Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Friday, July 4, 2014

Art, Craft and Food Naturally at Ballymaloe

Art, Craft and Food Naturally at Ballymaloe
Palais de Poulets
Ballymaloe is a working farm, producing magic by the moment. I went through the looking glass last Wednesday and, in a few short hours, sampled this incredible place.

With Colm McCan as our guide, we passed the Palais des Poulets and stepped into a one acre bubble where all kinds of vegetables grow organically under the warm shelter. And so too do a selection of vines, though even the enthusiastic Colm knows that more magic will be needed if the fruit of these East Cork plants is to be turned into wine.

A fertile Allen imagination is at work in the calm warm place. One segment of the shelter has a newly laid carpet, of grass. Here later in the month, one hundred people will sit down for the Long Table Dinner, a night of fine food and conviviality.
Under cover clockwise from bottom left:
tomatoes, passionfruit flower, Colm with grapes,
and borage in the herb garden

Many tales illustrate the 30 year old story of Darina Allen’s Cookery School and we mingle with the students for lunch. The starter is pea soup. Sounds mundane enough. But it was excellent and the main course, with the Belly Bacon an outstanding feature, was incredibly delicious.

And the magic was sweetly evident on the dessert plate, emphasized by that natural cream from the Jersey cows, a memory of good times past but very much part of the present reality here in Ballymaloe, provided by six Jerseys that yield the milk for the table and for the students to make their butter, cheese and yoghurts.

Man does not live by bread alone, though I could think of a worse diet than that emanating from the Ballymaloe ovens. Colm now directed us to the gardens, starting with the herb garden, based on the legendary gardens of Villandry. May not have quite the scope of the Loire chateau but Ballymaloe has its surprises, including that unforgettable After Eight Mint (one of many varieties, including Banana and Orange).


Dinner. Check out that Jersey cream on the dessert plate!
Soon we were into the herbaceous border, a magnificent example of the type, and heading for the  Shell House, hardly a house, just a very small building but unforgettable. Here, some 20,000 shells have been artistically arranged (by Blott Kerr Wilson in 1995). You'll never look at mussel shells or scallop shells in the same way again. The gardens and shell house are open to the public and there is a charge.

Back in the main house, built around the remains of a 15th century Fitzgerald castle, part of which still stands, we went down to the wine cellar in the rock on which the buildings stand. Here lay treasure! Colm handled some of the great wines of the world with care and, like a good Corkman, I just looked, eyes and mouth open!

Time now for a reviving cup of coffee and where else would you go but to the tig beag, the roasting house of Mark and Golden Bean, right next to the well known wine and entertainment venue, the Grain Store. Mark was roasting a few kilograms of Ethiopian beans so we waited for the crack and soon we were sampling, via his AeroPress, the freshest coffee we had ever tasted. Mark, by the way, has a new outlet for his excellent coffee and soon you'll be able to buy and drink it at the Princes’ Street store, just opened (02/07/14), by The Rocket Man.
Mussel shells in small sample from Shell House

Now for a little cultural exercise, in the environs of the house and the field outfront. Colm introduced us to Richie Scott, the exhibition's coordinator. Richie would be our knowledgeable guide on the sculpture trail which features a walk into the middle of the cornfield to see some of the exhibits.

Richie first assembled FORM for Mount Juliet last year and now this revised version will be in Ballymaloe until September 28th. There is something for everyone here: some humorous pieces, some severe, large scale pieces and small, abstract and figurative. You may not like every piece but do bring the kids and let them loose; take your time as you walk around and let your eye wander and allow the magic in.

My favourite, in this first walkabout, was perhaps Holger Lonze, especially The Large Seabird. Enjoyed too the quirky pieces, mainly in Kilkenny Limestone, by Eileen McDonagh. And what about that stranded surfboard, high and dry at the base of the big tree? Go see for yourself. No charge.

Almost ready. Mark checks a roast.
After quite a packed few hours it was time to say goodbye. But we’ll soon be back. Already the first date is confirmed. On Thursday, 24th July, at 7.00pm, a Krug Champagne tasting with Nicole Burke, Krug USA Brand Ambassador, will be held in the Ballymaloe Cookery School (note venue). Contact colm@ballymaloe.ie for further details and bookings.

And all that magic? Probably the usual formula: 5% inspiration, 95% perspiration.

Some upcoming Ballymaloe events
Ballymaloe Garden Festival, August 30th and 31st. www.ballymaloe.ie
Feel Good Food: Let’s Cook, one day course with Chef and Nutritionist Debbie Shaw at the Cookery School, Monday July 21st. www.cookingisfun.ie
Master It with Rory O’Connell, Two Day Course which sees Rory teaching a slection from his book. Wednesday Jul;y 30th to Friday Augist 1st.  www.cookingisfun.ie

On the FORM trail.






Tuesday, October 8, 2013

China teacups return to Kinsale after 80 years!

China teacups return to Kinsale after 80 years!


What better time to bring an exhibition of china teacups to Kinsale than during the Kinsale Gourmet Festival! Known for her colourful, sumptuous paintings of interiors, artist Róisín O'Farrell is introducing a collection of delightful paintings based on her Grandmother's china teacups that will go on exhibit between two venues this Tuesday to Sunday 20th October in the scenic harbour town of Kinsale.
As part of the ever popular foodie weekend in Kinsale 11 -13th October her paintings will be on show in Fishy Fishy Restaurant and at The Gallery Kinsale on Main street.
Speaking of the exhibition celebrity chef & Fishy Fishy proprietor Martin Shanahan said “When The Gallery Kinsale approached us to joint host the exhibition it was an obvious choice as Róisín's teacup paintings are bursting with light and colour, brimming with character, good fun and a bit of devilment; just the kind of atmosphere we enjoy during the gourmet festival!”
Róisín paints bright, vibrantly colorful paintings in textured, buttery oils with a contemporary finish. Her work is influenced by a sense of home, and feature warm, light filled period interiors, tumbled families of rain boots, and quirky china teacups.
The beautiful antique china belonged to Róisín’s grandmother, herself a native of Nohoval near Kinsale.  Like much of O’Farrell’s work the inanimate becomes characterful and in her hands this delicate 1930’s china becomes both contemporary and fun. Róisin’s Grandmother would have been delighted to see her treasured china return to Kinsale even if she may not have treated them in such a contemporary way. Impactful, beautiful and a little vintage, the teacups are set against the lush impasto palette knife backgrounds that have made O'Farrell a favourite. A ‘must see’ at the The Gallery.

Exhibition link

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Top Golf Award for Killarney Royal Hotel


Top Golf Award for Killarney Royal Hotel
Claire and Brian Scally in Fermanagh.

Claire Scally of the Killarney Royal was in great form in Fermanagh this week, delighted that the family run hotel has been awarded the Irish Golf Tour Operators Association’s Boutique Hotel of the Year 2012.

With over 110 years of welcoming golfers from all over the world to Killarney Royal, the hotel has been officially recognised as a forerunner (pun intended!) in Irish golf tourism and the night was one of big celebration for Claire and her team.

The proprietors, Joe & Margaret Scally and family, and all the members of the team at Killarney Royal were overjoyed to receive this prestigious honour at the glamorous awards ceremony held at Lough Erne resort, Fermanagh.  The award was presented to Claire Scally by IGTOA Vice Chairman and Director of Lynchpin Tours, Mr David Hudson, and celebrity presenter, GAA star Peter Canavan.

Read more here

The Killarney Royal Hotel, where I enjoyed a short stay last year, is the little sister of Cork’s Hayfield Manor and the Cork focus for the coming weekend is on the Jazz and they are, in addition to the music, marking it with the annual Gallery Kinsale Jazz Exhibition.

Ken Buckley of the gallery: “Three of our artists have committed to this year’s exhibition including the official Jazz Festival Commemorative artist 'Mia Funk'. Mia's painting "The Cork Jazz Audience" was commissioned by The Jazz Festival Committee last year in recognition of Guinness thirty year sponsorship of the festival and, this Thursday 25th, the painting will be presented by Diageo to the people of Cork at an official unveiling ceremony by Cork's Lord Mayor John Buttimer at Cork International Airport where it will permanently hang in recognition of the important link between Festival and Airport. Mia has reproduced two similar studies for the exhibition in 'Jazz Blue'.

Visit our website to view the exhibition of work including Watercolour sensation Barbara Barrett and West Cork community Arts activist Derdre Keohane.

For those of you who do visit the Hayfield you are in for a musical treat also with one of the most talented and upcoming Jazz artists, A J Brown performing along with resident 'Loungeman' Conor O'Shea Saturday and Sunday.”