Ireland in 1968. The year begins with Taoiseach Jack Lynch and N.I. premier Terence O’Neill meeting in Dublin for talks, and ends with the opening of Cork’s County hall, the country’s tallest building. There is the Tuskar Rock airplane tragedy, civil rights protesters are baton-charged in Derry and, in March, in Cashel, County Tipperary, Hans-Peter Matthiae opens Chez Hans, in an old deconsecrated church, just down the hill from the Rock of Cashel. Ireland may have changed, but Chez Hans hasn’t. The restaurant is as rock-steady and seductive as ever, one of the country’s finest dining rooms. Hans Peter’s son, Jason, and his wife, Louise, continue to offer the svelte, classic country cooking that has characterised the restaurant for the last 50 years and, every time someone takes you to this church, it’s a special event indeed. Happy Birthday baby, you’ve come a long way.
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