Around the world and back again

Willie Pa 3

Posted on: 10th February, 2014

Category: Food & Wine

Contributor: Sheila Mullins

To the relief of many foodies, Bantry’s Willie Pa’s reopened just before Christmas under the new ownership of Patrick Kiely of O’Connor’s Seafood Restaurant fame. Known for its hearty meals and warm, unfussy welcome, Willie Pa’s retains these qualities under new head chef Sinead Desmond, who has returned home to put her stamp on one of West Cork’s favourite restaurants.

Remarkably, for someone who grew up in West Cork, Bantry native Sinead was exposed to flavours from around the world at her mother Veronica’s kitchen table, a legacy from her parents’ days at sea early in their marriage.

Sinead Desmond

Sinead Desmond

Most Bantry locals will be familiar with the name Jerry Desmond, harbourmaster in Bantry for many years and Sinead’s father. Jerry started his career at sea working on international ships, bringing his new bride Veronica along for the trip. Bored with life above deck, Veronica spent much of her time in the galley with the mostly Indian chefs, where she became acquainted with spices and flavours unheard of back in West Cork. “Back in Ireland, mum passed her love of food onto me and is my biggest inspiration,” says Sinead today.

As a 16-year-old Sinead got her first job in the now closed Sheehan’s Café as a pot scrubber. The buzz of the kitchen convinced her to pursue a career as a chef and she embarked on a hotel catering course in the College of Commerce before honing her skills at Ballymaloe Cookery School in the late 90s.

Having served an apprenticeship in the Crawford Café, Sinead decided to travel to broaden her culinary horizons and stints in Belgium and Thailand amongst other places followed. She returned to spend the next 10 years at The Quay Coop in Cork, where she learned “how to create a vegetarian dish for a menu that is more than just an afterthought.”

After a decade in the Quay Coop, Sinead was ready for new adventures and spent three months on the high seas as a personal chef on The Starry Night, an 82’ yacht, before returning again to Cork, as a chef in Gallagher’s on McCurtain Street.

“After a life spent learning and travelling, I was ready to return home to West Cork,” says Sinead, “both to be closer to my family and to get the chance to work with 100 per cent West Cork produce. We are lucky to live in ‘Produce Heaven’, where the meat and vegetables are so good we don’t have to overdress it, in fact we want the flavours to come through. For example, right now I’m so excited to be ordering pork chops in the market which will be specially smoked for us.”

Restaurant manager Pat Murnane is as passionate as Sinead about putting a spotlight on West Cork produce and she is grateful for his support in putting together a menu that showcases the best quality meat that the region has to offer.

Willie Pa’s is open for food Wednesday – Sunday, 12.30pm – 9pm. Tel: 027 50392  Mobile: 087 7887565.

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Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

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What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

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This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

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