All guests are given a truly royal welcome
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.”