The first Farmgate shop opened in 1983 in Dineen’s Yard, Midleton, Co Cork.
In the beginning we had a shop out front with a soup kitchen at the very back. From the very start our ethos was to support local producers. We sold fruit and vegetables plus grains and pulses and even homebrew, we also made bread and soon after produced home-cooked food on site, and we continued to add new products to the shop and a takeaway menu.
Our customer base grew and grew and very soon we needed more space to respond to the growing demand in Midleton and the surrounding area.
In June 1988, the next Farmgate was opened across the road on the Coolbawn in a rustic, galvanised tire shed. We needed a bigger premises, so we set about to transform the space with an expansion of the shop. But soon after we also had a thriving restaurant at the very back of this space.
Since 1988, the Farmgate shop and restaurant has organically grown responding year-by-year to customer demand and to include a lunchtime menu and evening dining. We have also hosted throughout the years many live music events, and the Farmgate has become a natural home to hang contemporary painting and sculpture by Irish artists.
We are now starting our online business in 2020 – 37 years after our first Farmgate was established in Dineen’s Yard way back in 1983.
Máróg and Sally O’Brien own and manage Farmgate.
*The second Farmgate opened in the English Market in Cork in the autumn of 1994.
The restaurant is home to two great Tom Climent paintings, a Cork based painter, and the smaller dining area is home to a private collection of Cormac Mehegan paintings. All are on permanent exhibit.
We have a wonderful collection of limestone sculptures by Cork based, Michael Quane, Ireland’s foremost stone sculptor, whose works form an integral part of Farmgate.
The very first sculpture that Máróg brought to Farmgate was “Figure and a Live Quadruped’ It moved from the Crawford Gallery in Emmet Place, where it was being exhibited, to its new home in the Farm Gate in Midleton. It was the first of my sculptures for Máróg O’ Brien and the Farmgate and undoubtedly made possible my journey of work and discovery, through my art, in those early years. The title of the exhibition where Máróg had seen this sculpture, was On Y Va, which when translated means ‘Let’s go’, and which presciently led to a long relationship for my Art with the Farmgate and a deep friendship with Máróg.
Máróg, at the helm of the Farmgate since well before I met her in the 80s, had engrained into everything she did and conceived of, a quality that would’ve been anathema to any in business at the time, namely, generosity. It styled her approach to food, to ambience, indeed everything in life and was consequently felt by all, for whom the Farmgate became an experience.
There is something rare about the whole entity that is the Farmgate which is greater than the sum of its parts; It seems to me as I glean from it, through the myriad of decisions that I’ve witnessed over the years, making it what it is, that somewhere in its governing DNA there is the code for the inimitable beauty of simplicity.
Figure with a live Quadruped, that first sculpture, relates to nurture and care in general but more specifically to the care of something other than ‘Us’ something we can’t quite understand. The sculpture was loosely influenced in its form by Michelangelo’s Pieta which I had, a short while previously, seen in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Michael Quane – Sculptor