Citations Awards 2020

POULTRY Carlow Free Range Fenagh Co Carlow
• FISH Goatsbridge Trout Farm Thomastown Co Kilkenny
• DRINKS Longueville House Beverages Mallow Co Cork
• VEGETABLES Drummond House Garlic & Asparagus Baltray Co Louth
• DAIRY Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers Fethard Co Tipperary

POULTRY Carlow Free Range Fenagh Co Carlow
One of the few Irish poultry businesses to own and manage the entire supply chain process from rearing birds in a stress free environment through to the processing, packaging and delivery, the highly regarded company Carlow Free Range started production in 1993 - and it’s been a force to be reckoned with since 2004, when Bertram and Celine Salter married. Now a byword for quality, they’re true to their philosophy that ‘Free range tastes better’ and have an EU Licensed slaughterhouse on site. They’re sold in leading retailers such as Ardkeen Quality Food Store and some of the butchers who took the first deliveries in 1993 are still proudly selling the product today.

FISH Goatsbridge Trout Farm Thomastown Co Kilkenny
Previous generations of Margaret and Gerard Kirwan's family business took over where the Cistercian monks of Jerpoint Abbey left off in this area, ensuring there's trout aplenty in the Arrigle River in the Nore valley. While fundamentally steeped in tradition, they are constantly innovating; new products are regularly introduced and they welcome visitors to see their eco-friendly working environment and to try their Premium Fresh and Smoked Trout - and also their delicious Irish Trout Caviar, which is a first for Ireland.

VEGETABLES Drummond House Garlic & Asparagus Baltray Co Louth
Having inherited a Co Louth farm from his uncle, architect Peter Collier and his wife Marita decided to specialise - and it is now 'The Home of Irish Garlic'. This enterprising couple produce a number of garlic varieties - and Elephant Garlic (a member of the leek family, not a true garlic), Green Garlic (the young plant of any of the garlic varieties), and delicious crunchy Garlic Scapes (stalks, which are a by-product). Distributed by Redmond Fine Foods, the superb Drummond House produce (including, since 2014, asparagus) is also sold in local shops and at the farm.

• DAIRY Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers Fethard Co Tipperary.
Veterans of farmhouse cheese production, Jane and Louis Grubb and family have been making cheese on their Tipperary farm since 1984, with daughter Sarah and her husband Sergio Furno now closely involved in the business, Cashel Irish Farmhouse Cheesemakers. The internationally renowned Cashel Blue is still made by hand on the same 200 acre farm, using their own milk and supplies from selected nearby farms. They also make Cashel Blue Organic, Crozier Blue (Ireland’s only sheep’s milk blue) and the newer Shepherd’s Store (a hard sheep’s milk cheese) and offer an on-farm Visitor Experience.

• DRINKS Longueville House Beverages - Mallow Co Cork
Established by the late Michael O’Callaghan, who planted orchards (and vines!) in the 1980s, and now made very successfully by his son William, the single estate Longueville House Beverages are made using sustainable traditional processes (crushing, pressing, fermentation, filtration), and the ciders are lightly carbonated and pasteurised. Longueville House Irish Apple Brandy is distilled annually and the newest product, Longueville Mór Cider, is fermented and aged in Longueville Apple Brandy casks; it is the only cider made this way in Ireland, producing a truly delicious and unique cider which has received well-deserved acclaim.

WINNER: Michael Deane Deanes Belfast
Deservedly hailed as Northern Ireland’s premier restaurateur for many years, chef Michael Deane’s Howard Street venue has long been the benchmark by which other restaurants in the region are judged and - although other talented and dedicated people are also raising the bar for Belfast as a top dining destination - it remains a beacon of excellence. Always ahead of the game and never interested in gimmicks, Michael’s antennae seem to have a private line to the evolving market - and, whenever he senses the need for change, he invariably creates something special and just right. Having spearheaded modern food in Belfast - and, in particular, working with hand picked suppliers and transforming their seasonal ingredients into delicious, perfectly conceived dishes - he continues to provide leadership, and to bring discerning Northern Ireland diners with a cuisine choice of exceptional quality and value.

WINNER: Marlfield House Hotel Gorey Co Wexford

Opened as an hotel in 1978 by the legendary Ray and Mary Bowe, this impressive house outside Gorey (former residence of the Earls of Courtown) soon established a reputation as an elegant oasis of unashamed luxury offering outstanding hospitality and service. Always well run, it has changed with the times - and in style - under the management of their daughters, Margaret and Laura, who are now continuing - and developing - the family tradition of hospitality. As well as the main house, they now also operate the lovely informal café-restaurant, The Duck, alongside the kitchen garden - and also Duck Lodge, a contemporary self-catering cottage - all of which means this beautiful property can be enjoyed by a much wider audience. A magnificent example of sustainable development and a joy to visit.
Highly Commended: No. 1 Pery Square Limerick
Immaculately restored by owner Patricia Roberts in celebration of its original architectural features, Limerick’s premier boutique hotel is a stunning property on the city’s most gracious Georgian square. The fine public rooms and sumptuous bedrooms are a delight and the holistic Spa @ No. 1 offers the ultimate in pampering. Head chef Mark Belton oversees a number of dining options including the fine dining Sash restaurant and the recently opened Long Room. "...All about simplicity and pride, inspired by our wonderful producers, not just from Limerick and its environs but from the whole island” it offers an innovative menu of simple, tasty dishes with a sense of place. Afternoon Tea, served in the first floor Drawing Room, is another highlight - and the warmth of welcome and pampering of guests at this luxurious hotel match the care devoted to the building
Highly Commended: Castle Leslie Estate Glaslough Co Monaghan
Home to the Leslie family since 1665, this beautiful property is now run by Sammie Leslie, the great-great granddaughter of the man who built the present castle. Choose between rooms in the extraordinary Castle or in The Lodge, a sensitively designed and atmospheric modern hotel built around a stable courtyard, complete with an equestrian centre and Victorian Treatment Rooms. Except for Afternoon Tea at The Castle (and groups), dining options for both residents and non-residents are the hotel’s informal Conors Bar (all day) or the excellent evening destination Snaffles Restaurant, where the menu includes dishes based on old recipes from the Castle Leslie Estate Cookbook - and a very good breakfast is served.

WINNER: Aimsir Cliff at Lyons Celbridge Co Kildare

The most keenly anticipated restaurant opening in recent years, the arrival of chef Jordan Bailey (from Cornwall and formerly head chef at top Scandinavian restaurant Maaemo, in Norway) and his Danish wife, Majken, and their restaurant Aimsir was a first for Ireland. It is a huge compliment to Ireland and the quality of its produce that they chose to settle in Co Kildare. Aimsir, meaning weather in Irish, is dedicated to "Celebrating what can be sown and harvested, fished and foraged on the island of Ireland" and Jordan’s exquisite 18-course tasting menu is 95% sourced within Ireland. Everything about Aimsir is meticulously planned and just right. And what lingers in the mind is not just the sheer creativity and skill, or even the deep flavours and extraordinary attention to detail - but, especially, the warmth, friendliness, enthusiasm and charm that make for a memorable dining experience. It’s a one off.
Highly Commended: Liath Blackrock Co Dublin
Dinner at Liath, in Blackrock Market, is one of the finest dining experiences in Ireland. With just 22 seats, this stylish little restaurant offers a sense of escapism and exclusivity. Serving an exquisite ten-course tasting menu, Damien Grey and his superb team, spearheaded by the ebullient Niall O’Connor, deliver a fairy tale experience underpinned by seasonality, excellence and genuine warmth. The ten-course offering unfolds like a well directed movie, with a gripping opening, compelling narrative and sublime cast. Each dish has a star ingredient with supporting cast of textures, the flavours developing with each course. It is, quite simply, a sensational restaurant. Small? Yes. But perfectly formed.
Highly Commended: MacNean House & Restaurant Blacklion Co Cavan
Neven Maguire's position as one of Ireland's leading chefs is well earned, and the prospect of a meal at the restaurant that he and his wife Amelda run in this little border town has long attracted devotees from all over Ireland, and beyond. Once a modest restaurant with rooms, they have made it a spacious place of sumptuous comfort, providing the setting that is deserved by Neven's exceptional cooking of the local foods that he has always championed with such passion. Neven leads an outstanding team and the restaurant is constantly evolving, always with the same hands-on care and a genuine desire to please both new guests and local diners - who are especially appreciative of his famous Sunday lunches. Thoughtful touches abound, making it a very special place.

WINNER: Mickael Viljanen The GreenHouse Dublin

Mickael Viljanen’s cooking is in a league of its own and The GreenHouse delivers one of Ireland’s finest culinary experiences. Everything from the intimate room to the warm staff enhance the special feeling you’ll get when dining here on the extraordinary Finnish-Irish cooking. Together with restaurateur Eamonn O’Reilly, Viljanen promises an exceptional seasonal treat with lunch offering some of the best value in town. Stunning food will take your breath away, and even the most jaded diners never fail to be astounded by the level of creativity and brilliance poured into every dish.
Highly Commended: Stephen Toman OX Belfast
Since 2013 Stephen Toman and Alain Kerloc'h’s ambitious yet relaxed Lagan-side restaurant has been a national point of inspiration for a new kind of seasonal cooking. Describing itself simply as 'A restaurant with seasonal creativity’, it combines stylish modern ingredients-led food and impeccable service with a casual vibe and continues to be one of the most consistently exciting dining rooms in the country. The month's Larder of foods in season is the starting point for every dish and meat, fish, vegetables and other ingredients, including foraged foods, are each afforded equal respect and Stephen Toman's cooking is exquisite, with great attention to detail - a standard mirrored by seemingly laid-back, yet highly efficient service and, of course, the backing of Alain Kerloc'h’s famous wine experience. A great team and a wonderful, affordable restaurant.
Highly Commended: Andy McFadden Glovers Alley Dublin
Returning from a successful career in London to the space formerly occupied by Kevin Thornton’s eponymous restaurant overlooking St Stephen’s Green, Tallaght man Andy McFadden brings years of experience cooking at the highest levels. Andy’s menus – lunch, dinner à la carte and tasting – represent the very best of Irish produce, which are proudly declared in print. Dishes feature luxury ingredients and a mix of classic and international influences Each dish is a tiny work of art, colourful, delicate, imaginative, all served on beautiful tableware and desserts especially are exquisite Though prices are stiff, the food is creative, ambitious and beautiful - this is some of Dublin's finest food.

6. ‘TASTE THE ISLAND’ INNOVATION AWARD 2020, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland
WINNER: Tartare Galway

Owned by leading restaurateurs JP McMahon and Drigin Gaffey, and just across the road from their famous fine dining destination, Aniar, this informal little sister quickly became one of Galway’s best-loved spots thanks to its brilliantly simple food and cool arty vibe. Equally committed to foods of the region - especially oysters and grass-fed beef - Tartare is popular for casual daytime fare and by night the focus is on beautifully conceived small plates and biodynamic wine. And, innovative as always, JP and Drigin are finding ways for Tartare to contribute to the city’s vibrant cultural life, notably through their free-entry Wine & Design evenings, which provide a local artist or designer with a platform, to discuss their work, their inspirations, and what it means to be an artist in Galway (coming up soon is Noeline Kavanagh, Artistic Director of Macnas) together with a talk and tasting of carefully-selected organic, natural, and biodynamic wines. Original, educational and fun - very Galway.
Highly Commended: Osta@W8 & W8 Centre Manorhamilton Co Leitrim
A perfect reason to explore the beautiful and relatively undiscovered North-West of Ireland, the W8 Centre is an imaginative modern tourist and cultural hub in the friendly town of Manorhamilton. Created with vision by developer Shane Kerrigan from an abandoned ghost estate, W8 Village is now a model of sustainable tourism, offering stylish high-spec 2- and 3-bedroom self catering accommodation, an urban garden and underground parking. With some great special interest breaks offered (Foodie, Fishing and Outdoor Activities to Health & Wellbeing, Crafts and Team Bonding/…) it’s ideal for families and small groups - and its stylish modern restaurant, OstaW8, is a destination in its own right. The younger sister of Brid Torrades' acclaimed ingredients-led restaurant in Sligo Town, this stylish and very friendly modern restaurant opened in April 2019 and soon established itself as a quality casual dining destination for discerning diners travelling to, or through, the area as well as the lucky locals.
Highly Commended: Killary Lodge & The Misunderstood Heron Leenane Co Galway
Jamie and Mary Young opened their pioneering Little Killary Centre near Leenane in 1981, and now there's a feeling of things coming full circle as they and their children, Shane and Ciara who - together with sister Kim and her husband Reinaldo and their magnificent food truck *The Misunderstood Heron - continue the family habit of constant reinvention. Embarking on an equally exciting new era, 2018 saw the opening of the Young family's beautiful purpose-built 'nature lodge' The Killary Lodge, on the grounds of their famous Killary Adventure Centre. Sustainably designed as a (mainly) self-catering destination for groups, it makes a stunning venue for everything from corporate events like think tanks and training programmes, to getaways such for special interest groups. It is also perfect for multi-generational family breaks, and even small weddings - and The Misunderstood Heron team can provide the catering. So inventive, and super practical too. [*The Misunderstood Heron was the winner of our Street Food of the Year Award, 2019]

sponsored by Bord Bia

WINNER: The Wilds Enniscorthy Co Wexford

Paula Asple and Simon Nelson’s thriving café is set in a landmark building at the top of Weafer Street - and it has become the go-to place in Enniscorthy for delicious daytime food. The philosophy here is admirable – the best local, Irish, seasonal, free-range, organic, ingredients are used where possible, and suppliers and producers credited on the menu include local giants of sustainability such as O’Neill’s Bacon, Butler’s Family Farm, Stafford’s Butchers Enniscorthy, The Veg Patch Ferns, Fairfield Milk, Ballycross Apple Farm, and Millstream Fishmongers Enniscorthy - a great cross section of the very best that's available locally. No wonder they have built up such a loyal clientele. A gem.
Highly Commended: Flanagan's Gastro Pub Brickens Co Mayo
Easy to spot with its bright cream and red colour scheme and an old Austin delivery van parked outside, Luke and Caroline Flanagan's attractive pub is very family-friendly and offers plenty of crowd pleasers, but the difference is in the commitment to quality - the Flanagans are great supporters of local producers, with a list of suppliers given and many ingredients name checked throughout their menus - a Greek style salad, for example, may be made with delicious Aran Island Feta Cheese and organic leaves from Mill House Farm near Galway. There’s also a good choice of craft beers from Mayo and neighbouring counties and ciders from Louth and Armagh - and a 125cl "driver's glass" wine measure, which is a great idea for any rural pub/restaurant.
Highly Commended: Dunmore House Hotel Clonakilty Co Cork
Set in one of West Cork's most desirable locations, the O'Donovan family's immaculately maintained hotel is magnificently situated overlooking the Atlantic Ocean near Clonakilty. "A sense of place by the sea using the finest ingredients from West & County Cork" is how they introduce the bar menu and it pretty well sums up the food philosophy of the whole hotel. Superb Hereford beef, puddings and pork sausages, for example, come from MJ O' Neill's butchers in Clonakilty, which was established in 1919 and still has its own abattoir...also puddings from the world renowned Clonakilty Black Pudding Company, of course, and poultry from another highly respected and long established Clonakilty family business, Shannon Vale Foods which was founded by the O'Regan family when they arrived here in 1885

WINNER: Wineport Lodge Glasson Co Westmeath

Ray Byrne and Jane English’s unique shoreside lodge overlooking Lough Ree started life in 1993 as a rustic restaurant with themes echoing life around the river and lakes - and, although it now has thirty beautiful rooms (all with private balconies overlooking the lake), a hot tub and treatment rooms - the lovely contemporary restaurant remains its heart, serving fine meals with warmth and professionalism. A great example of sustainable development, the food experience here has always been about seasonal local produce and a formal meal in this stunning venue is a special outing - but it’s also ideal for Afternoon Tea or a casual daytime bite in the bar, and this giant of the inland waterways makes a perfect journey break
Highly Commended: The Cottage Restaurant Jamestown Co Leitrim
Colourful paintwork, window boxes and hanging baskets give an attractive cottage character to this cheerful white-washed restaurant. Situated on the edge of the pretty village of Jamestown near Carrick-on-Shannon, it is one of the River Shannon’s favourite destinations with both local diners and visitors, many of whom arrive to the nearby quay by boat. It’s run by the talented and energetic local chef, Shamzuri Mohid Hanifa ('Sham'), whose excellent modern European and Asian food is based proudly on the best seasonal local produce available and offers something different from other restaurants in the area. A proud Euro-Toques chef, Sham’s simply worded menus support their philosophy and demonstrate pride in using the best of local and other Irish suppliers, while the friendly, smartly turned out staff make sure that everyone enjoys his delicious cooking - and will want to return.
Highly Commended: Larkins Bar & Restaurant Garrykennedy Co Tipperary
You can’t miss this pretty white cottage pub with its cheerful red paintwork, beside the charming little harbour in Garrykennedy. Owned by Maura and Cormac Boyle since 2006, it’s not as old as it looks but it has a genuinely traditional ambience. Maura and Cormac’s four children, Cillian, Cathal, Muireann and Diarmuid are all involved, especially in summer, and, as the Boyles are from farming backgrounds, the wholesome food offered is firmly based in the locality, especially the area’s famous meats. You’ll find delicious traditional dishes like Irish stew alongside more modern ones and local beef is the backbone of the evening menu. Cheerful, friendly and exceptionally accommodating service matches the country mood of this appealing pub - and the music and dancing are legendary.

WINNER: King Sitric Fish Restaurant & Accommodation and East Café Bar Howth Co Dublin

Established in 1971, Aidan and Joan MacManus’s elegant seaview restaurant with rooms is one of Dublin’s original fine dining establishments - and one of the first to specialise in seafood. Aidan’s famous commitment to the best of seasonal, local produce is seen on menus that offer outstanding dishes for every budget - mainly seafood, but also with a focus on game in winter - treats that have always been matched by one of the country’s finest wine lists. Evolving with the city, the cosily old world restaurant was transformed nearly two decades ago into a smart modern venue that was all about the great sea views with rooms. And, added more recently, the contemporary smart-casual East Café Bar is run by son of the house, Declan MacManus, with his wife Susan McKiernan. Offering a limited menu, Aidan's fantastic food and great value, it is proving a real winner.
Highly Commended: Eithna’s by the Sea Mullaghmore Co Sligo
A favourite destination for seafood lovers, Eithna O’Sullivan's atmospheric harbourside seafood restaurant teems with life throughout the summer and her food is better than ever. Mainly a daytime place, she offers classic seafood and quality light meals using the best from sea and land, including seaweeds. The simple style, sure handed cooking and attention to detail allow the flavours, colours and textures of the superb ingredients to take centre stage - and, although many people travel especially for the lobster, which may not not always be available, there are plenty of other delicious things to choose from. You'll find one of Ireland's best seafood chowders here, for example, or you could try seafood salad on brown bread with dressed salad, perhaps, or grilled mackerel with seaweed pesto. Also vegetarian options - and delicious desserts. Simply magic.
Highly Commended: Vaughans Anchor Inn Liscannor Co Clare
The Vaughan family's traditional bar has great character, with open fires and lots of memorabilia - it was our Pub of the Year back in 2006 and remains just the place for some seriously good seafood at fair prices, either in the bar or in the well appointed restaurant at the back with its fascinating aquarium feature. Denis Vaughan is an exceptionally talented and creative chef and uses as much local produce as possible. And everything really is fresh - all fish is from Irish waters and bought whole in order to have greater control over quality. He uses as many native species as possible, on both lunch and dinner menus - and the menu may even be changed in mid-stream because there's something new coming up off the boats. Dedication and attention to detail is seen in every dish served here - including the home made desserts, and delicious breads. Great cooking is matched by excellent service - and, while quality food can never be cheap, it's real value

WINNER: Inis Meain Restaurant & Suites Aran Islands Co Galway

This wonderful place on the most tranquil and least visited of the Aran Islands group has earned an international reputation as one of Ireland's most desirable destinations. Chef Ruairi de Blacam, a native of Inis Meáin, and his wife, Marie-Thérèse, offer a unique experience, serving beautifully simple food in a modern restaurant with a panoramic view of the island, sea and sky. Suites are designed to help guests discover the peace and quiet of the island, with fishing rods, bicycles and books instead of TV or a spa. An Inis Meáin Breakfast Box, HotPot Lunch, and Exploration Kit are delivered to each suite, so that guests have everything that is needed to make the most of their stay without decision making. In their own words: "Inis Meáin offers the best of Ireland in one easily explored island – unparalleled natural beauty, culture, and history in a living community." After a decade, the offering develops from year to hear but the philosophy remains unchanged: simply magic.
Highly Commended: BrookLodge & Macreddin Village Aughrim Co Wicklow
It’s hard to know where to begin to describe the experiences that this extraordinary food, drink and leisure destination has to offer. Built on the site of a deserted village, it exists thanks to the vision of three brothers, Evan, Eoin and Bernard Doyle, with Evan being the hands-on driving force. A spacious and welcoming hotel, its many USPs include ‘green’ conferences and events and a luxurious spa - and, of course, it is especially famous for its food and, especially in the main restaurant, The Strawberry Tree, has earned national recognition for their pioneering position on organic and wild food. Actons Country Pub and The Orchard Cafe are especially atmospheric, and the memorable meals served everywhere at BrookLodge are great value, especially given the outstanding quality of the ingredients and the consistently excellent standard of cooking. An organic food market is held here on the first Sunday of the month too (first and third in summer), and it is always worth a journey
Highly Commended: The Quay House and Blue Quay Rooms Clifden Co Galway
The Quay House is the oldest building in Clifden. It was built around 1820 and, since 1993, has been relishing what must surely be its most enjoyable phase, in the incomparable hands of long-time hoteliers, Paddy and Julia Foyle. It’s a fine house, with spacious rooms, including a stylishly homely drawing room with an open fire and exceptionally comfortable accommodation in wittily decorated and sumptuously furnished rooms. Breakfast is served in their new conservatory (and a treat to relish) and not only are Paddy and Julia consummate hosts, making sure that a stay here is a luxuriously enriching experience, but the family has created the perfect alternative nearby at Blue Quay Rooms, where their son Toby and his wife Pauline offer budget accommodation with great style. All round, it’s Irish hospitality at its very best.

WINNER: Mary Sweeney Castle Grove Country House Letterkenny Co Donegal

Parkland designed by “Capability” Brown in the mid-18th century creates a wonderful setting for Raymond and Mary Sweeney’s beautiful period house overlooking Lough Swilly. A reputation for promoting the good food of the area and produce from their own gardens has attracted many a food lover to this hospitable Blue Book property - and, with daughters Karoline and Irene now on the management team, there’s a youthful new dimension to the business. But fortunately that doesn’t deprive guests of the company of Mary Sweeney who - with a keen interest in just about everything, and exhaustive local knowledge - makes Castle Grove a number one choice for many when visiting Donegal. Mary has the gift of making every guest feel special and at home - and, sensing where their interests lie, nothing is too much trouble when it comes to advising on how to spend their time most happily when exploring Donegal. A very special person.
Highly Commended: Beryl Kearney Viewmount House & VM Restaurant Longford
Viewmount House is a beautiful destination - and James and Beryl Kearney took the midlands by storm in 2008 when they opened VM Restaurant with Head Chef Gary O’Hanlon in atmospherically converted outbuildings beside the lovely old house. Today Dutch chef Marcio Laan is continuing the tradition, with excellent cooking which is grounded in the familiar products of the region, and is not overly cheffy. But good food is nothing without hospitality - and the key to the reason why a meal here is sure to be a memorable experience is the attentive service given by well trained and very pleasant staff - and, especially, Beryl Kearney’s caring interaction with guests. Always worth a journey
Highly Commended: Sonia McGonigle Glen House Clonmany Co Donegal
The McGonigle family's large, beautifully located and well-managed B&B has a charming 18th century house at its heart and it’s a delightful place to stay. The dramatic 40 foot Glenevin Waterfall is accessed by a path right beside the house, and one of the first improvements that Martin and Sonia McGonigle made when they bought Glen House in 2005 was to add an impressive decked area overlooking the river which runs down from the waterfall. More recently they added a little traditional thatch-roofed cottage which serves as a craft shop and ice cream parlour. Everything is immaculately maintained and has a very welcoming feeling - which is very much down to Sonia McGonigle, who is a thoughtful and hospitable host who conveys a feeling of great personal care and warmth about the whole property.

WINNER: The Shelbourne Dublin

The Shelbourne celebrates its 195th anniversary this year - and it is still the heart and soul of Georgian Dublin. A recent facelift, which included the addition of the 1824 Bar and The Terrace, has in no way compromised its iconic charm. From uniformed doormen to sparkling chandeliers it remains itself and the rooms overlooking St Stephen’s Green, especially, are unique. While always a favoured choice for leisure trips and special occasions, The Shelbourne also has a special niche as a business and conference destination, offering state-of-the-art amenities in an historic setting that conveys a unique cachet to any event held here. So whether it’s a grand occasion for up to 350 guests in the magnificence of The Great Room, or something for just a couple of dozen in one of the four beautifully renovated meeting suites, there is an appropriately atmospheric venue in this historic hotel for every event
Highly Commended: Ballygarry House Hotel Tralee Co Kerry
Now in the third generation of McGillicuddy family ownership, this is an appealing hotel and it gives good value for the high standard of accommodation, food and service offered. One of Kerry’s most sought-after venues, it is especially popular for weddings but is also an excellent choice for meetings and conferences, offering a selection of very attractive and well equipped rooms catering for anything from a small group of eight to a large conference for up to about 350 delegates - and, in common with other experiences in the hotel, good food and the exceptionally friendly and helpful staff ensure a well run event that makes people want to return.
Highly Commended: Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Sligo
This spacious and very comfortable hotel near Rosses Point enjoys views over Sligo Bay - the Classsiebawn Restaurant, in particular, has a wonderful outlook. But the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Sligo has more than an outstanding location to offer - this well run hotel is the area's go-to destination for many occasions and events, and the Radisson reputation for reliability and environmental awareness is a plus. Conference facilities for up to 740 delegates and a business centre with ten flexible meeting spaces (all with natural light and bay views) are among the features that make this the top venue in the region - and it has great downtime activities to offer too.

WINNER: Chapter One Dublin

The drinks offering at Chapter One has always been exceptional, and there’s a constant effort to innovate and improve. Seeking ‘unique personality and strong character’, the wine list is an evolving search for perfection that includes plenty of excellent affordable choices, as well as great wines for deep pockets. One of the first restaurants to switch to an Irish-only gin menu, you’ll also find other Irish inspirations on offer - a seasonal signature cocktail, like Blackberry Royal (Laurent Perrier Brut topped with Móinéir Irish blackberry wine), for example, embodies Chapter One’s pioneering spirit. Should you only want to drink one glass of wine with dinner, you may be offered two small pours of a red and white - allowing you enjoy the matching experience to the full, with ‘just one glass’. Thoughtful touches like these, overseen by charming restaurant manager Danny Desmond and his team of sommeliers, make every meal here a joy.
Highly Commended: Paradiso Cork
Denis Cotter's ground-breaking vegetarian restaurant is famous for serving exciting mainstream cooking and Denis has received well earned international recognition recently for his sourcing policy and long term relationship with suppliers. What might be less obvious is that their way of doing things differently extends to the wine experience too. The wine list itself is pleasing and - with its thoughtful selections, including a good sprinkling of biodynamic, natural and organically produced bottles - it is an extension of the underlying philosophy at Paradiso. And another USP is that it’s unusually customer friendly. Since a major rethink a while ago they have a flat rate mark up (encouraging more adventurous choices) and all are very accessibly offered in four sizes -150ml glass, 250ml ‘quartino’ and 500ml ‘mezzo’ carafes and 750ml bottle. All this plus friendly, unassuming advice from floor manager Dave O'Mahony, makes for a very enjoyable experience - and it would be nice to see more establishments following suit.
Highly Commended: Sheridans Wine Bar Galway
A visit to Sheridans is a relaxed, convivial affair. Aromas from the cheesmongers and deli below accompany you up the stairs and there are shelves of wines to greet your arrival. Knowledgeable staff assist your choice of wines from the rustic, blue tiled bar and are very happy to let you try any bottles that are open. The wines are old world, mainly Italian and imported exclusively for Sheridans, along with some excellent wines from small producers in France, Spain and Portugal. You can buy a bottle to take home with you too, all wines are for sale. The boards are diverse and delicious, chosen daily from their wide selection of farmhouse cheeses - and wine and cheese tastings feature regularly too. A quiet seat overlooking the bustle of the Saturday market with a nibble and a tipple in hand is always a pleasure - and by night there is always a buzz, when Galwegian greats converge to catch up and discuss the issues of the day in this magic place.

14. PUB OF THE YEAR 2020
WINNER: The Roadside Tavern Lisdoonvarna Co Clare

Peter Curtin’s historic and hospitable hostelry oozes character and, famous for music for over a century, many legendary musicians have played here. More recent attractions are beers from their on-site microbrewery, the Burren Brewery, and the good food served by ‘Kieran’s Kitchen’ where chef Kieran O’Halloran (also owner of the gorgeous new Oar Restaurant in Doolin) features smoked fish from the family’s other equally famous business, the nearby Burren Smoke-house (burrensmokehouse.com) on his simply delicious menus. Next door, the latest enterprise, the multi-purpose venue, Burren Storehouse offers artisan pizzas and chargrills nightly in summer. All round, this great traditional pub and its associated businesses are the hub of activities in Lisdoonvarna - and go a long way towards making it one of the West of Ireland’s coolest destinations.
Highly Commended: The Ballymore Inn Ballymore Eustace Co Kildare
A great pub where food has always come first, Barry and Georgina O’Sullivan’s stylish café-bar was providing what was effectively the best possible gastro-pub experience long before the concept had caught on in Ireland. Nobody understands the importance of careful sourcing better than former the Bord Bia food advisor Georgina O’Sullivan, and the O’Sullivans’ policy of using only the very best ingredients, careful cooking and providing a relaxed ambience has proved a winning formula. Fans return for the smashing speciality pizzas and fresh fish, and they're renowned for their steaks - but best of all perhaps is the service given by impeccably trained staff, which respectfully complements the good food served. And there’s a little artisan shop too, so you can take some of these good things home.
Highly Commended: The Tavern Bar & Restaurant Murrisk Co Mayo
Beginning with the ‘Supporting Local Suppliers’ board at the entrance, everything about Myles and Ruth O’Brien's delightful bar and restaurant at the foot of Croagh Patrick tells a story of local food and community. The O’Briens have been running The Tavern since 1999 and have built up a great reputation for their hospitality - and Myles's good cooking of course, which demonstrates enormous pride in showcasing local food and drinks. Favourites that never fail to please include The Tavern’s legendary Seafood pie, a superb Beef steak and Guinness casserole and delicious vegetarian options such as Galway Goat Farm Cheese Bon Bons. And a local beer called Mescan - named 'after a monk who was St. Patrick's friend and personal brewer' - stars on a special Mescan Menu each spring and autumn. A great spot, where everyone leaves happy.

WINNER: Killeavy Castle Estate Killeavy Co Armagh

First time visitors expecting a conventional castle hotel are in for a surprise at Killeavy Castle, but it will be a pleasant one as there is so much to discover - and the opening of Killeavy Castle Estate is set to give discerning travelers, from within Ireland and abroad, the joy of discovering the Ring of Gullion, and the beautiful Slieve Gullion Forest Park. And it's all thanks to the vision and determination of the owners, Australian-based local man Mick Boyle and his wife Robin, who have restored what was a derelict 19th century castle to create a boutique venue - and, alongside it, a modern hotel of character that's been developed around the castle's old coach house and mill buildings.
A perfect getaway, set in one of Ireland's loveliest yet least known areas - and just minutes from Newry.
Highly Commended: Restaurant Lady Anne Castlecomer Co Kilkenny
Set in the old Creamery House (now owned by local entrepreneur John Comerford, who has given its painstakingly authentic restoration a vast amount of TLC), this atmospheric restaurant is named after its original owner, the much-loved Lady Anne Wandesforde Countess of Ormonde (1754-1830). Its restoration gave Chef Keith Boyle and his wife Carmel (formerly of The Bay Tree Bistro Waterford City) an opportunity to bring elegant dining to this handsome town - and, from the outset, it has been a highly professional operation, with the passionately immaculate cooking and presentation of superb local produce at its heart. It’s a one-off and a must-visit destination for food lovers when in Co Kilkenny
Highly Commended: No. 14 The Georgian House Comber Co Down
A fine building which dates back to 1722 is the setting for chef Jim Mulholland’s first restaurant venture. Previously Head Chef at establishments as varied as Ballyrobin Country Lodge and Restaurant Novelli at the AC Hotel in Belfast, this admirable operation on the square in Comber is unusually for a chef this calibre. While offering the very best of fine dining, No. 14 is accessible to all and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week. Very community-focused, it’s a place where you can have freshly baked scones and coffee, a casual lunch or a fine dining experience at dinner. The breadth of the chef’s experience with his solid grounding in classic techniques and creativity in showcasing Irish produce make No. 14 a must-visit destination.

WINNER: Newpark Hotel Kilkenny Co Kilkenny

Very much at the heart of local activities, this popular 1960s hotel is just a ten-minute walk to the centre of Kilkenny. Following recent renovations, bedrooms are modern and comfortable and all amenities have been upgraded. Long established as a business and conference destination, the Newpark has also earned reputation for family breaks. There’s a kids’ club in season, for example, plus playgrounds suitable for children of different ages, and a movie room with games consoles for older kids. Best of all perhaps is the hotel’s unique pet farm - complete with alpacas, llamas, pigs, rabbits, chickens, geese, goats, donkeys and Highland cows, it is a great attraction, especially as admission is free. An attractive option initially thanks to the good value deals offered - and the range of dedicated family rooms and interconnecting rooms available - the family amenities are likely to make the Newpark Hotel a return destination.
Highly Commended: Hillgrove Hotel, Leisure & Spa Monaghan Co Monaghan
Overlooking Monaghan town from a fine hillside location and with spacious public areas, the Hillgrove is the leading hotel in the area for business and leisure. The contemporary bedrooms have pleasant views - as does the main restaurant, Vettriano, which also has a large terrace looking out over the town. Families are made very welcome here and, unusually, special needs are well catered for, including at the leisure centre, which has a special needs changing room. With a playroom, games room with pool table, outdoor playground, and also a Kids Club and crèche during school holidays, the Hillgrove is a very appealing - and attractively priced - destination for family breaks.
Highly Commended: Killashee Hotel & Spa Naas Co Kildare
Set in impressive gardens and woodland just outside Naas, highlights of this attractive hotel include the spa, its lovely traditional rooms (four-posters in some) and a large first floor piano lounge overlooking the grounds, which is pleasant for afternoon tea and informal socialising. While best known for weddings and business events, it’s also a great destination for a family break. There’s a summer kids’ club (ages 4-11) and very good facilities are provided for children including an indoor playroom and library, as well as an outdoor playground with swings, climbing frame, zipline and slides. Little ones also love the Fairy Forest, and the exciting Butterfly Trail and Teddy Bear’s Picnic Trail to follow in the gardens.

WINNER: The Lodge at Ashford Castle Cong Co Mayo

While it is especially renowned for its beautiful location adjacent to Ashford Castle and head chef Jonathan Keane’s imaginative seasonal cuisine at Wilde's, The Lodge at Ashford Castle is also a favourite destination for people travelling with pets. VIPs (Very Important Pets) are made very welcome in garden rooms with easy access to walking in the grounds; a dog bed, towel, bowls and a hand made bone treat are all provided at a cost of €10 per dog per night (max 2 per room), plus a refundable damage deposit. Unusually, cats are also welcome and there are special pet menus available for both dogs and cats. A great place to stay - and very useful for dog owners to know about.
Highly Commended: The Ardilaun Hotel Galway
Set in gardens and convenient to the city centre, this long-established hotel has been in the ownership of the Ryan family for over 50 years. It is equally suited to business and leisure breaks, a leading wedding venue and a popular meeting place for locals - and a quietly located place to stay, where families and visitors travelling with pets are all made welcome. This is, as they say themselves, 'one of the few Galway hotels to realise that you can’t have a family break without all of the family'. Ground floor rooms with direct access to gardens at the back of the hotel are available for guests with dogs, and there's an Ardilaun Doggy Pack provided.
Highly Commended: Warehouse No 1 Café and Bistro Derry Co Londonderry
Among the best of Derry city’s excellent casual dining venues, this quirky café and late week bistro is famed for its coffee, very tasty hearty artisan food and an interesting drinks menu, including craft beers. Everything is top quality - and with well known chef Ivan Taylor (former owner of Browns) leading the kitchen team, that is a given. And, unusually, the warm welcome extends to customers' four-legged friends, with treats offered including ‘pawesome bites’ biscuits - and there's even a 'puppuccino', which is an espresso cup of whipped cream with a sprinkle of dog biscuits. An interesting destination all round - and a great amenity for dog owners.

WINNER: The Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor Kenmare Co Kerry

Beautifully located on the shores of Kenmare Bay this stunning property was rescued from dereliction by John “At Your Service” Brennan and re-opened as a ‘glamping’ destination and wedding venue in 2012. More recently the aptly named Hideaway Tent - a seriously luxurious en-suite tent tucked away in the woods, with its own gate leading into a little garden - was added to the mix. The water feels close enough to touch and you can enjoy views over the cliff and the bay from the veranda, or from your super comfortable bed. There's a mini bar, and breakfast is delivered to your door as part of the service - and, when you get hungry, The Boathouse Bistro is just a short stroll away. A total escape
Highly Commended: Newforge House Magheralin Co Armagh
There is something especially entrancing about the idea of a hideaway that’s in, or near, a city - somewhere like John and Louise Mathers’s lovely Georgian country house which is only a short drive from Belfast and yet, set in mature trees, gardens and green fields, it feels like worlds away. It’s been in the Mathers family for six generations and it was stylishly refurbished throughout in 2005, when John and Louise opened for guests. It now offers luxurious accommodation with beautiful bathrooms - and John's terrific meals showcasing home grown, local and organic produce. It’s one of Northern Ireland's most desirable destinations - perfect for a short break, with many activities nearby.
Highly Commended: Ardtara Country House Upperlands Co Derry
Former home to the Clark linen milling family, this Victorian country house is owned by the excellent Browns Restaurant Group (of Derry City and Letterkenny) and, with Executive Chef and part owner Ian Orr overseeing the kitchen team, there's a particular buzz about the restaurant. The setting - in the former snooker room, with original skylight and hunting frieze - is highly unusual, and both the cooking (which showcases seasonal local foods with style), and the warm, friendly and relaxed service live up to the surroundings. Guest rooms are lovely too - luxuriously furnished in period style, with working fireplaces - and informal meals are offered in the bar or conservatory. A destination in itself and an excellent base for exploring this beautiful and unspoilt area.

WINNER: Overwood at Balloo House Killinchy Co Down

Ronan and Jennie Sweeney's famous 19th century coaching inn has oodles of character and a great reputation for outstanding pub dining in the old kitchen bar... And now it has Danni Barry leading the kitchen team - and the gorgeous Overwood restaurant upstairs, with its cool tented terrace and brilliantly simple menu showcasing the best of local produce. It’s all about fire at Overwood, and not just for cooking - the beguiling scent of woodsmoke greets guests in the bar, where a smart glass-fronted log-burning stove is a welcoming presence, and - the pièce de résistance - a huge woodburning stove on the terrace which provides an ever-changing focal point and great atmosphere, as well as a cosy spot to enjoy a drink. Magic.
Highly Commended: 1826 Adare Adare Co Limerick
When leading chef Wade Murphy and his wife Elaine decided to open their own restaurant in 2013, these experienced industry professionals knew exactly what they wanted - and that included moving away from Wade’s formal fine dining background, to offer a more relaxing experience. And so they ended up in Adare, offering what Wade called “a broadly gastropub style, but without being a pub!” Pub or not, their superb "fine dining without the fuss" has been a huge success thanks to the top notch cooking that comes with Wade’s classical training, warmly professional service - and a wonderfully atmospheric setting. The charming cottagey premises has a lovely combination of the traditional themes that go with the territory in Adare - the old spinning wheel in an alcove, a black cast iron kettle beside the fire - and a stylishly simple modern side too. Wade and Elaine Murphy have a great following and what brings people here first and foremost is Wade’s cooking - but you can’t beat an atmospheric setting to put a smile on a contented diner’s face, and there’s no shortage of that at 1826 Adare. Magic.
Highly Commended: Greene’s Restaurant at Isaacs Hotel Cork
Despite its location on one of Cork’s busiest through roads, Hotel Isaacs - and especially Greenes Restaurant, at the back of the building - has a sense of being an oasis in the city. The entrance is uniquely enticing: a limestone arch beside the hotel's (highly atmospheric) wine bar, Cask, leads to a courtyard with a tumbling waterfall cascading down a rocky outcrop, which is floodlit at night. It can be enjoyed from some of the hotel bedrooms and especially from its destination restaurant, Greenes, which is one of the city’s top restaurants and the heart and soul of Hotel Isaacs. Greenes has a well-earned following for its pride of place, consistently outstanding cooking by Chef Bryan McCarthy and his team, excellent service - and wonderful ambience. To have an impressive waterfall as an natural feature is a very unusual USP for a city centre restaurant and tables are set up beside it in fine weather, making a romantic setting in summer. It is also an atmospheric backdrop at any time for Greenes - ands a good match for the beautiful food on the plate.


Grano has brought authentic rustic Italian cooking to Stoneybatter and this casual, relaxing gem is one of Dublin’s most exciting recent openings. Following a Slow Food ethos, outstanding handmade pasta and organic ingredients sourced from small Italian producers are combined to deliver exceptional and memorable food. Everything is made from scratch, and the cooking is extraordinary. And - another thing to get excited about - Roberto Mungo's buzzy little joint also offers an all-Italian wine list from small, organic and biodynamic producers. Grano is a small restaurant with a big heart - and the simple and brilliant cooking ensures that every customer wants to return.
Highly Commended: Ananda Restaurant Dublin
Sister to the popular Jaipur restaurants, Asheesh Dewan’s flagship restaurant, Ananda, brought a new level of Indian dining to Ireland when it opened in 2008. More than a decade later, ‘a breath of fresh air’ still describes it well - and it retains its place as one of Ireland's top restaurants. Fresh from stints in the Oberoi group via Aroqa in New York, an exciting young chef, Karan Mittal, has been responsible for Ananda's innovative menu since 2018. Combining classic training with contemporary flair, his style of bold, exciting cooking quickly won him fans - and the glamorous dining room sets the scene well for his cutting-edge Indian cuisine.
Highly Commended: Wa Café Galway
At the friendly little Wa Café, it's all about the fish that comes fresh every day from the best that Gannet Fishmongers has to offer. Owner Yoshimi Hayakawa completed her sushi training in Tokyo before coming to Ireland, where she began by serving traditional sushi in Galway’s Saturday market, later opening Wa Café while also keeping up the market and offering sushi classes. Yoshimi is largely credited with introducing Japanese cuisine to the city's popular food scene and everything on the short menu is authentically Japanese, from sushi rolls, miso soup and bento boxes to green teas. A real taste of Japanese life.

WINNER: James St. Belfast

Niall McKenna, chef-proprietor of one of the city’s top restaurant groups and a leader in the development of Northern Ireland’s thriving food scene, brought a little bit of New York to Belfast some years ago when he opened a classy urban steakhouse, The Bar and Grill, alongside his fine dining mecca, James Street South. Now, having merged the two, James St. has become one of the city’s top casual dining destinations. The Josper charcoal grill still plays centre stage, cooking not just some of the best steaks and prime cuts Northern Ireland has to offer but also fresh whole fish, pork and vegetables - and some of the favourites from the old fine dining menus are finding a new home here too. A great informal dining experience in Belfast city centre.
Highly Commended: Jacques Restaurant Cork
An integral part of Cork life since 1982, sisters Eithne and Jacqueline Barry's delightful restaurant has evolved from quite a traditional place to a smart and - since 2013 - much larger contemporary space. But, while the surroundings may go through periodic re-makes, the fundamentals of warm hospitality and great food never waiver and that is the reason why many would cite Jacques as their favourite Cork restaurant. And no wonder since, as Eithne says, "We still love what we do and are still hungry to come up with new recipes and exciting food." Menus are based on carefully sourced ingredients from a network of suppliers built up over many years and a meal here can be magical
Highly Commended: Dunne and Crescenzi Frederick Street Dublin
A glass of wine, a plate of antipasti and great coffee will transport you to Italy in this bustling and unpretentious spot where food with provenance is a priority. It's the perfect place to shop for genuine Italian ingredients - risotto rice, pasta, oils, vinegars, olives, cooked meats, cheeses, wines and much more - and yet there is commendable emphasis on sourcing the best of local ingredients for their beautiful fresh-tasting meals. Serving simple rustic food at reasonable prices, this is the original branch of the hugely successful husband-and-wife-run chain that set the standard for stylish casual dining in Dublin over two decades.

WINNER: GROW Café Waterford

Michael Kelly is the driving force behind the Grow It Yourself (GIY) movement and it’s hard to imagine anyone other than the charismatic former journalist being able to get it going at all, never mind achieve its phenomenal growth - and, most recently, the opening of the beautiful GIY headquarters and GROW HQ café in Ardkeen. Here, head chef JB Dubois and his talented kitchen team transform the seasonal harvest (and other organic, chemical free, free-range ingredients sourced locally) into delicious plant-based, but not entirely vegetarian, meals. A fantastic, innovative place, and well worth visiting for a delicious bite to eat and a good browse.
Highly Commended: Country Choice Nenagh Co Tipperary
With its wonderful seasonal window displays and focus on local foods, Country Choice has been a joy to visit since 1982. Long before it was popular, Peter and Mary Ward championed the producers of the area by promoting the seasonal fresh foods that reflect the agricultural economy of Tipperary. Food lovers in the know would never miss the chance to take in a little serious shopping here - and have a light meal in the café, where simple deliciousness is the order of the day and no short cuts are taken. Mary, an exceptional cook, has quietly produced great quantities of wonderful things over the years - magnificent terrines from the family's saddleback pigs, thousands of jars of jam in season and vast numbers of handmade Christmas puddings… Peter's cheeses are legendary, and he is one of the most energetic and dedicated movers and shakers in the world of artisan foods - we have lot to thank them for. Their daughters Eliza and Evie are chips off the old block too, with their innovative NutShed plant-based products going a blinder. Always worth a detour.
Highly Commended: Kelly’s Café Drinagh Co Wexford
A hot daytime destination in the Wexford area, this bright and stylish café with speciality food and wine store is an outpost of the legendary Kelly’s Hotel and bears all of the parent business’s hallmarks of quality and originality. Reflecting the long held Kelly’s philosophy, fresh local and seasonal is the mantra when it comes to food sourcing, and - while outside influences enliven the menu, notably from the Mediterranean - the pride in Wexford produce is palpable. In the wider picture, the café - like its little sister Kelly’s Deli in Rosslare, and other recent developments including the hotel’s fantastic new kitchen gardens - shows the Kelly’s team’s keen awareness of changing times, and the openness to constant review and reinvention that is the secret of their success.

WINNER: The Garden Café Truck Ballymaloe Cookery School Shanagarry Co Cork

It’s all about local seasonal food - and especially food organically produced on site - at the brilliant food truck at Ballymaloe Cookery School. But 'truck' isn't an adequate word for this casually chic (and equally seasonal) operation - the cool silver Airstream is parked just in front of the cookery school and it's all charmingly set up in the trademark rustic style. The menu is short and sweet - and focused on detail. Superb hot and cold soups, for example, come with more-ish breads from the cookery school's own 'bread shed' and hand rolled butter, while salad lovers will be in heaven when the daily Farm Salad appears. Everyone one seems to be a regular here, and no wonder - it's a brilliant summer destination.
Highly Commended: The Hatch Castlewellan Co Down
Chef Colin Johnstone and his wife Bronagh started The Hatch in 2016 and their ingredients-led fare soon picked up a following. Winning ’Ireland’s Best Burger 2019’ at BurgerFest was a well deserved achievement and attracted a whole new crowd. But it's not all about burgers at The Hatch, there are plenty of other favourites that fans are happy to queue for, including good things for kids. They work the Mourne Coastal Route (Dundrum, Kilkeel, Newcastle - details on Facebook), plus events and festivals - where their smart new Just Desserts pod is easy to spot.
Highly Commended: The Market Kitchen Temple Bar Market Dublin
Since 2015 Sarah McNally and Liadain Kaminska’s well named business has been a feature at Temple Bar Market. A food stall with a difference, it's as seasonal as the McNally family's famous organic farm and everything is sourced from other stall-holders who are proudly credited for the good foods they supply. Specialising in all day breakfast and gourmet toasties - made with the magnificent Le Levain bread and filled with a host of good things such as Corleggy, Gubbeen and Knockanore cheeses, finished with their famous mustard béchamel sauce - they’re among the most consistently popular stalwarts of Temple Bar Market, and the Irish street food scene.

WINNER: Ballyvolane House Castlelyons Co Cork

Justin and Jenny Green are the current custodians of this gracious 1728 mansion. Surrounded by its own farmland and magnificent wooded grounds, it has wonderful gardens (domain of Justin’s father, Jeremy), a trout lake and salmon beats on the River Blackwater, it’s also known for contemporary charms - glamping (bell tents or the pig ark!), an atmospheric wedding venue and even their own gin, the famed Bertha’s Revenge. Justin and Jenny are an extremely hospitable couple, committed to continuing the standards of hospitality, comfort and food and drink for which this lovely and fun-filled house is renowned - and recent guests Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall obviously enjoyed it, as you can see from their framed letter of thanks in the drawing room.
Highly Commended: Coopershill House Riverstown Co Sligo
Undoubtedly one of the most delightful and superbly comfortable Georgian houses in Ireland, this sturdy granite mansion is a warm and friendly place under the management of Simon O’Hara, who runs it with the seamless hospitality born of long family experience. Rooms are sumptuous and, as well as seasonal home grown fruit and vegetables, you may perhaps find their own venison on the dinner menu, along with other delicious dishes cooked up by Simon's partner, Christina McCauley. Home of the O’Hara family since it was built, in 1774, Coopershill is a particularly perfect country house.
Highly Commended: Temple House Ballymote Co Sligo
A Georgian mansion situated in 1,000 acres of farm and woodland, overlooking the original lakeside castle which was built by the Knights Templar in 1200 A.D, the Percevals have lived here since 1665. But the current owners, Roderick and Helena Perceval, are a thoroughly modern couple and today it's a place for fun. The enormous rooms are perfect for parties (it's a brilliant wedding venue) and the range of activities offered is outstanding. - and this Sligo Food Trail member offers chef Dave Mullan’s home-produced and local food to non-residents (Saturdays). Just the place for today's discerning guest.

WINNER: Perryville House Kinsale Co Cork

More country house than townhouse, Andrew and Laura Corcoran’s Georgian harbour-front home is the prettiest in Kinsale. Renovated and furnished with style, it is immaculately maintained and offers plenty of relaxing space, including a handsome bar and garden room, as well as outstanding accommodation in generous and extremely comfortable rooms (with luxurious bathrooms). Ten new rooms were added this year - so seamlessly executed that the casual observer would never guess at any recent changes. And, masters of detail as always, they even created a stunning new garden to the side of the building so that rooms without a seaview would have an equally pleasing outlook. All this plus great service and, reflecting the Corcorans’ Slow Food philosophy, carefully considered food. An outstanding destination.
Highly Commended: Pembroke Townhouse Dublin
This handsome Georgian townhouse offers comfortable bedrooms, elegant public areas and delicious breakfast with good home baking. Guest swill enjoy hands-on manager Fiona Teehan's thoughtful touches like the invitation to ‘raid the larder in the middle of the night for home baked cookies.’ Following recent upgrades it’s all pretty luxurious and you’ll find the amenities usually expected of a hotel, including an elegant drawing room and study for residents' use, and secure private parking.
Highly Commended: Teach De Broc Ballybunion Co Kerry
Given its location alongside Ballybunion Golf Club, it’s no surprise that many guests at Aoife and Seamus Brock’s spacious and luxuriously appointed custom-built guesthouse are golfers. But all visitors to this popular seaside resort are very welcome at Teach de Broc - and many simply come to eat here, at the impressive Strollers Bistro, which is equally popular with local diners and visitors to the area, as well as resident guests.

26. B&B OF THE YEAR 2020
WINNER: Glasha Farmhouse Ballymacarbry Co Waterford

Olive and the late Paddy O’Gorman made their relaxing Nire-side farmhouse into the kind of relaxed country retreat that visitors to Ireland dream of finding, with spacious thoughtfully appointed rooms and plenty of comfy lounging space too. Ideal for lovers of outdoor pursuits, it’s a walkers’ paradise - Glasha links the Comeragh and Knockmealdown sections of the Munster Way - and the nearest pub is just 3 minutes’ walk. But essentially it’s all about Olive - en exceptionally welcoming hands-on host, she even makes a delicious home-cooked dinner for guests, in the almost-forgotten B&B tradition. It’s just a lovely place to stay
Highly Commended: Sheedys Doolin Doolin Co Clare
Space, good design and quality are the keynotes at Frank and Marian Sheedy's hospitable modern B&B in Doolin village. The welcome starts even before you arrive, as Marian is an unusually proactive host, giving guests tips on what to do in the area and making dinner bookings in local restaurants. And, given the couple's well-earned reputation as former restaurateurs, a good breakfast is also in the mix
Highly Commended: Fergus View Corofin Co Clare
Genuine hospitality and pride of place abound at Mary Kelleher's farmhouse overlooking the Clare countryside and, immaculate as this little jewel may be, regular visitors will see improvements each year. To ensure that everyone enjoys their visit to the full detailed information packs are supplied in every neatly appointed room, including specific directions to the best places for walking. Providing an hospitable and inexpensive base for exploring this fascinating area, Fergus View also showcases local and home-grown foods at breakfast.

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