Tuesday, 31 May 2011

31.05.11 Les Baux – Montmajour – Bull’s Meat

31.05.11 Les Baux – Montmajour – Bull’s Meat

Action on Les Baux. More pics here
Not the best of weather today. Twenty degrees yes but generally cloudy and often windy. Still, we were out and about.

We became statistics at the amazing hilltop fortress of Les Baux de Provence, joining the two million visitors per year. The site dates back to the 10th century and is a lively visit with some tough walking required and ancient war machines in action. Views are fantastic here. Here also we had our first view of the region’s Santons, handmade figures usually in local costume, particularly famous for their crib scenes.
Our afternoon visit also has 10th century links. The Montmajour Abbey is massive, very impressive indeed and just about 3 kilometres from our base. Admission is 7 euro a head and well worth it.
There are many highlights in this imposing place but the one that really engaged me was the burial places in the rock (see photo).  Fascinating. Also great views, just like Baux. Got my first glimpse of a bunch of Camargue ponies from here and Arles was also clearly visible.
In between, we had visited a Roman Aqueduct. No. Not the famous one at Pont du Gard but one just down the road from us in Fontvieille. Indeed, the road is called the Aqueduct Romaine. It is not in anywhere near as good condition as Gard but quite an impressive reminder nonetheless.

After all the walking, hundreds of steps in Baux and Montmajour, we were hungry and decided to head out to the nearby town of Maussane. Two restaurants on our shortlist were closed and another had a later opening so we settled for a corner spot, suitably entitled Le Coin Gourmand.
It was tiny and we were squeezed in with other diners and here I had my first taste of the Camargue bull. Tough enough I must say as was my seat but generally the meal was excellent. Enjoyed a goat’s cheese starter and a huge salad. The other main dish was a very satisfactory pair of lamb chops served with (same as the beef) ratatouille and a tasty piece of a pasta tart. Desserts weren’t bad at all. Mine was a Soufflé Glacé with Calissons d’Aix and hers was a really moist Fig and Almond tart, better then anything in the dessert line that we ate in the Dordogne last year.
Wine had to be local. For some strange reason, lost in translation, I was refused a 50cl pichet (think it was only available at lunch) and was “forced" to settle for a tasty spicy bottle of local Vin de Pays from the surrounding Alpilles.


30.05.11 Moissac-Arles
More pics here
Easy enough drive today. First through the 3 lane ring road of Toulouse and then on the motorway past Carcassonne, Beziers and Montpellier before skirting Nimes and heading for Arles. A few kilometres later, we turned right onto the D82 and minutes later (1250 or so km after leaving Roscoff) we turned in the gate of our gite. Thanks a million, Susie, our GPS hostess!
Sylvie is our hostess at the gite and she take us though the various bits and pieces we need to know, including the address of the nearest supermarket, just about a mile away. The gite booklet has loads of info on the area.

Sylvie’s mother turns up with some fruit and veg to add to the bottle of wine gift from Sylvie. We get a bit of unpacking done and have a cup of tea before heading for the Ecomarket in Fontvieille.

Just a few essentials bought, not a major shop at all. But we do get some wine and have our first taste of the local stuff at a late dinner. It is a bottle from the historic Mas de la Dame, once the subject of a painting by Van Gogh. The wine is a Rose de Mas, Le Baux de Provence, 2010. Went very well with the melon.
Am typing this as darkness falls amid a chorus of cicada calls.

Monday, 30 May 2011


29.05.11 Roscoff-Moissac (1250kms)
View from hotel. More pics here

Up early on a dull morning. The sun came out as we drove the 800 plus kilometre stretch to
Moissac and to the hotel Moulin de Moissac, a gorgeous old riverside hotel.  Our room overlooked the river Tarn. In a park on the bank, an unlikely country and western festival was taking place with Ghost Riders in the Sky welcoming the western clad visitors. A nearby canal, Canal de Deux Mers (?), was full of boats.
Had booked dinner in the hotel, not realising it was French Mothers Day. We had a special menu for the event and again hit the jackpot. We had a choice of three dishes for each course and these are what I choose. Absolutely no regrets – really classy food.
Asparagus in light crispy pastry with Morille mushrooms.
Medallion of fried veal with creamed artichoke cream and black truffle.
Raspberry Clafoutis with a raspberry sorbet.
The wine was a George Deboeuf Brouilly, the wine for any meal according to it publicists. Don’t know about that but sure went well with this one and we finished it out on the terrace as the country music faded for the night.

Motorway tips:
Driving down to Bordeaux from Roscoff, you could well be ready for a stop when you reach Aire du Rennes, about the only decent motorway station on this section. It is about 13 kms west of Rennes. Once you go past Rennes, and more so, after passing Nantes, you are well supplied with very good stations;  one of the best is the Aire de Vendee.
If you follow my route to the sun and turn east at Bordeaux, one to watch out for is the Station Carrefour Aire du Mas D’Agenais on autoroute A62. It is close to Agen.


28.05.11 On Board
Onboard dining. More pics here

Brittany Ferries advertise that your French holiday starts the moment you step aboard the Pont Aven in Ringaskiddy. Ours started just after the Carrigaline/Ringaskiddy roundabout when three fellows, from a French registered car, stopped and relieved themselves on the side of the road. Not quite Oh-la-la! More like Eau-la-la.
Continental class returned on board where we enjoyed a superb meal in the main restaurant Le Flora. Starter was Crevettes en Cage (see photo), or Prawns entwined in a cage (twine like pieces) of grated deep fried potato. New to me, very inventive and a great match with the braised artichoke and a salad.

Main course for me was the Roast Fillet of Beef served with artichoke and potatoes a la Chatelaine. A superb meal as was the other main course: Viennese style Sole served with white beans and a Matignon of vegetable with mussels.
A plate of French cheese followed and the highlight for me was the Bleu d’Auvergne. Dessert was something else: Soufflé Grand Marnier. Well worth a try if you are ever on board. Wines, from a long French list, were Ch. Noaillac Medoc 2006 Cru Bourgeois and Laroche Bourgogne Chardonnay Tete de Cuvee 2009

Monday, 23 May 2011


Busy June ahead....

Cork Opera House Listings


Fri 3 & Sat 4, 8pm
Lee Evans – Roadrunner
The legendary Lee Evans embarks on his most ambitious tour to date. ROADRUNNER is Lee’s amazing new show with over 50 nights in the biggest arenas in the country. Lee will be playing to more fans than ever on this record-breaking tour of the UK and Ireland.
Please note Lee will be performing from notes.
Booking fee may apply

Sat 4 June, Half Moon Theatre
Rhythm Rebelz Productions presents
Sick Steps
Cork will see its first ever hip hop festival take place from 3 - 6 June. The weekend festival line-up includes a breakdance contest, Sick Steps, in the Half Moon Theatre. Competitors from Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, England, Scotland, South Africa and Nigeria will be judged by world champion breakdancer, Mouse, and Tuff Tim Twist, an original member of Rock Steady Crew. Sick Steps will go on until approximately 9pm.
Tickets: :€10 in advance; €15 on the door
Booking fee may apply

Tue 7 June, 8pm
MCD Presents Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams makes his eagerly awaited return to the stage adding Cork to the short run of solo acoustic dates this June – don’t miss this rare chance to see an intimate acoustic performance from the Cardinals front man. Adams is currently working with producer Glyn Johns on his first collection of all new studio material since 2008's Cardinology.
Tickets:€41.70, €46.70
Booking fee may apply

Sat 11 June, 7.30pm
Dance Offering 2011
Presented by students from the Alan Foley Academy of Dance, accompanied by dancers from Cork City Ballet and the full-time dance students from CSN Dance and directed and produced by course director Alan Foley, this production will showcase the varied talents of the students – ranging from classical ballet (Le Corsaire) to energetic hip-hop and jazz dance (Ne-Yo, Lady Gaga and Jessie J), and a touch of oriental.
Tickets: €16, €21, €26.

Thu 16 & Fri 17 June, 8pm
Cork Opera House presents as part of Cork Midsummer Festival 2011
Foté Foré
Foté Foré (Black White) is a life told in acrobatics, dance and music - a life ingeniously paved together mixing the traditional beat of the African djembe drum, lithe acrobatic skill and modern day hip hop with sweet street moves thrown in. On stage, nine amazing performers - circus artists, dancers, and a contortionist - reinvent, with a fiery energy, their friendship and their street games. Suitable for children 5 years and over.
Presented by Cirque Mandingue
Tickets: Adult €18, Child €12, Family ticket €50
Booking fee may apply

Sat 18 June, 8pm
Cork Opera House presents as part of Cork Midsummer Festival 2011

Penguin Café Orchestra

Penguin Café’s music has infiltrated daily life from films like Napoleon Dynamite to countless theme tunes, and they’ve played festivals from Bestival and The Big Chill to the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. Their sound is at once familiar and new, combining acoustic power and a beguiling, feisty charm. Their album A Matter of Life is out now.

Booking fee may apply

Fri 24 & Sat 25 June, 8pm
Cork Opera House presents as part of Cork Midsummer Festival 2011
Hotel Pro Forma presents
Tomorrow In A Year – A Darwin Electric Opera by The Knife
It is 150 years since Charles Darwin published the The Origin of Species, forever changing our view of the world as a result of the theory of evolution.
Six dancers and three performers of different ages and builds represent evolution of movement. They personify methods of observation and represent the notion of inevitable change and time itself.
In collaboration with the Swedish avant-garde group, The Knife, a musical composition is created and presented visually which undergoes first an evolution of development followed by a series of mutations.
Running time approximately 80 minutes.
Tickets: €31, €33, €38.

Sun 26 June, 8pm
Cork Opera House presents as part of Cork Midsummer Festival 2011

Playing For Change

What began as a PBS documentary with the lofty goal of fostering hope and inspiration through music has now become a worldwide phenomenon. Grammy award winning producer Mark Johnson travelled the world, recording and filming street musicians of different faiths, backgrounds, and ethnicities, then blended their contributions into one unified and moving performance. The final product aired as a documentary on PBS called Playing For Change: Peace Through Music and went completely viral on YouTube, with PFC’s “Stand By Me” video reaching well over 20 million views.
The LA Times
Booking fee may apply

Thur 30 June, 8pm
Blind Boys Of Alabama
The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. They will release a traditional country-gospel album for the first time in their 70-year career on May 3rd, 2011.Their live shows are roof- raising musical events that appeal to audiences of all cultures, as evidenced by an international itinerary that has taken them to virtually every continent.Cork Opera House are proud to have these living legends in house to entertain the people of Cork.This show is proudly supported by UCC Campus Accommodation
Tickets: €26, €28.50, €31.


Sun 3 July
The Fureys and Davey Arthur
With Special Guest George Murphy
Returning to Cork for the fifth year in a row, The Fureys will perform all their hits including When You Were Sweet 16, The Green Fields of France, and all the rest!
Tickets: €28.50, €31

Mon 4 July, 8pm
Philippine Ballet Gala Concert with Lisa Macuja-Elizalde
Experience a spectacle of classical, contemporary, neo-classical and Filipino ballets as Ballet Manila and the Philippines' most admired prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde performs in Ireland for the first time. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde is the first foreign soloist to be invited to join Kirov Ballet in Russia.
Tickets: €33, €36, €39

Cork Opera House booking information
Book online: * www.corkoperahouse.ie
Book by phone:  *021-4270022
*Telephone and internet bookings subject to a booking fee of €2.50 per ticket.  All tickets include a €1 restoration levy.  No booking fee for Cork Cine Club.

For further information or images please contact Jamie Monagan, Deputy Marketing Manager, on 021-4905218 or jmonagan@corkoperahouse.ie.

Sunday, 15 May 2011



Lots of opulent flesh at the current show in the Vision Centre (North Main Street). It is the first exhibition of contemporary Turkish art in Ireland, and is called Turkeyland.

“The paintings of Mevlut AKYILDIZ celebrate the comedy of life's contradictions and poke holes in human pomposity with their own allegoric and ironic language. Within the fairy tale settings of his work, AKYILDIZ reveals the great joys of everyday life as lived by ordinary people and the meagre pleasures of the great of this world to present a total experience of true human happiness.”

This is a humorous show, despite all the heavyweights on view. This well fed lads and lassies spend lots of their time sitting, posing, floating; off canvas, they must be eating and drinking well.

This is well worth a visit. You find yourself smiling and laughing all the way through. Then, later when you loosen your waistband, it dawns on you that maybe you were laughing at yourself. All human life is here, as they used to say in the News of the World, and you and I are part of it.

It runs until May 26th. You may see the paintings and more here  but, if you can, do make a visit to the Vision Centre as most of the works are, befitting their subjects, rather large.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

"The Fascinating World of Ocean Waves" comes to Cork

The Fascinating World of Ocean Waves

Monday, May 23 · 6:00pm - 9:00pm

36 Mary Street
Cork, Ireland

Created By

More Info
L'AF de Cork
Conference & Q&A
The Fascinating World of Ocean Waves
Le monde fascinant des vagues
by Prof. Frédéric Dias, expert on water waves

Monday 23rd May 2011 at 6pm

Alliance Française de Cork

Waves can have destructive power but they can also be a source of renewable energy, especially in Ireland, the country with the best wave climate in the world.

In this talk we explain tsunamis as well as freak waves. How are they generated? How violent can they be? Then we review wave energy conversion. How does it work? Is it simply a dream or can it become a reality?

Prof. Frédéric Dias, expert on water waves for over 20 years from University College Dublin (School of Mathematical Sciences), will present his work The Fascinating World of Waves.

Between 1999 and 2008 Prof. Frédéric Dias was a professor of Applied Mathematics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan in France; before that, he was Director of Research at the CNRS in France.

Friday, 6 May 2011


Bad start to the day with the discovery of two dead baby blackbirds, about ten yards from the nest. At least, the blackbird babies from the first nest, two of them, seem to be thriving after a shaky start and are playing around in another corner. Wonder if the parents will start nest three now? But the day brightened up as loads of other babies appeared. The sparrows seem to be especially productive this year and are very busy. The robins too have had a baby. He or she looks much bigger than the parent who I photographed feeding a tasty morsel. 

Thursday, 5 May 2011


Wednesday, May 18 · 7:30pm - 10:30pm

Cork Arts Theatre

Created By

More Info
Cork Active Pulse Theatre Group present

Stories by the Lee

18th - 20th May @ 7 30pm

'Stories by the Lee' is a series of stories about growing up in Cork over the years and will appeal to audiences both old and young.

Cork Active Pulse Group are a non-profit organisation who give the older people (over 55s) a chance to perform on stage, write poetry and plays for performance, and generally just give someone who may have missed their opportunity to act or take part in a production a chance to do so.
They also visit nursing homes around Cork and have afternoons of stories and sing songs. 

Audience participation will be encouraged in this show so it is sure to be a great night filled with lots of fun and memories of Cork. 

Tickets €8/€5 concession