Beara’s coffee horsebox is a galloping success at awards

March 14th, 2023 10:30 AM

Patrice O’Neill with her sister Linda Rawdon and her niece Ellie Rawdon at their award-winning café. (Photo: Anne Marie Cronin)

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A CASTLETOWNBERE takeaway coffee truck has won the Coffee Cart of the Year award at the Irish Takeaway Awards which were held recently.

CatchaCoffee, based in a converted horsebox, which has been a popular feature in Beara since it opened in May 2021 is owned by Patrice and Donal O’Neill. The couple were thrilled to win the award, and said it was all down to their customers. 

‘Without them, and their support we couldn’t have achieved this,’ they said. 

The awards which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Athlone saw takeaway teams from across Ireland come together to celebrate the best in their industry. Shane Smith, managing director of NI Media who run the awards said ‘food to go is one of the fastest growing sectors in the foodservice sector. The standards that we encountered this year were incredibly high.’ 

Patrice who is originally from Killybegs moved to Castletownbere where Donal is involved in the fishing industry. She worked in the catering industry for a number of years but says she and her husband had always talked about running a takeaway coffee truck.  

‘We always thought about doing some like that ourselves, in the end we said if we didn’t try it we’d die wondering, so we decided to go for it,’ she said.

Once the horsebox had been converted and painted an eye-catching peppermint green, Patrice opened CatchaCoffee in Gour just outside Castletownbere which overlooks the scenic Berehaven Harbour. 

Opening in May 2021, when a number of indoor hospitality restrictions were still in place due to the pandemic, CatchaCoffee was busy from the outset. 

Selling beverages and homemade cakes, Patrice is helped in the truck by her sister Linda, and by her niece Ellie when on holidays.  

CatchaCoffee moved from their original location to Castletownbere for the regatta weekend in August 2022, and says Patrice, they decided to stay.  

‘We got such great support from everyone that we decided to stay put in Castletownbere and try it out, and we’re still here, business is good!’

The horsebox is now located just metres from the town’s busy main pier and is popular with both visitors and locals. Patrice said CatchaCoffee stayed open until early December last year and are now taking a few months break and will reopen for the 2023 season on the May Bank Holiday weekend.  

‘We’re really looking forward to opening up again, and will stay open as long as we can this year, weather permitting,’ added Patricia. 

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