A Taste of Luxury at Erriseas

Photography courtesy of Connemara Sands Beach Hotel & Spa

Head chef Sinéad Quinn with restaurant manager James O’Toole on the pass in Erriseask

Head chef Sinéad Quinn with restaurant manager James O’Toole on the pass in Erriseask

Connemara Sands Beach Hotel & Spa is a four-star family owned and operated beachfront resort set on the stunning shores of Mannin Bay in Ballyconneely. The resort is entering its fourth year of operations in its current incarnation.

The hotel is ideally positioned at the entrance to Mannin peninsula, home to some of the world’s most pristine waters, beaches, and secluded coves. The coastal setting is perfect for walking or cycling, and the peninsula also offers seal watching only a short distance from the hotel. The seals can be seen lounging on the rocks and happily sunning themselves.

The hotel offers both self-catering and bed-and-breakfast accommodation and is also currently renovating six new duplex rooms that, when completed in May, promise to be like no other in Connemara.

The hotel has a certified organic seaweed spa with two baths, three treatment rooms, and a relaxation room. For the more adventurous there is kayaking, standup paddleboarding, coasteering, and snorkelling. It is the hotel’s mission to help connect visitors with the environment for a truly authentic Connemara experience. This is done through the spa and the seaweed, through the beach and the water activities, and through the cuisine.

The hotel has two food outlets, Sands Bar and Erriseask Restaurant, and one food concept that is Connemara on a Plate. Easy to say but not easy to execute—if not for the incredibly talented team of Stefan Matz and Sinead Quinn.

Executive chef Stefan Matz

Executive chef Stefan Matz

Executive Head Chef Stefan Matz is a true legend of the industry, having acquired a Michelin star while co-owner of Erriseask House Hotel with his brother back in 2001. Seventeen years and many accolades later, including a twelve-year stint as executive head chef at Ashford Castle, Stefan is happy to be back in Ballyconneely where he has lived for almost thirty years.

Head Chef Sinead Quinn has worked alongside Stefan for almost ten years. A graduate of GMIT, Sinead has a passion for the West of Ireland and the amazing ingredients it offers from both land and sea. An outstanding chef and leader in her own right, Sinead is on her own journey to culinary greatness. As a team performing in the theatre-style kitchen at Erriseask, Stefan and Sinead have an intangible synergy and almost seamless interaction while creating dishes that celebrate the landscape and the environment.

Erriseask and Connemara on a Plate offer a unique dining experience. The chefs are on show, and that adds something to the experience. It also offers transparency and a little insight for those that are interested. Don’t expect flying pans or any expletives—it is surprisingly calm, at least on the outside. It’s also about having a bit of fun. While the food is taken very seriously, the atmosphere is relaxed and informal.

Stefan Matz and Sinead Quinn are the perfect team to execute the Connemara on a Plate concept. Erriseask Restaurant at Connemara Sands Hotel offers the ideal platform from which to showcase the best of modern Irish cuisine.