Golf resort named top hotel

MOUNT JULIET, the popular golf and leisure resort, has been declared Best Hotel of the Year 2006 by a leading food and hospitality awards scheme.

The renowned estate located in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, which is run by the Conrad Hotel group, won the coveted award, while many of Ireland’s best known chefs and restaurants were also honoured.

Stefan Matz, head chef at Ashford Castle, Cong, Co Mayo, was named as the Chef of the Year, while the renowned MacNean House & Bistro in Blacklion, Co Cavan, claimed the title of Restaurant of the Year.

The popular Wicklow watering hole, the Roundwood Inn, lifted the award for Pub of the Year.

The list of winners in 21 categories was announced yesterday in conjunction with the launch of the annual guide by food writer Georgina Campbell.

The award winners were selected by a panel of food, restaurant and hospitality writers who visited the various premises in an anonymous capacity.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Campbell said that her guide, unlike similar publications, did not seek advertising from the selected entries.

“Although problems of consistency and value remain an issue within the hospitality sector in Ireland, each year I continue to be delighted and encouraged by the fantastic standards set and maintained with pride by our top establishments,” said Ms Campbell.

She claimed the ninth edition of her guide highlighted the best food Ireland had to offer over a wide range of categories and price ranges covering more than 1,200 establishments.

The food writer said the guide was designed to ensure that travellers could use it to find a quality meal and a comfortable bed.

Meanwhile, the special Féile Bia Award, sponsored by An Bord Bia, was won by The Ballymore Inn, Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare, which is run by Georgina and Barry O’Sullivan.

The other Féile Bia award for Dish of the Year was won by celebrity chef Kevin Dundon of Dunbrody Country House Hotel, Co Wexford, for his roast rack of lamb in Irish stew consomme.

Other winners included: Fishy Fishy Café, Kinsale, Co Cork — Best Seafood Restaurant; Aherne’s Seafood Bar & Restaurant, Youghal, Co Cork — Best Seafood Bar; Rasam, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin — Best Ethnic Restaurant; Farmgate Café, Cork — Best Irish Breakfast; Killyon House, Navan, Co Meath — Best B&B; Dingle Skellig Hotel, Dingle, Co Kerry — Best Family Friendly Hotel; Gregan’s Castle Hotel, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare — Best Hideaway.

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