In the course of feeding and watering the people of these hills and valley for just over the past quarter of a century, Margaret O’Rourke has seen some of Ireland’s most famous faces sitting down within the walls of her restaurant, The Green Door.
Now situated at No. 53 Main Street, Castleisland since July 2018 in the building which once housed Tangney’s Bar, Margaret and her sister Mary founded the business at the rear of The Island Centre arcade in 1994.
Food Preparations at Home
Working half from home in terms of food preparation – at a time when you could do that – Margaret remembers that Mary and herself worked hard together for a year or so in their 12 seater restaurant until Mary discovered that the business was not for her.
After Mary went back to her job in Dublin, Margaret decided that it most certainly was for her and she got stuck in and ‘roped in’ the help of family and friends and she feels lucky and blessed with the staff she took on at the time.
Ware Washing Team
Margaret’s husband Jerry worked for over 49 years in Liebherr in Killarney and he was fed in The Green Door every evening. He soon discovered the truth in the old saying ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ and he was drafted onto the ware washing team.
At various times down through the years the likes of 1983 World 5,000m Champion, Eamon Coughlan visited as did the musician and actor Don Baker and more recently, John Lonergan – the former governor of Mountjoy Prison and inspirational speaker.
Not to mention the famous Cork and Kerry footballers who eat in The Green Door.
The Loyalty of The Locals
“Of course I remember the famous faces dropping in but to tell you the truth it’s the loyalty of the local people from here and all the parishes around – and it’s their faces that I remember most.
“A lot of our original crop of customers are gone now but I’m glad to say we’re attracting new customers and friends all the time and we’re updating our ideas and plans and these include the Friday night opening.
Moved onto Main Street
“After Mary left that time I thought I’d give it another year or two and see how it was going then and we’re more than still here – we’ve expanded and moved onto Main Street at No.53 a couple of years ago now,” Margaret continued.
Margaret feels that the business got a fresh wind in its sails when her son Shaun decided to train as a chef.
After training he worked in places like: The Park Hotel and The Europe Hotel – both in Killarney and in The Westbury Hotel in Dublin.
Cooking Skills and Great Ideas
“After that he went travelling and working around the world and, luckily for us, he came back in through The Green Door with all these cooking skills and so many great ideas.
Now, after 26 years Shaun has put his stamp on the place and the Friday night opening is his idea and we’re delighted at the response we’re getting from the people of the locality.
“It’s lovely to be back and we missed all our regular customers in the course of the 14 week lock-down.
New Early Bird Menu
“Before the March lock-down we had 52 tables and now we’ve removed some of them to ensure the two-metre space between the seating areas to comply with regulations and we have installed all the hand sanitising stations and perspex screens required in businesses like ours.
Our opening hours are 9.30am to 6pm and late opening Friday evening for the new early bird menu. Home baking is our specialty.
We offer a very broad children’s menu at £6.95 which includes a dessert. Eat in or take away lunch. Our fish is fresh daily from Star Seafood and Spillane’s Seafood and we work with many local fresh food suppliers.
We also offer free WIFI in the restaurant.
Staff Input in Shape and Make of the Business
“We are so grateful to all our customers and friends who have been so good and so loyal to us over the past 26 years. Some of them we’ve known from the start and they’re now like a part of our family at this stage.
Our staff members, Cathy Jones, Eileen Geaney and, in recent years, Johnathan Callaghan – they’ve all helped to make and shape the business we have today and we’re lucky to have them and we’re very grateful to them,” said Margaret.
About the Friday Night Specials
Are you overdue an evening out, in need of a break from the children or just want to catch up with friends?
The Green Door Restaurant at No. 53 Main Street, Castleisland has the perfect solution.
It’s opening every Friday evening from 5pm to 8pm offering an ‘early bird’ menu. So sit back and relax in a safe, sanitised, socially distanced restaurant setting.
Booking is an essential part of the safety precautions and is necessary to accommodate staggered arrival times.
The booking numbers are: 087 21 16 185, 087 12 52 418 or, by landline on 066 71 63662.