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Boxty causes rows.

There are wildly differing recipes throughout Ireland, and everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter of what qualifies as ‘authentic’ and ‘traditional’. Generally made using an unusual mix of cooked and raw potatoes, there is evidence to suggest that the idea may have originated in the west of Ireland, but the tradition is also strong in the northerly counties. In her excellent book, ‘Ireland’s Green larder’ author Margaret Hickey proposes that the idea of grating potatoes would have been an expedient perhaps turned to during famine times as an alternative to throwing away soft potatoes.

At Rua, we make our Boxty once a year, and always around St Patrick’s weekend. The recipe comes from Nuala, our head chef in our Spencer Street café, who has made it for over 10 years for both our café and for sale in our shop.

Nuala’s Boxty

Makes approximately 5 cakes.  A quarter of a cake is ample as part of a full breakfast.


– 2kg spuds
– a small onion, finely chopped
– chopped parsley,
– 2 eggs, lightly whisked
– seasoning


– Sweat diced onion in butter and when soft add chopped parsley, cool slightly;

– Peel and coarsely grate potatoes;

– When done, squeeze the excess water from them – an unused tea towel or J-cloth is good for this;

– Add cooled onion and parsley to grated spuds, add beaten eggs, seasoning and mix well.

– To cook, fry on hot pan with some butter and a little oil to prevent butter burning.

– Shape into thick pancake shape on pan, and use a spatula to carefully flip over to do same on other side until golden brown.

– Serve hot with butter or salt, or cut into pieces and serve as part of a full breakfast.


10 years on Spencer Street


Time flies…

thumbnail_IMG_0847_sRGBThis year, Rua celebrates 10 years on Castlebar’s Spencer Street.  In 2008 the newspapers were filled with stories of the deepening worldwide recession yet, bolstered on by the support of our loyal customers and with a brilliant  team ready to take on the challenge, we opened the doors to our very sparsely stocked shop in the Autumn of 2008. When the tables and chairs arrived, our café opened above our deli several weeks later.thumbnail_IMG_0861-2

Since then, we are proud to run a shop that hosts the produce of a small army of great producers, many of them local. We have also aimed to celebrate this food on the daily changing menus in our upstairs café. It has been flattering and encouraging to have been acknowledged nationally over the last decade with Restaurant Awards for ‘Best Irish Café‘ and the ‘Bord Bia’ national ‘Just Ask’ award in 2016 for our promotion of local food. However, what we are mostly grateful for as a business is the repeat and valued custom from the people of Castlebar, our neighbouring towns and too, all those who include Rua as a pit stop for nourishment over the last ten years. We are still here because of you.

thumbnail_IMG_0864To celebrate the 10 years on Spencer street, we can think of no better way to say thank you to our customers than to celebrate some of the fantastic produce that have been ingredients to our business.

We have ten Rua shopping  bags filled with goodies to give away. To enter, simply come to our cafe on Spencer Street and anyone paying a bill from 10:00 am for €10 or over gets a chance to pick a lucky 10 ticket from the Lucky 10 bucket! 

10 yr hamper draw




Margaret Hickey visits Rua

IMG_8059On an unseasonably warm October evening, we were privileged to host an evening event at Rua for our town’s ‘Wild Atlantic Words’ literary festival. Now in its third year, the programme this year was another wonderfully eclectic mix of authors from a wide spectrum of literary interest including Mary Robinson, Pat Mc Cabe and local historian Ivor Hamrock.IMG_7996

Our task at Rua was to add to the bill by inviting a recently published author, ideally based or hailing from the West coast of Ireland, and who would be able to entertain us with stories based on an expertise in matters of food or food history. To this end, we aimed high, and our first choice was to issue an invite to Margaret Hickey.  Based near Portumna, Margaret was a former editor of Country Living magazine, and also pursued a freelance writing career, contributing articles on food, drink and travel to most of the British national press, including The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Times.

Our shop had recently got hold of her most recent work ‘Ireland’s Green Larder’ and we had been enthusiastically promoting it to anyone with a passing interest in Irish food. Described as ‘A glorious ramble down the centuries telling the story of food and drink in Ireland’, the book is filled with wonderful stories and gems of information about our nation and its relationship with food and drink through the centuries.IMG_8258

We were delighted when Margaret graciously accepted our invite and came to see us at Rua on the Wednesday evening of the festival. Once the crowd gathered just after 7pm in the upstairs café on Spencer Street, Margaret wasted no time in launching into a catalogue of stories from the pages of her book, featuring information on how the Irish monks taught the French how to make cheese, and how our food story  began in Mayo’s Ceide Fields, established 1000 years before the Pyramids were built. There were also lots of questions from the interested attendees and debate ensured on our nation’s checkered history with eating fish and current appetite for offal.

It was a great evening, and we are very grateful to the Wild Atlantic Words committee for inclusion in the festival, and, of course, to Margaret for coming to speak and entertain us at Rua.

IMG_8260Read more about Margaret on the links below:


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