Having a blast in old-world Ballydehob
There once was a man called Jamie – that’s how I should start this story, as he is the reason we headed down to Ballydehob.
We met Jamie a few years ago, when he played for the soccer club Mr T was managing at the time. He always had the dream to own and run his own restaurant, while working in the kitchen of Griffin’s Garden Centre.
So, he moved his young family to take over the former Annie’s in Ballydehob that was empty for a few years. People thought he was crazy, giving up a safe job to open a place on his own in the midst of the recession.
Fast forward a few years, Mr T said on Sunday morning to me: “Let’s head down to West Cork and pop into Jamie’s place and see how he is doing.” And so we did.
I have driven through Ballydehob many times on the way to Schull, but never really stopped. We arrived around 3:30pm in the village and Budd’s (Jamie’s place) was just about to close. That left us with the only other place to get some food (Antonio’s) so we filled up there.
Ballydehob is a melting pot of wonderfully strange people and may I say, amazingly friendly ones at that. We did a small pub-crawl and were involved in discussions and chats.
Pubs in this little village have been unchanged for the last few centuries it seems – the charm very much present in the creaking floorboards, low ceilings and smiling landlords. Rosie’s, J Daly’s and Levy’s are on our list to visit again when we return.
The next morning we headed to Budd’s for breakfast and the buzz in the place was simply amazing. When a place like Budd’s assembles the entire community, it shows not only the spirit of the village but also the great food you can enjoy.
Mr T had the full fry-up with local produce and a perfectly poached egg, while I opted for the vegan option (I promised someone to open my mind to vegan food). I never ate tempeh before and although the flavour was hardly there, it went beautifully with the pesto on the plate.
Other items on the breakfast menu were homemade muesli, homemade beans on toast and omelettes. The focus is on homemade and everything tastes fantastic. So, breakfast went down a treat – we now have to return for dinner to see how Jamie is taking his passion for local and homemade produce to the table.
But talking about the pubs in Ballydehob, it shows the ‘old’ days of Ireland and village life are alive and well in places. Some pubs still have a shop included, some others lead you through the private living room to enter the bathroom and others tell you that you will be barred if you mention the poor phone reception in the place.
This is what tourists are coming to see and experience. Not these polished, soulless places that seem to be popping up everywhere these days.
Ballydehob, we will be back.
21–23 April: West Waterford
Festival of Food
22–23 April: A Celtic Taste of
28–30 April: Connemara Mussel
30 April: Smoking Good Times,
Old Butter Roads
30–1 May: Cook Out Returns
• For more details on these events, please go to biasasta.ie/calendar
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