In the past couple of weeks, we’ve been hearing a lot about the 14 year correspondence between Jackie Kennedy and a Fr Joseph Leonard – a Vincentian priest who lived at All Hallows in Drumcondra.
Fr. Joseph Leonard and Jacqueline Kennedy
The archive contains dozens of hand-written letters by Jackie – before and after she married JFK. In her first letter which was written in August 1950 after visiting Ireland, she fondly recalled dining at Jammet’s French Restaurant in Dublin.
Restaurant Jammet, Nassau Street, Dublin 2
After Jackie married US senator, John F Kennedy, they visited here together in 1955 and of course, they dined at Jammet’s at number 46 Nassau Street.
Michael MacLiammoir. Lady Longford and Padraig Column dine at Restaurant Jammet
Jammet's boasted a smoking room and an Oyster Bar where lunch could be taken at a wide marble counter from a high stool.
Clients included politicians, nobility, actors, writers and artists such as William Orpen and Harry Kernoff whose painting of the restaurant now hangs in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
The literati, includng Liam O’ Flaherty and Seán O’ Sullivan, drank here.
W.B. Yeats had his own table in Jammet’s. On 6 March 1933, he dined in Jammet’s ‘Blue Room’ with fellow writers A.E., Brinsley Macnamara, James Stephens, Lennox Robinson, F.R. Higgins, Seamus O’ Sullivan, Peadar O’ Donnell, Francis Stuart, Frank O’ Connor, Miss Somerville, J.M. Hone and Walter Starkie.
Jammets' restaurant was the place to dine in Dublin for more than 60 years until it closed in 1967.
Photograph: Jackie Letters – Archive. Frank McDonald
Dr. Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire, lecturer in Culinary Arts at the Dublin Institute of Technology and Elaine Mahon, who is currently researching Irish diplomatic dining talked about Jammet's and the Influence of French Haute Cuisine on the Development of Dublin Restaurants.
The 1947-1974 period can be viewed as a ‘golden age’ of haute cuisine in Dublin, since more award-winning world-class restaurants traded in Dublin during this period than at any other time in history.
Click here to read From Jammet's to Guilbaud's by Máirtín Mac Con Iomaire
Mairtin Mac Con Iomaire says that analysis of the 1911 Census shows that the leading chefs, waiters and restaurateurs during the first decades of the twentieth century were predominantly foreign-born, and had trained in the leading restaurants, hotels and clubs of Europe.
Haute cuisine was advertised as available in the dining rooms of the best hotels in Dublin (Gresham, Shelbourne, Metropole, Royal Hibernian) in the first half of the twentieth century and these were the workplaces of those immigrant chefs.
Zenon Geldof Medal (Bob's grandfather)
Along with the Jammet brothers, other European families such as the Geldofs, Oppermanns, Gygaxs, and Bessons, were also influential in developing the restaurant business in Dublin. Paul Besson came to Dublin from London in 1905 as manager of The Royal Hibernian Hotel on Dawson Street. Over the decades, Paul Besson, along with his son Kenneth and other members of his family, took control of The Royal Hibernian, The Russell Hotel, and The Bailey Restaurant on Duke Street.
Mairtin Mac Con Iomaire and Elaine Mahon will be among the speakers at the forthcoming Dublin Gastronomy Symposium which will be held at the Dublin Institute of Technology on the 3rd and 4th of June.
Click here for details of the Dublin Gastronomy Symposium 2014