Certain of the great Irish country houses have been fortunate to be blessed with the creative dynamism of a talented new generation. The work of Simon and Christina O’Hara at Coopershill House is one of the finest examples of how new blood, and new creativity, can make a venerable destination into a vital part of the culinary culture and tourism culture of a region.
Mr O’Hara is steeped in the hospitality business – his grannie, Joan, first opened the house to guests in the 1960’s, followed by his parents, Brian and Lindy – and he has the sang froid to be able to do a hundred different things at any one time, and to do them all well.
Christina O’Hara, meantime, is a superlative cook, a cook with a true, sure, touch and, in our opinion, one of the best country cooks we know. By “country cook” we simply mean someone whose food is totally alive to the seasons, to the bounty of the gardens, a cook who can extricate the natural flavours of her ingredients in the most instinctual, profound way.
Having 500 acres and a vegetable garden gives Mrs O’Hara just what she needs, and she knows exactly what to do with these pristine foods: of course you must try the venison which is read on the estate,a nd served as medallions with a juniper sauce, perhaps, or smoked and served with a salad of fresh leaves from the garden. But the kitchen is just as assured with Killybegs crab, or west coast sole, or local lamb from Riverstown, and puddings are a highlight, especially Christina’s handling of Irish fruits.
The house itself is one of the most meticulously maintained of the Irish country houses, and the gleam factor will dazzle you. Believe us when we say that it is very difficult to get in the car and say goodbye to Simon and Christina and Coopershill House.
Megabites Sign Up Here!
Sign up for our Megabites Newsletter, a blog which brings you all the latest contemporary news of the best food and food people in Ireland, including all that’s new on the Wild Atlantic Way.