Hosted by the West Cork Hotel and West Cork Food, this year’s Burns Night sold out weeks before the event date, attracting over 130 guests on Friday 25th January who braved the rain to join in the celebratory supper for the Scottish poet.
Building on the success of last year’s Supper, this year attracted an even bigger following and not even the terrible weather and flooding on the roads could deter people! As Neil Grant, our General Manager commented, “I was saying thanks to one of our guests as I knew they had travelled a distance to get here in terrible weather. Their response was to say that they would have taken any detour required and would make it here ‘no matter what’! It was lovely to hear!”
Again showcasing the culinary skills and imagination that makes our restaurant in Skibbereen so popular, and creating a menu befitting of such an event, our Head Chef Aidan O’Driscoll created a fusion menu of traditional Scottish dishes that used the finest of West Cork produce.
Sourcing Haggis from McSween’s of Edinburgh, which made its entrance to the accompaniment of the bagpipes, was complemented during the evening with local scallops, and with loin of venison from North Cork. Our friends at Woodcock Smokery provided the necessary ingredients for Arbroath Smokie fishcakes, whilst Scottish Clootie Dumplings were paired with Glenilen Clotted Cream and Union Hall Drombeg Custard.
The cheese board was an eclectic mix that featured cheeses from Burns’ birth place and from the place that he passed away, as well as a selection of award-winning cheeses from West Cork.
Of course no Burn’s night would be complete without the customary dram and the choices on the night were a local Lough Hyne premium Irish spirit or a Ardbeg single malt from the Isle of Islay, which was a gift from the Ardbeg Distillery from the visitor centre Manager Jackie Thompson who was so taken by the idea of a West Cork Burns Supper that she offered the appreciated gesture of supplying the dram!
As well as the wonderful food, there was much entertainment to be had, and Norman Kean as MC for the evening ensured that all kept on track as he introduced speakers and performers to recite and carry out the official duties required during a Burns Supper.
Among the guests were food writer, lecturer and blogger Mei Chin from America and John and Sally McKenna of Bridgestone Guides fame, as well as our Neil Grant’s father Ian Grant who performed the final official duty of the Immortal Memory to Rabbie Burns.
The evening ended with a sing along to Auld Lang Syne before all happily retreated to the Bar for some informal singing and to reflect on a great night of shared Celtic Culture, which we hope to host again next year!