Jackie Daw­son

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - KINSALE - In­ter­view: Joe McNamee

Jackie Daw­son, of Kin­sale Cham­ber of Tourism and Busi­ness, is in a good po­si­tion to pro­vide an over­view of food tourism in the town.

“We are very, very lucky to be in the po­si­tion we are through the work of the Good Food Cir­cle,” says Jackie, “and all the restau­rant own­ers who work col­lab­o­ra­tively.

“Kin­sale is ob­vi­ously a place where restau­ra­teurs and food lovers choose to come and set up be­cause of the rep­u­ta­tion— you wouldn’t, for ex­am­ple, set up in Court­mac­sh­erry, un­less you’d done the numbers re­ally well. Here we pro­vide the con­nec­tiv­ity and the foot­fall. Peo­ple come to Kin­sale for the food rep­u­ta­tion, we bring the numbers. From a food tourism point of view, it is def­i­nitely on the map. Rep­u­ta­tion and qual­ity are hugely im­por­tant and the Kin­sale Good Food Cir­cle serves as its own bench­mark, if you like.

“And though not all restau­rants are mem­bers of that, ALL of the lo­cal restau­rants are very good at main­tain­ing stan­dards, es­pe­cially in the area of lo­cal prove­nance. And we are proud of be­ing Tran­si­tion Town, Kin­sale and one of the first towns in Ire­land to have a Fair­trade mark. Ob­vi­ously with all the ac­tiv­i­ties, on land and wa­ter, and the his­tory and cul­ture of Kin­sale, it’s not all about food but food is a re­ally im- por­tant part of the mes­sage about Kin­sale. And, cru­cially, it gives the jobs and train­ing to Kin­sale. All our teenagers get sum­mer work and of­ten go on to ca­reers in cater­ing and hos­pi­tal­ity. Ev­ery­one some­where is con­nected to the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try in Kin­sale.

“Plus, there are new in­flu­ences com­ing back into the town all the time: Daniel Hor­gan com­ing back to Man Fri­day; Paul McDon­ald, of Bas­tion, bring­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence; Martin Shana­han is con­stantly trav­el­ling, al­ways in Lon­don or Barcelona or else­where, con­stantly gain­ing more ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge and bring­ing it back. We have to know and un­der­stand our mar­ket. And while we have peo­ple com­ing from cap­i­tal cities all over the world, in Europe, Scan­di­navia, the US, there is a mix of want­ing to be like oth­ers but also of be­ing unique, of be­ing our­selves, and us­ing our unique prove­nance, hold­ing our own, hav­ing our own iden­tity for ex­quis­ite Ir­ish cui­sine, but this new knowl­edge keeps it fresh and mod­ern and giv­ing new tech­niques to the staff.”

Guests en­joy­ing a mag­nif­i­cent meal at The Steak­house, Kin­sale.

Daisy Lynch, Therese Hur­ley, and In­grid Kelly en­joy­ing the 2016 Guin­ness Kin­sale Fringe Jazz Fes­ti­val. Pic­ture: John Allen

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