Wednesday, 28 March 2012


D04 by CorkBilly
D04, a photo by CorkBilly on Flickr.
There is quite a fine Garden Centre in Dunsland (near Bury's Bridge). But did you know they are restoring an old walled garden there? It was fairly bare when I saw it last year. Now, as you can see from this picture, progress has been made, Much remains to be done but it is worth a visit.
Click on picture to see more from Dunsland.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

On The Boardwalk – in Youghal

On The Boardwalk – in Youghal

Step out folks. Youghal, already an attractive tourist destination, has a brand new boardwalk. And it is already proving quite an attraction.

Called down to check it out at the weekend. It will be especially handy for those pushing buggies, for wheelchair users and also for those who find it hard to walk on the sand and handy for everyone who wishes to stretch the legs when the tide is in.

At present, it stretches from Claycastle beach (where the big car park is) to the area that was already paved by the Front Strand. Not really a big walk, unless you want to continue into the town.

The big boardwalk though is on the way. Plans are afoot to extend it to some 2000 metres and that stretch (to Redbarn) should be completed for the spring of 2013. It is part of the National Coastal Walking route and I can see it being a big attraction.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Poetry: an asset of Irish culture that cannot be sold

Poetry: an asset of Irish culture that cannot be sold
Darina Allen, whose Ballymaloe Cookery School
sponsor the Poetry prize.

Elaine Doyle, a PhD student, has been among the many impressed by the huge entry for this year’s Ballymaloe International PoetryPrize.  She is not the only one, as the post announcing the award ceremony at the end of the month drew many “hits”. Here Elaine wonders why there were over 1000 entries and comes up with some answers.

“As a PhD student in UCC, I witness every day how students struggle to find a connection with their sense of being ‘Irish’.  Who could blame them?  Now their forging identities, ambitions and life designs are set around other places, foreign countries.  Within this country, there are probably a lot of things that have made aspects of our culture less obvious as we bow our heads and plough on in the name of austerity.  

It must come as something to be celebrated then, that a poetry competition received over 1,000 entries, mostly from Ireland.  Evidence that poetry, an asset of Irish culture that cannot be sold, prevails.  Like the songs that have marked time, poetry too has long been since used in times of plight to celebrate, to garner support and to make sense of the socio cultural landscape in which we live.

Poetry Competitions like this strive to showcase, reward, inspire but namely, they are an outlet to which we can direct these components-the poets and the poetry- of our culture. The place of this poetry prize has also been acknowledged by Seamus Heaney.

I know that this is a cliché but I do believe that acknowledging such competitions and their impact help us to play a role in harnessing the countries creativity and reassure us all that we can still inspire and be inspiring-it’s who we are.”

The prize-giving ceremony is open to the public, and will take place in the beautiful Grain Store at Ballymaloe House between 6 and 8.30 p.m. on Sunday 25 March.

Flowers open up in Fota

Enjoyed my walk through the Fota Arboretum last Sunday. The house wasn’t open to the public at the time (it will re-open on April 1st) and neither were the walled gardens (they are open during working hours at present) but there is still plenty of interest in the stroll through the arboretum. There is no charge other than the three euro parking fee and you may also bring the dog, (provided he or she is on a lead). 

When you enter from the dedicated car park, separate from the Wildlife parkings, you will pass a huge tree on your left. Pay your respects as you pass: this Monterey Cypress was planted here about 1847. Keep to the main path and soon you get a terrific view of the house. The entrance to the gardens and the trees is not signposted but is to the right of the house as you at it. 

House info, including opening times: 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

A recipe for inspiration

Darina Allen and a host of literary figures will come together, to celebrate the arts at the upcoming Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize award ceremony. The prize, which is for a single unpublished poem, attracted over 1,000 entries from Ireland and abroad. Launched in 2011, the competition is sponsored by the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in association with Ireland’s arts and literature magazine, The Moth.  

The prize-giving ceremony is open to the public, and will take place in the beautiful Grain Store at Ballymaloe House between 6 and 8.30 p.m. on Sunday 25 March. Speaking about the forthcoming event, Darina Allen remarked, “A little poetry enriches all of our daily lives so I am delighted to sponsor this prize. Due to the response to the competition, we are more encouraged than ever to celebrate the arts”. 

The prize giving event promises to play host to some of Ireland’s most captivating creative and literary figures. There will be readings by Cork Poet Matthew Sweeney, whose most recent collection was shortlisted for The Irish Times/Poetry Now Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the winning poets. The Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan is also expected to attend.

Darina Allen: "Passions for crafts of cookery and word can often be found intertwined - both being arts through which we can nourish and express. It is in this vein, that we are delighted to announce that the prize giving for the inaugural Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize in conjunction with the Moth Magazine will be held at Ballymaloe House on Sunday 25th March 2012.

Our Judge Matthew Sweeney, whose most recent collection was shortlisted for The Irish Times/Poetry Now Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize, had the unenviable task of selecting just three winners. He also selected five commended poets to read on the evening."