All guests are given a truly royal wel­come

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

Hal McEl­roy, of Ac­ton’s Ho­tel and the Tri­dent ho­tel, Kin­sale, has just hosted Prince Ed­ward, Duke of Kent, the pre­vi­ous night.

The duke, in his ca­pac­ity as RNLI pa­tron, had ar­rived to visit the lo­cal Kin­sale sta­tion and meet some of the vol­un­teers and McEl­roy and his team put on a pri­vate din­ner in the re­cently re­fur­bished Tri­dent that same evening.

“Food tourism is con­tin­u­ing to grow as an in­ter­est and as we break down the sec­tor into dif fer­ent brack­ets, food i s now com­ing very much to the fore. And we are tak­ing pos­i­tive steps in the town and the Good Food Cir­cle to meet this chal­lenge. Suzanne Burns’ Kin­sale Food Tours re­ally seem to be strik­ing a chord. Some time back, I had a re­quest from an over­seas tour op­er­a­tor, specif­i­cally look­ing for a food tour, or any that could be rec­om­mended.

“I wasn’t aware of any so I started en­quir­ing around. Suzanne had con­tacted the lo­cal cham­ber of com­merce. She is a zo­ol­o­gist orig­i­nally and had worked do­ing tours in New Zealand and Canada and I asked her to put some­thing to­gether quickly and she was very quickly up and run­ning.

“I re­mem­ber a num­ber of years ago hav­ing a Ja­panese me­dia group over look­ing for in­ter­est­ing things to do and we went to Jamie Dwyer [ of Oys­ter­haven Shell­fish] and ar­ranged to put on the wellies, and wade out and eat the oys­ters out in the wa­ter. It was a real ‘ wow’ moment.

“It wasn’t some­thing you could do ev­ery­day — there are a lot of pro­cesses that you go through to pu­rify shell­fish so to go and stand in the wa­ter and do it wasn’t some­thing you could do ev­ery day but they thought it was ex­cep­tional and that’s the type of thing you need to be do­ing to keep ahead in the food tourism sec­tor; these are the type of ex­cep­tional ex­pe­ri­ences that food tourists are look­ing for.

“The other thing that is still grow­ing is the craft beer. It is be­com­ing more and more avail­able and more and more be­ing re­quested. And there’s also the growth of gin. Blacks, the craft brew­ers in Kin­sale, are now do­ing one which is lovely, there is unique­ness in these things.

“As a gin drinker, I would have gone for the Gor­don’s or the Cork Dry Gin, which is lovely, but it is great to be able to get some­thing with a slightly dif­fer­ent twist. It is like en­joy­ing wine, you like to try dif­fer­ent ones. These are the types of things that the food tourist, even the gen­eral tourist, is look­ing for. Prove­nance is also hugely im­por­tant to both Ir­ish tourists and over­seas tourists.

“One place I see a lot of clients is at break­fast and it is a plea­sure to be able to talk them through all the West Cork cheeses, Dur­rus, Milleens, Car­ri­ga­line, that we serve at break­fast — gone are the Easi Sin­gles! We use a lot of ar­ti­san dairy prod­ucts, yo­ghurts, and dairy from Gle­nilen, in par­tic­u­lar, and John Bar­rett, who is an award- win­ning lo­cal craft butcher does our sausages and it gives per­son­al­ity to some­thing that ends up on the plate. Wed­nes­day is a good day in town for the farm­ers mar­ket, par­tic­u­larly com­ing into this time of year, when the pro­duce is com­ing into its own, and one of the great joys of Kin­sale is that ev­ery­thing is within reach, it’s all an easy stroll around the town.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.