Ireland’s best breakfast venues, the best places for brunch and the ultimate Irish sausages for 2020 were announced at the annual Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards.
Eight businesses across the country were crowned Ireland’s top breakfast venues in categories including Five Star Hotel, B&B, and Guest House. This year saw the introduction of a special sustainability award; the public got to have their say on Ireland’s best brunch venue and five Irish producers were selected for the consistently excellent quality of their produce, which appear on many of the best breakfast menus across Ireland.
The Best Brunch was awarded to Arán Artisan Bakery & Bistro, Co. Kilkenny.
Hillsborough Castle Café, Co. Down, won the Visitor Attraction category, while the Breakfast Meats Award went to McCarthys of Kanturk, Co. Cork. Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo won a special Sustainability Award and the best five star breakfast went to Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.
Now in their fourth year, the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards celebrate the people and businesses that strive to make the first meal of the day as memorable as any fine dining experience, and with a real sense of place.
“The great thing about being able to offer a hearty Irish breakfast is that you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best and indeed, can be a venue of any size to compete in this important and competitive arena,” said awards founder Georgina Campbell.
“Serving up a good quality breakfast can have a lasting impression on customers. Doing the simplest of things well is enough to encourage a return visit and build a strong reputation for your establishment, regardless of how many people you can seat.”
This year Georgina noticed some marked improvements, notably in the three star hotel category, which has become more focused on its breakfast offering. “We are considering more three star hotels than ever before for an award, and this is really heartening, with huge efforts going into producing a fine breakfast from many business owners and their kitchen teams. There have been improvements across the board, particularly in the area of food sourcing and local provenance – as seen in the excellent breakfast menus that establishments submitted as part of our Irish Breakfast Survey, undertaken in partnership with Fáilte Ireland. But there is still a lot of work to be done and I am hopeful we will see even greater improvements next year.”
“By investing in and supporting good quality local providers you are investing in and supporting a more sustainable Ireland. This has become a real priority for the hospitality industry and it’s something that has to be at the top of our collective agenda – permanently. Ethical, sustainable practices are good for business and a commitment to quality produce with a sense of place should be seen as a sound investment rather than an unnecessary cost. It will enhance the reputation of individual hospitality providers, along with Ireland’s reputation and that in itself is progress,” said Georgina.
Ashford Castle was selected as the inaugural winner of the Sustainability Award, recognised for its environmental credentials in relation to impressive sustainable practices including its food sourcing policy and commitment to sourcing the best seasonal ingredients from the west of Ireland. It was the first five star hotel in Ireland to be awarded GREENmark Plastic Smart recognition by GreenTravel.ie for its efforts in responsible tourism and commitment to removing all single-use plastics by 2022.
The Brunch Award was also a key moment at the awards gala after 30 shortlisted venues were whittled down to one, following a public vote.
“Brunch is now part of the fabric of Ireland’s food culture. People truly enjoy the quality and variety of dishes on brunch menus across Ireland. So much, in fact, that brunch is now considered one of the most popular meals for people to enjoy “out”. It’s for this reason that we opened the Brunch Award to a public vote, and we were delighted by the hugely enthusiastic response from food lovers across the country. But there was one very clear winner, Arán Bakery and Bistro in Co. Kilkenny, which received a torrent of votes from its loyal customers, indicating just how passionate Kilkenny people are about their brunching options.”
The Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards in association with Fáilte Ireland took place at the InterContinental Dublin.
Winners of the Irish Producers Awards were:
- Meat: McCarthys of Kanturk, Kanturk, Co. Cork
- Eggs: Belview Eggs, Drogheda, Co. Louth
- Dairy: The Little Milk Company, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
- Fruit: The Apple Farm, Cahir, Co. Tipperary
- Preserves: Filligans, Glenties, Co. Donegal
Rua Deli & Café, Castlebar, Co Mayo won the Irish Bread Award
- Limerick Strand Hotel, Limerick won the Irish Breakfast Menu Hotel award while The Twelve Hotel, Barna, Co Galway was Highly Commended in this category.
- The Small Stay Winner was Lough Bishop House, Collinstown, Co Westmeath. A Highly Commended award went to Archways B&B, Rosslare, Co Wexford.
- Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh took the five star hotel award while Highly Commended included Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow
- The four star hotel award went to Avalon House Hotel, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny. Cliff at Lyons, Celbridge, Co Kildare and Vaughan Lodge, Lahinch, Co Clare were Highly Commended.
- Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff, Co Cork won the 3 star hotel award with commendations going to The Killeen House Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry and Stauntons on the Green, Dublin.
- Huntington Castle & Gardens, Clonegal, Co Carlow won the Country House category. Highly Commended included Ashley Park House, Nenagh, Co Tipperary and Ardtara Country House, Upperlands, Co Derry
- The Quay House, Clifden, Co Galway won Guest House of the Year while Heatons House, Dingle, Co Kerry and Lancaster Lodge, Cork were Highly Commended.
- The B&B Winner was Sheedy’s Doolin Boutique B&B, Doolin, Co Clare. Highly Commended were Danny Minnies, Annagry, Co. Donegal and The Wilder Townhouse, Dublin.
- Hillsborough Castle Café, Hillsborough, Co Down won the Visitor Attraction Award. The Commons Café at MoLI, Dublin and Good Day Deli at Nano Nagle Place, Cork were both Highly Commended.
- Ashford Castle, Cong, Co Mayo won the Sustainability Award.
- Winner of the Brunch of the Year Award was Arán Artisan Bakery & Bistro, Kilkenny.