Laois food producers honoured at prestigious award ceremony

Express Reporter


Express Reporter


Laois food producers honoured at prestigious award ceremony

Georgina Campbell, Paddy O’Connell, Tracey Coughlan from Failte Ireland and Neven Maguire

From five start hotels to B&Bs and from cafés to country houses, the winners of the 2019 Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards in association with Fáilte Ireland were announced today.  Paddy O’s granola won the Irish Breakfast Food award in the cereal category, while The Heritage Killenard received a Highly Commended accolade for its Irish breakfast offering.

Now in their third year, the Irish Breakfast Awards celebrate Ireland’s leading hospitality establishments and the people who strive to make the first meal of the day a particularly special experience for visitors and regulars alike.  According to Georgina Campbell, one of Ireland’s foremost food and hospitality writers, the significance of the humble breakfast cannot be underestimated, and it is as important to Ireland’s reputation in food and tourism as a world-class hotel or a fine dining restaurant.

“A great Irish breakfast starts with the raw materials and as part of these awards, we identify exceptional Irish breakfast food producers who help chefs turn a good breakfast into an outstanding one,” said Georgina Campbell.  “Using high quality, Irish produce is the foundation on which chefs and business owners need to build to create great and memorable breakfast experiences. However, sourcing local, seasonal and quality produce is often overlooked when it comes to the first meal of the day, and that has to change if we want to support our indigenous food industry and fly the flag for Irish producers, and the Irish breakfast, both at home and abroad.

“A recent Australian survey may have tried to debunk the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but our bodies – and our visitors - know better. And so do our hospitality industry and quality food producers - it’s a critical component for them, and success or failure in achieving the highest possible standards can truly make or break a business,” said Georgina.

“Given the quality of our local produce and the fantastic range of establishments right across the country, we have a unique opportunity to elevate the Irish breakfast scene into something quite special that we can be proud of.”

The Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards in association with Fáilte Ireland took place at the InterContinental Dublin, with special guest and previous Irish Breakfast award-winner, Neven Maguire of MacNean House and Restaurant who said, ““Get the basics right; is so important. The option of preparing a great breakfast using 100% Irish produce is available to us all, and we don’t have to look too far to find these terrific products. At MacNean House and Restaurant we put as much emphasis on giving our guests as memorable a food experience for breakfast as the dinner the night before.  It is the last meal our guests have before they leave, so we want to make it special.”

Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said, “Fáilte Ireland is delighted to partner with Georgina Campbell and the Irish Breakfast Awards to highlight the important role that breakfast plays in providing visitors with a taste of Ireland. In recent years, the reputation of our breakfast offering has advanced in terms of quality and perception. Great strides have been made and the importance of a quality food experience cannot be underestimated especially for overseas visitors. We can raise our offering to the next level and ensure that our reputation as a producer of great quality food is maintained and indeed enhanced over the coming years.”


According to Georgina, the Irish Breakfast Foods Category is central to the awards as without great Irish produce, there would be no great Irish breakfasts. “These awards are unique in that they help to connect some of our exceptional producers and their produce to the people who care passionately about the food they prepare and serve.  The seven food producers we are recognising today are the hidden heroes of Ireland’s thriving breakfast scene.  We want to see more and more of them featuring on Irish breakfast menus, highlighting provenance, quality and authenticity.”


Meats: Castlemine Farm, Co Roscommon

Fish: Woodcock Smokery, Co Cork

Eggs: Clonarn Clover, Co Meath

Dairy: Glenisk Organic Dairy, Co Offaly

Cereal: Paddy O’s Granola, Co Laois

Fruit: Keeling’s Juices, Co Dublin

The Irish Bread Awards went to Longueville House, Mallow, Co Cork.


The push to rethink early menus in cafés and restaurants across Ireland has been helped by the rise in popularity of brunch, which is why this year, Georgina Campbell teamed up with Irish Dairy The Complete Natural to invite members of the public to nominate their favourite establishment for a Best Brunch Award.  The 2019 Best Brunch in association with Irish Dairy The Complete Natural Dairy was awarded to The Fumbally, Dublin,following a public nomination process 

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of the NDC said: ‘We are proud in Ireland of our excellent dairy produce with its unique taste and the versatility which lends itself so well to breakfast and brunch dishes. Ireland has become a real destination in recent years for quality brunch venues creating innovative dishes as part of this ever-popular meal occasion. We are excited to celebrate the cream of Ireland’s brunch venues shortlisted for these awards and hopefully, it will help raise the bar for brunch venues around the country.’



Winner: Park Hotel Kenmare, Kenmare, Co Kerry

Highly Commended: Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford
Highly Commended: The Merchant Hotel, Belfast
Highly Commended: The Westbury Hotel, Dublin   
Highly Commended: The Heritage Killenard, Killenard, Co Laois


Winner: Marlfield House Hotel, Gorey, Co Wexford

•    Highly Commended: Dunraven Arms, Adare, Co Limerick

•    Highly Commended: Granville Hotel, Waterford

•    Highly Commended: Bushmills Inn, Bushmills, Co Antrim

•    Highly Commended: Sheedy’s Hotel, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare



Winner: Dingle Benners Hotel, Dingle, Co Kerry

•    Highly Commended: The Huntsman Inn, Galway, Co Galway

•    Highly Commended: Aran Islands Hotel, Inis Mór, Co Galway

•    Highly Commended: Carrygerry Country House, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare

•    Highly Commended: Zuni Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, Kilkenny



Winner: Virginia Park Lodge, Virginia, Cavan   

•    Highly Commended: Rathsallagh House, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow

•    Highly Commended: Rosleague Manor, Letterfrack, Co Galway 

•    Highly Commended: Dunnanelly Country House, Co Down

•    Highly Commended: Lodge at Ashford Castle, Co Mayo



Winner: Wineport Lodge, Glasson, Athlone, Co Westmeath

•    Highly Commended: Castlewood House, Dingle, Co Kerry

•    Highly Commended: Killarney Lodge, Killarney, Co Kerry

•    Highly Commended: Gleesons Townhouse, Roscommon, Co Roscommon 

•    Highly Commended: Blackwell House, Scarva, Co Armagh  



Winner: Bantry House and Garden, Bantry, Co Cork

•    Highly Commended: Shelburne Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry

•    Highly Commended: Aldridge Lodge, Duncannon, Co Wexford 

•    Highly Commended: Ardawn House, Galway, Co Galway 

•    Highly Commended:  Ghan House, Carlingford, Co Louth



Winner: Hook Lighthouse - Visitor Centre Café, Hook Head, Co Wexford 
•    Highly Commended: The Castle Café, Blackrock Castle, Cork   

•    Highly Commended: Lennons@VISUAL, Carlow, Co Carlow

•    Highly Commended: The Kitchen, Galway City Museum, Galway

•    Highly Commended: Avoca Café, Malahide Castle, Malahide, Co Dublin



 Winner: Breac.House, Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal 

•    Highly Commended: Ravenhill Guest House, Belfast

•    Highly Commended: King Sitric Restaurant& Accommodation, Howth, Co Dublin

•    Highly Commended: Coolanowle Country House & Organic Farm, Co Carlow

•    Highly Commended: Viewmount House, Longford, Co Longford


Winner: The Fumbally, Fumbally Lane, Dublin City, Co Dublin

•    Highly Commended: Nook Café & Restaurant, Collooney, Co Sligo

•    Highly Commended: The Green Barn, Burtown House, Co Kildare

•    Highly Commended: House of Plates, Castlebar, Co Mayo

•    Highly Commended: Brunel’s Restaurant Newcastle Co Down


Georgina Campbell’s Ireland’s rigorous programme of anonymous assessment visits is a year-round process and, with the exception of this year’s Brunch Award, which was open to public nominations, award winners are nominated solely by an independent assessment team.  Reports are fed through to the hospitality website



We all expect a stay in a five star hotel to be an all-round special experience, offering the very best of the best of everything - impressive surroundings, exceptionally spacious and luxurious accommodation, outstanding food and service, wonderful leisure amenities…. It should be a real treat and, at its best, that’s just what it is, providing superb and truly Irish experiences. Yet, even at this level, there are variations in standards. And an area where these variations are especially noticeable is in the breakfast offering, which can be genuinely memorable  - but is not always as wonderful as the experiences which are such a pleasure at our winning hotels. 

Highly Commended: The Heritage Killenard Killenard 


ABOUT: In new ownership since 2014 and operated with style, great staff and exceptional leisure facilities are the trump cards at this luxury hotel in rural Laois. Not only is there a destination spa and (next door) an 18-hole Seve Ballesteros golf course, but onsite facilities also include bowls, tennis and a floodlit jogging track. Spacious accommodation is very comfortably furnished and dining options include fine dining in the Arlington Room, Afternoon Tea in the Lobby Lounge, and informal options elsewhere in this attractive venue.

Special breakfast highlights?

Breakfast is served in the Arlington, and a cold buffet offering a good spread of fruits, breads, and cereals, cheese and salamis is displayed in an adjoining room. Unusually, there are three milks available: full, low fat and skimmed - and there's a generous gluten free corner, with breads and cereals on offer. Hot dishes include pancakes, omelettes, smoked salmon, various eggs (Benedict, Florentine) and of course the full Irish - no surprises, perhaps, but the quality is top notch.



The Irish Breakfast can be a wonderful experience - but it’s only as good as its ingredients. All cooking depends on the quality of ingredients for success and the simpler the meal the more obvious that is - and breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but it is also the simplest. On the upside, that offers a unique opportunity to showcase the excellent Irish produce that is central to a memorable breakfast experience, and especially the traditional breakfast plate - the crispy rashers, the succulent sausages, the beautiful free range egg - but, on the downside for those who are running price-led food operations, any shortcuts taken are glaringly obvious. We aim to encourage everyone who offers an Irish breakfast to make it a really good one. To that end, we have selected some of the key elements of a good breakfast - Meats, Fish, Cereals, Eggs, Fruit and Dairy - and heartily commend a producer in each that is notable for consistent excellence. Most are also medium sized business that have the scale of production needed for consistent supply to hotels. Source authentic ingredients and the difference will show on the plate.

IRISH BREAKFAST FOODS - CEREALS: Paddy O’s Granola Cullahill  


As one of the famed O'Connells of Cullahill (relatives who have made their mark in Irish food include Darina Allen, Rory O'Connell and Tom O'Connell), Paddy O'Connell has a love of good Irish food and the entrepreneurial spirit in his genes. So it was no surprise when he came up with a brilliantly simple product based on local ingredients - in this case a delicious crunchy and sustainable anytime treat made from Irish grains. He tells the story of how he started making granola above his parents’ pub in Cullahill, trying and testing it on friends and family until it was just right… And now there’s a range of super granolas - with berries, fruit & seeds, strawberry & apple - and speciality items too, including a gluten-free option, a high protein granola, and even a grain-free version (nuts and seeds). They're available in 5kg and 10kg tubs - perfect for hotels and restaurants.