The foodie side of an Irish Christmas

December 29th, 2010
Conemara Smokehouse

View from Connemara Smokehouse by Laura Fyfe

First off, Connemara Smokehouse. A family run business sourcing, curing and smoking the finest fish they can find.  It’s in a beautiful location so well worth a visit for that alone, but obviously above all is their incredibly high standard of fish smokery.  They use beechwood which seems to give a more delicate smoke than the tradiitional oak – they were using ash for a while, but it is hard to come by as it’s used to make hurley sticks… They control everything manually, they hand fillet the fish, dry salt it rather than inject with brine and most importantly they remove the fish from the smokers when it’s ready not when a timer goes off.  It’s all done in the traditional way and you can tell.  The smoked mackerel was particularly good - softer than most and not dried out like a lot of the smoked mackerel that is readily available in shops.  We also got some smoked salmon which was brilliant and moreish and some smoked tuna which I was most excited about but was sadly the least impressive of them all.  All in all though it’s an incredibly high standard of smoked fish.

Connemara Smokehouse

Connemara Smokehouse by Laura Fyfe

Connemara Smokehouse

Connemara Smokehouse Products Laura Fyfe


October 30th, 2010

DPD only deliver to mainland addresses, if you live on an island, please use airfreight….


Zone 1 – UK Isle of Man

1st kg €22, next 4kg €1.75/kg, €1.25/kg thereafter

Zone 2 – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg,(Corsica supplement €5)

1st kg €22, next 4 kg €3.00/kg, €2.00/kg thereafter

Zone 3 – Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Sweden

1st kg €24, next 4kg 4.50/ kg, € 3.50/kg thereafter

Zone 4 – Andorra, Guernsey, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

1st kg €32, next 4kg €6.00/kg, €4.50/kg thereafter

Zone 5 – USA, Canada

1st kg €30, next 4kg €6.50/kg, €5.50 thereafter

The Wild West-Connemara Adventures

September 30th, 2010

By Lola-Lu’s Kitchen

False Bay

The world of Lola-lu’s Kitchen has been quiet online of late, but having been busy this summer with work (both of us) we’ve been taking our holidays late. Lola was off on a Las Vegas California adventure – while I headed to the Wild West (of Ireland!)

Here’a few food highlights from my travels in the van with Delo from around Connemara and Mayo. We’d the most amazing time, staying in some beautiful remote spots with the most incredible views. Travelling in September found some of the more popular spots quite deserted.

We caught and cooked some fish (not the tastiest fish, but we caught it, so by god we ate it!) We gained some fishing advice from an old fisherman on the pier, which gave us the boost we needed after fishing fruitlessly for several hours.

The Old Fishing Hole
Getting accustomed to cooking in the dark!

The Connemara Smokehouse – sitting on the farthest reaches of Ballyconnelly. Populated with a healthy population of seagulls. They can tasting tours with advance notice. The place has a puzzling small chimney for a ‘smoke’ house! We just called in on Monday morning and bought some fresh organic smoked salmon, which we had for breakfast on brown bread with coffee. It was divine – a lovely subtle smoked salmon that melts in the mouth. They also have a special smoked tuna – maybe not ideal for breakfast but I’ll pick some up next time I’m there.

Breakfast is served

Smokehouse View and the Sea

After a long cycle the following day we bumped into the old fisherman unloading a small currach on the pier, having spent several hours at sea that morning.  I asked him if he’s had a good day and his response was “ah everyday is a good day for me now’ which was just such a wonderful sentiment – expressed so genuinely. After a little chat he asked would we like some crab claws. Of course we said yes and he produced a large crate of crabs and gave us a huge pot full of claws for our dinner, and looked for nothing in return. So happily we set off from the pier and off to False Bay – a spot where my mum used to take us to play in the waves, with huge basket of tuna and egg sandwiches!

False Bay – Ballyconnelly

We parked up for the night in beautiful sunny solitude. After  a swim in the waves we settled down for the night. We had ‘Chilli con Sausage’ for dinner. Like chilli con carne – but with sausages instead of mince.
After a nice long evening with a fire and a clear sky. We set a pot of crab claws boiling on the fire. After boiling for about 15 minutes, we set about the claws. Words will fail me when I try to describe how amazing these were. Wonderful and tender and buttery, which melt in your mouth. We added not a thing to these, and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t be improved on in any way. Thank you lovely fisherman, I’m pretty sure this is a food experience I’ll never forget.
Clab Claws by Day
Clab Claws by Night
Omey Island – Access via sandbank. Minutes later up to our axels in sand with the tide rising! Not funny, got towed out by some friendly druids, not a happy 20 minutes of my life
After nearly loosing Mister (the van) in the sea – we wished him a happy 40th birthday with  a lovely apple cake from Clifden Walsh’s Bakery. This was an incredible shop with a huge variety of breads and cakes. We sampled some great bread rolls, a baileys éclair (amazing!) this cake and a good hearty farmhouse loaf. I would highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area, a really top class bakery.
Then as part of Clifden Arts week there was a performance, with glass seahorses suspended from a crane, and about a hundred kids all dressed in costumes of lights dancing, fire juggling, fire hula-hooping, a fire breathing horse, and then a parade of multi-coloured castle towers! An amazing night for a birthday.

Cliften Arts Week
Detail of Glowing Castle Tower
Master of Ceremonies

Leenane Food Festival 10′

September 28th, 2010

What a fantastic weekend at the Leenane Food Festival. We were greeted by James & Catherine O’Neill’s extra mature organic lamb roasting on a spit. Moules Marinière cooking beside us for sampling, oysters to be eaten. Lots of fresh baked breads, pies and buns. A great array of chutneys, jams, pickles and jellies.
Demo with Graham Roberts-Connemara Smokehouse on Albacore Tuna, Eamonn Hoult cooking Soup and Lamb with native seaweed, Jonathan Keane Mill Times Hotel with desserts of fruits, Sushi making with Elisabeth Foyle with children from Leenane N.S., Oran Daly of Portfinn Lodge & Fjord Restaurant cooks lobster & crab claws. Derry Clarke cooked up a storm and more and more and more…..

Photo Gallery

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Clifden Arts Festival 10′

September 27th, 2010

Clifden Arts Festival 2010 – Clifden Community Arts Week celebrating its 33rd anniversary in 2010, and is a great celebration of the Arts.

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Canadian Journalists Develop a Taste of Connemara

September 22nd, 2010

Canadian Journalists Develop a Taste for Galway and County

A Canadian media group – including journalists from some of Canada’s major newspapers and travel magazines – is visiting Galway and the West of Ireland this week.  Invited here by Tourism Ireland in Toronto, they are here to experience the world-famous Galway International Oyster Festival at first-hand.  They will have a chance to sample some new season Galway Bay oysters and will attend the Oyster Festival Gala Ball in the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Also included in the journalists’ itinerary, designed by Fáilte Ireland, are visits to the Connemara Smokehouse in Ballyconneely, a walking tour of Galway city and a visit to Inishbofin island.

Commenting on the visit of the influential journalists, Jayne Shackleford, Tourism Ireland Canada, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to bring these journalists to Galway, to showcase Ireland’s beautiful west coast and allow them to experience the famous Oyster Festival at first-hand.  Media visits such as these are extremely important to help build awareness of Galway, and the island of Ireland in general, among potential holidaymakers around Canada.  The West of Ireland is a popular region for Canadians and the visit of these journalists provides an excellent opportunity for them to share the excitement and fun of the Oyster Festival, the fantastic visitor attractions and the warm Galway welcome with thousands of potential Canadian holidaymakers.”