Guests tuck into finest fare country has to offer

CURED salmon with Burren smoked salmon cream, rib of Slaney Valley Beef, ox cheek and tongue and Carrageen set West Cork cream with Meath strawberries.

These were just some of the mouthwatering dishes the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh feasted on last night at the state banquet held in their honour at Dublin castle.

Selecting the very finest of Irish fare from every corner of the country, renowned chef Ross Lewis of Chapter One fame was assisted by With Taste caterers, which specialises in fine dining.

Suppliers from all over the country contributed to the mammoth meal, including potatoes and spring onions from the McNally family farm, at Ring Common, Co Dublin and butter, milk, cream and crème fraîche from the Glenilen Farm, Drimoleague, Co Cork.

The smoked salmon came from the Burren Smokehouse, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, and salmon came from Clare Island Organic Salmon, Co Mayo.

From Denis Healy Farms, in Co Wicklow came wild watercress, cabbage, carrots, chive flower and garlic leaf, while the rib of beef came from a farm in Co Wexford, produced by Kettyle Irish Foods, Co Fermanagh.

Tim McCarthy of McCarthy’s butchers in Kanturk, Co Cork, supplied a special royal batch of his award-winning boar’s head black pudding.

“The royal putog”, as Mr McCarthy has dubbed it, is made from fresh blood from the butcher’s own abbatoir, a splash of Midleton whiskey, Kanturk cream from the local dairy, and Donal Creedon’s oatmeal from Macroom.

As the Queen and duke arrived they were greeted with a blast of sound from master uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn and after dinner, a troupe of Irish dancers performed backed by Irish musicians.

Executive chef Ross Lewis worked with the Áras to devise the menu.

Guests include British Prime Minister David Cameron, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Nobel laureate and poet Seamus Heaney, and Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll and his actress wife Amy Huberman.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and wife Iris also attended.

IAG airlines group chief Willie Walsh was also on the guest list, along with government cabinet ministers, former taoisigh, Gus O’Donnell, cabinet secretary and head of Britain’s civil service, and PSNI chief Matt Baggott.

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