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Sonairte Potato Day – Sunday 6th March 2011

Sunday 6th March 2011 saw me head with fellow spud lover Tricia Sheehy Skeffington to Sonairte in Co. Meath. I’ve been there before, many many times and Sunday is supposed to be my day off, but I just couldn’t resist when I heard what was on offer.

Listen!

I met many wonderful people there and want to save and savour some of the audio, particularly the chat I had with the wonderful Laura Turner, were it is one might say of greater interest for The SodShow this Friday.

But the day was a lot more than just the 100 plus varieties of potato on show. It was a lot of listening and watching and learning.

Listen!

I also met the gentleman, gardener and potato expert that is Dermot Carey who was responsible for the largest Irish private collection of potatoes still grown in Lisssadell House. Dermot was also doing working demonstrations on the lazy bed method of growing.

Another great Sonairte day out for €3. I also bought some spud seed and some [more] onion sets.

For more information check out www.sonairte.ie and don’t forget to tune into The SodShow this Friday to hear my chat with Laura. Well done Sonairte and thanks Tricia. Really Enjoyed that 🙂

Garden Group Tour: Battle Of The Boyne Site

Date: Sunday 27th June

Time: 11.30 am on location.

Details: Aisling Mc Mahon of the OPW & Site Manager for The Battle of the Boyne site [Drogheda] will give a personal guided tour to the group.

Numbers: limited to 18

Also: [update] this post on the boyne site

New To The Garden Group:

I recommend you read the garden group guide. The two previous trips were to Irelands Eye and the war memorial park. Dena Williams and her family The Garden Group was also featured in the Mail On Sunday recently.

Our Tour will include:

The Walled Garden and Tea Room 2008, this part is the only part that is fully open to the public at the moment. The layout of which is as per the 1808 and later OS maps.

However, by special arrangement, we have permission from the contractors who are currently on site restoring the outer walls, to access their site, subject to certain limits as there are health and safety concerns. We will also see the Octgaon which the group will be able to see pre- restoration.

And… On the day they visit we will also have living history displays taking place for free on the front lawn with people in period costumes firing muskets with gunpowder and doing cavlary displays.

Please Note:

  • There will be no charge for the tour of the gardens.
  • Anyone planning on bringing children should know that they must be supervised by a parent/ guardian at all times.
  • We are not booked into the centre for a tour but can go in afterwards by buying a ticket and self guide. There are also numerous walks throughout the battle site and Oldbridge Estate that are self guiding and there are directional panels at various locations or one can pick up a free map from reception.
  • There is also a Tea Room located in the Walled Garden.
  • See website for further info www.battleoftheboyne.opw.ie

Garden Group-ees

  • Booking: via comment here only
  • Contact me: see below. not a problem 😉
  • Other: the train/ nor bus stops here. My suggestion is car pooling from Dublin City or Swords meeting point. Most of you know each other. Most people drive anyway. If you are stuck leave a comment it will be easily solved. 
  • Dress Code: advised to wear suitable footwear as all the walks are on grass, except the Boyne Canal towpath which adjoins the site and is surfaced with gravel.
  • Duration: I conferred Aisling and 2.5 hours should see you well
  • Weather: the weather…. your guess is as good as mine.
  • Lunch: I had suggested bringing a picnic. That’s what I will be doing anyway. All things going good it’ll be a flask of coffee and some nice sambos!
  • Anything else: leave a comment below or gimme a call. 
  • Directions: The Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre is located on the South bank of the River Boyne, 3km north of Donore Village.  The site is sign-posted from the  M1 (Dublin/Belfast), Exit 9, off N51 (Slane/Drogheda), Not Suitable for Coaches, and off N2 (Slane/Ashbourne). Also see google maps

Contact Me:

Note of thanks: to Nic Reilly for putting me in touch and to Aisling McMahon for taking my call and arranging this for us.

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Trim 2025 – the carbon [r]evolution begins

Before you read this – read Trim 2025 to go carbon neutral

In what may have seemed, to some, like an almost niaive scenario to percieve… it now seems that young Martin Tighe literally has started what is now the most enviable vision ever to evolve worldwide and this one from a town in Ireland called Trim. Ladies and gentlemen… The carbon revolution has just begun.

In an all star headline act some spoke of the redemption required to change that same old heads of town events, boards and committees…. and whilst the presence of Noel Dempsey may have attracted some – it was the fine and independent minded speaking of David Mc Williams who stole the show.

That was until the music kicked off….

Whether you are 6, 16 or 106 years old… this really was a day for Trim, in its entirety, to stand tall and to be extremely proud. I’m not talking some group of contrary county councillors seeking to prove their worth to the local papers and a bunch of men in suits holding cardboard cheques… This is close on verging Bono country and it is every piece of energy that a green revolution should be.

One last thing before – the last thing…. where the fork where the green party….?

Martin Tighe, stand up sir and take a bow…. The world is watching.


The one thing I took from this…..? anyone, any person all of the doom and gloom merchants, the nay sayers…. you know who you are and if not, everyone knows at least one……. fork you! It can be done. I listened to young Martin. No older that 30 years old – who took on an entire town… and won’t stop there. I listened to Mc Williams…. stuff the government and stuff you if you are sitting on your arse looking for someone to blame. We know what they can’t do…. but you can. And you can. As a btw… I’m almost 10 years in business. I borrowed the tools for my first job. I’ve never been the recipient of any welfare or grants of any format…. and now Martin who doesn’t even live in Trim…..  and you know what he’s right…. I’ll give him the final word….

Many, many special thanks to all the very kind people I met in Trim.

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The Real Pumpkin Farm…

pumpkin

pumpkins

I had written an article last year on growing pumpkins from seed [check out the comments for ] and it seems many of you are on the hunt for pumpkins…. particularly pumpkin farms.

I did try and I did put the S.O.S out there for you. But there was very little response. If you know of anyone – leave a comment & make them famous 😉 But I did ring Natasha in Sonairte [click here], a place I have visited in Co. Meath [ just past balbriggan] many times. The mother of all gig for kids has to be the pumpkin carving course….. It’s times like this even I wish I had children 😉

Natasha sent me this email:

Pumpkins are such cheerful bumps in the garden aren’t they?  The perfect colour to remind us which season we are in. Growing up in Australia, one of my fav winter dishes was pumpkin soup and you can’t beat roast pumpkin sprinkled with rosemary, thyme and salt.

News just in!! I have been out in the garden just this afternoon, chatting to the gardeners. They tell me that due to the inclement weather this year, our stocks are depleted, and everything has now been harvested! But don’t worry, there are still some left including some big rounded beauties! They are a bit pricier than what you would buy in other shops, not for growing up organic, but because they should keep for several months.

Sonairte’s pumpkins and our other organic produce and plants can be found at the Dublin Food Coop every Saturday, 9.30-4pm. Its an indoor market, Newmarket Square just off the Combe, Dublin 8. Here you will find fantastic organic food products including wines, breads, cheeses, dry goods and good coffee. www.dublinfood.coop. The market has a lovely, friendly atmosphere and you can by lunch and read the papers at your leisure. Alternatively pop into Sonairte itself and visit our ecoshop. We are on the Laytown Road just off Meaths coastline! Only 40 minutes from Dublin, there’s a bus service stopping right outside. Most convenient, especially if you’re carrying a pumpkin! The ecoshop, café and river walk are open 10.30 – 5pm wednesday to sunday

FYI, Sonairte hosts a Pumpkin Carving workshop, for adults and children. Its next Friday 30th Oct, Time: 11 -1pm, Cost: 20€ (1 adult, 1 child,1 pumpkin!).

For anyone who would like to learn more about growing their own veg and fruit, here are the details of other courses.

Thanks Peter for your time. If readers have any organic gardening queries, they can feel free to give us a buzz.

Cheers

Natasha

pumpkin-jack-o-lanten-2

pumpkins...

Other sonairte courses this year:

SOFT FRUIT AND FRUIT TREES IN THE GARDEN

With Kathy Marsh. A complete course on fruit growing for amateurs, covering choosing, planting, pruning and propagating.

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10- 4pm Cost: €120 or €75/ day (incl. lunch)

DRY STONE WALL BUILDING

With Bob Wilson (CELT). Covering basic techniques from foundation to capping. Also corners, steps, stiles, retaining walls and garden features and introduction to the use of lime mortar. Bring strong boots and rainwear .

Date: November 7th and 8th, 10am – 5pm. Cost: €150 (incl. lunch)

GROW IT YOURSELF

Course tutors Kathy Marsh and Geraldine O’Toole. A one day course at an affordable price to get you started on producing tasty, cheap and nutritious organic vegetables in even the smallest garden

Date: Saturday November 14th. Time: 10am – 4pm. Cost: €35.

*Please note that lunch is not provided. Our cafe will be open or you can bring your own and eat it at our garden picnic tables. All our courses can be viewed on our website. For more information and to book: Call 0419827572, e-mail: info@sonairte.org, website: www.sonairte.org

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sonairte ecology centre

You might think that this is just some woodstock sort of hippies juncture where waifes hug trees and stare at the sun…. I say wake up and smell the fairtrade recycled gound beans coffee… 😆

they say:

Sonairte continues to provide a beautiful sanctuary to walk, sit or meditate. In March the bare trees along the nature walk show up the beauty and shape of the Nanny estuary. In the garden the daffodils are brightening up the winter shades. More volunteers are starting to come out of hibernation to join in the spring propagation and planting season

I hadn’t been out to sonairte so recently. No particluar reason… I think I just got caught up with life and the ‘stuff’ that goes with… anyhow.

What had happened since I was last out there at the hedge layers association day is I became good friends with one of the volunteers, Natasha, who like many people I know in my life – is doing what she does because she is passionate about it ie. money does not equal motivation. I like this.

I’m not saying give anyone any money. No sir! But where soooo many have jumped on the green eco freak bandwagon… for financial gain, Sonairte survives in my opinion because the journey is continuously borne from like minded people who care.

Natasha tells me that Meath County Council have been great to them – but pretty much they rely upon people visiting [or donating to survive]. Am I asking you to write a big fat cheque… no!! In fact she and the other volunteers are working for free at this moment in time. What I am suggesting is that you pop out… take a look and tell me if I am wrong. All you gotta do is buy a coffe or a plant like you would any where else….? More than fair I say… and you’ll feel all super dooper as well 😆

It is the ultimate place for those who love life, enjoy holding hands, home made everything, the unusual, the creative and most importantly the inspirational.

They run courses there which are really cool [view them here]. I particularly like the one coming up on chickens… something I should have done before I got them, but it’s never too late. I think I might try this one…

KEEPING CHICKENS IN YOUR BACK GARDEN

Time:10am – 4pm

With Fiona Crowe – a producer of Organic Eggs with12 years experience of keeping laying hens and other fancy poultry. Aimed at people who want to keep 3 to 10 chickens for eggs for their own table. Morning in classroom, afternoon, handling and practical experience of hens.

Cost: €75 (Lunch included)

Date: Saturday, April 18th

Whatever you do… do gown down. Have a coffee, do or don’t get durty… enjoy what has to be one of the cheapest and happiest places you may ever visit. And if you do feel like dressing up in your bell bottom pants complete with tee pee in arm… just remember to wear some flowers in your hair…. .