Farm Week

Taste of Ulster members succeed in hospitality awards

Our strategically important hospitality sector, which continues to face testing challenges, especially in input costs and staff shortages, is demonstrating tremendous resilience. It’s encouraging then to see the ongoing commitment of the sector to innovation and quality recognised in national and international awards.

A fine example of this commitment is the recently reopened Ulster University’s splendid Academy Restaurant in Belfast, a Taste of Ulster member.

The restaurant, which has deservedly won widespread acclaim for its superb food and excellent service, has had its commitment to sustainability and measures to protect our precious environment with paperless menus, installing water-saving appliances and low carbon approach, has been awarded the prestigious Green Key certificate, the first restaurant in the UK, for this inspirational focus.

To achieve Green Key recognition, the Academy has met the more than 60 imperative criteria stipulated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and operates to the high environmental standards expected by Green Key organisation. 

The Academy team, I am sure, will readily provide their advice and support to any other hospitality establishment seeking accreditation which may well become an essential requirement in the longer-term from the developing international focus on the environment. The Academy, in addition, is making a significant contribution to hospitality education here.

Congratulations to a most valued Taste of Ulster member.

The impressive work of another Taste of Ulster member, the excellent Killeavy Castle Estate Hotel and Spa, has deservedly led to another award recently to its cache with the 4 Star Lux Hotel of the Year at the Irish Hotel Awards.

The 4 star Lux Hotel nomination is a new category in the awards which have been running many years.

Another encouraging initiative of this excellent complex is a farm shop specialising in superb artisan from the local area including many products used by the hotel restaurant in its enticing menus.

The spectacular hotel has become a major destination within the Mournes and continues to attract visitors from all over the island of Ireland and from further afield. I congratulate the visionary team at Killeavy Estate Hotel and Spa. It’s a wonderful addition to hospitality and especially tourism here.

Taste of Ulster is all about connecting people with the finest food and drink from Northern Ireland. We are delighted to promote people who produce it and those who serve it in our cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels.  We know we have world-class ingredients and chefs. We secured Best Food Destination at the International Travel and Tourism Awards at World Travel Market.   

We’ve checked every single Taste of Ulster establishment to ensure it meets our strict criteria and is committed to maintaining our charter before receiving a coveted plaque. We don’t just let anyone in! So whatever county you visit, there’s a choice of handpicked places to taste the very best of Ulster.

Killeavy Castle Hotel, in addition, won Fine Dining Experience of the Year, Great Irish Breakfast of the Year and Castle Hotel of the Year for Ulster. It’s certainly well worth a visit for a luxurious stay and/or a delicious meal.

The other big winners in the awards were Manor Country House Hotel in Enniskillen and Titanic Hotel, Belfast.

The Manor House Country Hotel won Waterside Wedding Venue of the Year and Breakfast Venue of the Year. Frances Cathcart won Breakfast Manager of the Year, Ulster and all-island. Josata Zostautiene won Housekeeping Manager of the Year, Ulster. Una Monaghan won Wedding Planner of the Year.

Titanic Hotel won Wedding Hotel of the Year and Gourmet Getaway of the Year for Ulster. Staff awarded were Nigel Mannion, Chef of the Year; Courtney McLaughlin – Event Manager of the Year for Ulster and Yvonne McIlree Marketing Manager of the Year.  William McIlroy was Concierge of the Year for Ulster and Overall winner.

Neil Walker from the Seagoe Hotel, Portadown, won Bar Manager of the Year and Corick House Hotel and Spa in Tyrone won the Country House Hotel award in Ulster.

These outstanding awards reinforce Northern Ireland’s standing as a worldclass destination for great hospitality and superb food and drink. WE are proud of all our hospitality sector has..and continues to, achieve.