Ciarán Sweeney to cook up a storm in Donegal

Food File: The former Forest & Marcy head chef is now in the kitchen at Olde Glen, trailer treasure in Goatstown, and a Kilkenny cafe with artful style

Ciarán Sweeney, former head chef at Forest & Marcy on Leeson Street, Dublin, is looking forward to a busy summer as head chef at the Olde Glen Bar & Restaurant in Glen village, near Carrigart, in his home county of Donegal. The restaurant has been run for the past 11 years by Cormac Walsh, a chef whose family ran the nearby Carrigart Hotel for more than six decades. This season, he will manage front of house while Sweeney takes over the kitchen.

The restaurant has five newly built en-suite bedrooms, and from June 2nd, a dinner, bed and breakfast package will be available, Tuesday to Sunday. Sweeney intends to serve an a la carte menu, with four choices at each course, and a blackboard with seasonal specials.

“I want to cook honest and hearty food that makes sense in the existing surroundings, using hyperlocal and seasonal Donegal ingredients, with plays on some classics I grew up eating. I want this to be a place that still has as much appeal to the locals as to the food tourists coming here to sample Donegal for the first time,” he says.

Sweeney and his partner, Mary Gallagher, and daughter Aoibhinn originally left Dublin for Donegal with the intention of opening their own restaurant. When the pandemic put their plans on hold, Sweeney worked at The Lemon Tree in Letterkenny and Gallagher found a teaching position in the locality.

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Kilkenny lunch and brunch

Sharon and Aidan Quinn relocated from Dublin to Kilkenny and opened Muse Coffee and Food in the grounds of the Butler Gallery in the city last summer. In anticipation of the relaxation of outdoor dining restrictions next month, they have launched a lunch and brunch menu that can be served in their glass dining pods, or on the cafe's garden terrace. There are five of the heated pods, which can accommodate a total of 18 diners, and each has its own sound system. The cafe is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm.

Trailer treasure in Goatstown

Treehouse Treats is a new venture selling restaurant-quality desserts and pastries and ethically sourced coffee and hot chocolate from a converted Airstream trailer on the Lower Kilmacud Road in Goatstown, Dublin 14.

Chefs Daniel Hannigan and David Keane and restaurant manager Luke Murphy are the partners behind the venture, which is open 8am-4pm weekdays and 10am-6pm at weekends. The trailer is parked on private land owned by Murphy, whose grandfather built the adjacent housing estate.

The menu includes a range of desserts and pastries, including vanilla and roasted berry cheesecake, salted caramel tart, chocolate mousse tart, Dublin Honey and lavender canelés, hazelnut craquelin choux buns, and brown butter cookies.

There have been queues forming too for the duck doughnuts with rhubarb hoisin, the one savoury bake they are doing at the moment, along with sandwiches, currently supplied by Jack Rabbit while they finalise their own selection.