The Connemara Smokehouse & Visitor Centre was nominated for awards in three different categories, and emerged as winner for Best Use of Sustainable Local Fish at the Good Food Ireland Awards in Dublin this week.
The operation, run by Graham and Saoirse Roberts, is situated on the waters edge at Bunowen Pier, in the heart of Connemara and between Roundstone and Clifden, with exceptional views of the Twelve Bens.
Graham Roberts’ parents John and Bridget opened the Connemara Smokehouse in 1979. When he was 16, he became actively involved and followed this with a course in the Fisheries College in Greencastie. Their wild salmon are caught locally with the organic salmon coming from Clare Island, and they also specialise in Irish smoked tuna and gravadlax.
Today, at the grand age of just 34, Graham and his wife Saoirse run the business together and with four young children, they can rest assured that the Smokehouse will continue into the next generation.
They were among the operators who earned such plaudits for the quality of their food at the showcase which coincided with the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Gaiway earlier this year – which meant a re-union of sorts for them this week because the special guest at the awards on Tuesday night was Green Dragon skipper Ian Walker.
The Connemara Smokehouse & Visitor Centre was also nominated for the Good Food Ireland Best Next Generation Award and the Best Producer Award.
Renowned Moycullen restaurant the White Gables was nominated for the Top Regional Member in the West Award, which was won by Doonbeg in Clare.
The joint winners of the Good Food Ireland Person of the Year Award were Maurice Keller, Arlington Lodge Country House Hotel, and Peter Ward, of Country Choice in Nenagh, who was one of the drivers behind the Good Food Ireland stands that proved so popular at every stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race around the globe.
And the Good Food Ireland Top Overall Member Award went to Rathmullan House in Co Donegal.
Over 300 key representatives from the food and tourism sectors including chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, farmers, fishermen and food producers from the four corners of Ireland attended the Awards at the K Club.
“The objectives of the awards are to highlight places committed to local Irish food 50 that consumers can find out and make informed choices on where to go to eat out or stay. Good Food Ireland is the only all island organisation that brings together a club of like-minded, committed people across all sectors of the hospitality and food industry” says Margaret Jeffares, the Managing Director of Good Food Ireland.