Since 2007 —
Curating a world unique hospitality experience
Fáiltiú pearsanta ó na huinéirí
"…if any young restaurant couple in Europe deserve to flourish it is the de Blacams, deeply rooted on its very western extremity."
The Financial Times
Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites was created by Marie-Thérèse and Ruairí de Blacam in 2007, with the aim of enabling guests to best experience their island location of unique natural beauty.
They designed and built it in a way that every detail is inspired by the island and a way of living that is necessary in such a remote place exposed to all the elements.
It is an intimately private retreat, run personally by Ruairí and Marie-Thérèse and a small team. Both are widely travelled and have curated their best hotel experiences into their very unique hospitality offering - Ireland's original luxury nature lodge.
Ruairí de Blacam Ruairí is the cook in the restaurant, and as a native of Inis Meáin, is inspired by the purity of the ingredients and the food traditions of the island.
He spent 15 years working as a professional chef in Dublin, Italy, Germany and France before returning home to the island to open his own restaurant.
Ruairí was born before the island had electricity and experienced an Irish childhood that was more akin to that of the previous generation in the 1950s. It was a time when there was just one supply boat to the island each week - if the sailing wasn’t cancelled in rough weather.
Each house on the island had a cow, and milk was borrowed from the neighbour’s cow when your own cow was in calf. Pigs and chickens were also common, as was salting fish, and foraging, not for fashion sake but to ensure a continuous food supply.
He has a very grounded approach to food through which his philosophy of Elemental Eating has developed. Based on using the best available island ingredients and presenting them simply using just two main elements in each dish to highlight their deliciousness.
Marie-Thérèse de Blacam Marie-Thérèse wears many caps for Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites including Host, Designer, Gardener and Marketeer.
She has a broad background in these areas, and an enduring interest in food and hospitality first piqued by a work placement in Ballymaloe Cookery School near to her family home in East Cork.
A degree in Entrepreneurship through Irish first brought her to Inis Meáin, and combined with a Diploma in Fashion Design provided a skill set that proved useful in creating the Restaurant & Suites.
As host in the restaurant, she regularly provides insights to guests curious about both the idiosyncrasies of their unique location, and the specially curated drinks list including more than 100 wines. She has an advanced certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET).
A keen baker, she has developed the many breads, cakes and biscuits enjoyed by guests during a stay, and also manages the gardens to provide ingredients for the restaurant.
Ruairí and Marie-Thérèse, together with their two young girls, are active members of the small island community all year round, and the Restaurant & Suites support island groups and events including the Schools, the Sports & Social Committee, the Aran Islands GAA Club, the RNLI, the Inis Iron Meáin Run and other events and development projects that happen on the island.
Orla Ní Chonghaile
Orla manages the office administration, but she and her family also help us look after our girls, helping out wherever and whenever it's needed. An invaluable part of our teams both past and future.
Meadhbh Ní Dhomhnaill
Meadhbh, another native islander, is a wonderful baker and cook and she has kept us in sweet treats, delicious desserts, and fresh breads for many years with more to come.
Enrique Gonzalez Villar
Smiley & Speedy
Enrique has been keeping us smiling for several years. From Madrid but with a thick Scottish accent, he is always jolly, and has a laugh that makes him a favourite with our guests. We look forward to him playing a key role in our next chapter.
Like MacGyver, Pat has an extraordinary knack for unconventional problem solving. He is multi-skilled neighbour, wall builder, potato grower, chief beekeeper and a lot more, who always helps us out of sticky situations.
Victor Lopez Diaz
Victor is our free-spirited philosopher, who brought his calm and kind zen to the team for the last two years. We hope to see him back for another stint between camper-van adventures in the future.
Garden to Plate
It was fantastic to have Florian in our team for the last season of the restaurant - very talented both in the garden and the kitchen, he prepped and cooked many services as Chef, using the produce he cared for since planting it as seed.
Ruairí's cousin Saileog, was our wonderful restaurant manager for 5 seasons. She has since been progressing her career in the drinks industry in Dublin, but continues to help us in the evolution of our carefully selected wine and drinks collection.
Roger & Olivia Goodwillie
Biologists and authors, Roger and Olivia have vast experience of vegetables and rearing animals on their Kilkenny farm. They are also specialists in Burren Landscape, and have been our hands-on, eco-guides since the beginning.
15 years of...
We've been very fortunate to work with many fantastic people over the 15 years of the Restaurant & Suites, all adding in their own way to the team and the island - both native islanders and those who have come to work for one season or several.
Awards & Ratings Marie-Thérèse and Ruairí have a long-standing commitment to quality, receiving highly-regarded reviews, awards, ratings and recommendations both nationally and internationally ever since opening in 2007. Some of these are listed below:
- Michelin Green StarMichelin Awards 2021
- Outstanding Guest ExperienceGeorgina Campbell, Irish Food & Hospitality Awards 2020
- Best Restaurant in IrelandIrish Hospitality Awards 2019
- One of the 12 Best Meals of the YearNick Lander, The Financial Times, December 2018
- Best Meal of the Year Catherine Cleary, Irish Times, December 2018
- Best Dining Experience/Best Boutique HotelIrish Hospitality Awards 2011-2018
- 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland Bridgestone/McKenna's Guides 2008-2019
- 100 Best Places to Stay in IrelandBridgestone/McKenna's Guides 2008-2019
- Hall of Fame - Certificate of ExcellenceTripAdvisor, 2013-2018
- Best Design in Irish TourismIrish Tourism Industry (ITIC) Inaugural Awards 2015
- One of the 10 Best Architectural RetreatsGuide to Architectural Retreats 2010 - Worldwide
- Best Commercial Building Design in IrelandZurich LAMA Architecture Awards 2010
- Newcomer of the YearGeorgina Campbell, Irish Food & Hospitality Awards 2008
Work With Us / Obair Linn Working at Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites gives people an opportunity to live as part of a small community on a very special island, with a beautiful landscape and a unique culture.
It also gives team members an insight into an intimate hospitality business operating at a world class level, thereby giving them invaluable experience to further a career at a high level in hospitality.
Unusually for a very small business, we have a large team house. It is just 100 meters from the restaurant and located in the middle of the island, thus reducing living costs very considerably for team members living there.
Our team of around 10 people is a mix of islanders and others, some who live here and work with us all year around, and some who relocate to the island for our March to October season.
As some of the positions are seasonal, we usually need to find some new team members for each season. The positions include work in the areas of Food, Customer Service, Housekeeping and Kitchen Portering.
If you think you may be interested in applying for a position in one or more of these areas please email a detailed CV, and personalised letter outlining your skills, what area of work you are interested in, and the time frame of your availability to firstname.lastname@example.org.