This recently introduced award can perhaps be seen as a signpost to the way food and hospitality are developing in Ireland, as time-poor visitors – whether from other countries or travelling within Ireland – seek a relaxing and enriching experience for even the briefest of short breaks, and therefore look for destinations that offer something more than a comfortable and hospitable place to stay and good food.
Many of our recommendations in ‘the Guide’ have already recognised this development, and some have forecast its arrival and long since risen to the challenge. The O’Callaghan family’s wonderful countryhouse, Longueville House, is an outstanding example of the best of traditional Irish hospitality and renowned for its fine food and drink – and much more.
Beautifully located overlooking the bountiful River Blackwater, it’s virtually self-sufficient as the river, farm and a large organic walled garden supply fresh salmon in season, their own lamb, and all the fruit and vegetables. They even have their own vineyard and, in good years, the estate’s crowning glory is their own house wine, a light refreshing white, “Coisreal Longueville” – and their abundant apple supply is used to make apple brandy too.
Recently they’ve also been making smoked salmon, preserves and other foods for artisan gifts (individually or as baskets), all available both from the house and Mahon Point Farmers Market (Thursday).
All this, plus mushroom hunts in autumn and many other seasonal events –these people are true culinary entrepreneurs and it is always an exciting place to visit.