Kelly’s continued to strive to be a leader in the Tourism Industry, constantly improving their product year on year; with five generations of the Kelly family, they continue to provide high-quality service to the hospitality industry.
People are now more health-conscious, and their dietary requirements have changed over the years; guests are demanding fresher food sourced locally. Hotels across the country are now creating gardens and small farms to grow their herbs and vegetables. Creating these gardens and farms and making them fruitful all year round can be more challenging than simply planting some seeds. As Kelly’s Resort Hotel felt strongly about locally sourced produce, in 2018, the hotel moved to a new level in the food chain. They are now committing to growing their ingredients, allowing them to create a footpath that is genuinely in tune with the season and million miles away from global methods of industrial food production.
Bill has always had a strong vision where he would like Kelly’s to be in the market, not only for the quality of food we serve but, more importantly, where it derived from, hence the introduction of “Kelly’s Kitchen Gardens”. The gardens will be an integral part of our brand in the future. It is in line with our other production areas within the hotel, i.e. we butcher all our meats, prep all our vegetables and make all our bread and desserts, SO the garden is just taking us to the next step. The vegetable garden project is part of the hotel’s overall environmental programme, promoting homegrown produce, which is less polluting, low energy and low-carbon. We are sowing our high added-value herbs, vegetables and flowers. Aesthetics are also a consideration – vegetable gardens make our gardens more beautiful and add another amenity for our guests to admire. Despite the extra pressures of producing your crops, a kitchen garden brings energy to a property it will inspire more regional and seasonal menus and memorable marketing”.
This has always been at the top of Bill’s project agendas, in keeping with the natural progression of the hotel’s history. The project is a massive undertaking but will aim to supply the hotel all year round with seasonally fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables naturally grown. Bill soon realised that he needed a person who shared the same vision and was passionate about “mother earth” to help him carry it over the line. Deirdre Howlin is Kelly’s Head Gardener; coming from a horticultural background and holding a Bachelor of Science degree, Deirdre shares the same enthusiasm and desire to oversee his plans which is a massive undertaking. Deirdre is working closely with Bill and Kelly’s Executive Chef, Eugene Callaghan, on the different varieties, ensuring the hotel will get maximum yields from the ground while giving back to the land at the same time.
In the plans is a “No dig method”, obviously this will take time to develop as a lot of precision and dedication and planning will need to be enforced before we reap the benefits of this Eco-Friendly way of producing vegetables. The ground is covered with cardboard, limiting light through; this will eliminate all weeds and use of pesticides, and our own compost will also be added to the ground. Once the cardboard rots, your ground is ready; in a way, we are giving back to the soil, and in return, you have freshly and naturally grown vegetables.
People in urban areas are on the lookout for an escape from the noisy city and find peace in nature. Once the gardens have matured and developed, we will open it up to our guests to visit and walk around, allowing them to see first-hand “Kelly’s Kitchen Gardens” and our “Field to Fork” production. Bill plans to keep adding and expanding this whole area, moving it into the 21st Century.