Sunday 23 September 2018

Ireland's hotel of the year named at Georgina Campbell Awards

Composite: Georgina Campbell announcing her annual awards (Dublin in background).
Composite: Georgina Campbell announcing her annual awards (Dublin in background).
Twelve Hotel, Galway
Georgina Campbell Awards 2018: Fergus O’Halloran, Proprietor, The Twelve Hotel, Barna, Co Galway. Photo: Paul Sherwood
Georgina Campbell Awards 2018:Gary O’Hanlon, Head Chef, James & Beryl Kearney, Proprietors Viewmount House, Longford. Photo: Paul Sherwood
Georgina Campbell at her 2018 awards. Photo: Paul Sherwood
Gary O'Hanlon, James and Beryl Kearney at Viewmount House, Co. Longford
Viewmount House, Co. Longford. Photo: Ireland's Blue Book
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

The Twelve Hotel in Bearna, Co. Galway, has been named Ireland's Hotel of the Year at the 2018 Georgina Campbell Awards.

The four-star was cited for its "fresh, youthful style and an exceptionally focused food and wine offering" convenient to both Connemara and Galway City.

Managed by "an inspired (and inspiring) proprietor" in Fergus O'Halloran, The Twelve "sings of quality and innovation at every level", Campbell said.

The 2018 awards, held today at Bord Bia's Thinking House in Dublin, also saw Dax in Dublin win Restaurant of the Year, while a 'Hospitality Hero' award for services to Irish food and hospitality was given to Beryl and James Kearney and chef Gary O'Hanlon of Viewmount House in Longford.

Full list of award winners:

  • Hotel of the Year: The Twelve Hotel, Bearna, Co. Galway
  • Restaurant of the Year: Dax, Dublin
  • Chef of the Year: David McCann, Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare
  • Outstanding Guest Experience: Quinlan & Cooke, Caherciveen, Co. Kerry
  • Host of the Year: Tony Frisby, Dromoland Castle
  • Business Destination of the Year: Tankardstown House, Slane, Co. Meath
  • Newcomer of the Year: Bullitt Hotel, Belfast
  • Country House of the Year: Virginia Park Lodge, Virginia, Co. Cavan
  • Guesthouse of the Year: The Old Bank House, Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • B&B of the Year: Muldowney's B&B, Arranmore, Co. Donegal
  • Farmhouse of the Year: Hillcrest farm, Ahakista, Co. Cork
  • Bord Bia 'Just Ask' Restaurant of the Year: The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford
  • Taste of the Waterways Award: St. George's Terrace, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
  • Seafood Restaurant of the Year: Hooked, Galway
  • Wine Award of the Year: Green Man Wines, Dublin
  • Pub of the Year: Bar One, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
  • Family Friendly Destination: Amber Springs, Gorey, Co. Wexford
  • Pet-friendly Hotel of the Year: Pupp, Dublin
  • Hideaway of the Year: Castle Murray House, Dunkineely, Co. Donegal
  • Atmospheric Restaurant of the Year: The Boathouse Bistro, Dromquinna Manor, Co. Kerry
  • Ethnic Restaurant of the Year: Nightmarket, Dublin
  • Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year: Nobel, Holywood, Co. Down
  • Cafe of the Year: Cakeface Patisserie, Kilkenny
  • Natural Food Award: Vascoe, Fanore, Co. Clare
  • Street Food Award: Food Depot - Gourmet Street Kitchen, Clonakilty & Courtmacsherry, Co. Cork

Campbell's annual awards are the longest running in Ireland, independently assessed, and eagerly awaited as a bellweather of trends in Irish hospitality.

Twelve Hotel, Galway
Twelve Hotel, Galway
Georgina Campbell at her 2018 awards. Photo: Paul Sherwood

“Through our programme of anonymous assessment we’re always keeping a sharp eye out for those exceptional establishments which are right on top of their game and going the extra mile for customers," Campbell said this afternoon.

"What we seek is not perfection but real food and hospitality with real heart, and we’re continuing to find it in clusters of excellence all over the country."

In delivering the awards, she noted especially good experiences in Northern Ireland, the Burren and the northwest, where communities are working together.

A new Street Food award is a nod to the boom in casual dining in Ireland, though she said there is no sign of fine dining disappearing.

"There are times something special is needed."

As is her custom, Campbell did not shy away from highlighting disappointments - particularly with rising hotel prices and "underperforming" four and five-star hotels.

Georgina Campbell Awards 2018:Gary O’Hanlon, Head Chef, James & Beryl Kearney, Proprietors Viewmount House, Longford. Photo: Paul Sherwood
Georgina Campbell Awards 2018:Gary O’Hanlon, Head Chef, James & Beryl Kearney, Proprietors Viewmount House, Longford. Photo: Paul Sherwood

"Higher prices mean higher expectations, of course, but the high level of dissatisfaction is often down to simple things that could easily be fixed at any level, plus a lack of hospitality (which often means lack of a host) and poor staff training.

"It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there are too many underperforming four and five star properties, whereas good three stars deserve to be held in higher regard and we would like to see the best ones resist the ambition to move up to the next category.”

She also called on the Government to retain the 9pc VAT rate for the hospitality industry.

Read more:

Ireland's top hotels revealed at Gold Medal Awards

Online Editors

Travel Insider Newsletter

Get the best travel tips, deals and insights straight to your inbox.

Editors Choice

Also in Life