John Ward minds his oysters. He minds them carefully, ever so carefully, as they mature in their beds in the clean cold waters off the Connemara coast. The result of Mr Ward’s patient, nurturing care is simple: Dooncastle oysters are some of the best oysters you can eat – saline, invigorating, sumptuous, a tonic example of one of the great natural health foods. The first time we ever served them, every single person who ate one came up afterwards and said: “Those are the best oysters I’ve ever eaten!” Mr Ward is one of the dynamic band of Irish oyster growers who are creating ever greater appreciation of their magnificent product in Ireland, a group of hard-working artisans who are, in their dedicated way, transforming the perception and appreciation of the Irish oyster. Just remember to ask for them by name: half a dozen Dooncastle oysters will float your boat, and get lunch or dinner started with the maximum possible deliciousness.