• Cyril McAree

Winners of the 2020 Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards in Association with Fáilte Ireland

From classic breakfast favourites to dishes with a twist, the winners of the 2020 Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards in association with Fáilte Ireland were announced today.


Eight businesses across the country were crowned Ireland’s top breakfast venues in categories including 5* Hotel, B&B and Guest House. This year saw the introduction of a special sustainability award; the public got to have their say on Ireland’s best brunch venue and five Irish producers were selected for the consistently excellent quality of their produce, which appear on many of the best breakfast menus across Ireland - and deserve to be seen on many more.





Now in their fourth year, the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards celebrate the people and businesses that strive to make the first meal of the day as memorable as any fine dining experience, and with a real sense of place. If you are tucking into homemade brown bread, creamy Irish butter, McCarthy’s Irish sausages and apple juice from Co. Tipperary, chances are you’re enjoying one of the highest quality Irish breakfast in Ireland, and there’s nowhere else in the world that can compare, according to Georgina Campbell.


Biggest not always the best


Awards founder, Georgina Campbell, who is one of Ireland’s foremost food and hospitality writers, believes that breakfast is a food experience that Irish businesses, regardless of size, can do particularly well for their guests and customers.


“The great thing about being able to offer a hearty Irish breakfast is that you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best and indeed, can be a venue of any size to compete in this important and competitive arena. Serving up a good quality breakfast can have a lasting impression on customers. Doing the simplest of things well is enough to encourage a return visit and build a strong reputation for your establishment, regardless of how many people you can seat,” said Georgina Campbell.


This year Georgina noticed some marked improvements, notably in the three-star hotel category, which has become more focused on its breakfast offering. “We are considering more three-star hotels than ever before for an award, and this is really heartening, with huge efforts going into producing a fine breakfast from many business owners and their kitchen teams. There have been improvements across the board, particularly in the area of food sourcing and local provenance – as seen in the excellent breakfast menus that establishments submitted as part of our Irish Breakfast Survey, undertaken in partnership with Fáilte Ireland. But there is still a lot of work to be done and I am hopeful we will see even greater improvements next year.”


Sustainability - keeping it local


Acknowledging Ireland’s leading producers is an important element of the Irish Breakfast Awards, as we need to encourage all breakfast providers, particularly hotels, to support local producers. “By investing in and supporting good quality local providers you are investing in and supporting a more sustainable Ireland. This has become a real priority for the hospitality industry and it’s something that has to be at the top of our collective agenda – permanently. Ethical, sustainable practices are good for business and a commitment to quality produce with a sense of place should be seen as a sound investment rather than an unnecessary cost. It will enhance the reputation of individual hospitality providers, along with Ireland’s reputation and that in itself is progress,” said Georgina.


Ashford Castle was selected as the inaugural winner of the Sustainability Award at the Irish Breakfast Awards, recognised for its environmental credentials in relation to impressive sustainable practices including its food sourcing policy and commitment to sourcing the best seasonal ingredients from the west of Ireland. It was the first five-star hotel in Ireland to be awarded GREENmark Plastic Smart recognition by GreenTravel.ie for its efforts in responsible tourism and commitment to removing all single-use plastics by 2022.


Special Guest Rachel Allen on the Awards


Celebrity chef Rachel Allen joined Georgina for a Q&A at the awards and said: “These awards are unique in that they highlight a meal that is all too often overlooked by business owners as the least important of all their dining options. Not so! Like Georgina, I know what a good quality breakfast can do to enhance the reputation of a business and even a locality. But now, more than ever, we have to focus not only on outstanding service, a warm welcome and delicious Irish produce but sustainability has to be at the heart of everything we do in this industry too. And collectively, we can make an enormous contribution to protecting the plant.


Brunch - not just a passing trend


The Brunch Award was also a key moment at the awards gala after 30 shortlisted venues were whittled down to one, following a public vote.


“Brunch is now part of the fabric of Ireland’s food culture. People truly enjoy the quality and variety of dishes on brunch menus across Ireland. So much, in fact, that brunch is now considered one of the most popular meals for people to enjoy “out”. It’s for this reason that we opened the Brunch Award to a public vote, and we were delighted by the hugely enthusiastic response from food lovers across the country. But there was one very clear winner, Arán Bakery and Bistro in Co. Kilkenny, which received a torrent of votes from its loyal customers, indicating just how passionate Kilkenny people are about their brunching options.”


Visitor experience key to growth


Jenny De Saulles, Fáilte Ireland’s Sector Development Director, commented on the importance of high quality, locally sourced food to the overall tourist experience: “High quality food and dining experiences are an integral part of the tourist experience showcasing the great quality of Ireland’s local produce and the fantastic range of establishments right across the country. The Irish breakfast is a key part of the visitor experience and offers a unique opportunity to showcase Irish food and great visitor experiences we can be proud of. These awards which Fáilte Ireland proudly support, are significant because they bring an independent seal of approval that tourists and locals alike will rely on.


“Great experiences are central to the growth and success of our tourism industry and breakfast should be a positive part of every holiday or break. We have come a long way and today’s winners are testament to the incredible standards that can be achieved, regardless of the type or size of establishment. These businesses are exemplars for the industry and demonstrate that continuously raising the bar ensures consistently high visitor satisfaction levels.”


The Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards in association with Fáilte Ireland took place at the InterContinental Dublin.


GEORGINA CAMPBELL IRISH BREAKFAST AWARDS 2020 IN ASSOCIATION WITH FÁILTE IRELAND – WINNERS:


IRISH PRODUCER AWARDS

Meat: McCarthys of Kanturk, Kanturk, Co Cork

Eggs: Belview Eggs, Drogheda, Co Louth

Dairy: The Little Milk Company, Dungarvan, Co Waterford

Fruit: The Apple Farm, Cahir, Co Tipperary

Preserves: Filligans, Glenties, Co Donegal


IRISH BREAD AWARD

Rua Deli & Café, Castlebar, Co Mayo


IRISH BREAKFAST MENU


Hotel

Winner Limerick Strand Hotel, Limerick

Highly Commended: The Twelve Hotel, Barna, Co Galway

Small Stay

Winner Lough Bishop House, Collinstown, Co Westmeath

Highly Commended: Archways B&B, Rosslare, Co Wexford

5* HOTEL

Winner: Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

Highly Commended: Trump International Golf Links & Hotel, Doonbeg, Co Clare

Highly Commended: Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow

4* HOTEL

Winner: Avalon House Hotel, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny

Highly Commended: Cliff at Lyons, Celbridge, Co Kildare

Highly Commended: Vaughan Lodge, Lahinch, Co Clare


3* HOTEL

Winner: Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff, Co Cork

Highly Commended: The Killeen House Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry

Highly Commended: Stauntons on the Green, Dublin


COUNTRY HOUSE

Winner: Huntington Castle & Gardens, Clonegal, Co Carlow

Highly Commended: Ashley Park House, Nenagh, Co Tipperary

Highly Commended: Ardtara Country House, Upperlands, Co Derry


GUEST HOUSE

Winner: The Quay House, Clifden, Co Galway

Highly Commended: Heatons House, Dingle, Co Kerry

Highly Commended: Lancaster Lodge, Cork


B&B

Winner: Sheedy’s Doolin Boutique B&B, Doolin, Co Clare

Highly Commended: Danny Minnies, Annagry, Co. Donegal

Highly Commended: The Wilder Townhouse, Dublin


VISITOR ATTRACTION

Winner: Hillsborough Castle Café, Hillsborough, Co Down

Highly Commended: The Commons Café at MoLI, Dublin

Highly Commended: Good Day Deli, Nano Nagle Place, Cork


SUSTAINABILITY AWARD

Ashford Castle, Cong, Co Mayo

BRUNCH OF THE YEAR AWARD – PUBLIC VOTE

Winner: Arán Artisan Bakery & Bistro, Kilkenny


Runners up:Seasalt Café & Deli, Cobh, Co Cork

Kelly’s Kitchen, Newport, Co Mayo

Sweet Geranium Café, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim

Osta Café & Wine Bar, Sligo



THE SELECTION PROCESS


Georgina Campbell’s rigorous programme of anonymous assessment visits is a year-round process. With the exception of the Brunch Award, which is open to public nominations, and the Irish Breakfast Award, which is judged from menus submitted as part of the annual Irish Breakfast Survey, conducted in association with Fáilte Ireland, award winners are nominated solely by an independent assessment team. Reports are fed through to the hospitality website Ireland-guide.com.



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