Success is hard work, simple as. Nobody knows this best than Sarah Baker of Cloughjordan House, who last weekend won Network Ireland’s New Business Award.

Cloughjordan House is a beautiful 400-year-old historic house that Baker converted into a successful cookery school, wedding venue, event destination and B&B accommodation. It is located in the heart of Ireland, in North Tipperary, “in calm of middle country” as poet and patriot Thomas macDonagh once recalled.

“It is all about coming through difficult times,” Baker explained matter-of-factly. “We changed our business model when the Recession came along, when we fell on hard times, and it is the story of a restored house.”

Baker recently converted the historic Cloughjordan House into a business, and its key market is transition-year students. “I have a passion for food, a great knowledge of teaching and we saw a gap in the market. We aspire to the Farm to Fork vision and we apply that to transition-year students across Ireland who visit.”

The business has also expanded to weddings, B&B accommodation and event destination, including a lively gypsy jazz festival!

“My advice is to work hard. Talk to people and keep trying. Listen and take on board honest opinions and feedback.”

Speaking on her Network Ireland award, Baker said she was “delighted and surprised”.  “There was a huge amount of capable women in business at the conference and it was just wonderful.”

Among the other Network Ireland Business Women of the Year winners were: Sharon O Donoghue, Brook Catering, Network Cork for Established Businesss; Fiona Connolly, Lyons of Nenagh, Network Tipperary for Employee of the Year.