Launch of the Galway County Fleadh 2011

May 14th, 2011

Clifden Comhaltas were delighted to announce that Clifden was selected to host the Galway County Fleadh 13th – 15th of May 2011.  It was a huge honour for the town to be selected.  It has been 21 years since Clifden last hosted the Galway County Fleadh.

A weekend of Music, song and dance and it brought in people from all over the County of Galway, Connaught and beyond.  One of the main aspects of the Fleadh is the competitions.  This is where people start their journey on the road to becoming an All Ireland Champion.  The Competitions took place on the Saturday & Sunday of the weekend in the Clifden Community School and was open to the public to sit in on the competitions.  These competitions were for all ages groups as well as for Group and Band competitions.

Highlights included a gig rig on the Square of the town, with visiting competitors and groups performing and also local and visiting musicians.

Clifden Branch of Comhaltas also produced a souvenir programme for the weekend, which included local business advertisements, old and new stories and lots of photos.

The official opening & concert took place in the Station House Hotel and was. addressed by Comhaltas Connaught Chairperson Michael Brennan. Connemara Smokehouse provided the canapes for the evening with Organic Smoked Salmon on home-made brown bread and Line caught Smoked Tuna with lime. The evening was followed by pub sessions around Clifden town. On Sunday Morning a unique Fleadh Mass was held in St. Josephs Church.

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Video Clip Galway County Fleadh Opening

Wild Atlantic Salmon 2011

May 13th, 2011

The first of the Wild Atlantic Salmon has landed at the Connemara Smokehouse.  The Wild Salmon Season started on the 12th May and runs till the  29th July 2011. The local fishermen are aloud to fish by draftnet four days a week until the end of July or until the quota is filled.

© Connemara Smokehouse Limited

Wild Atlantic Salmon caught locally

The Adventures of Gastro Chef In Ireland

May 10th, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Connemara Mussel Festival

When most outsiders think of Irish food, the first thing that comes to mind is lamb and possibly smoked salmon.  However one of the best kept secrets is the mussels that come from the Killary in Connemara.  The Killary is Ireland’s only fjord; a long narrow inlet with steep sides that is usually formed by a glacier.  These waters produce mussels that have  a delicious sweet and briny flavor with a texture that is delicate and never tough.  Frankly, I have eaten mussels in many places around the globe, but the mussels from the Killary top them all.  To use an Irish expression; “Fair Play To Them”.

My love affair for mussels from the Killary began when my Yank friend (who is a Connemara resident) was showing me the beauty of Connemara, and we stopped at the Blackberry Cafe in Leanne to have a quick lunch.  As I looked around the dining room, almost every table had a pot of mussels.  At that point the question of “what to order” became null and void.  I certainly wasn’t ordering a burger.

A few months later, I learned of The Connemara Mussel Festival; an event that was born of the simple gesture of a “good mussel feed” in 2006 at Paddy Coynes pub in Tully Cross. So, I dragged my NY Yank along for the ride.

Walking to the entrance,  there was a great  atmosphere in the town.  Inside, the marquee was lined with local crafts and food vendors.

Inside the cooking demonstration area, attendees grabbed a seat and, as you do, headed next door to Paddy’s pub to get a pint while enjoying the festivities. After a night on the piss, I was no exception!

Over the course of the festival weekend, there were many great cooking demonstrations, tours of the Killary Harbour, amateur chef competitions and even a fly casting class.  I saw two demonstrations; one from Jack Duffy who is the Executive Chef for the international chain, Elephant and Castle, and another by Graham Roberts who operates his family business,  The Connemara Smokehouse.  The smoke house  supplies some of the best restaurants with fine quality smoked fish.

Jack featured mussel dishes that he prepares at his restaurants, and represented an incredible array of food.  My favorite was his impromptu and simple smoked mussels served with their own juices.  The mussels for the entire festival were graciously provided by  Marty’s Mussels

Graham Roberts hosted the other demonstration.  Graham runs his family’s business, Connemara Smokehouse ( The Connemara Smokehouse has been touted by Rick Stein as both a “Hero of Food” and a “Food Super Hero”.

Graham demonstrated an extremely unique technique for slicing the salmon that I will have to practice and master.    After seeing and tasting so much good cooking it was time to hunker down for a good mussel feed.  Back to the pub, for a crisp glass of house white with  mussels from the pot out in the back. They were simply served with brown soda bread in garlic, tomato and basil or cream, they could not have been better.
Fair play to the great local Irish cuisine, and the passion from which it is born!

Posted by Gastro Chef at Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Clifden to host the Galway County Fleadh 13th-15th May

May 10th, 2011

The County Fleadh is a weekend of music, song and dance. It is the starting point for competitors who wish to gain an All Ireland title. The weekend hosts a variety of competitions in all different instruments, groups and bands with under 12 and under 15 competitions taking place on the Saturday, and 15-18 and senior competitions taking place on the Sunday.

There will be an official opening on the Friday night with a concert. There will also be street entertainment on the Saturday evening, and lots of music sessions throughout the weekend.

So if you like your ceol agus craic come along to the County Fleadh!

Hand Reared Pork

May 6th, 2011

Over the Easter holidays we visited our good friends Ellie & Ollie in Dorset to see their new batch of pigs followed by a BBQ with cuts from their last batch of pigs which was amazing. Ellie made a wonderful marinade for the ribs and pork chops and they were finger licking fantastic. We always try to teach our children about where our food comes from. So they met the great little piggy’s that are being prepared for Ellie & Ollie’s upcoming wedding in July.

Graham cooked a piece of pork that Ellie & Ollie gave us and it was amazing, tender and moist and the crackling was yum. Here are just a few pics of the wedding piggy’s and the yummy piece we had last night.

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IGTOA Golf Social Visit

May 5th, 2011





In Association with BEM Ireland, Ireland West & Renvyle House !
In Association with our very own IGTOA Members Averil Burke & Eamonn Howley of BEM Ireland / Golf & Incentive Travel,Ireland West and IGTOA Industry Partners Renvyle House let your senses guide through all there is to enjoy in Connemara.
Enjoy a full day starting at 10.30am with registration and a brief introduction to Connemara,
then you will be taken on a fun filled day that will stimulate your senses in the most romantic scenery,
vivid colours, breathtkaing views and enjoyable attractions that form the wonderful backdrop of              Connemara -Wild at Heart !