John & Sally McKennas Awards (2002-2024)

John and Sally McKennas’ books bring you straight to the heart and soul of Ireland, with the latest 2024 edition of Wild Atlantic Way: Where to Eat & Stay

The Connemara Smokehouse is recommended in the Best of Bridgestone Guide / McKennas Guide and has been awarded the Bridgestone/McKennas Award 2002 – 2024

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

To the west of Graham Robert’s Connemara Smokehouse, housed in a fine stone building at the edge of Bunowen Pier, in West Connemara, there lies the Atlantic Ocean, and nothing else. We are in the west of the West: next stop, the Americas. A place so profoundly elemental is just the right place for a great fish smoker like Mr Roberts to weave his magic with smoked fish. Graham Roberts is forever chasing the essences of flavour in his smoked fish, and the flavour he chases is the pure flavour, the conjoining of fish and smoke, the pure distilled drop. The beech wood he uses for smoking, in the 1946 smoking kiln which faithfully fires up every day, allows for more subtlety than smoking with oak, so the Connemara Smokehouse products are blessed with grace and subtlety, the flavours seem evanescent and elusive, boasting the merest whisper of beech smoke. And there are no shortcuts taken in the Connemara Smokehouse: everything is done old school, by hand, by intuition, by experience. The good news is that the Smokehouse is also an Économusée, so you can come and visit at Bunowen Pier, and see the artisan process as it plays out, from the hand filleting to the expert smoking to the packing. And when you do visit, you will take away with you an experience of an artisan fish smokery, at the end of the world, in the most elemental place imaginable.

The McKennas’ Guide Plaque is the most respected badge of merit in Irish contemporary food, awarded only to those who are described in the guides.