The 'Burlo

Archive - all the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.
The newspapers have been filled with stories lamenting the passing of The 'Burlo, Dublin's Burlington Hotel.

To read them, one might imagine that The 'Burlo was the capital's equivalent of Ballymaloe House, an iconic concept with cutting-edge cuisine and a cultural impact as deep as it was wide. The 'Burlo cabaret was, one might imagine, as great an artistic feat as Wagner's Bayreuth or Britten's Aldeburgh.

We hate to be party poopers – we really, really do – but the single worst meal we were ever served in Ireland was a lunch following a seminar in The 'Burlo hotel, many years back.

It was so bad that even though we lived for years just a couple of hundred yards from The 'Burlo's front door, we could never bring ourselves to walk through those doors.

And as a cultural event, the 'Burlo seems to us closer to Stan Staunton's Irish soccer team: not quite Bayreuth, not quite Aldeburgh. More Leeds United, actually.

And mention of Ballymaloe House makes us consider this: imagine if the Dublin hotels created by the P.V. Doyle/Jurys group had expressed and epitomised the aesthetic of Irish hospitality and Irish food that Myrtle Allen has exemplified for the last 40-odd years.

What sort of culinary and hospitality culture might we have then?