Hotel and Catering Issue 10 2020

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ISSUE 10 2020

The Fabulous Pizza Boys! Dough Bros on making Neapolitan pizza the Irish way

Brave NEW WORLD Adapting to the domestic market at Ballyseede Castle

Food for

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Contents ISSUE 10 2020

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There’s no point in putting your profits in the bin. People are wising up to the fact that the food that comes back on the plate is just as important as the food that goes out Keelin Tobin, Savour Food

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TOP ADVICE FROM FÁILTE IRELAND’S INDUSTRY EXPERTS Fáilte Ireland is continuing to support thousands of tourism and hospitality businesses through Covid-19

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION BUT MORE UNCERTAINTY AHEAD The industry has broadly welcomed new measures and supports in Budget 2021 but new restrictions are putting tourism jobs at further risk

THE EUROPE GOES GREEN The Europe Hotel & Resort has switched to 100% green renewable electricity

THE FABULOUS PIZZA BOYS! Galway’s Dough Brothers have put the West of Ireland on the global pizza map

BRAVE NEW WORLD Irish guests are discovering some of the country’s finest hidden gems, like Ballyseede Castle in Co Kerry. Owner Rory O’Sullivan chats about tapping into the domestic market



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Editor Denise Maguire Creative Director: Jane Matthews Art Director: Áine Duffy Designer: James Moore Stock Photography iStock Infographics: Production: Claire Kiernan Sales Director: Trish Murphy Managing Director: Gerry Tynan Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

Published by: Ashville Media, Unit 55 Park West Road, Park West Industrial Estate, Dublin 12, D12 X9F9. Tel: (01) 432 2200 ISSN: 0332-4400 All rights reserved. Every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is accurate. The publishers cannot, however, accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Reproduction by any means in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. © Ashville Media Group 2020. All discounts, promotions and competitions contained in this magazine are run independently of Hotel & Catering Review. The promoter/advertiser is responsible for honouring the prize.

Editor’s View Welcome to issue 10 of Hotel & Catering Review 2020 At the time of going to press, Level 5 had just been introduced across the country. For restaurants, cafés and bars, outdoor dining is no longer permitted for a period of six weeks while hotels, guesthouses and B&B's can stay open but only to support the provision of essential services. For so many businesses that invested in furniture and heaters for outdoor dining, the latest raft of restrictions must be difficult to bear. For the entire sector, the threat of job losses looms yet again as we enter another period of uncertainty. The IHF is calling on the government to provide increased employment supports to hospitality businesses that are struggling to retain staff, adding that businesses may be forced to lay off thousands of employees unless a higher level of subsidy is provided. Budget 2021 brought some relief to the industry; the VAT rate has finally gone down to 9%, employment supports have been extended to the end of 2021 while the rates waiver has also been extended to the end of this year. That sense of relief has dissipated in light of the new restrictions, the impact of which will be felt all the more as we enter the difficult winter/spring months ahead. It’s hoped that the measures introduced in Budget 2021 will be enough to sustain businesses through this period of lockdown and beyond, when Level 3 is set to resume. It's looking like a tough couple of months for the hospitality industry. If you have any thoughts or opinions on this month’s content, please do drop us a line.

Editor: Denise Maguire Email: denise.maguire@

Denise Maguire | @HC_Review |




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News Your monthly round-up…

NEW RESIDENCY AT UCD CAMPUS FOR GATHER & GATHER Gather & Gather has been awarded the catering services at University College Dublin which will include an artisan coffee bar and the main restaurant in the Gerard Manly Hopkins building in Belfield. The third level education space is a new frontier for Gather & Gather who has recently launched new services including Delivered, the on-demand workplace delivery service. The ‘Residencies Project’ is another aspect of Gather & Gather’s new service at UCD and will see local chefs, café owners and restaurateurs partake in a brief residency within the main restaurant to showcase signature dishes.


David Keane, DK Oysters and Ruth Hegarty, egg&chicken consulting

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has teamed up with Chef Network to promote the seafood experience of Taste The Atlantic. The partnership aims to showcase the potential for visitor food experiences (particular seafood experiences) on the Wild Atlantic Way, to promote and encourage the use of local seafood on menus by other chefs/hospitality operators and to encourage partnerships between producers and chefs to deliver this. The first initiative was in the form of a tour of north Connemara where a group of Chef Network member chefs toured, visited and met with local seafood producers. The tour had 10 chefs travelling and visiting DK Oyster Farm Letterfrack, followed by a visit to Killary Harbour to meet with Tom Doherty of Curraun Fisheries and then on to Killary Fjord Shellfish to visit their production of rope mussels, oysters and clams. The tour finished with a seafood lunch overlooking the fjord.




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Neal Kearns, Executive Head Chef, Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort

APPOINTMENT Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow has appointed Wicklow native Neal Kearns as Executive Head Chef. Neal has been working in the hospitality sector for the last 20 years and has extensive experience in top hotels including Dunbrody House, Kingsley Hotel, Louis Fitzgerald Group, Castleknock Hotel and most recently as Director of Culinary in Carton House. He has also overseen the catering and dietary requirements of a range of sports teams including Napoli and Chelsea FC, Glasgow Celtic, New Zealand All Blacks and the Irish Rugby Team.

Sheena and Gosia, Galway Food Tours

A HANDSOME EXPANSION Named Ireland's best burger in 2019, Handsome Burger has been adapting its business since it started as a pop-up over three years ago. Earlier this year, Handsome Burger popped up in Athlone at Maisies and now, the business is popping up in Limerick at Flannerys and in Westport at Henehans Bar. The collaboration with pubs has allowed Handsome to expand its customer base whilst its ethos and overall food style remains true to its providence as a market stall. After letting staff go during lockdown, the Handsome Burger business has taken back on its 22 staff while the Handsome at Home burger DIY kits are being shipped to every county in Ireland.

GALWAY FOOD TOURS LAUNCH SELF-GUIDED TOUR Galway Food Tours has developed a way for people to explore Galway’s produce, grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and bars, but on their own terms. The Galway Food Tours Guide Book brings together over 40 of its personal suppliers as well as Sheena and Gosia’s (the women behind Galway Food Tours) most loved parts of the city. “The illustrations, the little inside notes and the overall sense of Galway within it means it will make its way into homes, rucksacks and tote bags across the country and world for years to come. That is the beauty of it, a true travel treasure,“ said Gosia.

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Bewley’s Jason Doyle

BEWLEY’S EMPLOYEES RAISE FUNDS FOR HOSPICE COFFEE MORNING Bewley’s employees have completed a 100km cycle to raise funds and awareness for Hospice Coffee Morning, which took place on the 24th of September. The team of five cyclists included Jason Doyle, Managing Director of Bewley’s Ireland & UK along with Julie Allman, Eamonn Diver, Mark Coogan and David Newman. Each year, the charity cycle sees Bewley’s employees complete the journey across Dublin, stopping into local hospices and finishing at the iconic Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street. However, due to the recent Covid-19 restrictions, each employee completed the cycle, safely and individually in their local areas.

‘GO ANYWHERE’ WITH HOTEL GIFT CARD The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has launched the ‘Go Anywhere Gift Card’, supported by Fáilte Ireland and accepted by hundreds of hotels and guesthouses throughout the country. IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said: “Irish hotels and guesthouses excel at creating truly memorable experiences for our guests and that’s why we’re very excited to be launching this gift card – bringing together hundreds of our member hotels and guesthouses to create a fantastic and really flexible gift experience. As a nation we are very generous when it comes to giving gifts and what better way to brighten up someone’s day than a gift that opens up so many options for a break away in Ireland. And of course, it’s a great way to support Irish tourism and local businesses.”



BANG LAUNCHES 5-COURSE TO-GO MENU BANG Restaurant & Wine Bar has launched BANG @ Home delivery and collection service. Every week, a 5-course set menu will be curated and made available to order from the Michelin Guide restaurant. Joe Barrett, owner of BANG Restaurant and Wine Bar, said: “The new restrictions are sudden and blunt – completely out of the blue! It is during this difficult time that we restaurateurs must do everything we can to keep ticking over. We have recently set up BANG @ Home, a takeaway service created in a bid to adapt with the current restrictions and stay open in some capacity. We are offering both delivery and collection.”


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John Ryan, Gigable

THE DEAN CORK SET TO OPEN IN NOVEMBER Cork’s newest hotel, The Dean Cork, is set to open its doors this November. The seven storey building forms part of the new Horgan’s Quay development, located close to Kent Station overlooking the River Lee. Art will be a prominent feature across the 114 bedroom hotel; walls will be covered with over 400 pieces of Irish art from both established artists and up and comers, sourced predominantly from Cork and the Munster region.


APPOINTMENT Pichet has welcomed new Head Chef, Harry Quinn to the team. Previous roles include a three month internship at Le Mas Candille, a Michelin star restaurant and hotel in Cannes. After a three year stint in London, Harry moved back to Dublin and spent another three years working in Ross Lewis’ Chapter One, followed by Sous Chef roles at Luna and Clanbrassil House. “I want to cook delicious food using the best of Irish produce and seasonal ingredients. Working with the front of house team, I want all our customers to leave Pichet having had a memorable, exciting dining experience,” he said.

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Pichet Head Chef, Harry Quinn

Irish tech start-up ‘Gigable’ has shifted focus from connecting freelancers with businesses to now matching local drivers with restaurants struggling to meet the demand for deliveries. Founded by tech entrepreneur John Ryan, the online platform’s initial plan was to meet the needs of businesses in the hospitality and events sector for short-term shift work as required. As Irish businesses adapt to a new Covid world, the platform now seeks to recruit local drivers to meet the appetite for restaurant deliveries. On the Gigable platform, a restaurant looking for a delivery driver will post the date and time they need a driver, along with the rate of pay. Anyone on Gigable’s community of verified drivers, known as freelancers, can see this information and choose whether or not to accept the gig on those terms. “One of the advantages of Gigable is that restaurants keep total control of their delivery system, from their brand identity to ensuring that drivers are wearing branded clothing. Equally, drivers can benefit from premium rates if there is a shortage of drivers on a Saturday evening in Ranelagh, for example,” said John.


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“Cleaning is good, Sanitised is better” CALL NOW for more information

NEW OZONE DEVICE FROM O3 SANITISE SOLUTIONS O3 Sanitise Solutions has launched a fully tested and certified medical grade portable device that produce ozone gas. According to the company, ozone gas quickly purifies the air and surfaces, ensuring that all surfaces are sanitised and safe for both customers and staff. Ozone is nature’s way of disinfecting and it’s a product that’s ideal for the hospitality sector, says MD Fran Boxall. It has been proven to destroy SARS, Norovirus, Salmonella, Legionella and MRSA and many others. It works on all surfaces and soft furnishings and is also completely safe to use with electrical equipment. Not only does it sanitise but it also removes odours such as stale food smells and smoking and can also halt mould and mildew problems. Together with the destruction of dust mites, bed bugs, flies, cockroaches and insects, it will even repel rodents. A standard bedroom and en-suite can be sanitised within 20 minutes.



John Pearson, Honorary Life Member of the Bartenders Association of Ireland, passed away peacefully on Sunday the 18th of October 2020, surrounded by his family. John’s career in bartending began in 1958 at the Metropole Hotel, Cork where he worked for many years, graduating to the role of Bar Manager, Duty Manager and Beverages Manager. As part of his apprenticeship training he worked in The Royal Hibernian Hotel, Dublin under the famous George Buller and Jack Lee who were two of the founders of the Irish Branch of the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild (UKBG). Whilst working at the Metropole, he began lecturing on a part-time basis on the day-release bartending course at Cork Regional Technical College’s catering and tourism department. These courses were the forerunner to the full-time bar courses now on offer by many Institutes of Technology throughout the country. After a number of years, he secured a full-time position in Cork Institute of Technology as a lecturer in the Department of Tourism & Hospitality Studies where he continued to work until his retirement a number of years ago. He joined the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild (UKBG) in 1965 and then the Bartenders Association of Ireland when it was founded in 1972. His involvement in the Bartenders Association of Ireland covered education and assisted with cocktail competitions, among many other activities. John was also National Education Officer for the Bartenders Association of Ireland and served on the Education Development Committee for the International Bartenders Association. More than a decade ago, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Declan Byrne, President of the Bartenders Association of Ireland (BAI) for his contributions to the association, bartending and the hospitality industry. All his friends in the Bartenders Association of Ireland and the International Bartenders Association extend their deepest condolences to his wife Agnes and their sons and daughters – Christine, Neil, Therese, Dolores and John (Junior) and their extended family.

Paul Carey, Director of Quality Assurance, Good Food Ireland

APPOINTMENT Food provenance brand Good Food Ireland has announced the appointment of Paul Carey as Director of Quality Assurance. Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role, having worked in the food and tourism hospitality industry for over 30 years in Ireland and internationally. He is a qualified Chef, HACCP Manager and Graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management.


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e n i t d s e .. . r g nI

BARRY SUN ON THE ACIDITY AND TEXTURE OF APPLES Apples are probably one of my favourite ingredients and they’re perfectly in season right now. There are a great variety of apples available in Ireland and I like to use lots of different types as each of them have a slightly different character. I sprinkle them throughout my menus, in either sweet or savoury dishes as they bring something valuable to each. With plenty of acidity and texture that works brilliantly in contrast with softer food, the crunch of raw apple is just one option, but I also cook apples or pickle them and serve them hot or cold, depending on the dish. I find them versatile and useful in almost any context. We use tart apples in our oyster dish for example, where we serve Brandy Bay oysters from a little inlet near Clarinbridge in Galway with a zingy compressed cucumber, apple and chilli oil dressing. With our artichoke dish — smoked Jerusalem artichokes, apple, homemade crème fraîche and truffle — the pickled apple brings both a sour-sweetness and texture. One of our main courses of pork with apple puree and horseradish is that classic combination of apple and pork; the sweetness of the meat is echoed in the fruit but the acidity also helps cut through the fat. On the dessert menu, I use a crisp and juicy apple for our apple sponge dessert. From now until Christmas, I’ll do my best to incorporate this favourite Irish ingredient of mine wherever I can and add that unique blend of tart and sweet plus crunch to lots of our dishes at Volpe Nera.

FIRST CERTIFIED ORGANIC IRISH WHISKY HITS THE MARKET Waterford Distillery has released Ireland’s first organic whisky in the modern age. ORGANIC: GAIA 1.1 was distilled in 2016 from organic Irish barley grown by a small band of organic farmers including John Mallick, Paddy Tobin, Alan Jackson, Pat and Denis Booth, Jason Stanley and Trevor Harris who rose to the challenge laid down by the Distillery to produce the first Irish-grown organic malting barley. It forms part of Waterford’s Arcadian Series, which celebrates radical growers and alternative philosophies, including heritage grains and unusual growing methods. Waterford Distillery Founder and CEO Mark Reynier said: “It beggars belief that much of the industry treats with indifference the primary source of single malt whisky’s extraordinary flavour – barley. We have placed barley, where and how it is grown, at the heart of what we do, curious about where the real whisky flavour may be found.”

Barry Sun is Head Chef at Volpe Nera

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Fáilte Ireland:

CONTINUING TO SUPPORT THOUSANDS OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES THROUGH COVID-19 Head of Enterprise & Hospitality Development, Martina Bromley, talks to us about Fáilte Ireland’s continuing work to support businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.


OVID-19 has had far reaching and catastrophic implications for the Tourism and Hospitality Sector. This is an unprecedented crisis that has changed the way we do business in the short, medium and long-term.

THE RESPONSE TO COVID-19 “Fáilte Ireland responded immediately to the COVID-19 crisis by setting up a Business Supports Taskforce, representative of all the key tourism players and sectors. This allowed us to ramp up urgent supports and priority assistance to industry. To provide these services, all resources within the Sector Development Directorate were reassigned to the COVID-19 response” says Martina. As part of this response, Fáilte Ireland created a Business Supports Hub on the website which provides a platform for industry to access live updates,

Martina Bromley, Head of Enterprise & Hospitality Development

practical supports, expert advice, guidance documents and FAQs in real time. “We structured our response with industry in two phases” explains Martina, “Survival and Stabilising & Recovery, and to date there have been over 700,000 visits to the Business Supports Hub. As we move through the next stages of this pandemic, we continue to engage with the industry on their most urgent needs and adapt our business supports to the latest Government restrictions. The Business Supports Hub continues to be as critical as it was in the first days of the crisis.” COVID-19 SAFETY CHARTER According to Fáilte Ireland’s consumer sentiment research, safety was a key concern as people started to plan trips around the country. To boost public confidence in the safety of tourism and hospitality businesses, Fáilte Ireland created the COVID-19 Safety Charter. “Since we launched the initiative, almost 3,000 businesses have completed the Charter and are displaying the symbol to show consumers that they are adhering to all guidelines and safety protocols,” says Martina.


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FUNDING PROGRAMMES The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D. secured €26 million in funding for a COVID-19 Adaptation Fund as part of the Government’s July Jobs Stimulus Package. “Fáilte Ireland launched the Fund in August to help tourism and hospitality businesses offset some of the costs incurred in adapting their premises or operations for re-opening, with grants available for eligible businesses for the costs of things such as barriers and protective screens and the development of outdoor areas and technology,” explains Martina. In addition to the COVID-19 Adaptation Fund, Fáilte Ireland is also administering the Government’s Restart Grant Plus for B&Bs and the Coach Tourism Business Continuity Scheme to support businesses in these sectors to withstand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY In line with the Government’s Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 Plan, businesses are now facing new restrictions. The current climate is extremely challenging for tourism and hospitality businesses, says Martina. “We are


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BELOW: Yeat’s County Inn, Co. Sligo receiving their COVID-19 Safety Charter.

Dooley’s Hotel, Waterford receiving their COVID-19 Safety Charter. continuing to speak to tourism businesses regularly about the challenges they are facing so that we can provide practical, tactical and relevant supports that are 100% subsidised by Fáilte Ireland on our COVID-19 Business Support Hub.” As businesses face the challenges of operating during COVID-19, adapting to the latest restrictions, reduced capacity and revenue, cash flow issues and rising costs, Fáilte Ireland is also working directly with businesses to provide one-to-one mentoring. “These financial and business clinics have become a lifeline for many as they make key decisions over the coming weeks and months,” explains Martina. TOURISM RECOVERY PLAN AND BUDGET 2021 Martina explains that Fáilte Ireland, as a member of the Government’s Tourism Recovery Taskforce, significantly contributed to the Tourism Recovery Plan noted by Cabinet on October 6th. The plan made critical recommendations to help stabilise the tourism sector, protect as many jobs and businesses as possible and boost recovery in the years ahead. “We also worked extremely closely with Minster Martin and officials in advance of Budget 2021,” says Martina, “and we are extremely pleased that the overall tourism package secured by the Minister reflects the urgency and level of action required to meet the needs of a sector in deep crisis. The increase of €59 million on the 2020 allocation for tourism will ensure we can build on our current body of work supporting the industry

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on the ground and we will begin working with Departmental officials now on the new €55 million continuity supports scheme for strategic tourism businesses so funds can be effectively deployed. The continuity scheme combined with the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme will help sustain businesses while the VAT cut to 9% will improve competitiveness and viability of businesses.” FINANCE SUPPORTS “Fáilte Ireland’s financial recovery supports, developed with industry experts, provide businesses with the tools to make the best decisions for their business. These tools include expert webinars, guides, checklists and financial templates to advise businesses on areas such as managing costs, forecasting and accessing financial support from banks or other institutions,” says Martina. “These types of supports, in addition to our one-to-one business clinics, will assist businesses in critically assessing how to maximise financial performance through the difficult period ahead.” HR “There continues to be significant changes to how businesses and their staff operate,” says Martina. “We are working with industry experts to provide clear and up to the minute guidance on HR policies, plans and payroll as well as advice on how to approach HR planning and restructuring. Since October, as businesses get to grips with responding to the Level 5 of business operating guidelines, we have added access for businesses to HR expert clinics.”

These clinics provide one-to-one confidential advice and guidance to businesses in HR planning in response to changing business demand, as well as addressing the HR policies, procedures and legal contract requirements associated with that, to ensure the sustainability of the business and optimal protection of its workforce skills and expertise for the longer term. WELLBEING SUPPORT The COVID-19 crisis is one of the most challenging and difficult times the tourism and hospitality industry has ever faced. “It has been an incredibly difficult six months for those in tourism, socially, psychologically and materially,” says Martina. “We have partnered with Inspire Workplaces to offer free and confidential access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which provides free counselling services as well as advice on financial concerns and legal issues for business owners and employees across the industry.”

FIND OUT MORE To access support and the most up-to-date information, visit Fáilte Ireland’s COVID-19 Business Support Hub at


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TOP ADVICE FROM Fáilte Ireland’s Industry Experts

Fáilte Ireland has worked with Finance, HR and Sales Experts to develop practical supports to help tourism and hospitality businesses navigate the COVID-19 Crisis. Check out some of their top advice and visit Fáilte Ireland’s online COVID-19 Business Support Hub on for the full range of free supports available, including expert webinars and useful FAQs

Profit & Loss and Breakeven Calculator Mairea Doyle Balfe, Director, Hotel Tourism & Leisure at Crowe “Using our downloadable template will help you examine revenue, costs and profit/loss/ breakeven over periods of low or no trading and help establish the exact working capital ask required to get through the current challenging conditions.”

Consumer Insights and Trends Jill De Azevedo, Head of Consumer Planning and Insights at Fáilte Ireland “Those who prefer hotels are looking for enjoyment and good food as an essential part of their holiday – 31% are couples aged 45+ yrs. Unconstrained couples, ie couples who do not have children or whose children are not living with them, are a key target segment for the off-season for Irish hotels. Innovative deals that cut through and offer added value are noticed by this segment. Their primary staycation drivers are to escape, to enjoy great food and drink and to relax. Value for money is key, as is safety.”


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Messaging and communication

HR Planning and Restructuring

Aisling McVeigh, DANU Collective

Caroline McEnery, HR and Employment Law Expert at The HR Suite

Update your Health & Safety Procedures and add these to your websites to give potential customers the reassurance they need. Complete the Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Safety Charter and ‘make it visible’, online and offline. You should also update the content on your website and social media channels with clear and concise offers to target the ‘Unconstrained Adults’ segment for the off-season.

“Temporary restructuring may mean that you might need to change the terms and conditions of employment for staff – to introduce short time working for example. For this reason, you should include a ‘variation clause’ for any new staff contracts.”

Optimising sales conversion through your website Ian Cleary, Founder of RazorSocial When creating a dedicated offers page, use enticing headlines, include details of the experience with video/ image and a call to action. Testimonials from satisfied past customers will motivate potential future customers to book with you. Describe what you can do safely when at your hotel and address any booking/safety concerns upfront by reinforcing your health and safety policy and being transparent about your cancellation policy throughout your website.

Optimising revenue & spend Oonagh Cremins, Owner & Director at The Innovate Room “Develop a midweek and weekend pricing strategy that is clearly linked to demand and create innovative value offers as these will be important to drive demand. Centre those packages/offers on food & beverage, cultural/ heritage and activities.”

To access support and the most up-to-date information, visit Fáilte Ireland's COVID-19 Business Support Hub at

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A step in the

right direction but more uncertainty ahead A broad welcome for measures and supports in Budget 2021 but new restrictions put tourism jobs at further risk


he Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) President, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, has welcomed the range of measures for the hospitality industry in

Budget 2021, including the extension of employment supports to the end of 2021 and the rates waiver scheme along with the reduction in the tourism VAT rate, which she said would help aid the recovery of the industry. She added that the new Covid Restriction Support Scheme, the Tourism Business Support Scheme and funds for tourism product development are welcome recognition of the challenges being faced by businesses. “The extension of employment supports until the end of December 2021 is very welcome. However, we are disappointed that the rates of the EWSS scheme were not increased. This does not recognise the challenges facing tourism and hospitality businesses in retaining key staff during the difficult winter/spring months and against the backdrop of additional restrictions,” she said. The President also welcomed the reduction tourism VAT to 9%. “It’s the right tourism VAT rate and an important measure that will stimulate demand and aid the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry. After the last recession, tourism created the most jobs – 90,000 new jobs – and there is no doubt that the 9% VAT rate contributed significantly to this increased employment. Pre-Covid, our industry supported almost 270,000 livelihoods, one in 10 jobs across the country, 70% of which were outside of Dublin. Reducing the tourism VAT will help sustain jobs and communities across Ireland.”

The IHF has cautiously welcomed the extension of the local authority rates waiver period to the 31st of December 2020. “We look forward to engaging further with government if, as expected, Covid restrictions are still in place at the end of the year. While every help is welcome, the time period should coincide with business interruption due to Covid-19 and for a minimum of 12 months. After that, payment of local authority rates should be based on reduced levels of activity due to the crisis and until the industry has recovered. Businesses cannot be expected to pay rates on historical turnover figures that do not reflect the significantly lower levels of business that hoteliers are experiencing.” The President also welcomed the announcement that the government is to introduce a compensation scheme for businesses forced to close due to government restrictions. “We welcome the recognition of the enormous hardship that these businesses face, including those in the tourism sector and we look forward to seeing the full details.” Budget 2021 may have brought some relief to businesses operating in the hospitality sector but the latest raft of restrictions have only contributed to the uncertainty that has defined the industry since March. The IHF President has called on the government to provide increased employment supports to hospitality businesses struggling to retain staff. “As it stands right now, unless a higher level of subsidy is provided, tourism and hospitality businesses throughout the country will be forced to lay off tens of thousands of employees in the coming days. This must be addressed urgently in the light of increasing restrictions if businesses are to retain staff and keep their experienced teams together. With businesses closing again for the next few weeks at least, our members will no longer be able to bridge the shortfall in subsidy levels during the difficult winter/spring months ahead.” She added that if jobs are to be retained, the current rates of EWSS (Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme) support must be increased from €203 to the previous TWSS levels of

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President, Irish Hotels Federation

€350/€410 per week for businesses that can demonstrate a 50% reduction in turnover for a 12-month period to 31 March 2021. Commenting on the impact of potential additional restrictions, the IHF President stated: “Safeguarding public health must continue to be the overriding priority, while also protecting the economy. Like everyone, we had hoped that the current restrictions would have been effective in limiting the spread of Covid-19 throughout the country, thereby enabling an easing of restrictions. Therefore, it’s naturally very disappointing for everyone that further restrictions are now being considered. “As part of the solution to living with Covid, we urge the Government to put in place a process for greater engagement with business sectors including the hotel sector. Hotels provide very safe, controlled environments for guests and this should be a greater factor when considering restrictions.”

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For more information on sponsorship opportunities contact Trish Murphy Sales & Sponsorship Director. Phone: 086 837 9246 Email:

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The Europe Goes Green How the Europe is going green



n a move that will save the resort over 1500 tonnes of carbon a year, the Europe Hotel & Resort has moved both its electricity and gas over to renewable energy. Calor LPG is now providing gas while Electric Ireland is supplying its green electricity to The Europe. “We signed up with the Killarney Hotels Sustainability Group last year to help promote sustainable tourism. We had given a commitment to try and reduce our single-use plastic by 25% but with Covid, that’s just not possible at the moment. Switching to green renewable energy is our way of moving towards our goal of promoting greener tourism. The Europe has always been committed to sustainability; it’s something we take very seriously due to our location so close to the lakeshore in Killarney,” said Michael Brennan, Managing Director of Killarney Hotels. Taking into account the scale of the resort and the energy consumption of facilities like ESPA at The Europe, a solution that would allow the hotel to maintain its amenities while meeting its responsibilities to the environment was required. “Operating on 100% renewable electricity has allowed us to make a change that will have a direct positive impact. Switching to 100% green electricity proved a simple and highly effective way to cut our carbon emissions while reducing our impact on the environment.” The resort has plans to implement further green measures over the next few years. “We’re putting in heat recovery units and we’ve invested over a million and a half euro into that. We also have a long-term plan to look at the gas we use to chill our fridges. That would be a significant capital project but one that would have a major impact on our carbon footprint,” said Michael.

• Sourcing responsibly and locally: The Liebherr Family (hotel owners) own and operate one of the largest farms in Co Kerry, which is between The Europe Hotel & Resort and The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens. Farmers rear livestock to produce beef and lamb for the hotel menu, thus reducing food miles and ensuring guests enjoy trustworthy, higher welfare and locally produced produce. Seán Moriarty has been managing the farm for over 30 years and meets with the chefs on a weekly basis to discuss their requirements • The resort seeks to conserve natural resources through the responsible use of energy, water and materials • Monitoring and improving recycling in areas such as energy consumption, reduction of waste materials and water consumption • Managing waste and developing recycling initiatives • All ‘to go’ coffee cups and lids are recyclable • The ‘to go’ picnic bags are reusable and the containers within are recyclable • The hotel is replacing single-use plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives • Four electric vehicle charging points are available onsite • The hotel is heavily focused on food sustainability and seasonality.

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Cover Story

Waste not, Want not Less food waste equals bigger profits for business owners. But is it as easy as it sounds?




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Cover Story


bout two-thirds of all food waste in Ireland’s hotels and restaurants is avoidable. If that’s not shocking enough, just think how it would feel to throw your hard-earned profits into the bin. Covid-19 has shifted the hospitality industry’s attention away from issues like sustainability and food waste and understandably so; if there’s no business to return to once the pandemic ends, then food waste and plastic straws won’t matter much. But if your business is throwing out food then it’s costing you money and with profits on a knife edge for so many hotels and restaurants right now, reducing your food waste may not be a bad idea. There are several resources out there to help hospitality businesses reduce their food waste, including the Clean Technology Centre at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). In 2019, the prevention-focused research organisation published ‘Less Food Waste More Profit’ which found that the Irish food service sector wastes 150,000 tonnes of food per year, an amount that’s split between hotels, restaurants and canteens. Keelin Tobin is a member of the Clean Technology

Centre team and she also manages Savour Food, a pilot programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Keelin was also on the research team for ‘Less Food Waste More Profit’. “I’m a trained chef and I worked in industry for a few years. It was great to have that first-hand experience before going into the research. As well as rolling up our sleeves and working our way through utter gunge in kitchens, we spoke to chefs, business owners, KP’s and waiting staff; everyone plays a role when it comes to food waste. There may be a perception that it’s solely down to chefs or senior management and you certainly need their buy-in but very often, it might be the KP sticking out the bins or scraping the plates. There’s a lot of scope there for making small changes or tweaks.” Those changes are outlined in ‘Less Food Waste More Profit’ and through Savour Food’s free programme that aims to help businesses reduce waste and save money. The initiative recently developed an online tool for food service to help them navigate their way through their own food waste. “The e-tool has been designed to attract and engage food service providers. It offers advice on food waste management from top chefs, guides businesses on how to establish a good waste management system, enables

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Cover Story

Keelin Tobin, Savour Food

“As well as rolling up our sleeves and working our way through utter gunge in kitchens, we spoke to chefs, business owners, KP’s and waiting staff; everyone plays a role when it comes to food waste”



businesses to estimate the cost of their food waste and benchmark against Irish best practice data and recommends measures which businesses can adopt to reduce food waste.” The e-tool is now available on the website. “There’s no silver bullet when it comes to food waste but with a series of small changes, a surprising amount can be achieved.” Those small changes are key says Conor Spacey, Culinary Director at FoodSpace Ireland, who has been running seminars for the public on food waste from the LexIcon library in Dun Laoghaire for the past few weeks. “As chefs, I believe we all have a responsibility to help fix what’s broken in our food system. Our food waste sessions are aimed at taking the stigma away from the issue. People might think they need to be a chef or know their way around a kitchen to combat food waste but our classes show how easy it is to tackle food waste in the home.” Since establishing FoodSpace five years ago, Conor and the team have been sharing their food waste knowledge with chefs and catering firms up and down the country. “From day one, sustainability and food waste has always been key in our

kitchens. We started out with one client and we’ve since grown to 20 cafes and restaurants around the country, all of which follow the same sustainability ethos. We share everything we do in the hope that chefs can make changes in their own kitchens.” For the most part, chefs have reacted well to Conor’s advice. “I think that as chefs, it’s in our nature to be private around what we do. I’ve had people, especially chefs, saying I can’t believe you’re going round and sharing this knowledge but that’s the idea. The more people that get involved, the better our food system will be.” Reducing food waste is about shifting mindsets that have been trained to use the best of everything in order to present the most innovative, creative dish possible. “That might mean the ingredients you want to use have to come from abroad. We try to get chefs to look at what’s around them as opposed to what they want to cook. Rather than using only the best cuts of meat or the best parts of vegetables, why not use absolutely everything? Take on the responsibility of saying, if I’m buying root veg at this time of the year what dishes can I create that ensures I use all of it?”


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Cover Story

Main sources of food waste in the Irish food service sector 38% Plate waste - food that was served to customers but not eaten 35% Preparation waste Generated in the kitchen. Largely unavoidable or of low value, but not always

The cost of food waste Quick-service restaurants - €2.73 per kg Full-service restaurants - €2.90 per kg Hotels - €3.38 per kg Workplace canteens - €3.50 per kg

Conor Spacey, Culinary Director at FoodSpace

“From day one, sustainability and food waste has always been key in our kitchens. We started out with one client and we’ve since grown to 20 cafes and restaurants around the country, all of which follow the same sustainability ethos” One third of all the food that’s produced globally goes to waste and one third of that food waste occurs in the fields. “We might be buying in season but if we’re not connecting with our farmers that are growing the food, we don’t know what they’re wasting to produce that food for us. It’s about being more engaged with growers, producers and farmers in Ireland and finding out what they’re growing, what they’re struggling with this season, what they can’t sell all of and why.” Maintaining control over portions and ensuring nothing ends up in the bin has made FoodSpace more financially sustainable. “We try to avoid plate waste through careful menu planning and communication with the customer. We’d often say to people that if they want more, it’s no problem. Quite often they don’t ask as they find

there’s actually enough on their plate.” Portion control doesn’t have to be an issue for hotels and restaurants, agrees Keelin. “I think it’s important that waiting staff have the opportunity to describe what’s in dishes and suss out whether an older person, for example, might prefer a half portion. That level of communication and flexibility is very important.” Chefs that start at FoodSpace are faced with the prospect of having no bins in their kitchen. “We take the bins out, even if it’s just for one day and say, what if you couldn’t just throw something out? All prep waste has to be kept, segregated into containers, put into a cold room and at the end of the day, they’re taken out. That’s when we get to be creative.” Onion skins are fermented, then dehydrated into a powder to be added to stocks and soups when required. They also, says Conor, make an excellent onion skin bread. “An important piece of advice to hospitality businesses starting out is not to try and do everything at once because it can become a bit overwhelming. Start with small steps. Look at current waste. If you’re in a large hotel with lots of functions, your veg waste will be quite high. Start with root veg skins and look at what can be done. Do a 12 month plan in a kitchen on how you’re going to reduce your waste.” Chefs that take steps to reduce their food waste are often surprised at the cost savings to be made. “If I was to take a commonplace vegetable like a cauliflower, you usually just use the head. The green stalks and leaves which can make up 50% of the cauliflower go into compost. So straight away, that cauliflower has doubled in cost. Then I’m also writing a cheque every month to pay someone to come and collect that compost. All of a sudden that cauliflower is costing me four times what it cost when I bought direct from the veg guy. It’s a no-brainer.” Awareness around the cost savings that can be made when you reduce food waste has grown, says Keelin. “People within the industry understand that the benefits of reducing food waste are far-reaching and that potentially, there’s a lot of money to be saved. Our new e-tool offers hospitality businesses practical advice on how to make those savings and shows how simple it can be to make small but effective changes in a kitchen. There’s no point in putting your profits in the bin. People are wising up to the fact that the food that comes back on the plate is just as important as the food that goes out.”

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The FabuloUs

PizZa BoYs!


Galway’s Dough Bros have put the West of Ireland on the global pizza map



arlier this year, Dough Bros of Galway was named one of the top pizzerias in Europe. Not bad for an operation that started out from a food truck back in 2013. Just two pizzerias in Ireland featured on the prestigious ‘50 Top Pizza (Europe) for 2020’ list, with Dough Bros coming in at number 21. It was, says Eugene and Ronan Greaney, a surreal but amazing experience. “Back in February, we were told that we had been visited by a judge and that we’d find out in a few weeks

if we had made the top 50. Then in the middle of lockdown, we learned we’d made the list. The awards in Milan obviously couldn’t go ahead but we made the most of it; we rented tuxes, borrowed a projector, had a slapup meal with plenty of wine and watched the countdown live with family and friends. To be in the top 50 was a huge achievement in itself but to be named at no 21 was something else. It’s a huge win for The Dough Bros but also for pizza in Ireland and Irish food in general. These awards rarely pass Dublin so it’s a huge win for the West too,” said Eugene. Back in 2013, making pizza in a wood-fired oven was a relatively new concept. Family trips to Naples as kids and witnessing the Neapolitan style of pizza-making along with the theatrics of it made a lasting impression on the Greaney brothers. “Nobody was making pizza in the authentic, Neapolitan style in Ireland in 2013. Even though pizza was a very saturated market, we saw an opportunity to bring something new to the table.” A stint in Naples at the best pizza school in the world was the next step. “Ronan got an Italian interpretor and went over for three weeks to do the course. It’s a very intensive few weeks; in the morning you have your theory where you learn about fermentation and ingredients, in the afternoon you meet the producers and in the evening, you work in some of the busiest pizzerias in Naples. I think he was the only non-Italian on the course but he came


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out second in the class. When that happened, I think people started to take us seriously.” The brothers sourced a wood-fired oven from Italy and put it into a mobile trailer. “We brought it to events, private parties, markets, basically anywhere that would have us.” A year later, they opened a pop-up restaurant in Galway city, (“Ireland’s longest pop-up, we were there for two years”), before moving to their permanent home on Middle Street. “From the beginning, the goal was to try and elevate the standard of pizza and be a bit different. It wasn’t just about cooking in a wood-fired oven; it was about making pizza in a very Irish way.” Clever flavour combinations based on their childhood and personalities have helped Ronan and Eugene make a name for themselves. The right Irish ingredients are key, says Eugene. “Back when we started, there were a lot of really good food producers out there but they were harder to find. Leaders within the restaurant industry really helped us, like Kai’s Jess Murphy, who has been an absolute champion of local produce. Even just from reading her menu, you learn so much about what’s out there.” Forging relationships with independent Irish food producers was an important part of the process. “We got to really learn about the produce we were using, how it’s made and the people and passion behind it. When you build those types of relationships, it helps to make us that bit prouder of the food we serve.” Sourcing the right ingredients has become easier, says Eugene. “When we started Dough Bros, we were coming out of recession. There was a move back towards local suppliers and I think you can see that happening once again. When you get into economic trouble, you tend to try to support each other.” During lockdown, Eugene and Ronan began selling their DIY pizza kits. “Our first idea was to go down the retail route but supermarkets take such a big margin that we decided to cut out the middle man and do it ourselves. Producing the kits meant we could also continue to support our producers.” Those producers include Toons Bridge, Gubbeen Chorizo, White Hag Brewery, The Wooded Pig and Sliabh Aughty Honey. “Without those producers, we wouldn’t be listed at number 21 in the top pizzerias in Europe. It’s the quality of their ingredients that has given us the opportunity to be

the pizzeria that we want to be. In our kits, people have the option of buying the Slieve Aughty honey or the cheese from Toons Bridge or any of the ingredients we use. It’s our way of supporting the producers and maintaining those important relationships.” Dough Bros sources two ingredients from Naples – flour and tomatoes. The natural sweetness of San Marzano tomatoes, which are grown outside Naples on the foot of Mount Vesuvius, can’t be replicated in Ireland. “We literally take them out of the tin, crush them by hand and maybe add a small bit of salt or basil and that’s it. That’s the essence of good ingredients; the less you have to do with them, the better they are.” 00 flour comes from Caputo and is the reason why pizza from Dough Bros is so light. One of the most popular pizzas at Dough Bros is the Peter Stinger, a pizza that’s finished with a spicy honey. “A few years ago we went on a pizza research trip to New York where we tasted a similar honey. When we got back, we approached Noel in Slieve Aughty Honey to ask if he could infuse his honey with a certain chilli, which he did. Now, it’s one of the most popular items on our menu.” Collaboration with small independent producers has become a crucial part of Dough Bros’ business model. “Noel makes that honey specifically for us. White Hag in Sligo makes us an IPA and the Irish Sock Company makes special socks for us. These really cool, unique collaborations are helped us create the brand that we always wanted.” Being listed as one of the top pizzerias in Europe couldn’t have come at a better time, says Eugene. “I think we’ve done well during the pandemic. We’ve adapted and worked really hard but I think we’ve been in a bit of a creative rut lately. The listing came at the right time and gave us a kick up the arse. Ideas are flowing again and we’re thinking of doing 21 specials to mark the achievement, based on childhood memories or trips that we’ve had. Right now, the buzz is great.”

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New World ISSUE 10 2020 | HOTEL

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Irish tourists are discovering some of the country’s finest hidden gems, like Ballyseede Castle in Co Kerry. Owner Rory O’Sullivan chats to Hotel & Catering Review about tapping into the domestic market


or some hospitality businesses that relied on international tourism before Covid-19, adapting to the needs of the domestic market has marked the beginning of a new, exciting chapter. Before the pandemic, Irish people weren’t particularly aware that Kerry had its very own castle hotel. “Now, Irish people are discovering you can come to a castle in Kerry without having to spend a fortune. It’s an experience that you won’t get in an ordinary hotel. Ballyseede Castle was built in 1721 and we feel that it’s an honour to stay here,” said Rory O’Sullivan, who owns the castle along with his wife Marnie. With the collapse of international tourism, Rory and the team were forced to shift their focus onto the previously untapped domestic market. “It was a complete change of mindset. Social media has played a big role in how we now communicate with the market but we’ve also had to step outside our comfort zone and put ourselves in the mind of an Irish guest to ask, what do I really want when I’m staying in a hotel in Ireland?” Family packages, deals featuring a variety of add-ons and offerings that go beyond the traditional bed and breakfast have made all the difference, says Rory. “We’re close to the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula but we’ve found that Irish people mightn’t be as interested in sightseeing as international tourists. So, packages that include a painting session with a professional artist or flower arranging with a florist have worked very well. We’ve also partnered up with some of the larger golf courses in Tralee and Ballybunion to offer deals that we wouldn’t have considered previously. It’s all about adapting our offering to suit the domestic guest and so far, what we’re doing is working.




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The current situation has led to us being discovered by a whole new Irish market that never knew we existed and that’s a great thing.” Ballyseede Castle, part of the Romantic Castles of Ireland collection, owned and managed by the Corscadden family, is Ireland’s largest and privately-owned collection of luxury Irish castle venues. Each castle has its own distinct personality that’s rooted in the four provinces of Ireland – Ballyseede Castle is in Kerry, Bellingham Castle is in Louth, Cabra Castle is in Cavan and Markree Castle is in Sligo. Like all four venues, Ballyseede is well known for its weddings. “We would traditionally host between 110 and 115 weddings a year. This year has been a difficult year for the wedding industry, with the majority of couples having to postpone their wedding day celebrations until next year. We expect that market to pick up in 2021.” In total, the four castles host approximately 700 weddings a year. “We know what we’re talking about when it comes to weddings and indeed, when it comes to hotels.” Back in the 1950’s Marnie’s family, the Corscadden’s, managed the International Hotel in Bray. “They have a long history as hoteliers. It’s in the blood and it’s the reason why the four businesses have remained so successful to this day.” Ballyseede Castle is owner managed, a fact that makes a huge difference to the day-to-day running of the hotel, says Rory. “Marnie and myself work in the hotel every day. We’re on the floor meeting people all the time which I think has an impact on how guests perceive us.” Some members of staff have been at Ballyseede for more than 15 years. “In a way, we’ve all grown up together! Our staff have the same pride in the castle as we do and that really shows in the reviews. We’ve always said to our staff that it’s the interaction and the experience that guests have with them that makes all the difference.”

Ballyseede Castle was the first hotel in Kerry to be awarded the Safe Destination Charter in association with Kerry County Council, Kerry ETB, the Kerry Branch of the IHF and Kerry Tourism Industry Federation. “We also completed the Failte Ireland Charter. I think a lot of our practices have improved and as we come out of this, there are practices that I think will continue. Hand sanitisers will become a fixture in hotels as will social distancing. I think people are enjoying that extra bit of space.” Significant investment has been made in the property over the past five years, with an additional 16 bedrooms added to the West Wing. “That has brought us up to 45 rooms. We also added the Orangery and we upgraded our function room. We have plans to build a space for civil ceremonies on the property and we had hoped to start building that space this year but with Covid, we were delayed. Hopefully it will start next year.” Alongside creating a new space for weddings, Rory has high hopes for Ballyseede Castle. “Really, our aim is to be the best castle in Ireland! We take great pride in the castle and in providing people with the very best experience we possibly can. Once we get past the pandemic, international tourism will start up again and when we combine that with the newly discovered domestic market, I think we’ll be in a great place.”

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New cask finished collection from


Inspired by the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills Irish Whiskey has released the Causeway Collection




ushmills Irish Whiskey has announced the release of The Causeway Collection, a new series of extremely rare cask finished single malt whiskeys from The Old Bushmills Distillery. Leading the lineup are two cask strength releases that will be exclusively available for the island of Ireland – the 2008 Muscatel Cask and the 1995 Malaga Cask. According to the Distillery, the Giant’s Causeway has been a source of inspiration to Bushmills’ master distillers for centuries. Its hexagonal columns, each unique but perfectly locked together, form a series of steps, mirroring the successive steps of triple wood maturation used in the new Collection. The two exclusive Irish releases are the first cask strength Irish single malt whiskeys to be introduced by The Old Bushmills Distillery in over 15 years. The 2008 Muscatel Cask, first aged for eight years in oloroso sherry butts and bourbon barrels, is then matured in rare muscatel casks

for a further four years. Permeated with wine made from the aromatic muscat grape, the muscatel cask imparts deep waves of flavour with luscious ripe fruit notes and a smooth sweetness. The 1995 Malaga Cask is a rare single malt, aged quietly for over 10 years in oloroso sherry butts and bourbon barrels before further maturation for 14 years in Malaga casks. After almost 25 years resting in oak, the triple wood maturation bestows notes of sweet spiced plum, toasted vanilla and pinches of coffee grounds on this golden spirit. The Causeway Collection has been expertly crafted by Bushmills Master Blender, Helen Mulholland, who said: “This launch represents a bold new step for Bushmills, one that not only honours the giants and generations before us but also the incomparable natural landscape in which it’s forged.” Only 1,454 bottles of the 2008 Muscatel Cask are available, bottled at 56.4% ABV, non chill-filtered and priced at €100/£95 for 700ml. Only 2,491 bottles of the 1995 Malaga Cask are available, bottled at 53.5% ABV, non chill-filtered and priced at €400/£390 for 700ml.


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Advertise with us To get your message in front of the hospitality sector please contact:

Trish Murphy, Sales & Sponsorship Director, Ashville Media Group +353 (1) 432 2231

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through the crisis Mona is Picasso Digital’s new digital assistant taking on many of your time consuming tasks, giving you more time for service and saving you operating costs. Mona also reduces the potential for infection by significantly reducing the number of physical contact points with your guest. The impact on the climate is reduced as well by operating exclusively via the guest’s mobile phone.

Mona handles all this… and more… • Digital formatting of reservations: Mona in conjunction with the fully integrated YPI Channel formats all room reservations, completing all forms and customer details, validating the information and saving the staff time. • Digital payment: Before arrival, confirmation is sent to the guest via email or text with a guide and payment link for mobile payment.

Welcome to our latest Picasso user: Lough Lannagh Village

• Digital key handover: Via SMS / email, the guest is sent a welcome greeting with room access via app / door code / key card or key box. • Digital check-in: Available room is allocated. payment is checked and the guest is automatically checked in on arrival. • Digital check-out: On the day of departure, a text message is sent with a check-out and payment link. The invoice is also sent to the guest’s email. – and much more. Mona digitizes the entire reception area.


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