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Sixteen kilometres west of Dingle, on the gorgeous Slea Head Drive, there is a special treat in store for hungry visitors. Just off the road you’ll spot some of the trademark Louis Mulcahy ceramics in the garden of a low-key house that looks as if it may once have been residential, and here you’ll find the famous Louis Mulcahy pottery, shop - and café.
One of a great Lahinch dynasty - his late father owned the town’s premier hotel, the much lamented Aberdeen Arms, and his uncle ran the legendary restaurant Mr Eamonn’s for many years - Michael Vaughan has hospitality in his blood.
“Quality Food Sourced Locally” has always been the mantra at Padraic Frawley’s Cornstore Restaurants in Cork and Limerick, and this innovative restaurateur cites "Sourcing local suppliers and producing fresh quality ingredients in-house” as key to the success of the two restaurants - and of the newer Cornstore At Home, in Limerick, which offers restaurant quality ready meals (‘take home dining’, made across the road in a dedicated kitchen at the Cornstore Restaurant) as well as an exciting collection of speciality foods.
Established in 1925 and now run by siblings Eoin, Natalie and Norma, who take pride in continuing the family tradition, McCambridge’s is first port of call for many food lovers visiting Galway.
“Our philosophy is simple, we use only the best produce from the best local suppliers and treat them with care and attention to detail” - that’s Kate Lawlor, the Euro-Toques owner-chef of Cork city’s No. 5 Fenn’s Quay, telling it as it is on the home page of their web site.
Jenny and Richard Street first opened for business in the charming little village of Grangecon, where they quickly built up a reputation for the excellence of their simple, wholesome food, attracting travellers who were happy to go out of their way for the pleasure of a meal here - so it made sense to keep the name when they relocated to the bustle of Blessington.
Built in 1720 and rescued from dereliction by John and Nora Egan in the 1980’s, Inch House stands like a welcoming beacon at the centre of the family’s large tillage farm near Thurles. Its sense of connection to the land is palpable, embodying a family philosophy that is tangibly demonstrated in their fine classically furnished restaurant, where showcasing local produce has always been a priority.
With the seventh Savour Kilkenny Food Festival coming up (24-28 October 2013; www.savourkilkenny.com), there’s no better time to visit the Marble City - and no better place to eat than the Kilkenny Design Centre, just across the road from Kilkenny Castle. It has long been a favourite destination for lovers of good food and that’s down to the committed leadership of Kathleen Moran, proprietor since the centre opened in 1989.
Gannet Fishmongers in Galway has received the most nominations in a survey conducted among leading Irish restaurant owners and chefs, who were asked to identify their ‘Supplier of the Year’.
If you ever need an excuse to go to the lovely seaside village of Crosshaven, there’s bound to be something going on at the Cronin family’s Victorian pub on the harbour front that would do very well.