Enjoy Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or Dessert at The Church Restaurant
The Church Restaurant
Regina Daly is one resilient lady! Having started her own business at The Church Restaurant in Skibbereen in the early two thousands, Regina saw it burned to the ground in a disastrous fire in 2006. The restaurant, set in an old Methodist church dating back to 1833, remained closed for three years, while Regina picked herself up, dusted herself off, and started all over again, to coin the phrase from a famous song.
She relaunched the completely renovated and lovingly restored The Church Restaurant in 2009, in the height of the recession (why not?). Today, she sits amid its beautiful decor, looking serene. We wonder just how she did it!
‘It was heart-breaking’, she says of the fire that came from a neighbouring building to completely gut her business. ‘Afterwards I just thought if I could leave it for a while and let the worst pass we might survive.’ Survive she has done, and bigger and better than before.
A delightful outdoor cobbled walled and gated courtyard with outdoor seating leads to the church porch entrance. For the interior, Regina searched high and low for reclaimed pieces to give the dining space an authentic feel and keep the clerical theme of the period. The spectacular fully restored stained glass window in the rear wall dominates this restaurant, and heads up the attention to detail which has been paid in every respect to the interior furnishings. The ground level dining room and galleried upper level both share the stained glass window aspect. A reclaimed French dark wood staircase takes you up to the gallery. A pulpit from 1880 came from St James Church in Lancashire, UK. Big crystal chandeliers light the space. If there was anything that could be thought of to make this space beautiful, Regina has thought of it.
In food terms Skibbereen is in the heart of West Cork, where local produce abounds. Regina sources fish and shellfish from the boats nearby Union Hall and smoked salmon from the smokehouse in the village. A local butcher provides black pudding. Sausages are from Clonakilty and eggs from Castlehaven – all a short distance away, which means you get a great West Cork breakfast at The Church restaurant!
Their daytime menu includes sandwiches, salads and soup of the day, along with hot dishes and great value main course specials. There’s plenty for kids too with Kid’s Corner – a menu of hot dishes and little sandwiches.
All house breads, desserts and baking are produced in the kitchens here – this is proper home baking as it should be. Regina is a chef as well as restaurateur. While most of her time is spent front of house, she has no issue with stepping into the kitchen when necessary and her standards are extremely high! She comes from a farming background where good home produced and home cooked food and farmhouse baking was always a feature, a great ethos to bring into her own business.
At night, the lights go down, and the gear goes up – to an elegant A La Carte selection. Here you’ll find prime Hereford Steaks from the Cork region, the best local fish and seafood, cheese like Milleens, Cork’s Hegarty’s Cheddar and Tipperary Brie.
Exquisite cooking skills, beautiful presentation and a good balance of flavour and texture shine from each plate. A balanced but concise wine list matches the fish and meat, and a selection of craft beers and ciders are on offer.
The Church Restaurant serves a local population and many visitors during the summer season. It’s a destination restaurant that always plays a large part in the annual Taste of West Cork Food Festival and other food events in this thriving foodie town. The dining experience here is one to be savoured in a region famous for its artisan produce culture.