Naas’s landmark Osprey Hotel recently revealed their new restaurant Herald & Devoy, and celebrated Irish architect Hugh Wallace of acclaimed architecture firm Douglas Wallace, was behind the astounding revamp. The 130-seater restaurant space was the vision of Hugh, who is best known for his work on RTE’s Home of the Year show. Offscreen Hugh, who has over 30 years’ experience in the interior design and architectural industry, is lauded for his sense of style and taste as well as the standout projects he is behind. Hugh’s outstanding talent is reflected in the way he has transformed the Osprey’s former brasserie and lobby into the light-drenched and comfortably modern space that is Herald & Devoy. The outcome is a relaxed, airy eatery, flooded with natural light and anchored with luxurious leather booths and a stunning mosaic cocktail bar.
The new look restaurant and lobby area is completely open plan and contains a bar at its heart which is embellished with tiny, bronze mosaic tiles. The seating areas have been arranged to take advantage of the views of the spectacular outdoor water feature which curves around the building, allowing for a casual relaxed ambiance. Inside, Hugh Wallace and his team have expertly blended textures – smooth with rough, matt with reflective in a bid to create an elegant, modern dining space suitable for both casual use and celebrations. Various tones of blues and greys have been used to great effect to create a sophisticated but relaxed environment to eat or to enjoy a drink with friends. Private high-backed booths for dining have been upholstered in cornflower blue leather with chesterfield button detailing and have been placed along an exposed brick feature wall. Meanwhile, a complete wall of mirrors in distressed glass reflects the light streaming in from the huge glazing which wraps the complete space. At night, the dining area is transformed as low hanging brass funnel lights cast a warm glow throughout the restaurant to create atmosphere and drama.
Herald & Devoy acts as an all-encompassing café bar restaurant with an all day menu serving coffee, sandwiches and salads as well as classic dishes like steak and crab cocktail and prosecco on tap as well as craft beers. The new eatery aims to break the boundaries of traditional cafes and restaurants by offering a modern all-day menu. The bar opens daily and serves lunch, dinner and a large selection of wines, cocktails and craft beers and is a fantastic option for elegant, informal dining for visitors and hotel residents alike.
The restaurant’s name is a tribute to John Devoy, an Irish rebel leader, as the Osprey Hotel is built on the old Devoy Barracks site, which was named after him. When Devoy moved to the US he worked for the New York Herald newspaper which has led to the name, ‘Herald & Devoy’
Hugh Wallace on what inspired his interior choices when working on Herald & Devoy:
- Hugh, when embarking on a project such as Herald & Devoy, what is your initial thought process?
- First and foremost, we would always like to envision the venue attracting new clientele so that’s important when working on such a project, we want to get new bodies in to see how great the place looks. Secondly, you must understand the opportunity as a whole, I wanted to know the kind of food and menus planned so I had various meetings with the food consultant involved, Hugo Arnold who did a terrific job compiling the menus. The food and the atmosphere of the restaurant need to complement each other. Thirdly, I wanted to utilize the sense of light and space here because diners want an attractive view to admire and they want to people watch. I feel Herald & Devoy has that sense of theatre now, where patrons can come in and admire the spectacular water feature through the big glass windows. Also, there are no ‘awkward tables’ here – there’s a lot of room to work with and we’ve designed it so you won’t overhear the next table! We hope people will really enjoy dining here as much as we have enjoyed designing the space.
- There are a lot of blues and golds in the colour scheme of Herald & Devoy, are these fashionable within the interiors industry at the moment and what drew you to choose these fabrics and hues?
- We wanted to create an elegant bistro feel that took its inspiration from the huge glazing that was already a hallmark feature of the property. This glazing together with the spectacular outdoor water feature inspired us to utilise reflective services and a mixture of tactile materials and vibrant colours. We did gravitate towards a lot of strong blues and flattering golds and reflective surfaces. They are very fashionable in the interiors world right now because during the daytime they give a focus to a room and in the evening they define spaces. The use of bronzes and golds become sensual to the eye with the correct lighting and we chose a very flattering light scheme which works well throughout the changing light of the day. At breakfast the space feels light and airy, at lunch the room is crisp and clean and in the evening the lighting is moody and broody and this really works in Herald & Devoy because it is an all-day brasserie so we needed to keep that in mind with the colors and lights.
- When embarking on such a project, what kind of timeframe and numbers are involved? Do you source materials from overseas or do you like to keep things local?
- We were tasked with a 6 month timeframe for the plan to materialize. The budget was €300k for the undertaking. I do like to keep things local when working on Irish projects of course, but sometimes this isn’t possible so with Herald & Devoy we sourced various patterns from overseas which weren’t manufactured in Ireland but the furniture in place is from Irish businesses.
- What elements do you find the trickiest when transforming such a big open space like this to give it an atmosphere? What are your best tips when taking on such a task?
- I think understanding the food and the target customer base is of utmost importance, that forms the brief. For a large space like this, you need to get the principles of the design right, so that means investing in the big things like lighting, utilizing the space correctly and sourcing sustainable materials that won’t wear too fast. I also feel with restaurants, you need to rejuvenate the interiors and design every 5- 7 years. They are like fashion, they have a life cycle. Restaurants tend to date quickly so business owners need to be open to changing and updating the parts that make them look shabby and outdated and revolve with the times.
Owners of the four-star Kildare hotel, PREM Group, recently launched the brasserie which is part of an overall €3m investment into the Osprey. The launch of the restaurant is good news for Naas and the surrounding areas, with 15 new jobs created. The PREM Group, who have owned the hotel for the past two years, are involved in various other projects in both the UK and Ireland including Tulfaris Hotel and the Cahernane Hotel.
Herald & Devoy is now open and currently taking bookings. For more details see www.osprey.ie or call (045) 881111