SOUTH KERRY ON THE DOUBLE AT BORD BIA HEADQUARTERS
SOUTH Kerry’s hospitality industry is this week celebrating a prestigious double win after both Dromquinna Manor’s Boathouse Bistro; and Quinlan and Cooke Boutique Townhouse and Seafood Restaurant returned to Kenmare and Cahersiveen respectively with trophies from one of the biggest award ceremonies in the business.
The 2018 Georgina Campbell Awards are Ireland’s longest running food and hospitality awards and one of the most respected prizes for those in the hospitality sector.
Proprietor John Brennan and Manager James Doyle travelled to Bord Bia headquarters in Dublin this week and accepted the title of “Atmospheric Restaurant of the Year 2018” on behalf of The Boathouse Bistro at Dromquinna Manor, an establishment praised to the hilt by organisers for the quality of its food, location, atmosphere staff, and suitability as a venue for weddings and ‘glamping’.
John Brennan was understandably delighted with the win, but he said it was especially pleasing to win this particular award.
“It’s a long-running award, so it’s seen as one of the biggest you can win,” Mr Brennan said.
“But you don’t have to pay or make any contribution to the organisers, so it’s 100 per cent neutral, and that’s what I’ve always liked about these awards in particular. Georgina [Campbell] considers everyone, and the winners win on merit.
“We have won Georgina Campbell awards before, but they were for the Park Hotel [Kenmare]. This was a first for the Boathouse Bistro in Dromquinna, so we were especially thrilled at the result and we hope to celebrate our win officially next month!”
Another Georgina Campbell award -winner can be visited by taking a spin along the N70 to Cahersiveen, as the highly rated Quinlan and Cooke Boutique Townhouse and Seafood Restaurant scooped 2018’s “Outstanding Guest Experience” title.
The independent adjudicators said they were won over by Kate and Andrew Cooke’s atmospheric bar and restaurant, its “welcoming fire burning in the enormous old fireplace, and ultra-fresh local fish and seafood”. But they reserved particular credit for Kate and Andrew’s hands-on involvement, citing it as one of the establishment’s most important ingredients.
Kate Cooke spoke to The Kerryman following the win, and she said it was a huge honour to be recognised by the organisers and Georgina Campbell, who is considered one of the top food and hospitality writers in Ireland.
“We were invited up to the awards lunch the week beforehand, so we knew before we went to Dublin that we were going to get a prize; we just weren’t sure which one,” Ms Cooke said.
“It’s a super award, one of the biggest awards you can win, so we were all delighted with the news.
“It was an honour to be up there getting an award alongside all the big names in the industry, and it’s nice that we’ve been recognised for our hard work. I suppose my main thanks must go to our loyal customers who have always supported us and kept us going since we started up.”
ABOVE: James Doyle, John Brennan, and Georgina Campbell. INSET: Jamie Cooke, Kate Cooke, and Georgina Campbell.