Ireland's best breakfasts revealed – hot hotels and 'hidden heroes' of Georgina Campbell Awards

You knew John and Francis Brennan are At Your Service. But did you know they also serve the best five-star breakfast in Ireland?

That’s according to food and hospitality legend Georgina Campbell, who unveiled her annual Irish Breakfast Awards in Dublin today.

The awards, held in association with Fáilte Ireland, honour Ireland’s best breakfasts, tastiest brunch venues and top Irish breakfast menus for 2019.

As well as the Brennan brothers’ Park Hotel Kenmare, 2019 winners included Dublin’s Fumbally Cafe (Best Brunch), Hook Lighthouse in Co Wexford (Best Irish Breakfast at a Visitor Attraction) and Roscommon’s Castlemine Farm (Best Bacon).

“A recent Australian survey may have tried to debunk the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but our bodies – and our visitors – know better,” Campbell told award winners at Dublin’s InterContinental Hotel.

Ireland’s breakfast options are widening and sustainability and local sourcing are improving, she said, though the Full Irish remains a strong favourite.

It still imparts “the holiday feeling”, respondents to a survey said.

Best Irish Breakfast: 5-star hotel

  • Winner: Park Hotel Kenmare, Co Kerry
  • Highly Commended: Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford
  • Highly Commended: The Merchant Hotel, Belfast
  • Highly Commended: The Westbury Hotel, Dublin   
  • Highly Commended: The Heritage Killenard, Killenard, Co Laois

Best Irish Breakfast: 4-star hotel

  • Winner: Marlfield House Hotel, Gorey, Co Wexford
  • Highly Commended: Dunraven Arms, Adare, Co Limerick
  • Highly Commended: Granville Hotel, Waterford
  • Highly Commended: Bushmills Inn, Bushmills, Co Antrim
  • Highly Commended: Sheedy’s Hotel, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare

Best Irish Breakfast: 3-star hotel

  • Winner: Dingle Benners Hotel, Dingle, Co Kerry
  • Highly Commended: The Huntsman Inn, Galway
  • Highly Commended: Aran Islands Hotel, Inis Mór, Co Galway
  • Highly Commended: Carrygerry Country House, Co Clare
  • Highly Commended: Zuni Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, Kilkenny

Best Irish Breakfast: Country House

  • Winner: Virginia Park Lodge, Virginia, Co Cavan
  • Highly Commended: Rathsallagh House, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow
  • Highly Commended: Rosleague Manor, Letterfrack, Co Galway 
  • Highly Commended: Dunnanelly Country House, Co Down
  • Highly Commended: Lodge at Ashford Castle, Co Mayo

Best Irish Breakfast: Guest House

  • Winner: Wineport Lodge, Glasson, Co Westmeath
  • Highly Commended: Castlewood House, Dingle, Co Kerry
  • Highly Commended: Killarney Lodge, Killarney, Co Kerry
  • Highly Commended: Gleesons Townhouse, Roscommon
  • Highly Commended: Blackwell House, Scarva, Co Armagh  

Best Irish Breakfast: B&B

  • Winner: Bantry House and Garden, Bantry, Co Cork
  • Highly Commended: Shelburne Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry
  • Highly Commended: Aldridge Lodge, Duncannon, Co Wexford 
  • Highly Commended: Ardawn House, Galway, Co Galway 
  • Highly Commended:  Ghan House, Carlingford, Co Louth

Best Irish Breakfast: Visitor Attraction

  • Winner: Hook Lighthouse, Hook Head, Co Wexford 
  • Highly Commended: Castle Café, Blackrock Castle, Cork   
  • Highly Commended: [email protected], Carlow, Co Carlow
  • Highly Commended: The Kitchen, Galway City Museum, Galway
  • Highly Commended: Avoca Café, Malahide Castle, Malahide, Co Dublin

The awards also saw Breac.House in Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal win for Best Irish Breakfast Menu, while The Fumbally took the prize for Best Brunch.

Now in their third year, the Irish Breakfast Awards are chosen by incognito inspectors and celebrate “the people who strive to make the first meal of the day a particularly special experience for visitors and regulars alike,” Campbell says.  

The significance of the humble breakfast “cannot be underestimated”, and provides a unique way not only to impress visitors, but to showcase the quality of local Irish ingredients and boost Ireland’s growing food reputation, she added.

“Getting the basics right is so important,” said Neven Maguire, a special guest at the event and a man whose morning feasts were voted Best Irish Breakfast in the Irish Independent’s Reader Travel Awards 2019.

“At MacNean House, we put as much emphasis on giving our guests as memorable a food experience for breakfast as the dinner the night before. It is the last meal our guests have before they leave, so we want to make it special.”

A survey of accommodation providers conducted for the awards indicated an increased awareness for the importance of the breakfast experience, as well as telling local food stories by name-checking authentic local producers and suppliers.

However, the message is not being universally heard.

Sourcing local, seasonal and quality produce is “often overlooked” in Ireland when it comes to the first meal of the day, Campbell cautioned.

A separate Breakfast Foods category honoured the “hidden heroes” she said should feature more regularly on Irish breakfast menus.

Best Irish Breakfast Foods 2018

  • Meats: Castlemine Farm, Co Roscommon
  • Fish: Woodcock Smokery, Co Cork
  • Eggs: Clonarn Clover, Co Meath
  • Dairy: Glenisk Organic Dairy, Co Offaly
  • Cereal: Paddy O’s Granola, Co Laois
  • Fruit: Keeling’s Juices, Co Dublin
  • Bread: Longueville House, Mallow, Co Cork

Read more:

Ireland’s hotel of the year named at Georgina Campbell Awards 

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