A Wee Slice of Irish in Carlisle

A former nurse is bringing a taste of Ireland to Carlisle, with the opening of the city’s first traditional irish cafe.

 A qualified nurse, until recently Lynda Robinson worked full time at the Cumberland Infirmary. She would occasionally turn up at the hospital with homemade breads for her colleagues and their fondness of them eventually inspired a dramatic career change.

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Despite never baking anything until around two years ago, Lynda opened Penylin’s Wee Irish Cafe on Lowther Street in the city centre in May. Originally from Kearney in Northern Ireland, the menu is filled with the flavours of Lynda’s childhood, from the Irish potato chips to the traditional Guinness loaves. She uses old family recipes to bake fresh soda farls which are served alongside a variety of traditional Irish fare, including of course, the famous Ulster Fry.

Running the business on her own, Lynda is up at 5am, seven days a week to freshly prepare the home cooked menu, as well as baking breads on request for her customers.

She said: “Some things I have tasted but never baked before, but I’ll go away and learn the recipe. I’ve had people come back the next day and be absolutely overwhelmed because it’s exactly how they used to taste it back home.”

With the help of her family, friends and employees, Lynda will soon be introducing Irish themed Afternoon Teas and also provides a unique Sunday delivery service, ‘Hangover Sunday’,  because “nothing will cure a hangover like an Ulster Fry.”

As well as still doing the occasional nursing shift at the Infirmary, Lynda undertakes voluntary work in Kenya, where she supports an orphanage. Her colleagues are regulars in the cafe and she has even had one of her patients call in for a cuppa.

She explained: “Nursing never leaves you, but at the moment I need to concentrate on the business.

“I don’t have one regret. I did have some reservations at the very start, wondering if I’d made the biggest mistake of my life, but it’s something different, it’s something Carlisle doesn’t have and it’s been busy so far.”

She added: “I don’t see myself as a cook, I’m a nurse and completely self-taught. However, my family were bakers and had bakeries in Northern Ireland, so it must be in the blood.”

 Find Penylin’s on Facebook @Penylinsweeirishcafe

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