Improbably situated on the Derrynsliggaun road above the banks of the Killary Fjord overlooking some mussel farms and the rugged mountains of Connemara, a food truck — or, more accurately, a food trailer — recently opened for business. The sign out front says “Misunderstood Heron / freshly Ground coffee.”
The menu features smoked salmon on fresh brown bread with cream cheese and salad and pots of very local mussels — the floats of the farm where the shellfish were cultivated can be seen in the waters of the fjord just down the hill. There were also spinach and cheese pies, ground lamb pies, and a few different kinds of cake to go with that freshly ground coffee.
The open-faced Connemara Smokehouse salmon sandwiches with lemon wedges and fresh greens were terrific. The mussels were steamed in a very simple broth of chopped garlic and parsley, but the size of the meat was amazing. The idea of wild Irish mussels may sound romantic, but while the shells of the wild ones are huge, the meats are no bigger than a lima bean; the cultivated mussels grown on ropes in the salt waters of the fjord, on the other hand, are large and delicious.
The owners of Misunderstood Heron are Kim Young, who grew up nearby, and her partner Reinaldo Seco, who hails from Chile. The trailer had only been open for three days as of Easter Saturday.
“It’s very difficult to open a food trailer in Ireland," Young complained. "There aren’t that many and the bureaucrats don’t know how to deal with them. You can only set up on private land — you can’t really move the trailer around. We would love to go to the beach on a sunny day, but we have to stay here for now.”
They may be stuck in one place, but what a place to be stuck! Thanks to the spectacular location and simple menu, this may be the most remarkable food truck in Ireland. Business was so good over the Easter weekend that Misunderstood Heron reported on its Facebook page that they had to close on Monday to stock up with more groceries.
Seco remarked on the rugged wilderness of Connemara and how it reminded him of Isla Chiloé, the windswept island off the Pacific Coast of South America. "They are building a bridge from the mainland of Chile to Isla Chiloé," he said, "and that will be the end of the small fishermen and their rustic way of life.”
We can hope that Connemara will stay wild forever.