Mick Kilcourse and Paul Gannon formed MP Rockland's Catering and have taken over the catering franchise at Castlebar Golf Club.

Catering at Castlebar Golf Club is well above par

By Tom Gillespie

TWO school mates have teamed up after 30 years to give their ‘best shot’ at providing catering services at the 650 member Castlebar Golf Club.

For 23 years Mick Kilcourse was involved in the family Bike Clinic business in Castlebar, and wanted a change.

He teamed up with chef Paul Gannon, from Breaffy, and they set up MP Rockland's Catering and since February have held the catering franchise at the 114-year-old club.

Paul had been executive head chef in NUI Galway for 16 years, but decided to take up the golf club challenge.

And the venture has proven a resounding success with customers flocking from Castlebar for the lunch and evening meals.

Mick said: “We took over the franchise in February hoping we would give ourselves a month or six weeks to settle in but the business just exploded straight away.”

Paul was chef at the club in the summer of 2021, coming out of Covid, and people heard he was coming back.

Mick continued: “We have advertised the golf club as a venue to come to during the week and for Sunday lunch and thanks to Paul the food is good.

“The way Castlebar is at the minute it is impossible to get town centre parking anywhere. We are just three minutes outside the town and we have free parking here. It is a lovely setting and you can look out and see green grass and when we get a good day the patio area is excellent.”

Both Mike and Paul had been class mates at Davitt College.

Paul said: “It’s great that two childhood friends were able to open a business together. I had been in Galway for over 30 years. I left Castlebar when I was 18. I am 48 now and I am back in Castlebar.

“On the catering side, we are doing just honest, decent food at affordable prices. While we are catering for the golfers we want this place to be accessible to the public too.”

They can cater for up to 65 people at small events like christenings and small parties.

“We are providing another eatery for Castlebar,” Paul said.

Mick added: “We want people to know we are here and that this is another venue where they can have lunch during the week or a roast on a Sunday.

“I had been in my previous occupation for 23 years. I told my brother Paul that I fancied a change to do something else and he has kept on the bike shop.

“I did not leave the bike shop to come here. It is my wife Linsey who is to blame for all of this.

“She said I was a member of the golf club for 40 years. She suggested we bring Paul with us as he had been here before and take over the catering and Paul was ready to get out of Galway and come back to Mayo.”

Paul said: “A lot of the others who were in our class play golf and it is great for me to come back and see familiar faces. Now it is great to have my own business and see what it is like and fortunately so far I cannot complain.”

Mick went on: “I rang Paul and explained my plan. But if Paul did not come on board it was a non-runner, because without good food you have no venue.

“Thankfully, it has worked brilliantly for us. We have known one another for 30 years. We started here on February 1 and it has really taken off. People have been very good to us, the members and the general public.

“We see people coming out to us on a Sunday that have no connection with the golf club. We serve food every day from 12.30 and on Sunday we serve lunches until seven o’clock. We get a lot of parties for 15 or 25 people.

“We do a nice lunch trade during the week. We have a nice menu and we do everything from main courses, starters, desserts and light bites. There is something on the menu for everyone.

“People can sit in their car at lunchtime and be here in three minutes from town. Clients can ring us and we can give them the daily menu and they can pre-order if they want and we can have the food ready for them on arrival.

“The feedback has been very, very good. We try to keep it simple, a friendly venue where Paul puts up good food.”

Paul admitted: “I have actually gone full circle having started out in Breaffy House Hotel and I am back here again now.”

The Castlebar club has been fortunate to host several prestigious events including the 2004 Irish Boys Amateur Close Championship and the 2010 All-Ireland Club and Shields finals.

In 2016 the club famously hosted US President Joe Biden, his brother Jim and then Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

* For bookings, call (094) 9021649 (extension 2 for the bar) or call Mick on (087) 6975596.

Do you have a story to tell about your business? If so, Tom Gillespie would be delighted to hear from you. Get in touch at (087) 9680780 or gillespietom49@gmail.com.