Main Street, Ballyliffin, Co. Donegal
Nancy’s Barn has a wonderful history. Many moons ago, the now ‘Nancy’s Barn’, was a hay barn owned by the McLaughlin’s. If you know anything about surnames in Donegal, you’ll know that there are many, many McLaughlin’s! It wouldn’t be uncommon for several people within a single village to have the exact same name. For that reason, most families would have nicknames. These McLaughlin’s were nicknamed the ‘Nancy’s’ – hence ‘Nancy’s Barn’!
As a young lad living in rural Donegal, Kieran and his family would often go for a Sunday drive. He explains how from a young age, the large stone building on the edge of Ballyliffin Village always caught his eye:“We would drive past Nancy’s Barn, formally known as the ‘Craft Shop’ in the seaside town of Ballyliffin, Co. Donegal. I would say to my parents ‘when I get older, I want to buy that old shed’.”
True to his word and making those childhood aspirations a reality, Kieran purchased the building in 2008. He opened Nancy’s Barn as a seasonal coffee shop / bistro and business quickly flourished. Word soon spread of the great coffee, fabulous home-style baking and delicious savoury foods served daily, and the business flourished.
Nancy’s Barn has proven to be a very popular venue on the “Wild Atlantic Way” with its laid-back beach vibe reflecting its proximity to nearby Pollan beach.
This coastal theme was further developed and fresh seafood available direct from Greencastle became a signature feature on the menu. Kieran, with a warm passion for good food creations, tried hundreds of chowder recipes and attempted many things to get it right.
He finally came up with a delicious recipe that drove his patrons wild – ‘Nancy’s Seafood Chowder with a Spanish twist’. The beauty of it is that the chowder is gluten-free and filled with delicious ingredients. The young, modest chef believes that the secret to any good dish is to “keep it simple; wholesome and tasty all the way”.
Following their success in the All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off in Kinsale, Co Cork in 2016, they represented Ireland in the World Chowder Championships in Rhode Island, USA in June 2017, and Won!!
World Award Winning Seafood Chowder 2017
Cafe of the year ULSTER 2019
All Ireland business award Gold 2019