Potter book, the real deal with an unbeatable classic country aesthetic. As the name suggests, this little place is simply sweet and simply divine.
The Blackberry has the forward thinking ethos to exhibit work by local artists, in a sign of appreciation and respect for the visual culture. The Irish country dresser is also a prominent feature, where Ariosa Coffee Beans and artisan chutneys are waiting to be bought and enjoyed. Ms Hoyne’s deli cooking bounces straight out of the box, and her Irish Italian panini, which you can see being made with your own eyes, is the prime example of how a panini should be, so real and soulful, and with a bowl of velvety, luscious tomato and courgette soup this was one happy marriage, and both were eaten happily after. Their chicken soup sings a soulful note too, and sweet baking is done with perfection and care.
Sitting in the window seat of the Blackberry Café allows the guest to become contemplative, helped by the fact that the poem ‘Blackberry Picking’ by Seamus Heaney has been proudly framed and mounted in the side of the windows.
If Beatrix Potter was alive and living in Killkenny, Blackberry Café would, in her imagination, be the gathering point for Benjamin Bunny, Tom Kitten, and Tabitha Twitchet to sip coffee, and nibble homemade cake. Genius. This is one of the stars of Kilkenny.
Market Street, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny 086 775 5303
Words, Connie McKenna, Photographs, Colin Grant