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Putting the best foot forward for ‘the Gathering’

A headline in the local newspaper about the village being painted for ‘the Gathering’ got me thinking about how we, as Irish get behind initiatives.

We’re a bit slow off the mark sometimes and I think that was definitely the case with ‘the Gathering’. The concept wasn’t original to us, Scotland and Israel amongst others having hosted very similar type events successfully but nonetheless, it took us a while to get our heads around it. We were a little skeptical, but we considered the idea… it was all a little vague and a little elusive, exactly what this Gathering was.

For a nation as battered and bruised as we felt, did we really want to invite the eyes of the world to focus on us that closely? Would we not rather just stay in the shadows, licking our wounds and keeping our collective heads down? Well, ‘the Gathering’ was happening whether we liked it or not, and our big choice was whether it was going to be successful or not. How were we going to interact with it?

Town meetings were held up and down the country, conversations began over family dinners, strategies were planned and thankfully ever-reliant inter-county rivalries went into top gear and we got aboard and decided collectively to ‘give it a go.’

At BANG, we faced the same question as everyone else. ‘What does it mean to us?’ ‘What can we do?’ The answer, of course is the same for everyone. We do what love, what we are proud of and what we do well. For us, it’s all about the food! Phil, our head chef has created a very special seven course menu that we call ‘The Gathering’ Tasting Menu – it very proudly showcases the very best of the best in Irish food. Salmon comes from the wild western waters of Clare Island, Irish beef raised in Hereford, vegetables from Swords come out of the ground twelve hours before they reach Phil’s kitchen, our cheese is selected from the finest Irish artisans producers and even our flour is water-milled in Enniscorthy. Every ingredient, every dish, made with pride, skill and dedication. Local, seasonal food at it’s best.

Picture of Phil Yeung & Brendan Guinan examining produce

Well, it’s still early days, and there will be as many measures of success as there are different types of events and gatherings. What is apparent so far is that we are definitely getting behind this initiative- we search for what is the best of us and put it forward with a sense of pride and worthiness. We do this well.