Earl of Thomond named AA restaurant of the year

Earl of Thomond named AA restaurant of the year


Dromoland Castle – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

The Earl of Thomond restaurant at Dromoland Castle has been named the AA Restaurant of the Year for 2019, the first time the AA has handed out such at an award as part of the annual AA Hospitality Awards.

While the AA has a long-established history of awarding Rosettes for the quality of food served in hotels and restaurants across the country, this new award also seeks to highlight restaurants which match the level of cuisine being served with top quality service.

On awarding this new honour, AA Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan said, “As the holder of 2 AA Rosettes, the Earl of Thomond restaurant was already among the most celebrated restaurants accredited by the AA in Ireland. However, as our inspectors regularly highlighted the exceptional nature of the service provided by the team, we felt the need to create this new award to mark their dedication to providing a first-class dining experience.”

“The service here is truly exceptional, managing to perfectly toe the line between being attentive and engaging, yet not overpowering. For those fortunate enough to stay at Dromoland Castle, a meal in the Earl of Thomond is certainly the cherry on top of the cake.”

On accepting the award, Managing Director Mark Nolan said, “We are delighted to receive such a prestigious award. The Earl of Thomond restaurant is renowned for award-winning cuisine, with Executive Head Chef David McCann sourcing the finest artisan produce from our outstanding local suppliers including The Burren Smokehouse, Garrihy Sea Foods and St. Tola Goats Cheese. This award is very much a testament to the staff of Dromoland Castle, providing the highest standard of service”.

The AA’s top award of AA Hotel of the Year 2019 went to Adare Manor, Adare, Co. Limerick.

The AA uses highly trained and experienced inspectors to personally visit every AA accredited hotel or Bed & Breakfast establishment that is accredited. The assessments of the standards of hospitality, service, cuisine, facilities and staff are the most exacting in the industry. Winners are selected in recognition of excellence in service and hospitality, as well as a clear demonstration of continuous improvement in the preceding 12-18 months.

Other major AA award winners this year were:

AA Hotel of the Year:  Adare Manor, Adare, Co. Limerick

After an extensive 21-month restoration and expansion project, Adare Manor re-opened to visitors in November 2017 and has truly established itself as one of the premier establishments in Ireland and across the globe. Home to the 2 AA Rosette Oak Room restaurant as well as a stunning championship golf-course, winning this award is a reflection of the dedication of GM Paul Heery and his team to ensuring that each visitor has a truly unforgettable experience.

AA Guest Accommodation of the Year: Castlewood House, Dingle, Co. Kerry

Since opening in 2005, Brian and Helen Heaton’s Castlewood House has received numerous awards and critical acclaim for the luxury and high-quality food provided to its guests. Within walking distance of Dingle town, this high-end, 12-bed property is a true jewel in the crown of the south-west coast renowned for a breakfast which will bring joy to any hungry overseas travellers.

AA Courtesy & Care Award: Seafield Hotel and Spa Resort, Gorey, Co. Wexford

The Courtesy & Care award is a testament to excellence in customer care executed by hospitality staff and is not granted lightly. Winning this award is a testament to the friendly and professional team at Seafield Hotel and Spa Resort. Home to the 2 AA Rosette Greenroom Restaurant and the recently opened Village Bar & Grill, Seafield Hotel has gone from strength-to-strength under the management of GM Micheál Cunningham.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.