Neven with chef-proprietor Conor Woods of the Bay Tree Restaurant, Carlingford.
This week, Neven’s Irish Seafood Trails leads him north east along the County Louth coastline to the historic town of Carlingford, where oysters have been farmed for centuries. He calls in at the Carlingford Oyster Company situated beside Carlingford Lough, and as the oyster beds are 1km from the shore, Neven takes a trip out to the bay to meet owner Kian Louet –Feisser.
Neven learns how Kian’s father Peter sailed into Carlingford in the 1960s in a wooden yacht he built himself, and established the farm which specialises in Pacific oysters. Kian explains how the oysters take three years to grow and have a distinctive ‘tear-drop’ shape and a flavour unique to their Carlingford Lough environment, and Neven enjoys an oyster tasting.
Louth is celebrated for its seafood, and the county has a new seafood tourism initiative called ‘Sea Louth’ - a visitor trail comprising restaurants and seafood producers. One of the restaurants on the Sea Louth trail is the Bay Tree in Carlingford, where Neven meets chef-proprietor Conor Woods who shares a delicious seafood recipe with Neven, a Trio Of Hake, Prawn and Scallop served with Herb Velouté.
No visit to Carlingford would be complete without a boat trip on Carlingford Lough. Neven heads down to the harbour to meet Shane Reenan of Louth Adventures for a tour on board the Brienne, a restored 1940s Dutch tugboat. Out on the lough the scenery is stunning, and highlights include King John’s Castle, the Cooley Mountains, the Mourne Mountains, Carlingford Marina and the new Carlingford to Omeath Greenway. Neven even tries steering the Brienne himself, and turns out to be a surprisingly good sailor.
Following the coastline south, Neven visits the seaside village of Annagassan which overlooks Dundalk Bay. In the year 841 Annagassan was invaded by Vikings who founded one of the largest Viking settlements in Europe, believed to have 5,000 inhabitants. Neven calls in at The Glyde Inn where Managing Director Conor O’Neill has created a Virtual Reality Viking experience for visitors which culminates in eating a real life, local seafood platter. The Glyde Inn’s head chef Tony Smith treats Neven to Annagassan Lobster Tail with Clogherhead Hake, Sea Kale, and an intriguing ‘Secret Sauce’.
Neven’s Irish Seafood Trails is broadcast on RTÉ One at 8:30pm on Wednesday nights, with the fifth episode which features his events in Louth due to air on January 27th.