Good Food Ireland's Great Grow Your Own Venues

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Our ethos at Good Food Ireland is to work with people who highlight Irish and local produce on their menus and promote seasonal eating as much as they can.  All our members source conscientiously to promote Ireland in everything they serve and the culinary knowledge they possess, driving food tourism by offering visitors a taste of Ireland on every plate.

Some establishments are lucky enough to have land or gardens where they can grown their own seasonal produce. These premises showcase a dining experience where the garden dominates the menu. They are places to visit where you will enjoy Ireland’s unique hospitality, as well as being able to learn about how a large amount of their fresh seasonal produce is grown. 

Take a stroll around this little clutch of members who offer fine food, an Irish welcome and a wealth of fresh produce from their own gardens.

Tankardstown House

Tankardstown House has a wealth of history, dating back to 17th Century when the estate was formed in Cromwellian times by merging confiscated lands which had large private houses as the central point.

In 1710, the Coddington family of Oldbridge House on the Battle of the Boyne site, became owners of Tankardstown. 

Tankardstown Exterior

Later in the 18th Century it was owned by Brabazon Morris, when it was mortgaged, then eventually bought out in 1815 by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Francis Blackburne. In the years afterwards, Tankardstown fell into complete disrepair. Until 2002, when it was bought as a family home, and began to be restored to its former glory.

Today the completely renovated house and courtyard cottages boasts a large estate with beautiful walks and a fantastic chef who has the produce of the gardens to hand to create his menus for Brabazon Restaurant. A walled garden and polytunnels provide plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables, salads and herbs to inspire the kitchen team. Couple this with local meats, game in season, fresh fish and shellfish from the east coast and you have a melting pot of good things to sample in a fine dining setting. 

Beech Hill Country House

In the suburbs of Derry City, Beech Hill Country House Hotel snuggles in its own grounds, providing a little bit of peace from the busy buzz.

The only thing you’ll hear buzzing here are the bees, as they wander happily around the walled garden that provides much seasonal produce for the menus. 

Beech Hill Country House

Beech Hill House Hotel is owned by Patsy O’Kane, her brother Seamus Donnelly and his son Conor Donnelly. Conor and Patsy work closely together to provide a service second to none at the house. There is a history on this land going back centuries. Long ago, it was the seat of the O’Cahan (O’Kane) clan. Since 1622, it has passed through the hands of the Skipton Family, who built the present house in 1739, then the Nicholson’s, in 1872. WWII arrived at Beech Hill in 1942, when the estate became home to 750 US Marines who guarded the Navy Base in Derry – known as Base One Europe. In later years the house has finally returned to O’Kane hands and the family give a warm personal welcome to their guests.

The walled gardens are a mix of herbs, fruit and vegetables, with some soft fruit as well. As you can imagine, this provides a seasonal taste for every plate and menus will change rapidly now the prolific months of summer growth are coming. Pay a visit to this neck of the woods, where you can browse the woodlands of the house with the WWII trail, and have a meander round the walled gardens that make this house special in culinary terms.

Ballymaloe House

The house that started the ball rolling in Irish food during the 1960’s. Myrtle Allen first created a restaurant in the original dining room of Ballymaloe House to use up the fresh produce of the Ballymaloe farm, which her husband Ivan tended.

From day one, this house has had an ethos to supply as much fresh produce as possible from it’s own land and gardens. 

Ballymaloe House East Cork

Produce here includes meats and eggs from the farm with veggies from the walled garden and tunnels. Ballymaloe is set in the pleasing rural countryside of East Cork, in agriculturally rich land which  makes this and other farms in the area very productive.  

Now looked after by Rory and Hazel Allen, with Myrtle sometimes in attendance, the house is still the family home it always was, but now welcoming guests from a wide international base. You can enjoy overnight stays, or call in for the day to browse the shop, have lunch in the café or house and of course, wander round the gardens which form the basis of the fine country house cuisine here. 

The Yard and Little Yard 

The Yard and Little Yard in Wexford Town are unique in being restaurants which have the benefit of much fresh produce from the owner’s own private vegetable garden.  

The garden is a well maintained pottager style garden – in keeping with the kitchen gardens of old French country houses. 

The Yard Vegetable Gsrden

Well defined beds are prolific with various vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers. Heritage vegetables like heirloom tomatoes are a speciality here. So the lucky chefs at the restaurants have their pick of what to feature on the menu, and some gorgeous flowers to grace the tables to boot! 

The Yard is a casual dining restaurant with a lovely outdoor terrace and it’s nice to be able to dine in a very busy town based restaurant and know the vegetables are truly home grown. The Little Yard provides casual and quick snacks featuring garden vegetables in creative salads. 

Ballymaloe Cookery School

Darina Allen is a famous voice for Irish food. From the farmer or artisan to market gardeners and fishermen, Darina speaks for all who are involved in Irish food production.

So it goes without saying that she would have her own kitchen garden to rely on for the cookery classes at Ballymaloe Cookery School. 

Darina Allen Ballymaloe Cookery School

Add to this a 100 acre organic farm with free range livestock including pigs, hens, Dexter, Jersey, Angus and Kerry cattle and you have a wealth of homegrown and reared produce. Students on the three month professional course learn about sustainable farming firsthand. As an integral part of their training, they also learn how to grow, harest, prepare, and cook an array of seasonal produce and how not to waste a scrap. 

Ballymaloe Cookery School gardens and farm are open to the public. Garden Tours and Farm Walks available to book. Have a wander round to see produce being grown, meet the animals and friendly hens, then do some food related shopping in the Garden Shop. A great way to spend some time, and if you’re lucky there may be places left on the daily afternoon cookery demonstration, where you can watch the masters at work with all this fantastic produce. Immerse yourself in the total food experience here. 

Airfield Estate

Dundrum in Co. Dublin is a strange place to find a big house and estate but nevertheless, it does exist! Dublin 14 is the home of Airfield Estate, 38 acres with a working farm, house and restaurant. 

The Overend Family established Airfield Estate as a charitable organisation in 1974, to be used for educational and recreational purposes. 

Airfield Estate Garden

Airfield has been in the Overend family since 1894, bought by solicitor Trevor Overend as a summer house which eventually became a permanent home. Trevor Overend’s two daughters grew up in the house and lived there until they passed away, the first family members to be involved actively in working on the estate and farm. Today, the Mission Statement spells out the intention ‘to inspire people to refresh their connection with food and the land it comes from.’

Airfield Estate rears its own free range livestock, including cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens. The farm gardens produce seasonal fruit and vegetables. All of this is served in Overends Restaurant, offering the public a local food experience with zero food miles. Treat yourself to a ticket to spend the day at this wonderful estate, learning about sustainable farming and strolling round the estate. Guided tours of the house are also bookable subject to availability. 

Ballyvolane House

Justin and Jenny Greene’s Italianate villa in Fermoy, Co. Cork, is a postcard pretty picture of a place. Surrounded by formal gardens, lake and woodlands, walks here are absolute bliss.

The Walled Garden at Ballyvolane House provides seasonal produce for the informal resident’s dinners around the big dining table each evening.

Ballyvolane House Entrance

In Irish, Ballyvolane means ‘place of the springing heifers’ which is quite apt given the fertile nature of this region. Guests with kids will love it here. So much to do with feeding the hens, collecting eggs, meeting the donkeys. And after breakfast, Justin will be out with the tractor and trailer to take all the kids for a ride around the estate! How brilliant is that?! 

Guests at Ballyvolane House can book a room in the house or go glamping in the glamorous bell tents in the garden. A fantastic adventure with luxury thrown in! This house as also has captured a fantastic niche in the wedding market, when the whole house, glamping facilities and celebration marquee can be hired for a wedding party. Outdoor summer weddings a speciality.

Toscana Restaurant 

In Dame Street Dublin, PJ and Dee Betuci serve up a real Italian experience at Toscana Restaurant with produce grown in their gardens and tunnels at their home in Co. Wicklow. 

Head Chef PJ is an enthusiastic forager, often seen shinning up trees to pick wild elderflower blossoms and berries in season, and gathering wild garlic and nettles where he may!

Toscana Vegetable Garden

So the menu here is a mix of homegrown and wild foods, concocted into authentic Italian dishes to die for. Served up by Dee and her front of house team, with warmth, friendliness and expertise. What more can we say?! 

Rathmullan House

The Cook and Gardener Restaurant at Rathmullan House directly reflects the connection between the chef and the head Gardener of the walled Garden at this beautiful country house in Co. Donegal.

The Cook and Gardener Restaurant specialises in modern Irish country house dining, for its overnight guests and the public. 

Rathmullan House Exterior

Situated in a conservatory style space, this dining room reflects the trend for growing your own to supply the menu. Rathmullan has its own walled garden, with a prolific growth of seasonal fruits, herbs and vegetables throughout the year.

The chefs, led by Head Chef Michael Harley, nip outside to gather what they want from the garden for accompaniments and garnishes. You can’t get fresher than that.  Restaurant open to the public, booking advisable. Make a night of it and stay in the cosy house, sleep like a baby, then take yourself off for a nice long walk on the banks of Lough Swilly after brekkie in the morning! 

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