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Donnelly's voted Most Loved Bakery in Northern Ireland

By Valerie Edwards

Published 05/10/2015

Eugene Donnelly, owner of Donnelly's Bakery and Coffee Shop, accepts award for Most Loved Bakery in Northern Ireland. (Clancy Photography)
Eugene Donnelly, owner of Donnelly's Bakery and Coffee Shop, accepts award for Most Loved Bakery in Northern Ireland. (Clancy Photography)
Donnelly's Bakery and Coffee Shop accept their award for Most Loved Bakery in Northern Ireland. (Clancy Photography)
Donnelly's Bakery is a craft bakery based on home baking traditional Irish breads with a Scottish influence. (Clany Photography)

Donnelly's Bakery and Coffee Shop is officially the Most Loved Bakery in Northern Ireland.

As a part of Craft Bakers' Week September 28 - October 3, bakeries were selected across the UK as the Most Loved Bakeries in their respective areas.

Customers have praised Donnelly's in Ballycastle, Co Antrim  for the high quality of cakes and bakes, and for the fantastic range available, alongside the excellent service and welcome they receive from the friendly staff.

Eugene Donnelly, director of Donnelly's Bakery & Coffee Shop  said: “It feels fantastic to be voted as the Most Loved Bakery in Northern Ireland. It is great to see that we are so ‘loved’ by our customers from  Ballycastle and  all over County Antrim.

"We would like to thank all those who voted for us for their continued support both towards us and the art of craft baking.”

Donnelly's is one of few family bakeries that survived the recession and challenging business environment and Hannah Marriage, chair of Craft Bakers’ Week 2015, explained why the week is so important for bakeries.

She said: “Bakeries have been a feature on our high street for generations and have become an incredibly important part of communities all over the country. Some bakeries are over one hundred years old, and have passed recipes down through generations, including many delicious regional specialities. Craft Bakers’ Week is a great opportunity to celebrate your local craft bakery."

Craft Bakers’ Week 2015 also helped support the work of Make-A-Wish UK. Last year, bakers helped raise £20,000. Local participating bakeries raised money in different ways, including selling cakes and biscuits with the Make-A-Wish UK logo and holding events and tastings.

Donnelly's Bakery was started in 1979 by Mrs Moyra Donnelly, mother of current owners and bakers Eugene and Cathal Donnelly. Mrs Donnelly started baking in her mother’s kitchen around 1960, and in 1979 she moved to Ballycastle to open up a craft bakery based on home baking traditional Irish breads with a Scottish influence.

The initial team of three bakers and two shop staff, has now expanded to six bakers, and seven shop staff. In 1981, a coffee shop was also opened on the premises to compliment the bakery.

Una at Donnellys Bakery said: “We took part in Craft Bakers’ Week to increase the awareness of the quality of home baking available in local areas. During the week, we had tastings of new products, such as our Dulse loaf (made with wheaten and dulse), and other health breads such as Chia bread, as well as our pastries. We supported the Make-A-Wish UK, by donating all proceeds from our shortbread stars and our gift voucher draw.”

Other winners of the Most Loved Bakery Competition include, Warings Bakery (England), My Home Bakery (Scotland) and Jenkins Bakery (Wales). There were also regional winners across England.

The public was allowed to vote for their favourite bakery and in 50-100 words were required to explain why they think the bakery shop they voted for was worthy of recognition.

Craft Bakers’ Week is a national celebration showcasing the skills that bakers use every day.

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