Myrtle Allen Ballymaloe House founder and mother in law of Laois native Darina Allen dies aged 94

The late Myrtle Allen was the first Irish woman to be awarded a Michelin Star.

Express Reporter

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Myrtle Allen Ballymaloe House founder and mother in law of Laois native Darina Allen dies aged 94

The late Myrtle Allen. Picture @Ballymaloe

Award-winning chef, writer and founder of Ballymaloe House in Co Cork, Myrtle Allen, has died at the age of 94.

The mother in law of Laois native Darina Allen was born in Cork in 1924, Myrtle Hill was educated at Frencham Heights in England before transferring to school at Newtown in Waterford when World War II broke out.

She married Ivan Allen in 1943 and the pair moved into Ballymaloe in 1947.

Mrs Allen opened the restaurant at Ballymaloe in 1964, before expanding it to incorporate a hotel.

The restaurant quickly built a reputation as a gourmet destination and Mrs Allen was the first Irish woman to be awarded a Michelin Star. Myrtle Allen's husband Ivan died in 1998.

Following the success of Ballymaloe House, she established the Ireland's Blue Book travel guide in 1974 to promote Irish country houses.

Laois natives and siblings Darina Allen and Rory O'Connell.

The well-known cookery school at Ballymaloe was opened by Mrs Allen's daughter-in-law, Darina who hails from Laois, in 1983.

In the 1960s Darina was sous-chef at Ballymaloe House and started giving courses in cooking.

Later she moved the cookery classes to Kinoith under the name of Ballymaloe Cookery School.

She married Tim Allen, son of Myrtle Allen and Ivan Allen, and now lives on her organic farm, Kinoith, in Shanagarry.

Renowned TV chef Rory O’Connell is Darina’s brother. They grew up in Cullohill, Co Laois.

Myrtle Allen died on June 13, 2018 at Cork University Hospital surrounded by her family after a short illness. 

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