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Connacht Tribune

Top chef Kevin relishing fresh challenge

Judy Murphy

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The White Gables in Moycullen, with the shop and cafe to the right. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Lifestyle – Kevin Dunne, who runs the White Gables Restaurant in Moycullen with his wife Ann, celebrates his 50th anniversary as a chef in 2020. It’s also 30 years since the couple opened their popular business, which has since expanded to include a shop, bakery and café. This is a tough time for people in the hospitality world but the Dunnes are rising to the occasion, as they tell JUDY MURPHY.

In a cheffing career that has spanned 50 years, Kevin Dunne has worked in top establishments including the Shelbourne in Dublin, the Dorchester in London, Parknasilla in Kerry and the Great Southern in Galway.

That was before he and his wife, Ann, decided to set up on their own. They opened the White Gables in Moycullen, 30 years ago, an establishment that’s renowned for its classical food and quality service. So, 2020 is a year full of milestones for Kevin – but it’s a strange time to be celebrating.

In fact, when Kevin mentions that he’s been a chef for 50 years, you might wonder if he should be cocooning, rather than cooking meals for collection in the shop that adjoins their restaurant. Not to mention his work delivering White Gables cocooning hampers around Galway.

“Absolutely not,” is the answer as he explains he started training at the age of 14 in the Shelbourne Hotel.

From Drumcondra, Kevin knew from childhood that he wanted to be a chef. The lightbulb moment was when he joined the Boy Scouts.

“I loved going on trips and cooking outside,” he says simply, “I could pull it together.”

In the early 1960s, a talent for cooking was an advantage in a country that wasn’t renowned for its cuisine.

“I remember there was no bread in the shops,” he says, recalling there was a bakers’ strike at one point. “I was queuing with my mother for bread and said ‘what are we doing this for?’ I went from there to baking.”

He applied to train in the Shelbourne, then as now one of the country’s top hotels, and went in as a commis chef, starting at the bottom, “on the potatoes and turnips”.

He progressed and after qualifying, went on to work in London and Germany. Eventually, he returned to Ireland and one Christmas, went to Parknasilla in Kerry, covering for one of the regular chefs.  The former manor house in Sneem was the flagship hotel of the Great Southern group, where Silver Service still prevailed.

It was there he met Ann, who was from Sneem where her parents ran a garage.

“I knew she was the person,” he says, “It’s just something you can’t explain, just a feeling.”

The couple, who have two grown-up children, Jack and Molly, went on to create one of the most successful restaurants in the West of Ireland, but have never rested on their laurels.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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