2021 Award Winners 'HAPPY PLACE' AWARD 2021


'HAPPY PLACE' AWARD 2021


HAPPY PLACE’ AWARD 2021

HOTEL: Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort Ballymena Co Antrim

Well located for visiting the North Antrim coast and set amidst beautiful scenery, with the River Maine running through the grounds, this former gentleman’s residence now proclaims its place as Northern Ireland’s premier luxury hotel and spa - and few who have visited it would argue with the claim. The flagship property of the Galgorm Collection (which the charming Old Inn at Crawfordsburn has recently joined) it’s long been a favourite of the Guide’s and not only for its comfort, superb facilities (including equestrian) and outstanding food, but because of the sense of space and terrific staff who manage large numbers - guests attending several concurrent weddings, for example - brilliantly, while retaining a pleasant atmosphere and a sense of privacy. This experience has stood the hotel in good stead during Covid, giving total confidence in the safety measures in place while ensuring that a visit here is always fun and relaxing. As they say themselves, it’s the perfect escape.

RESTAURANT: An Port Mór Westport Co Mayo

Named for Portmór House in proprietor-chef Frankie Mallon’s home town of Blackwatertown in Co Armagh, this is a warmly atmospheric place that never fails to delight. Frankie’s stated promise - 'to give the customer the very best in local fresh produce and value for money' – is always fulfilled and then some, and he is acknowledged as cooking some of the best food in the area, in a creative yet no nonsense modern Irish style that’s noted for good saucing and big flavours. There's a strong emphasis on fish and local meats, especially lamb, and front of house staff are friendly locals with a knowledge of the food producers showcased on the menu – who, true to Frankie’s Euro-Toques principles, are enthusiastically credited. All of which adds up to a caring ethos that marries well with confidently managed safety measures, so everyone can relax. But most of all there’s Frankie himself, with his big smile and love of the job. Why wouldn’t you be happy here?

CAFÉ: Good Day Deli Cork

An oasis in the walled gardens of the beautiful Nano Nagle Place, overlooking Cork city, this unusual sustainable foods deli and café is run by Clare Condon and her New Zealander partner Kristin Makirere, who is from the Cook lslands. Here, Clare and Kristin feel that Mana Tiaki, or guardianship of heritage and the environment for future generations, is a beautiful value to live by - and totally appropriate at this state-of-the-art educational and heritage facility, where Nano Nagle’s vision of empowerment through education, community inclusion and spiritual engagement for a changing world is celebrated. Celebrating local and sustainable are the guidelines at Good Day Deli and not only do you see it all through the menu, morning and afternoon, but it follows through in the deliciously good food delivered on the plate as well. As to Covid - with its well managed booking system, spacious indoor dining, garden terrace and gazebo seating, Good Day Deli is a wonderful refuge from the city and the outside world. A truly happy place.

PUB: Blairs Inn Cloghroe Co Cork

In a quiet, wooded setting near Blarney, this pretty riverside pub is run by John and Anne Blair and their sons Duncan and Richie, a warmly hospitable family who take real pride in welcoming visitors. Duncan, who trained at Ballymaloe, works alongside a long-established kitchen team and they are proud to serve skilfully cooked hearty traditional fare and wood-fired pizzas that stand out for the quality of the ingredients - which include plenty of Cork and Kerry produce, especially local Angus beef and seafood. There’s an impressive range of craft beers, ciders and Irish gins too – and charming surroundings both inside and out, in which to enjoy them. The riverside beer garden has always been very pleasant but now, after ‘putting in the effort’ thanks to Covid it’s their pride and joy. It’s hard to imagine anywhere more pleasant to enjoy good food, drink and convivial company and the feedback reflects that. Typically modest, they just say, “We're lucky to have such great staff and even better customers, who seem to support us not matter what we do. It has been great to get the buzz back in the garden again”. Fair play.

RADIO: Neven Maguire MacNean House & Restaurant Blacklion Co Cavan

As we’re all too aware these days, we need to mind our all-round wellbeing and keep positive – and what better way better to get to that happy place than by listening to the inimitable Marty Whelan’s breakfast show on RTE LyricFM (Monday-Friday, 7-10am). What a great start to the day and especially on Fridays when the nation’s favourite chef, Neven Maguire, joins him to share some deliciously do-able recipes. While rightly recognised for the stunning fine dining experience that he offers at his Blacklion destination MacNean Restaurant, Neven’s particular talent has always been his ability to slip back to the homely cooking that he learned in his mum’s kitchen. Thanks to this and his lovely personality, Neven relates naturally to home cooks everywhere – and, during the long weeks and months of lockdown when cooking became one of the big national pastimes for us all (including many who had never cooked before), his encouragingly easy recipes and handy tips helped to keep things fresh and cheered everyone up enormously.


100%
9 votes

Galgorm Resort & Spa

Ballymena, Co. Antrim
Hotel / Restaurant
Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Highly Recommended as a Special Place to Stay Outstanding Location, building or atmosphere Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Set amidst beautiful scenery, with the River Maine running through the grounds, this former gentleman’s residence is one of Northern Ireland’s best known country house hotels and, following major redevelopment, it emerged much larger and mo ...
96%
60 votes

MacNean House & Restaurant

Blacklion, Co. Cavan
Restaurant with Rooms
For Cooking & Service Well Above Average Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Highly Recommended as a Special Place to Stay Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
The prospect of a meal at Neven and Amelda Maguire's renowned County Cavan establishment has long attracted devotees from all over Ireland, and beyond - and its development, from a modest restaurant with rooms to a spacious place of sumptuous comfort, ...
Blairs Inn - Blarney County Cork Ireland
99%
23 votes

Blairs Inn

Blarney, Co. Cork
Character Pub / Restaurant
Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Pub with good food and atmosphere Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
In a quiet, wooded setting just a few minutes’ drive from Blarney, this pretty riverside pub is run by John and Anne Blair and their sons Duncan and Richie, a warmly hospitable family who take real pride in welcoming visitors. This is the real Mc ...
IMG_0610.jpg
99%
36 votes

An Port Mor

Westport, Co. Mayo
Restaurant
2 euro Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Serious About Seafood Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
Not a lot of people know this, but An Port Mor is named after Portmor House in Blackwatertown, Co Armagh, which is proprietor-chef Frankie Mallon’s home town – a pleasingly familiar place to us, from researching our Taste of the Waterways G ...
Garden Cafe 3.JPG
95%
8 votes

Good Day Deli

Cork City, Co. Cork
Café / Restaurant
Denotes genuine Irish food culture, ie special Irish food products/companies/producers, and highlights the best places to shop for regional and artisan foods; the selection excludes obvious 'non-Irish' elements regardless of quality, eg ethnic restaurants and specialists in coffee, wine and other drinks, unless relevant to local production or history. Eat & Stay establishments are chosen for their commitment to showcasing local produce and Irish hospitality. Outstanding Location, building or atmosphere Previous Georgina Campbell Guides Award Winner The "Best of the Best" - Only the very best establishments across various categories have been chosen for this accolade
An oasis in the walled gardens of the beautiful Nano Nagle Place, overlooking Cork city, this unusual sustainable foods deli and café is run by environmentalist Clare Condon and her New Zealander partner, Kristin Makirere, who is from the Cook l ...


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