2 minutes Inspiration

On the Range with Ruairi O’Connor

With his parents working long hours, a young Ruairi O’Connor discovered a knack for food when he often cooked for his siblings. After signing on at Newry Catering College at the age of 16, he knew he had found his career and place in the world. Ruairi earned his first head chef role by the age of 19 and spent the next 20 years building a reputation as a leading cook in Armagh and County Down, before buying The Downshire Arms, a Georgian coaching inn, with his wife.

“The previous owner had built a great business and reputation so I knew from day one that I could make it work. We initially kept the menu as it was before gradually tweaking and improving the offering. We have seasonal specials alongside our favourites such as fresh seabass, wagyu beef burgers, curries and roasts. We’re not pretentious and simply concentrate on doing the basics well. We have a fantastic historic venue, our food is seasonal and modern, plus you’re guaranteed to get a warm welcome.”

“We use a vast selection of Country Range products and are always delighted with the quality and value. The chicken fillets for example are exceptional, as are the spices and seasonings and staple products like dried pasta.”

Pan-fried Seabass, baby potatoes and a green pea, samphire and prawn linguine

“The recipe I am sharing is a vibrant, full-flavoured dish for the spring and summer months that uses a selection of Country Range staples such as the linguine, sundried tomatoes, green peas, cooking wine and lemon juice.”