Amongst the very best in Irish hospitality, the owners of the Balloo Inns Group in County Down were singled out for their remarkable contribution to the industry and awarded one of the most prestigious awards at the Georgina Campbell Awards 2019 in Dublin.
Ronan and Jennie Sweeney were presented with the ‘Hospitality Hero’ award for exceptional individuals in Irish food and hospitality, the final award of the highly-respected ceremony.
The pair own and manage the award-winning Balloo House in Killinchy, The Poacher’s Pocket in Lisbane and The Parson’s Nose in Hillsborough.
The annual celebration is Ireland’s longest-running independent food and hospitality awards. Presenting the ‘Hospitality Hero’ award, Georgina Campbell commented: “The contribution that Ronan and Jennie Sweeney have made to standards in hospitality, and especially in the casual dining sector, is remarkable.
“Their ambition, when they took over the famous 19th century coaching inn Balloo House in Killinchy in 2004, was to restore its reputation as one of the finest country dining pubs in Northern Ireland.
“They achieved this with spectacular success – and it was just the beginning. There is also The Poacher’s Pocket, with its terrific Poacher’s Pantry selling top quality meat, fish and game in season as well as bakery, deli products and premium drinks.
“And the charming Parson’s Nose in Hillsborough, which was recently given the Sweeney gold dust treatment, emerging as an even more impressive old-meets-new dining destination last year.
“The three Balloo Inns sum up all that is best about Northern Ireland food and hospitality for many regular visitors, and they have become the benchmark for quality pub dining.”
Commenting on the award, Ronan Sweeney said: “Jennie and I are very touched by this special award from Georgina Campbell, it is completely unexpected, and we are very grateful to receive this national recognition at the prestigious ceremony in Dublin.
“It is continually an enjoyable journey honing our offering to the highest possible standard and working with fantastic suppliers to serve the finest locally-sourced food across the all three of our dining pubs.
“We share this accolade with our talented and motivated 120-strong team across the Balloo Inns Group and want to thank them for all their support, hard work and contribution.”
During the celebration, Georgina Campbell also commended the Hospitality Heroes for delivering programmes that benefit their team and the wider population.
Within the past year the Balloo Inns Group has embarked on a series of initiatives focused on raising awareness and funds for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS). Additionally, the team across the three pubs benefit from an employee assistance scheme including counselling through Inspire Wellbeing.
Georgina Campbell finished her citation by remarking: “All this is very typical of this caring couple, it’s just what they do. Ronan and Jennie Sweeney, we salute you and commend the valued contribution of all of your team members.”
o For further information on the award-winning Balloo Inns Group or to make a reservation visit www.ballooinns.com