The courtyard at Fennelly's in Callan
“I can’t tell you how delighted we are to be open and see friendly faces coming through the doors again,” said Etaoin Holohan of Fennelly’s in Callan describing their reopening post lockdown.
The café and art hub only reopened to serve food in the last few weeks and has made some significant changes while in lockdown.
“We have three rooms inside and a courtyard,” said Etaoin, describing the layout of the 19th Century building - a front shop, the sitting room and the snug.
The linked rooms, with doors leading out into the courtyard, lend themselves to the one-way system put in place for the reopening.
There is no seating inside anymore, where up to 30 people used to sit.
“The rooms are too small, you can’t social distance properly and people can’t wear masks and eat,” she said.
Now people come in the front door, where they order food in the front shop, where only one customer or group is allowed at a time.
Customers then sign the contact tracing book in the sitting room and take their food out into the courtyard to eat. People can leave by the courtyard doors onto Bridge Street.
Etaoin did the Covid-19 training with the local Enterprise Office which gave a good overview of regulations and good practice for reopening a business. The menu at Fennelly’s has also had a makeover, with new chef Larry Fogg. With a dual emphasis of using the best of local, sustainable produce, and being able to serve the customer quickly, dishes are slow cooked in advance.
The menu at Fennelly's last week - check out their Facebook page for up-to-date menus
The courtyard at Fennelly’s, always welcoming, has benefitted from lots of lockdown gardening, new stone tables, and has lots of extra space. Etaoin said it never looked more beautiful.
Lockdown had a silver lining for Etaoin, it gave time to reimagine what she wanted Fennelly’s offering to be. And, she said, people have learned a lot about balancing life and work, making time for family and friends.
With that in mind, Fennelly’s is now open from Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 3pm. The premises has lots of space between tables in the courtyard, customers are safe there and it’s a ‘little harbour in the storm’.
Since reopening Etaoin said they have had a really nice response from customers and people are really kind and patient with the new arrangements.