2001 was a good year for restaurant owners


Quality restaurants had a good year in 2001, according to Mr John McKenna, joint author of the Bridgestone Guides.

This was despite the foot-and-mouth outbreak and the September 11th attacks.

He said all the entries in the new Bridgestone Guides reported major increases in business last year. The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland and the Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay were launched in the Cooley Peninsula yesterday.

"All the little, specialised, low-volume places with a real signature style had a great year," Mr McKenna said.

"I asked them if they were harmed by foot-and-mouth and they said it was quiet for a week and then all their customers came back. These people cater first and foremost for a local audience and the tourists are the icing on the cake."

He said this showed that the old Bord Fáilte system of counting heads was outdated and the future rested in specialist tourism.

The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants includes 23 new restaurants this year, which reflects the number of impressive new restaurants around the country, according to Mr McKenna.

The two guides are published by Estragon Press and cost €10 each.

A former art teacher who runs a bed-and-breakfast in the Glens of Antrim has won the AA Landlady of the Year award.

Mary McFadden (64), of Drumkeerin Guesthouse, Cushendun, was one of 20 finalists chosen from 3,500 landladies throughout the UK.