The Hazel House Café and Woodwork School was set up in 2014 when Niall Fitzharris was beginning to teach woodwork courses to children during their school holidays. We had a small, self – service coffee machine and Niall’s sister, Kate, baked some fresh treats for the parents of the children as well as anybody else who was passing through the area and looking for refreshments; plenty of hillwalkers and cyclists with a few day trippers too. The café operated on an honesty box system in those early days but word spread fast of this cute little hideaway in The Dublin Mountains and soon there was a need for staff!
In the space of just one year, we went from that honesty box, self service set up to a bustling café, embracing the beautiful outdoors and serving a full breakfast and lunch menu. We had also taken on a great team of full and part time staff including our Colm, Catherine and Anne.
Always a lover of good food and with over 12 years’ experience in the Dublin food industry, Niall has been striving for the best in quality and taste since the very beginning. Niall’s brother and fellow food enthusiast, Karl was enticed home from travelling Australia in 2016 and joined our team as our head chef. Together they put together seasonal menus and developed our pizza nights and smoked meats to where they are now.
After some training in Ballymaloe Cookery School, Niall was inspired to learn more about organic farming and how he could bring the best ingredients to our customers in the café. Philip came on board in early 2019 with a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area and we now have our own organic farm in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim. Here we are growing everything from fruit trees to chilies, and potatoes to peas. We have planted a wildflower garden there as well and later this year, will have our own bee hives and free range, organic hens too.
We are passionate about crafting, making, growing and baking. We make all of our food and baking on site using as much of our own organic produce as possible. We run regular woodwork courses for adults and children and we take on some small woodwork commissions too.
Our team are always coming up with new ideas and we love to be creative with these. We built our own stone, wood-fired pizza oven for our weekend pizza and wine nights. We built a smoker which we use every week for smoking meats and converted a cute 1970s caravan into our bakery. Our shelves are stocked with plenty of delicious goods to take home with you too. Karl and Niall make our preserves, pestos and sauces using as much of our organic produce as possible while Anne, Catherine and Kate are responsible for the mouth watering selection of baking and fresh breads.
In March 2019, a devastating fire destroyed our kitchen and workshop but that didn’t stop us operating. We just had to get creative again! We built a brand new kitchen in the courtyard and found other spaces to run our courses in.
In 2020 the arrival of COVID -19 gave us yet another chance to think outside the box. We brought back our self service coffee machine and set it up in the courtyard along with shelves of freshly baked treats and pre packaged sandwiches and our good old honesty box! We also adapted our business to operate as a takeaway and delivery service and have been doing that for over a year now. We firmly believe that the comeback is always bigger than the setback.
Currently, we are open 7 days a week, 10am to 4pm for takeaways and deliveries with pizza service on Friday and Saturday evenings, from 6 to 9pm.
We have an extremely loyal customer base and we love to see the faces (even with masks on) of our returning regulars. Our space is a chilled and welcoming one for walkers, cyclists, coffee enthusiasts, dogs, hungry folk and anyone else who enjoys good food and beautiful surroundings! Come up and say hello – we’d love to meet you!