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26 September 2016

Master Baker Mary Gleeson Shares Secrets of Great Soda Bread with BBC Travel

Mary Gleeson's Brown Soda Bread

Many people assume that the cross in the top of soda bread had religious meaning for Irish people. When Master baker Mary Gleeson, co-owner of Gleeson’s Restaurant & Rooms in Roscommon was asked about the cross tradition by BBC Travel’s Kathleen Mangan, she answered without hesitation “You have to cut a cross in the dough to let the fairies out.”

When asked what happens if you don’t cut a cross in the dough Mary? She giggled, “I don’t know, we’re scared not to,” she replied.

Most of us have seen older family members making soda bread, and learned the method from them. It’s a staple food in most Irish households and made so frequently there is no need for a recipe or even a written down method to make it, it involves throwing in the ingredients in the right order, baking it beautifully and it takes practice to get it just right.

In Gleeson’s Restaurant, there are four types of soda bread and five types of scones offered. The bread is so renowned that Mary has presented it at Embassy events in the United States and food shows in Europe. Mary Gleeson learned the “throwing-in” method from her granny and admitted it took time to perfect. However, sharing her recipe for perfect soda bread, she agrees that soda bread making is all about a light touch, aerating the flour by lifting it in the air and letting it flutter back into the bowl, the real secret behind fluffy bread. “That’s why you barely mix the buttermilk with the dry ingredients, carefully ease the dough onto the bread board, and never, ever knead it. That pounds the air out of it,” Mary said. These methods are the same no matter the specific ingredients, she added.  

Visit Gleesons Restaurant on Market Square, Roscommon where homemade treats including Mary’s Soda Bread is made fresh daily. Or make Mary’s Brown Soda Bread yourself at home or try more of Mary's recipes, just click here.

Find the link to the BBC Travel blog here

10 June 2016

Gleesons celebrates 25 Years at the Heart of Hospitality in Roscommon



From small beginnings as coffee shop and 5 guest bedrooms Gleesons today is the beating heart of hospitality in the center of Roscommon Town with 25 guest bedrooms and a thriving restaurant and function room renowned for its warmth, welcome and honest cooking far and wide.

Through the years Gleesons has catered to customers from all over the world  and has played host to family parties, catch ups over coffee, get togethers and events, as their reputation for delicious food and attentive service has grown.  In conjunction with Tourism Ireland, Gleesons have regularly showcased their food in places as far away as Oslo, London, Milan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. Gleesons have part of the Good Food Ireland teams that have catered for events over the years in The US & British Ambassadors residences in Dublin & the Web Summit.

Renowned American Food Writer, Colman Andrews described Gleesons Lamb Stew as “the best he ever tasted”. It comes as no surprise Gleesons are listed in all the top Tourism Guides books; The Lonely Planet, Bridgestone Guide, Georgina Campbell’s Guide to Ireland, John & Sally McKenna’s Best in Ireland. And at the heart of Roscommon town, Gleesons is the home base for many voluntarily local organisations, such as Tidy Towns and The Lions Club.

The last 25 years have been a fabulous journey & the one things that’s always on the menu at Gleesons is a warm welcome,” says Mary Gleeson. 

Our new look is  all about celebrating what we are, a Restaurant and Rooms and a welcoming and comfortable place to rest and relax in Roscommon town” said Eamonn Gleeson “in recent weeks the restaurant and reception have been redecorated, and new menus have been tried and tested to great reaction.” 

We are proud to celebrate the success of the business over the last 25 years and wish to thank our dedicated staff, our loyal customers and the town of Roscommon for all the support they have given us,”said Eamonn Gleeson.

7 June 2016

Gleesons named Best Fry-Up Breakfast in Roscommon - Lovin.ie


Gleesons R&R Best Fry-Up Breakfast in Roscommon - Lovin.ie

"Let your tastebuds revel in one heck of a fry up in this idyllic spot. Sure make a night of it and add a bed to that breakfast."

Thanks Lovin.ie. View the full list of the Where To Get The Best Fry-Up Breakfast In Every County In Ireland, click here.

September 2015


We are delighted to be announced as finalists in the Keelings Farm Fresh Gold Medal Awards 2015.  Judged by industry experts, the awards recognise and reward excellence in hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, spas and catering operations across the island of Ireland. Now in their 27th year, the Keelings Farm Fresh Gold Medal Awards are the leading independent awards for the Irish hospitality industry. Gleesons Townhouse & Restaurant were delighted to be selected as finalists in  Ireland's Hotel Breakfast category for our famous full Irish breakfast. We are delighted to be recognised in this category in the 27th annual Gold Medal Awards as we pride ourselves on offering superior quality, locally sourced produce. The 2015 saw entries increase by 41% on last year, with over 50 new properties entering. A new judging process was introduced to this year’s awards in addition to the inclusion of several new high profile judges. This ensured the inclusion of the crème de la crème of hospitality and catering operations from the island of Ireland.  

July 2015

We are delighted to represent Roscommon at World ‪‎Expo2015 in Milan  where we will represent our county and region and showcase our Irish Lamb Stew as part of the ‪Bord Bia - Origin Green initiative.
Expo Milan 2015 is a 6 month worldwide Exhibition taking place in Milan, Italy from May 1 to October 31, 2015 where 140 participating countries will showcase the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe
and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium. In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo also involves international organizations, and expects to welcome over 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area.
The theme of food, stimulating each country’s creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, Expo 2015 gives everyone the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world’s best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the
exhibitor countries.  
The universal theme for EXPO Milan of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ – the challenge the world faces of providing the growing population with safe, high quality, sustainable food supplies for generations. Origin Green is Ireland’s promise to the world to be a leading source of sustainably produced food and drink for generations to come. For that reason, it was unanimously decided by the Irish government, that Origin Green would be the underpinning theme of the Ireland Pavilion at EXPO 2015.  For more information, click here


Hogget in season. 

We featured recently in an article on the Georgina Campbell's Ireland Guide for Mary's lamb stew, our most popular and well known dish.  Mary's recipe is included if you would like to try it for yourself!  In the article, they agree with Colman Andrews, who had enthused about this dish in his widely acclaimed book ‘The Country Cooking of Ireland’ (2009): “I’ve eaten Irish Stew in private homes and public eating places, North and South, probably twenty five or thirty examples in all and no two have been alike. The most purely delicious example I remember came from Gleesons Townhouse & Restaurant in Roscommon though I suspect its appeal came not from any secret ingredients or from any magical cooking technique but from the flavors inherent in the raw materials that went into it…”

Read the full article here.

Delighted to have received this prestigious accolade again this year by John and Sally McKeanna.  What a lovely personal review!



We are proud members of Good Food Ireland who represented Ireland at the White House on St. Patrick's Day as special guest of President Barack Obama. 

“The US is a hugely important market for both Irish agriculture and tourism. By raising the perception of Ireland's food we provide a new growth driver for tourism,  provided we direct those tourists to quality places that are actually using local Irish food" says the visionary of the Good Food Ireland brand, Margaret Jeffares. 


We are delighted to be rated in the top 5 of the National Geographic Food & Wine Guide for our famous lamb stew.   Read the full article here 

It’s the sweet, grass-reared Roscommon lamb that makes our stew so tasty and admired. We cook it in fresh thyme and rosemary-flavored broth with onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes.

The Roscommon Lamb Festival in May offers a chance to taste local lamb cooked a variety of ways.