New Gap of Dunloe Restaurant
|Rachel Allen and Denis Pio Moriarty at Heather opening.|
The sun shone, the band played, the crowd came, saw and approved as Heather, the new restaurant at The Gap of Dunloe, was officially opened by Rachel Allen yesterday. Ailish and Denis Pio Moriarty are the enterprising couple behind Heather, on the same site where Denis Pio’s parents established a shop, “in a shed”, fifty years ago. Amazingly that little shop has grown gradually into an amazing place.
Still some growing to do though. Ailish and Denis Pio have invested here both in the restaurant and in the large split level garden around it. The gardens looked well yesterday but I’m really looking forward to seeing them fully in bloom come next summer.
Rachel Allen, who obviously enjoyed the engagement, immediately saw similarities between the Moriartys and her own family, noting their shared commitment to good Irish food. And the Moriartys had some of their producers there yesterday, including Mountain Man and his craft beers, some gorgeous Kerry cheeses, Sasta Sausages (long queues for their products!), and Maurice Gilbert of Ballyhoura Apples with his great range of apple drinks.
By the way, the gardens, which have amazing views towards the famous Gap of Dunloe, are not entirely decorative. Many fruit bushes have been planted on the slopes and the fruits will be used for jams, relishes and chutneys. And just across the little river that runs in front of the shop and restaurant, the newly built polytunnel is already producing salads and edible flowers for the restaurant and Head Chef Christian Conte is making the best of them.
Lots of samples from the kitchen were available for the guests yesterday. The wine flowed but the most popular drink was the Elderflower and Sparkling Water Cordial. That went down well with young and old and beat tea into second place!
|Clare, Yours Truly, Jennifer and Karen|
Delighted to meet up with Ailish and Denis Pio again and also with restaurant manager Jennifer Dowling. Also with Greg Canty and Deirdre Waldron of Fuzion who helped make the relaxed event run like clockwork - not that they were waving stop watches or anything. No shortage of tweeters either and we enjoyed the chats with Karen Coakley and Elke O’Mahony.
Heather is now up and running, a far cry from the time when young budding entrepreneur Michael Moriarty went up the mountain many years ago to pick bunches of heather flowers to sell to the passing tourists. A little enterprise goes a long long way!
A lovely day and I’m sure there’ll be many many more of them in the years to come.