Kennedy’s of Enniskerry is, as you might expect, in Enniskerry. Enniskerry is an enchanting village at the foot of a valley in Wicklow, a county immediately south of Dublin, that was original built as the estate village for the nearby Palladian Powerscourt House: Kennedy’s is a charming café on Church Hill right in the heart of the village.
Santina and Andrew Kennedy are the accidental café owners who run and own the eponymous café. Three years ago Andrew lost his job, Santina was then a stay at home mum who though she would like to open a food shop when the children were older so she was working on a business plan. Necessity beckoned and one month from the day Andrew lost his job they opened a pastel coloured food shop cum delicatessen, decorated it in what Santina describes as a recession chic style with items from their home.
Looking back Santina says they were naive and idealistic and they had to boot a flawed business plan. She believes that the shop would have folded within a couple of months without the overwhelming support they received from the local community. On the day they opened they sold out of everything, yes absolutely everything, the only thing left at end of day that wasn’t a fridge, furniture or shelving was a bunch of flowers! The couple who were born and brought up locally have been very touched by that community support which is ongoing.
Shortly after they opened customers begin to ask them to sell coffee so they added cups of coffee to the list of things they sold. They didn’t have customer toilets so health regulations only allowed them to sell that coffee in take away paper cups and to have just four chairs were people could linger for ten minutes only while they downed their coffee. The mandarins who drafted these regulations couldn’t have foreseen what was to happen at Kennedy’s which was fast becoming the hub of the village. Customers stood around chatting for aeons longer than the allocated ten minutes, standing up or sitting on the widow ledges if all the seats were taken. Eventually Santina and Andrew put in more seating and so began a game of cat and mouse with the local health inspector.
They also started protracted negotiations for the lease of a bigger and a more suitable premises across the road from the original shop. It was a stressful time, they were given final notice on the 11th of December last year that the extra chairs would have to be removed by the 18th of the month and the loss of much of the coffee trade would impact greatly on their delicate income. Fortunately they managed to agree terms on the new lease and spent a frantic two weeks transforming a dark greasy chipper into a light and airy café. They closed the old shop bang on the deadline of the 18th December and stayed up until 4am putting the finishing touches to the new place and opened for business at 8am on the morning of the 19th.
The pretty café is extraordinarily popular. I discovered it by accident when I had an appointment in the village. Enniskerry is not somewhere that’s on my route anywhere but I now
occassionally very often drive there just to get a coffee in Kennedy’s because I know that a cup of coffee made by barista Andrew will be good. Andrew and Santina don’t just do good coffee they along with their delightful assistant Sheila are providers of very genuine and excellent customer service.