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Wild Atlantic Words with Jess Murphy

Text message 18/9/2019
‘I’ve totally f*****d up my dates and double booked myself, and I’m too scared to call you, have ya got a backup plan?’

There is no backup plan for the brilliant Jess Murphy, our very special guest for this years ’WILD ATLANTIC WORDS‘ literary festival here in Castlebar. nd so, the issue of the originally double-booked date was overcome by simply organising the event for a few days earlier

Jess is head chef and along with her husband Dave, is co-owner of KAI café and restaurant on Sea Road in Galway.
Approaching its 10th year, KAI (‘nestled in between a church and a gay bar’), this Galway icon has received countless awards, including a Michelin BIB Gourmand.

For years, Jess has been a noted and consistent champion of small Irish food producers, and this work was recognized last year when she was announced as the Blas na hEireann food champion 2019.

As Irish Times food columnist, her literary credentials for the WILD ATLANTIC WORDS FESTIVAL were undoubtedly in place, but it was also very exciting to hear Jess tell us about her work with a project that documents the food stories of the many immigrants and nationalities that now call Ireland their home. ‘Here’ promises to be a unique recipe collection which Jess hopes will be in print by next year.

Enthusiastically engaging with the ‘Desert Island Disc’ format of the evening, Jess also revealed for us her 5 favourite cookbooks/ food writers which she listed as follows …

‘Crazy Water, pickled lemons’ by Diana Henry
‘The prawn cocktail years’, by Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham
‘You’re all invited’ by Margot Henderson

‘Moro’ by Sam & Sam Clarke

‘The Kitchen Diaries’ by Nigel Slater

Discussing her love for these books and the recipes therein, Jess simultaneously gave us an account of her culinary journey to date from New Zealand to Galway. It was a great evening, with plenty of wonderful stories, and we’re extremely grateful to Jess for making the trip to us in Castlebar despite having to change her dates, come via Tullamore and nurse a full-on dose of the flu.

She left us with the promise to return for a Friday night pop up sometime in 2020 and with an Apple tart in hand, baked by Ann Mc Mahon earlier that day in her honour.


Bean West

Latte Art

Rua Coffee

We are delighted to be working with local coffee roasters Bean West from Westport who roast and deliver our coffee to each cafe weekly. We worked with Aaron from Bean West to create a custom blend for our cafes and delicatessen.

This espresso blend is also available to take home in retail bags of whole and ground beans and is packaged in recyclable bags.

Rua coffee espresso blend

Aaron worked as a barista in New Zealand for many years and it’s here he also learned the art of roasting coffee. Aaron Best WestAaron imports green beans which come from small independent farms around the world and hand roasts all his coffees on a Giesen roaster.

Bean West beans

Bean West Roasters








We love the idea of our coffee being roasted just down the road and being delivered weekly by Bean West which allows us to chat weekly to our roaster who visits both Spencer Street and New Antrim Street with deliveries…if we have any queries we can chat to Aaron directly who takes the time to train all our team members in house too.

All our takeout coffees come with a chunk of our home-made shortbread…don’t forget your loyalty card!

Bean West training 1



Rua Loves France August 25-27th


The Battle of Castlebar occurred on 27th August 1798 during the Irish Rebellion of that year when combined force of 2,000 French and Irish routed a force of 6,000 British militia in what would later became known as the ‘Races of Castlebar.’ Naturally, we’re using this as an excuse to run our annual French food festival.

Our weekend celebration features tastings in the delicatessen, specials in the cafes, pain au chocolat and lots more for breakfast and a French inspired menu at Cafe Rua for dinner on Friday night 26th August. Bookings for dinner on 0949023376 Both of our café menus will be littered throughout the weekend with some Gallic classics like duck confit, salade nicoise, tarte au citron and more. As always, we’ll be using the best of local produce like Sean Kelly’s beef for our boeuf bourgignon, Killary Shellfish for our moules marniere, vegetables form the Rua poly tunnel for our ratatouille, and fruit from our local rural training scheme to go with our pain perdu. French menus with Mayo produce.

As well as great offers in our shop on our selection of French wine and cheese, we’ve also got classic French cookbooks like Raymond Blanc’s ‘Kitchen secrets’ and Richard Onley’s ‘ The French menu cookbook’, the latter recently voted ‘Best cookbook of all time’ by readers of the Observer food magazine.

This year, we’re also featuring a history tour! On Saturday afternoon, Local historian Brian Hoban will also be hosting a guided tour of  Castlebar’s historical landmarks connected with the arrival of General Humbert and the French army for the the  ‘Races of Castlebar’  in 1798. The tour leaves from Rua on Saturday August 29th at 2pm, and places are limited so call us on 094 9286072 for more information.


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