Carmel Somers' Good Things Cafe set to move to Skibbereen

There’s good news this month on the hospitality front for West Cork’s Skibbereen.

Carmel Somers' Good Things Cafe set to move to Skibbereen

The town’s historic Eldon Hotel has been sold to a local family, the O’Donovans, while one of the country’s top chefs, Carmel Somers, and her niche cookery school, Good Things Cafe, is to move to Skibbereen in the New Year from its seasonal Durrus base, after 13 years on the Sheeps Head peninsula.

And, in further changes and signs of recovery in the tourist trade and along the Wild Atlantic Way, the famed former music bar Connolly’s of Leap is reopening as a licensed dance and music venue prior to Christmas after nine years closed.

It will be run by Sam McNicholl, while Dinty Collins’ bar and restaurant in Union Hall has been bought in a quiet hand-over purchase by a young publican returning from running Irish bars in Belgium (see story, left).

The largest deal is the Eldon Hotel sale to the O’Donovans, with construction and hospitality trade links, who plan to reopen the town central hotel once a new licence is secured.

The ‘Sold’ sign went up on the three-storey Victorian hotel, with a 140-year history, last week and is now set for a further accommodating chapter.

Set on Skibb’s Bridge Street, and on 0.9 of an acre with 19 bedrooms, the Eldon Hotel went to market in April of this year, guiding over €550,000 with joint agents Cohalan Downing and Charles P McCarthy, and is understood to have been sold for less than €600,000.

It follows the sale earlier this year of the Marine Hotel, Glandore, for €2m.

Named after an earlier owner, Eldon Perrott, it has a place in history as the spot where Michael Collins ate hours before being assassinated at Béal na Bláth in 1922.

Among those who viewed the Eldon was London- and Paris-trained chef Carmel Somers, who opened the Good Things Cafe in Durrus in 2002, moving to West Cork with three very young children.

Her daughters, now aged 16, 19 and 23, all have a role in the acclaimed business and cookery school, and went to school in Skibbereen.

Ms Somers was due to sign a lease this week on the town’s former Tsar bar and restaurant, with a licensed history back to the 1860s, and will open in February/March with a ground floor restaurant and first floor cookery school, with a stronger and more consistent year-round trade.

Details: Charles P McCarthy 028-21533, Cohalan Downing, 021-4277717.

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