A HUB for artists and a welcome for visitors and the local community alike is on offer on Corofin’s Main Street, thanks to the opening of a gourmet café and gallery.
Morning Dew is the realisation of a long-held dream for Nadaa Hyder and Nolan Crampsie, who upped sticks from their Toronto home to open the business in the former Inchiquin Inn. The couple, and their business partner and close friend Jack Campbell who inherited the Inchiquinn in 2019, also live over their new business. Instinctively, they have revived the old Irish urban tradition of ‘living over the shop’ – something which has been widely advocated as a way of breathing new life into rural towns. “We have a personal joy in revitalising the Campbell family premises and bringing new life to the historic building – with Kenny’s Drinking Emporium stained glass window an artistic reminder of that history,” said Nadaa.
It is no coincidence that the couple came to Corofin. Unlike many other pandemic adventurers who sought out the west coast of Ireland, choosing North Clare was not a case of simply sticking a random pin in a map. “Nolan and I met through food and were working at the Oxley Restaurant in Toronto,” Nadaa outlined. “As it turned out, Jack from Corofin was working there too and the three of us became great friends.”
A trained sculptor and visual artist, Nadaa had been working for years in some of Canada’s leading galleries, but was also drawn to hospitality. “I worked in restaurants while I was in college,” she said. “If you like the work, it does kind of hook you in. Nolan had been working in some of Toronto’s long-established restaurants before the Oxley.”
The restrictions of the pandemic brought future ambitions into sharper focus for the couple, who started to think in practical terms about leaving Toronto. “We always wanted to get out of the city and while we had some ideas about how we might do that, they weren’t very well defined,” Nadaa explained. “The pandemic changed so many things and we really wanted to get out of city life. Corofin had always been at the back of our minds and suddenly it made a lot of sense.”
While still deciding what kind of venture to pursue, it became clear that Corofin really lacked a café. “We talked to Jack about what Corofin needed and while we were on a walking tour with Tony Kirby, so many people were talking about how great it would be if there was a coffee shop for the community and for visitors, there hasn’t been one for a number of years,” Nadaa explained.
Since moving to Ireland in March, the couple have been working hard to get Morning Dew set for its official opening in mid-December. Jack is a key part of the team and Nadaa said that the fact the trio know each other so well has been a real asset in opening Morning Dew. “Our working relationship has made a lot of things smooth and easy,” she remarked. “Lots of other things have been frantic and busy and exciting, but the fact that the three of us have worked together in hospitality before means we each know what the other is thinking.”
Right now, Nolan is getting up at 4am each morning to start baking the treats on offer from 9am. These include sourdough bread for the Irish cheese toasties, and rosemary focaccia for slow-cooked lamb sandwiches served with St Tola cheese. For those with a sweet tooth he’s baking cinnamon buns and also lemon bars made to a recipe by Jo, Nadaa’s mother.
Nadaa, whose family is originally from Pakistan, was born in Kuwait and settled in Toronto aged 12. Her name in Arabic means ‘dew drop’, which was the inspiration for the name of the cafe. “We wanted something to capture a sense of warmth and a sunny space and something that would welcome people,” she outlined.
Having never visited Ireland before, adjusting to life in Clare has been something Nadaa is clearly enjoying. The couple has had some time, in recent months, to get to know the county. “The really big change is the size,” she said. “Getting around is so easy. The age of things too is another difference. Back in Canada a building is ‘old’ if it’s 100 years. Here, the history and heritage really makes an impact and to be so close to the stunning Burren landscape is amazing.”
Nolan had had the advantage of visiting Ireland before the big move. His upbringing in Windsor, Canada was steeped in Irish music and culture. His father Mark left Belfast as a child in the 1970s when his family emigrated to escape the Troubles. Nolan had returned to Ireland to meet one of his relatives in Belfast. “He has always been very interested in Irish history and culture,” Nadaa said.
With both Nadaa and Nolan describing themselves as “homebodies”, the reality of living on Corofin’s Main Street is one they have embraced. “The building needed a bit of love and we enjoyed bringing it back to life,” Nadaa said. “Living over the shop is something that would have been common in Old Toronto and I always found the idea very quaint. It works well in practical terms, because we’re here when deliveries arrive. We have a garden with a polytunnel out the back and we plan to incorporate that into the business in time.”
The artistic side of the business is also something that promises to flourish. Nadaa used her talents used to decorate the interior of Morning Dew and is offering original watercolours and greeting cards. “I have few different styles and can show people more of my work if they want to see that,” Nadaa explained. “The aim is to create a hub here for creative people and artists. There’s a lot for musicians, but not so much for those in the