All posts filed under: The Latest

Christy Toye reflects on a career of success and defiance

 This article was originally published in The Irish Times. The very last person who wants to talk about Christy Toye is Christy Toye. The recent news that the Donegal senior GAA footballer was to pack away his county jersey after 15 years saw an outpouring of admiration and appreciation in Donegal and beyond. A career that spanned All-Ireland wins and a chronic facial pain condition had come to an end. The huge reaction to his retirement has bewildered Toye though. He was never in it for the glory – just to make his parish and his county proud. “It was brilliant,” he said of the response. “I don’t know why. Maybe they see somebody who is injured and kept going and came back? Maybe they recognise the effort you put into going back on the pitch?” No other player has scored more Championship goals for Donegal in Croke Park than the Creeslough man. He also holds three Ulster titles, one All-Ireland, a National League and has captained the team. But it isn’t only his ability …

Review – Pullman Restaurant – Glenlo Abbey Hotel

The closest I’ll ever get to Laurence Olivier is a very unique dining experience at Glenlo Abbey. The star of my favourite version of my favourite book by Emily Bronte, “Wuthering Heights” (it feels like they invented the word brooding for the way he played the leading role of Heathcliff) used to take The Pullman Carriage on its Brighton run which saw it carry actors from London’s West End to tread the Brighton boards. The Pullman Carriage, now happily stationed at Gleno in Galway, was built in 1927 where it went on its glamorous Russia, Monaco and Istanbul routes. You might also recognise it from “Murder on the Orient Express”, the 1974 Agatha Christie film. It was also used during World War II by Sir Winston Churchill and his family. In fact its last journey was in 1965 taking Churchill’s remains and funeral cortege back near Blenheim Palace where he would be buried. This is a very special kind of dining experience. There is something about getting on board a piece of history, being greeted …

A secret spot for a great martini – The Funky Fish on Dawson Street

Oh I do love a proper martini. And it’s all the sweeter when it is being created and served by someone who knows how. The barman in Dublin’s “The Funky Fish” bar which is tucked in like a secret to the back of The Seafood Bar by Wrights of Howth, makes one of the best I have ever had. A soothing haven for all martini lovers right in the centre of town. The Seafood Bar by Wright’s of Howth 35 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 http://www.theseafoodbar.ie T: 01 5312260

Dining in Donegal 2018

Donegal is magical, majestic and full of mischief. My home county is the most beautiful in the country. Of course I’m going to say that, but it’s true. You’ll find warm people, freezing North Atlantic waters crashing onto dreamy beaches, good food, cosy pubs, rich Gaeilge and the song and story that comes from it, and us. Then there are sights like Mount Errigal, Malin Head, Sliabh League and the magnificent Glenveagh National Park. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve been warmed by a Donegal turf fire, its fizzing and crackly breath embracing you into the very heart of its mountains, its sea, its people and its soul. Grá mo chroí.   Here are some of my favourite restaurants: Harry’s Bar and Restaurant What can I say about Harry’s? I’ve written a longer piece here about this fine restaurant, but what makes it so special is how much they care. The owner Donal Doherty and head chef Derek Creagh are passionate about using local produce that comes from the surrounding area of Inishowen and …

Dressing up for ‘The Restaurant’

Going back to the Restaurant was a little bit like bumping into an old boyfriend, except I was given a little more warning so wanted to make sure it wasn’t dressed with a hoodie and last night’s mascara on my face. As a former producer and director, I had once enviously watched the diners from the kitchen while they sipped wine and commented on how rubbish or wonderful that night’s chef’s offering was for four years. Everyone who works on The Restaurant crew works very, very hard and the actual shoot day runs as a real restaurant with prep from early morning until the afternoon’s tastings and then diners arrive in the early evening and the kitchen kicks into service. I started as a runner on the series in 2008 and loved every step of the journey to becoming Series Producer in 2011 when I last worked on it. Seeing everyone again was a gorgeous reunion. Going on as a diner was as much exciting as it was nerve-wrecking. I was often asked ‘Where on …