Best cafe/teashop: The Cottage, Loughmore

Eddie Shanahan was about to give up before he finally found his way to The Cottage, Loughmore in Co Tipperary, which is so far off the beaten track that even the Sat-Nav had trouble finding it

 

Best cafe / teashop
WINNER:The Cottage, Loughmore

At one point, Eddie Shanahan was about to give up before he finally found his way to The Cottage, Loughmore in Co Tipperary, which is so far off the beaten track that even the Sat-Nav had trouble finding it. A shop and teashop, it’s actually a co-operative run by Maeve O’Hair and Mary Fogarty. The women met at the kitchen sink, while helping with the washing up at a local funeral. O’Hair is a native of the village. Fogarty’s parents ran a shop in the village, but it closed years ago. While elbow deep in Fairy Liquid, the pair lamented the fact that the village no longer had a local shop. For eight years, if you wanted to buy a pint of milk or a newspaper, you had to make the three-mile journey “into town” to Templemore, best known for its Garda College.
“A shop is a very important part of village life,” says O’Hair. By the time they’d finished the drying up, they’d decided to set up a co-operative shop and tearoom, following in the footsteps of Sir Horace Plunkett, the English-born son of Lord Donsany.
O’Hair suggested they use an ancient cottage belonging to her sister. The 900-strong community backed the proposal by buying shares in the venture. The pair also got funding from the Co Council on condition that they raised 20 per cent of the money themselves. Both women took out loans to get the idea off the ground.
The set-up is a million miles from hipsterville – a hark back to a simple old-fashioned Irish offer where the fáilte is a big part of the allure, and groceries are for sale in what was once a bedroom.
“If I was travelling to Cork tomorrow with friends I would happily go out of my way to bring them here,” says Shanahan, who travels an estimated 20,000 kilometres per annum, visiting retailers in his consultancy business. “There are very few places I would go off the motorway or off the national roads to visit. This is an establishment in the middle of nowhere where there is no competition to raise the bar yet the whole atmosphere says you hope it is home cooking, and it is.”
The Cottage, Loughmore, Co Tipperary, tel: 0504-35846, no website but you can find them on Facebook

HIGHLY COMMENDED

shells Cafe Best Shops

Shells Cafe, Strandhill, Co Sligo, tel: 091-22938, shellscafe.com
Once you discover Shells Cafe and Little Shop on the seafront in Strandhill, Co Sligo, where surfers congregate all year round, you will want to return again and again.
The welcome is warm and the eggs Benedict have been voted the best in Ireland.
It’s a place where you seriously start to consider the idea of setting up home here permanently.
 

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.