A Lisnamulligan burger in the beer garden of Dicey Reilly’s is some sort of Donegal manna.

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On his farm at Castlefin, County Donegal, Thomas Hughes rears the Angus cattle that his butcher makes into the signature Lisnamulligan beef burgers.

He rears the pigs that become the Lisnamulligan pork and apple burger. The smoky bacon on the Smoky burger comes from those happy animals. And the potatoes he uses for his excellent skin-on fries? Yep, he grows the Roosters himself on the farm.

And, he’s not finished yet.

If you have a glass of Donegal Blonde as you enjoy your Lisnamulligan burger in the beer garden of Dicey Reilly’s bar, in little Ballyshannon, then the spent grains that are left after Brendan O’Reilly has finished his twice-weekly brew will be fed to Mr Hughes’ happy pigs.
It’s the simple circle of smart agriculture, and good, healthy, locavore eating, out in the yard of a classic traditional Donegal pub.

And, he’s not finished yet.

Once he figures out how to get his wheat ground and processed, Mr Hughes will also make the bap that houses your burger. And he will also grow oil seed rape, and produce the oil in which he fries his delicious chips.

Using pop-ups, and a converted horse trailer, as his kitchens, Mr Hughes is a one-man agricultural and culinary revolution. No one else takes the locavore principle to such lengths, both rearing and producing the ingredients himself and then acting as the chef who finishes them before they are bought by his devoted customers.

Working in tandem with a dynamic publican like Mr O’Reilly shows how the move to local food and drinks can play a dynamic role in Ireland’s artisan food culture.

Donegal beers and spirits and Donegal foods, served by Donegal people in Donegal, offers a whole new way of working not just for Donegal’s food culture, but also for Ireland’s food culture.