Belfast Telegraph

Portrush takes a bite out of Kinsale's dish

By Margaret Canning

Food writer John McKenna suggests that chef George McAlpin's culinary contribution to Portrush though the Ramore family of restaurants has enabled the town 'to do a Kinsale' and land itself a place on Ireland's foodie map.

Most of us made our first acquaintance with Kinsale, Co Cork during history lessons at school.

It was the location of a famous battle in 1601 between the English and Irish forces, and victory for the English set in stone its conquest of Ireland.

Ulster Gaelic chieftains Hugh O'Neill and Hugh Roe O'Donnell, with the support of 3,000 Spanish soldiers, fought unsuccessfully against Lord Deputy Mountjoy and his English Army.

Chastened, the defeated Hugh O'Neill joined other Ulster clan leaders in the Flight of the Earls in 1607, and fled Ireland altogether.

But visitors from Northern Ireland are now drawn to the fishing port of Kinsale for happier reasons.

The port has evolved into one of south west Ireland's most popular tourist towns – and thanks to ever-growing numbers of cafes, pubs and restaurants, is now hailed as the gourmet capital of Ireland. There is even an annual Kinsale Gourmet Festival in October.

Its stand-out restaurants like The Black Big Wine Bar, Fishy Fishy Cafe, Max's Restaurant and Wine Bar and Toddie's have all cemented its reputation.

But as Maria O'Mahony of the Kinsale Good Food Circle points out, its standing as a good food town has been no overnight success – in fact, the Good Food Circle was founded back in 1976 by like-minded restaurateurs. Restaurants in the town work together closely to share information and pass on referrals.

Belfast Telegraph