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Lords & Ladles with Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Paul Flynn is back on RTE One TV

Lords & Ladles, RTE’s hugely popular historical cooking series, is back for a second run and begins on Sunday 18th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One. This six week series features more of Ireland’s most beautiful historic homes and the menus feature a fascinating array of recipes – all from manuscripts and cookbooks either produced or widely available in Ireland – spanning the past four hundred years. 

Three of Ireland’s finest Chefs: Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Paul Flynn traverse the country and take  the viewer on a historical journey to celebrate our past through the wonders of food and the glories of cooking.

Catherine Fulvio, Paul Flynn and Derry Clarke in Lords & Ladles on RTE1 TV

Each week the three Chefs arrive at a Great Irish Country House to recreate a grand dinner from its history while tantalising the TV audience with sumptuous descriptions of the treats that are on the menu. All of the recipes – some mouth-watering, some downright baffling – are taken from manuscript and printed cookbooks from the past four hundred years.  

But first they must Draw Lots for the division of labour - one will Gather the ingredients, one will Cook, and one will get to Dine with the Gentry.

The Gatherer must source the ingredients for the feast – hunting, shooting and fishing feature strongly, as do lambs ears, sheep’s feet and of course lots of tongue! Local producers help our chefs get hands-on with some traditional methods of food production and share insights into the evolution of Irish food production over the years. The Cook will familiarise themselves with the workings of the kitchen and grapple with the enormous amount of food that seems to have been the norm for a grand house dinner. 

Meanwhile the Diner gets to explore the house with the family, learning about its place in the history of the area and the Island, the trials and tribulations of the family seat and of course help lay the table using the finest silver and china from the house safe. 
The Cook’s work all done, the meal will be served with all the pomp and ceremony it deserves, to the audible delight of the diners who can’t help themselves from gasping at the spectacle as the sumptuous banquet is laid before them!

The Episodes

Each episode is set in one of Ireland’s many stately homes. 

Huntington Castle, Co Carlow (Sunday 18th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Alexander and Clare Durdin-Robertson farm and work the estate which has been their family home since the 17th century. Paul Flynn is challenged to serve up a sumptuous 17th century feast that includes a whole roast pig on the spit, boiled goose and sheep’s feet! Assisting him in the kitchen is Derry Clarke, who first heads out to James and Laz Murphy at Murphy’s Craft Butcher in Tullow to butcher some of some of Alex’s own lamb, as well as collect a small mountain of meat for the night’s feast; and on to James Malone at Malone Fruit Farm in Ballon to gather fresh berries for the intriguing dessert “A Brave Tart of Several Sweetmeats”.

Ballymacmoy House, Co Cork (25th September at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Home of the founder of Hennessy Cognac Richard Hennessy, the house has been lovingly restored to a family home by his 8th generation descendant Frederic Hennessy.  Derry Clarke aided by Catherine Fulvio must grapple with stuffed lambs’ ears which Paul will have to chew on. Catherine hopes to land a salmon for the table with the help of local ghillie Jeremiah Butler, on the Blackwater in Killavullen; she lifts some lobster pots with Adrian Walsh of Ballycotton Seafood out of Ballycotton Harbour and John Howard, Chairman of the Federation of County Cork Gun Clubs provides some pigeon for the table from a field where crops are being damaged by birds.

Hilton Park, Co Monaghan (2nd October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Fred Madden’s great great grandfather traversed the globe before turning his attention to the upgrading of the family home in Monaghan which Fred’s father Johnny Madden refers to as an iced-cake.  Derry Clarke holds the ladle for the recreation of a hunt supper from 1908 featuring such delicacies as Pudding à la Diplomate and Turkey boiled with oysters. Paul hunts for a herd of wild pigs on Inishcorkish Island with Pat O’Doherty, producer of the award-winning Fermanagh “Black Bacon” and gets a lesson in cheese-making at Corleggy Cheese in Belburbet and collects a special order of cockscombs and turkey testicles for one of Derry’s less appetising recipes.

Tourin House, Co Waterford (9th October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
A stunning house on the banks of the Blackwater is home to the Jameson sisters whose father was the driving force behind the formation of Irish Distillers.  The feast created by Catherine Fulvio includes a macabre dish of lamb’s head which makes for quite the centrepiece.
Paul joins Catherine in the kitchen after first heading out of Youghal in an antique Norwegian fishing boat to catch some mackerel, making some sausages the old-fashioned way with Declan O’Flynn of O’Flynn’s Gourmet Sausages, and getting up close to some bees with Pat Deasy of Deise Irish Honey.

Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath (16th October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
Sir Nicholas and Alice Nugent have taken the reins at Ballinlough where they host the annual Body & Soul Festival.  Nick’s mom Pepe recalls a very different era where everyone knew their place.  Paul must once again battle with the spit but this time with a more manageable kid goat gathered by Catherine. Catherine also tries to catch a pike on the castle’s own lake, and heads to Maperath farm near Kells to pluck a “green goose”.

Enniscoe House, Co Mayo (23rd October at 18:30 on RTÉ One)
The Kelletts of Mayo came to Ireland with Cromwell, purchased land and built this lovely house on the banks of Lough Conn.  General Humbert and his men ransacked the place in 1798. Catherine recreates a meal from the late 18th century but she may be waiting a while for Derry to catch the ingredients for her dish of Boiled Trout with Shrimp Sauce. Particularly when one of Derry’s gathering stops is the local Reel Deal Brewing company, where sampling the products is very important. Derry’s also put to work in the beautifully restored organic walled garden on Enniscoe’s own grounds.

Lords & Ladles, featuring Derry Clarke, Catherin Fulvio and Paul Flynn, is a Mind the Gap Films Production for RTÉ Lifestyle. Series Producer is Bernadine Carraher, Director is Maurice Linnane and Director of Photography is Andrew Cummins.

Enjoy this look back at some great historical Irish Foods and stories!

Michelin Star Chef Rory Carville opens BLÁS Restaurant in Donegal Town

The Blás Restaurant, at The Gateway Lodge in Donegal Town, offers a modern new Taste of Donegal.  In 2015, Seamus Quinn from Donegal Town, the successful owner of Quinn Construction in London, purchased an historic building, in a great location, in Donegal Town. He wanted to make significant changes to the property and working with local company, Paul Doherty Architects, they not only extended the building, but completely renovated the interior, giving the house and hostel a new sleek and modern feel. 

Seamus Quinn brought almost twenty Donegal men (who work for him in London) back home for three months, to refurbish the hostel, chalets and restaurant, adding a new modern lobby, re-roofing the existing building, re-facing the main entrance and extended the car parking to include modern camper facilities.

Seamus then went looking for the best chef he could find, to open a new restaurant in Donegal Town.

Michelin starred chef, Rory Carville, was looking to open a new restaurant at the same time!

Rory Carville, Head Chef at the new Blás Restaurant at The Gateway Lodge, in Donegal Town
Rory Carville, from Castleblayney in County Monaghan, graduated from Killybegs Catering College in 2000, where he also happened to meet his wife, Erin. His final placement from college was at the Limetree Restaurant in the Park Hotel in Kenmare and after that he moved to Dublin, spending three years with Terry White at the Four Seasons Hotel.

He then joined Derry Clarke's team in l'Ecrivain, in Dublin, for two and a half years. Rory then worked for a year in Chapter One under Ross Lewis and while he was there Derry rang him up to see if he'd like to work for the summer on a yacht (belonging to a business partner) in the south of France. Around this time Rory had been working on a new venture with Dylan McGrath, but that fell through, so he jumped at this opportunity.

Michelin Chef Rory Carville with Marian and Seamus Quinn at Blás Restaurant, Donegal Town
Rory came back from France in September 2010, when he was offered the job of opening up Locks Brasserie, on the canal in Dublin. He spent three years at Locks, winning his first Michelin Star along with numerous other awards.

"Winning a Michelin Star takes a lot of hard work and dedication from a chef and his whole team, putting in long hours and intense concentration." says Rory. "It's great for business but it's a different kind of pressure as your cooking to satisfy a different kind of clientele. And there are so many great restaurants now in Dublin that the competition is very tight."

Daniel Cavan, sous chef at Blás Restaurant in Donegal Town
Rory Carville is joined in the new Blás kitchen by his sous-chef, Daniel Cavan. Daniel, originally from Dumbarton in Scotland, is one of those young chefs who lives for food. He is passionate and capable and he really loves his career as a chef. 

Rory's plans for Blás Restaurant are to keep it simple, tasty, rustic and he describes his food as modern Irish, with a bit of a twist

Velvet Cloud Sheep's Yogurt with Dandelion Honey & Chive at Blás Restaurant

"I love cooking great fish and I really like cooking slow cuts of meat and working new flavoursome ways of cooking vegetables" he says. He also has a great passion for sourcing local, as he explains, "I'm working with local butcher Marty Walsh for all of my beef. I'm using all the local suppliers and everything on the menu here comes from within a twenty-mile radius of Donegal Town. All our fish is coming in from Killybegs. I also do a lot of foraging for mushrooms, wild garlic and home grown herbs."

Finishing off a dish of John Dory and Organic Broccoli 
Rory says he is delighted to be part of the northwest's modern food scene and gives credit to how food in the best restaurants around County Donegal is easily comparable to any of the top restaurants around Ireland.

The bedrooms have been totally refurbished at the Gateway Lodge in Donegal Town

"Things are changing in the Irish restaurant scene these days. Chefs are getting back to basics and working with their local food producers now, more than they ever did, but producing a modern original Irish Cuisine style." says Rory. "It's brilliant for the food producers, the restaurants but ultimately it's great for our customers."

The Chalets at the Gateway Lodge have also been completely refurbished

Blás at the Gateway Lodge is becoming a another success story in accommodation and dining in Donegal Town. It's success is down to the passion of it's owner, in creating a place that reflects it's heritage while looking to the future and a passionate chef, who understands that locally sourced food is the best way for people to truly understand the location they are in.

Official Opening Night at Rory Carville's new Blás Restaurant in Donegal Town was brilliant!
Blás at The Gateway Lodge offers you "a place on a plate" in one sitting and Rory also says he hopes that Blás will be the first Michelin approved restaurant in the northwest of Ireland.

For bookings at Blás Restaurant & Guest Accommodation Tel: 00 353 74 9740405
Check it out on the Web:

You can follow Head Chef Rory Carville on Twitter
You can follow sous chef Daniel Cavan on Twitter


WIN Dinner for Two at the new Ramblers Restaurant in Ardara, Co. Donegal

Friends, folks and foodies from all Donegal gathered recently for the launch of “Ramblers Bar & Restaurant” at The Nesbitt Arms Hotel, in Ardara, County Donegal. The Nesbitt Arms is situated right in the middle of this beautiful wee town of Ardara, which is famous for it's Donegal fiddlers, it's hand-spun Tweed, it's excellent music festivals and it's warm and friendly community.

General Manager, Liam McGill, opened the night by thanking all who had turned out for the opening. "We are so proud to have a loyal and regular clientele here at the Nesbitt Arms. A town is quiet without a hotel but a hotel is nothing with out the town around it", he said.

"I'm delighted to welcome you all here to the opening of "Ramblers", our brand new Bar and Restaurant" said Liam. "I want to thank everyone who worked on the new build: John Fox and Hugh Boyle with all their staff, Micky Shallow and of course, Terry Murray who has practically lived in this room for the last two months!"

The Nesbitt Arms Hotel, Ardara, Co Donegal 

Liam also raised a glass and paid tribute to the late Conal Haughey (known to all as Mr. Ardara) who passed away recently, saying, "Conal was the head chef here in the Nesbitt Arms for over twenty years and he would surely have been delighted with the new Bar and Restaurant".

Entrance to the new Ramblers Restaurant and Bar

He then called on festival organiser and local hero, Stephen McCahill, who thanked the management of the Nesbitt Arms for their continued support in the town of Ardara.  He added that the presence of hotel was imperative for the success of the town.  Praising all involved with the design, building of the new Bar and Restaurant, and with a special mention to restaurant staff and head chef Francis Floyd, Stephen commented on the wonderful standard of the hotel with its new reception, ballroom and excellent food.

Irish Food
Fresh Fish is delivered from Killybegs everyday

Deirdre Mc Glone, owner of Harvey’s Point Hotel and Donegal Person of the Year 2016, gave a very eloquent speech praising the people of Ardara for their continued dedication and search for an excellence offering for visitors and guests to the area. "Ardara is the most amazing town. You have traditional music festivals and events almost every month, a great community spirit and the most wonderful natural surroundings here", she said. "No wonder Ardara was voted the Best Village to Live in Ireland!"

Irish FoodIrish Food
Head Chef, Francis Floyd, sources all his meats locally in County Donegal

Deirdre then officially launched Ramblers new Bar by pulling a pint of stout and serving the first glass of the new Sliabh Liag Whiskey and Claire McGill, Deputy GM of the Nesbitt Arms, then presented Deirdre with a beautiful Eddie Doherty Tweed Throw as a memento of this trip down to Ardara.

The Library section of the new Ramblers Restaurant and Bar

As is customary in Ardara, the locals and business owners turned out in great numbers to support this very fine new bar. “Traditional but kinda chic”, “cosy and comfortable with those lovely old heritage colours”, “classy & cosy” was how some of the locals described it.

Local Beers and Spirits from County Donegal are served in the new Restaurant and Bar

To Enter a new Competition and be in for a chance to WIN Dinner for Two at the new Ramblers Bar and Restaurant in Ardara, County Donegal, simply Like and Share The Nesbitt Arms Hotel on Facebook here:

telling them the person you'd like to bring along with you if you won.
(Sneaky Tip - If you've Liked this Page already, Unlike and Like Again to enter the competition)

The Winner will be announced on Friday 29th of July. Best of Luck everyone!


Enter the Foróige National Junior Baking Competition 2016

Foróige is the leading youth organisation in Ireland. The charity works with 54,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 600 youth clubs & cafés, 150-targeted projects and national programmes such as Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

ALDI are once again sponsoring this years' National Junior Baking Competition, in association with Foróige, the finals of which will take place in the Aldi Marquee at the National Ploughing Championships, and this year the theme for the baking competition is ‘Muffins of the Moment’.


The winner of the National Junior Baking Competition will win a €1,000 bursary to help them on their baking journey, as well as a trip for their local Foróige group to Delphi Adventure Centre in Co. Mayo.
In addition to this and for the first time in the National Junior Baking Competition, Aldi will be stocking the winning muffins – a huge achievement for any budding young baker!

How does the Competition work?

The qualifiers of The National Junior Baking Competition will be held nationally through youth organisation Foróige, in their 834 clubs and projects nationwide, with the regional finals taking place in late July. The National Semi Finals and Final will be held from 20th to 22nd September at the Aldi Marquee during the 2016 National Ploughing Championships in the new location of Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

County Level
The first stage of the competition will be at county level. These will be organised locally in each county to watch out for the local arrangements. There will be one winner per county, except in cases where there are more than 50 clubs in that county. In this instance, two county contestants will qualify for the Regional Final.

A county competition will be organised in each county as a stand-alone county event or will be organised as part of another event taking place in the county. Individual entrants will bring along their Muffins which they have baked themselves (see rules below) to be judged by a panel of judges.

To find your nearest Foroige Club and Contact Details Click HERE

Regional Level
There will be four regional finals - South, West, East and Midlands. Two winners from each region will qualify to compete in the semi-finals at the National Ploughing Championships in September 2016. At Regional level you will be baking on site using ingredients supplied by Aldi.

National Level and Finals
There will be two semi-final heats on 20th and 21st September. Again, semi finalists and finalists will be baking on site. The contestants placed first and second in each heat will qualify for the final on Thursday 22nd September, in the Aldi Ireland Tent at the National Ploughing Championships.

Who can enter?
The competition is open to any young person between the ages of 12 and 18 that are currently a member of a club, project (including Big Brother Big Sister), or youth service in Foróige.
The theme of the National Junior Baking Competition this year is ‘Muffins of the Moment’ and the judges are anticipating some amazing creations from the wealth of talented young bakers around the country.

The Rules:
  1. This competition is for individual entrants only.
  2. Participants must still be 18 or less on the 22nd of September 2016, the day of the final of the competition.
  3. For the county competition each competitor will bring their Muffins, made by them. Should they progress to the regional event they will be required to bake more on site.
  4. Each club or project group may submit only one entry. If more than one person in a group is interested, it is up to the club or group to decide how to choose one.
  5. Bakers must produce their goods without help from others.
  6. Ingredients must be purchased from Aldi – and each baker may spend a maximum of €20 on ingredients. Here is a link to the Aldi website where you can see all their products. 
  7. Entrants in county competitions must be available to attend and compete in the Regional finals (late July) and the National Finals (20th to 22nd September), if they get through to each.
  8. For the National Semi-Finals and Final, competitors will be obliged to use the ingredients supplied by Aldi Ireland.
  9. Competitors in the regional and national events must bring their own baking tins.
  10. The judges’ decision in all competitions is final and binding on all competitors and the fact of entering shall be deemed an acceptance of this rule.
(Immediate families of Foróige managers and employees and the directors managers and employees and the immediate families of other Promoters or the agencies or companies associated with this promotion are ineligible to enter.)

Any other enquiries should be directed to

So Get Baking and the Best of Success to all who enter!

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The Irish Food Guide Blog includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

It is written & curated by Zack Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

“My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 27 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

Zack is building an all-Ireland Food Tourism network to assist Tour Operators bringing guests into Ireland to connect easily with artisan Irish food producers, so as they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food Visit

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