What a wonderful week for South and West Sligo Tourism network. Not one but two of their members carried off national awards. Patricia and Roger McCarrick’s Coill Dara House B&B in Tubbercurry starred at the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards while Anne O’Dowd and Mark Tickle of Áit Eile Restaurant in Enniscrone were winners at the Restaurant Association of Ireland Awards.

Irish Breakfast Awards
Coill Dara House won Highly Commended in the B&B section of the annual Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards in Association with Fáilte Ireland. The award was presented at a gala brunch in the plush surroundings of the InterContinental Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Darina Allen was the guest speaker. According to Georgina Campbell, The Irish Breakfast is playing a new part in showcasing the stellar standards of our food and hospitality industries.

The coveted Irish Breakfast Awards were presented in each of the Fáilte Ireland accommodation categories and others, including Visitor Attraction and Brunch – and, very importantly – in Breakfast Foods categories, ranging from Breakfast Meats and Dairy, to Cereals, Preserves and Irish Bread.

The glowing citation from Georgina Campbell reads as follows: Patricia and Roger McCarrick’s beautiful Georgian-style family home, Coill Dara (Wood of Oak), is set in an acre of landscaped gardens on a small sheep farm on the edge of Tubbercurry. Yet, despite its wonderfully away-from-it- all rural ambience, the walk to town takes just five minutes and Ireland West Airport (Knock) is only 15 minutes’ drive. Luxurious, family-friendly and pet friendly, this delightful place also offers excellent food, including a very good breakfast: a sideboard full of all kinds of fresh fruit, cereals and health grains as well as hot dishes prepared to order – including a perfectly cooked Irish breakfast, which is also available in a mini version. Everything is delicious and beautifully presented – and packed lunches can be provided too. No ordinary B&B – and, like so many places in the west, what guests love most is the genuine welcome and natural friendliness of their hosts.

Food Oscars – Best Casual Dining
Áit Eile restaurant at Gilroy’s in Enniscrone were worthy winners of Best Casual Dining in Sligo at the Restaurant Association of Ireland Awards held at Kilronan Castle. Known widely as the #Food Oscars, this is the 10th incarnation of these prestigious awards. The national finals will be held later in the year. The winners are chosen using a combination of public nominations and mystery guest visits.

Anne O’Dowd and Mark Tickle met in Melbourne Australia eight years ago and returned to Anne’s native Enniscrone and taking over Áit Eile in 2014. They brought back influences of their travels in Australia, New Zealand and Asia which create a very special atmosphere in their restaurant. Áit Eile offers traditional food with a difference in an intimate yet comfortably casual setting. The menu reveals a strong emphasis on locally sourced produce, showcasing free-range artisan meats and fresh seafood. Everything is driven by their passion for travel, food, wine and coffee.

Local favourites such as The Black Pig of Enniscrone and Seafood Linguine are constants in an otherwise ever-changing menu. Keep an eye out for Áit Eile – it’s going places!

Tourism network members
Both Coill Dara House B&B and Áit Eile Restaurant are members of South and West Sligo. The tourism network has an ongoing programme promoting the rural areas of Sligo. Having just launched their second annual brochure, they plan a video, media visits and a sustained social media campaign over the coming year.