Firecastle’s Managing Director Paul Lenehan talks about the business since taking the role.
Tell us about Firecastle?
So, Firecastle opened in September 2020, as a brand-new build in Market Square, Kildare Town. It’s comprised of a few different elements – a café, a delicatessen, a bakery, and we’ve also got 10 bedrooms upstairs with their own private entrance… so it’s a bit of a hybrid of sorts. We’ve developed a traditional food store and bakery, stocking a wonderful range of wines, cheeses, breads, fresh fruit & vegetables. You can pick up your full grocery shop in-store, to be honest! Our café seats about 40 inside, and we also have a beautiful terrace outside.
What can people expect on a visit to Firecastle?
Well, as soon as you walk in through our front doors, you’ll see an open window which gives you a view directly into our kitchen where our bread and pastries are being prepared. You’ll also see our Firecastle Fresh range being produced daily. We’ve got everything from beef lasagne, to chicken tikka, and fresh quiches. These meals are very popular, you can take them home and reheat them, and they’re delicious!
The shelves in our grocery are packed with artisan goods, predominantly Irish produce. We stock everything… jams, milks, even cured meats, and we try to stock as much local Kildare produce as we can find.
Tell me something about Firecastle that people might not know.
Something that makes us unique to other stores is the fact that everything from our deli, bakery, and fresh range is made in-store by our dedicated team in the kitchen. We’ve actually got about 10-12 chefs working each day, and they create really delicious food that we’re very proud of!
What’s your favourite thing to do in Kildare on your days off?
Hmm… that’s a very good question, other than hit the golf course? Let’s see… on a day off, I’d look forward to spending a few hours with my wife in Kildare Village, or a few hours with my family at The Irish National Stud in Kildare Town. I’d probably then take the afternoon off to play golf in any one of the many great courses we have around the county.
Where is your favourite place to eat out in Kildare?
We’re spoilt for choice! After our own Hartes of Kildare, or the Dew Drop Inn Ehhhmm… I’d say the Ballymore Inn. It’s a place that for years has prided itself on very good cooking by a super chef, Georgina O’Sullivan. There’s a lovely back area, and then there’s a more formal front area too. I’ve never had a bad meal there.
What is your favourite song?
Ohhh… there’s a few, depending on which era. I suppose in my early years it would have been ‘Blood On Blood’ by Bon Jovi, a great rocking tune. Around my college years, it was definitely ‘Superstylin’ by Groove Armada. So, it’s a toss up between one of those… but that’s a question I’d rarely answer, so you’re seeing a different side to me altogether!
What is your favourite film?
Favourite film… well, Gladiator is just class! Yeah, definitely Gladiator.
Tell us a bit about Taste of Kildare.
Taste of Kildare was set up by Into Kildare about 5 or 6 years ago, but we haven’t had the opportunity to do one since 2018 in the K Club, which was a fantastic event! We’re excited to continue on this year by hosting it in The Curragh racecourse for the weekend of 24th & 25th September. This will bring a variety of Kildare-based food producers, restaurants, chefs, and cafés to the racecourse to showcase their produce. We’re really looking forward to bringing The Dewdrop, and Firecastle to the event, and to work with the guys up at the Curragh to do what we do best, showcase the wonderful food we produce!
There will be a great grá for it because the punters will get the best of both worlds – top class racing and a vibrant foodie experience!