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After parking (no shortage of stewards to help out), I enjoyed the walk through the grounds and past the castle ruins before coming round to the front of the hotel, finally reaching the fields in front where much of the action was taking place.
The first big event that I saw was the parade of horses and carriages, each carrying a “Victorian” lady or two. The parade entered the grounds having first toured the village and then passed the front of the hotel before doing the rounds of the fair fields. And that wasn’t the end of the horses as we were treated to quite an exhibition, the well turned out animals put through their paces. Great discipline on display from the various units, ranging from some with just one pony to larger carriages with up to four and indeed it was one superb combination, with the four blacks together, that was a highlight for me.
Lunchtime was fast approaching. Unlike some, particularly the family groups, we hadn’t brought our picnic. But no panic. We were in the right place with a good variety of stalls catering, everything from crepes to pulled pork available.
Spotted Annie’s Roasts in the line-up and didn’t go beyond her as she has a great name at markets and festivals all over the county. Helped myself to one of the free range chicken burgers with salad and mayonnaise and a drink, all for a fiver. Grabbed a bale of straw as a seat and tucked in and enjoyed it no end. Great stuff as usual from Annie.
Annie's Roasts. No picnic? No panic!
As we ate and drank we were entertained by the the kids in the face painting tent, one of the most popular venues of the day. Indeed the kids were royally entertained throughout with foot races for various age groups, pottery lessons, a Teddy Bear hospital, and other amusements, such as swing-boats and carousels available.
Le Chat Noir Vintage Fair was also a major draw with specialists in clothes, jewelry and music and song (all on vinyl) displaying their wares, some new, some old, but all reminding one of times past. Noticed quite a few of the “Victorian” ladies checking out the stalls here!
Some toys too for the bigs boys! I’m talking vintage cars here. Everything from modest Volkswagens to big red Fords. There was an impressive Buick but my favourite was the Silver Beresford, a top class limousine according to the sticker!
One of the highlights of the day was the old time threshing, a busy spot with a bunch of small tractors around the big thresher and not a bottle of porter in sight. Could have done with some liquid though as the chaff in the air dried out the mouth. But great fun (great noise too, giving the band a run for its money) as the sheaves were tossed to the man in the thresher and the grain came out one end to be bagged and the straw out the other to be baled by an old Allis Chalmers Roto-Baler.
Hard work for the crew here but great fun for the spectators, many of who had never seen anything like it. All in all though a terrific day out and if you are a parent with kids, put this in your diary for next year.
Cork’s Brown Thomas launched their Food Emporium with music, wine and, of
course, food in the store last evening. And it turned out to be a very
Cheese producers were there
in force. Great to meet, however briefly, Padraig O’Farrell of CarrigalineCheese but we’ll see him again next week on their open day. Also
there were Cooleeney,Durrus and Gubbeen, the latter with their cheese and impressive Cheese Oatcakes.
Got a glass of wine on the way
in and was soon comparing it in various glasses under guidance from Martin
Turner of Riedel, in town
especially for the event. The proper glass sure makes a difference – you can
take that from an ex-sceptic! And the experience was repeated later with a
lovely Pinot Noir (innocent Bystander) from Ballymaloe Wines , who have been in
the Emporium for the past few months.
Ballymaloe indeed strongly
supported the event last evening and there was a sweet finish with their pastry
chef JR Ryall providing us with some gorgeous chocolate truffles to
match with the dessert wine.
But before that we had some great
tastings. The Castlemartyr Resorteven had a menu of good things to try and there was no
shortage of volunteers. Tom Durcan, delighted with his Gold at the Blas as the weekend, had his corned and spiced beef on show.
Met Burren Smokehouse's Birgitta Curtinagain, after the
Blas Awards in Dingle, and this time got to taste her glorious smoked salmon.
There too was Arun from Green Saffron dishing out a perfect
Chicken Korma. By the way, look out for his new Spice Blends and those
luxurious Cook-in Sauces, so easy, so good.
It is a busy time too for Timoleague’s
Anthony Creswell of Ummera Smokehouse. He smokes salmon, duck, bacon and chicken, all
terrific and regulars on menus on top restaurants, now at the Emporium and also
available online. And then we had Una’s Pies, a really top product as her regular awards at Blas Na
hEireann underline. Una is also a regular at Mahon Point Farmers Market.
And from the kingdom itself
came Sam of Cloudberry Bakerywho make artisan cakes and desserts - anything from
colourful cake pops and cupcakes to show-stopping wedding cakes. Cloudberry was
a Blas winner in 2012. So pop into the
Emporium and treat yourself.
Very good but better in Riedel
We were very well treated
last night – even got my pic taken with Rachel Allen – and there was a bonus of
a goodie bag on exit. Well done to the folks at Brown Thomas and best of luck
for the Christmas season.