A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin

A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin

There’s been a distinctive lack of posts around here, I hope you won’t hold a grudge but I’ve been trying to keep my head above water with assignments and general anxiety, so the mood hasn’t been very conducive to writing blog posts. But yesterday I was out and about in town for a job and I thought I would take a few pictures to show you Dublin in all its Autumn splendour. It’s probably  the season when Dublin is at its prettiest (although I’ll probably say something similar come Spring). If you’re looking into visiting the Irish capital, I’d recommend you come at this time of the year as there are generally quite a few events and festivals knocking about and the weather is generally what you would expect, so no disappointment there to have (as opposed to our underwhelming Summers).

Yesterday started with a bit of Dublin Bus drama, I was on my way to town when a guy decided to hold the bus hostage because the driver allegedly overcharged him. Nothing abnormal for a weekday but a bit of a pain when you’re trying to get somewhere. So I squeezed past the angry shouting men and decided to walk the way to town. This turned out to be a bloody good thing as it meant I had to walk through Stephen’s green. The park is a true Autumn Wonderland at the moment. I slowly let go of the commute tension, breathed full lungs of the musty air and gleefully stepped on the dry colourful leaves.
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin

My first port of call was the National Museum of Archeology. It was my first time visiting it and if I hadn’t had to for a job, I’d probably have never stepped inside. If you read me regurlarly you know I’m a sucker for period rooms but I can’t say that anything happening before that time captures my imagination. So while the exhibits left me a bit cold (bar the very thing I was coming to photograph, it left me a bit shivery that… I’ll probably talk about it later), I was completely enthralled with the building itself. The tiled floors are some of the best I’ve seen and the domed ceiling in the entrance is one pretty amazing sight.

A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
I then walked around the beautiful squares of Georgian Dublin to look at the red ivy creeping on the bricks here and there. The temperature dropped so I stopped by Yogism to get a hot drink. I opted for a matcha with almond milk which I’ve been meaning to try for the longest time. It was actually quite nice, would go for it again! (sorry I destroyed the pretty latte art because you know, SUGAR).
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
I was also looking for some new stationery so I stopped by TK Maxx and Article in the beautiful Powerscourt Townhouse. I already waxed lyrical about Article here but I could have bought everything, this shop is curated to a T.
Later as I was passing by Dublin’s City Hall, I stepped in to admire another phenomenal domed ceiling. I would have never guessed that such a jewel of a design was there to be admired if it wasn’t for Emily’s blog. #thepowerofblogs
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin
A Crisp Autumn Afternoon in Dublin

The day ended with a couple of pictures taken at St Audoen’s Church and a walk by the Liffey to catch my bus home. Doesn’t it look like the banks could belong to Paris the way the light hits the stone? 

What’s your verdict of Dublin in the Autumn? Doesn’t it look glorious? 
As Halloween is fast-approaching, I thought I would set the mood on the blog next week so I hope you’re ready to get spooked x

Lavender Harvest Sale | co. Wicklow

Lavender Harvest Party

Last month, I had quite a little exciting Saturday planned. I was heading to county Wicklow to see the lavender field in Kilmacanogue. I had been wanting to visit one again ever since going to the Wexford Lavender Farm last year. It was such a romantic experience!
I was also really excited to try out my new camera and lens. I had only been filming so far so I was really keen to see how I got on with it for taking pictures. And what better place to test a camera than a flower field! I bought a Canon 700d and a 24mm lens. I usually shoot with a 50mm which I still love dearly but the 24mm with its wider angle gives so much more space to work with, I’ve been loving the freedom of movement it allows. Let me know what you think of the pictures, hope you like them!

Lavender Harvest PartyLavender Harvest PartyLavender Harvest Party

Every month of July, Fragrances of Ireland organises a Lavender Harvest Party in Kilmacanogue… or is it Kilmacanog or Kilmacanoge? Even the locals can’t seem to agree, I saw the three different spellings in the space of a yard. And apparently, it is pronounced Kilmacanick I found out after embarrassing myself talking to a helpful bus driver. All of it is very confusing for little old Belgian me. The good thing is that the field was very easy to find, the less good thing is that it is next to a busy motorway. It kind of killed the Provence vibe unfortunately. On one side of the road, you can look at the lavender rows (a kind lady harvester let me in so I could take pictures but I don’t think you’re really meant to, the alleyways were quite brambly) and on the other side, there’s the harvest sale set in a cute little courtyard.
I think it’s one of those instances where having a car makes the experience more pleasant. It was easy enough going from the field to the courtyard by foot (there’s a bridge over the motorway for crossing it) but walking along cars can be a bit stressful, especially when the pathway disappears. If you ever go, I’d recommend as well you to visit during the first weekend of July so you can see the field in its full purple splendour before it gets gradually chopped.

Lavender Harvest PartyLavender Harvest PartyLavender Harvest PartyLavender Harvest PartyLavender Harvest Party

At the harvest sale, you’ll find all the lavender by-products you can expect: fresh pots of lavender, dried lavender, essential oils, perfumes and soaps. You can also buy them online on the Fragrances of Ireland website (along with other ranges). It is an Irish independent perfume house managed by friendly owners. I just love how they set up their courtyard with buntings and pretty stalls for the occasion. They even put a cute purple bow on their dog to go with the theme!

If you’re ever in the area in July, it does make for a pleasant Summer afternoon. Especially as the harvest sale is located next to the Avoca‘s flagship store where you can have a bite and a little nosey around their shelves stocked with gorgeous crockery and beautifully-packaged cosmetics.

Lavender Harvest Party

Practical Information

Fragrances of Ireland – website
Jameson’s Corner
Kilmacanogue
Co. Wicklow

Opening Times
11am – 4pm (Sat-Sun during the month of July)

Admission
Free

How to get there (from Dublin)
Take the Dart to Bray then the bus 45a (the stop is just outside the station), get off at the last stop

Irish Summer Checklist

Connemara
Connemara, September 2012

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I want to make sure this Summer doesn’t go to waste even though I don’t have big travel plans. I figure that right now is the perfect opportunity to explore my ‘backyard’. Travelling in Ireland is a tad tricky without a driving license but I’m okay with it as there are so many places in Dublin that I’ve been meaning to check out for the longest time. I also want to go deeper in Wicklow, the neighbouring county nicknamed ‘the garden of Ireland’. It is very accessible from here.
Lastly, I’ve set my mind on making my dream to visit the Burren Pefumery happen. Its location is quite remote in county Clare and as far as I can see, no transport goes anywhere near it. I’m not sure how I will go about it, I might spend a couple of days in a nearby town and… well, I’ll work something out! In the meantime, here’s the list of my 10 resolutions for this Summer!

• Go on hikes around Dublin. The Killiney Hill and the Bray-to-Greystones walks are some of the best things I’ve done in Dublin. I really want to do more! I’ve got my eyes on the Howth cliff walk, the Hellfire Club and Bray Head. Are there any other great ones I’m missing?
• Taste Murphy’s ice-cream (Dublin)
• Visit Drimnagh Castle (Dublin)
• Photograph the roses in Saint Anne’s Park (Dublin)
• Go back to Killruddery to do a tour of the house (co. Wicklow)
• Wander in Mount Usher Gardens (co. Wicklow)
• Stand in a lavender field again, this time at the Lavender Harvest Festival in Kilmacanogue (co. Wicklow)
• See the mills in Skerries (Dublin)
• Visit the Burren Perfumery (co. Clare)
• Get lost in Russborough’s maze (co. Wicklow)

I will report back in September and tell you what I managed to cross off that list. What are your plans for this Summer? I would love to hear about your own checklists!

Killruddery Gardens | co. Wicklow

Killruddery GardensKillruddery Gardens
I was just writing my Irish Summer Checklist when I realised I had not shown you the beautiful Killruddery Gardens in Bray yet. I visited them 3 years ago and since then, every time the weather warms up, I’ve been meaning to come back to visit the house.
Last time, the weather was so gorgeous that it felt kind of wrong to spend any time indoors. Also I remember thinking back then that I really should start watching The Tudors since it’s one of the filming locations for the series and somehow, I haven’t watched one episode either. I don’t know who I am anymore. So once again, ‘Killruddery House’ finds its way onto my list of places to visit during the Summer, I’ve got a strong feeling it will happen this time but in the meantime, let’s have a look at the gardens, shall we?
Killruddery GardensKillruddery Gardens
Killruddery Gardens
Killruddery Gardens
There’s quite a bit to explore in Killruddery Gardens: formal gardens, maze-like topiary where you can hide, a mini forest , canals, a walled garden with vegetables and a farm. It’s just the perfect setting to wander aimlessly.
The day I was in, people were rushing around to get an evening banquet ready. Next to the long table, a whole hog was spinning on a giant skewer. I had only seen those in Asterix comics before so it was a bit of a shock! After I stopped my stomach from turning (hello I’m a wimpy vegetarian!), I had to admit that the whole thing fitted so well the spirit of the gardens, the oldest in Ireland that survived in its authentic 17th century form.
Killruddery GardensKillruddery Gardens
Killruddery GardensKillruddery Gardens
Killruddery Gardens
Killruddery Gardens

Did you know?

Killruddery was the film location for The Tudors, My Left Foot, Far and Away, Angela’s Ashes and Camelot

Are you in Ireland this Summer and wish to visit some gardens? Here are a few more I wrote about: Powerscourt Gardens | Altamont Gardens | Dublin’s Botanic Gardens

Killruddery Gardens
Practical Information

Killruddery House & Gardens – website
Southern Cross, Bray

Co. Wicklow

Opening Hours
9.30am – 6pm, every day (May – September)
9.30am – 6pm, weekends only (April & October)

Admission
Adults €6.50 / Concession €5.50 /Children under 12 €2 / Children under 4 Free (Gardens Only)
Adults €11 / Concession €9 / Children under 12 €3 / Children under 4 Free (Gardens + House*)

*Guided tours of the house start at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm (July-Sep)

The farm market is on every Saturday, from 10am to 4pm

How to get there (from Dublin)
Take the Dart to Bray then the bus 84 or 184 outside the Dart station

 

Killiney Hill | Dublin

Killiney Hill
Late April, I climbed Killiney Hill for the first time. I had no idea of its existence until Eadoin from City of Blackbirds posted a picture of it on her instagram (you should check it out by the way, it’s filled with beautifully serene scenes of the Irish countryside). It baffles me and gives me so much joy at the same time that such a place has managed to escape my radar, even after living here for 7 years. I wonder what other jewels you’re still hiding from me, Dublin.

I say ‘climbed’ like it’s some sort of feat but it’s actually a very pleasant walk, with some steep paths but nothing too arduous and always well paved. You can start the ascent either from the Dalkey or Killiney Dart Station. I would advise the former as the road from Killiney Station is a mean slope. You would definitely be better off going down this one.

Coming from Dalkey, don’t miss the Torca Cottage (photo above) next to the quarry, just before where the trail starts. This is where George Bernard Shaw spent his life as a teenager. I sure wouldn’t have minded that view!
Killiney Hill
Killiney Hill
As I enter the trail, the sweet coconut-like smell of the gorse hit me. Twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, a sea of blooms cover the hill. I keep walking, breathing ladleful of the air where sea salt and the flower scent artfully swirl. At the end of the path, I catch a glimpse of the pointy obelisk breaking the yellow waves. The top of the hill is within reach. I look behind me, down to the dazzling white Sorrento House, which looks like a haunted hotel, and next to it, the Dalkey Island with its goats and its strange little tower in the middle, like some sort of fortified nipple. I still find it hard to believe that all of this is a mere 30 minute train journey away from the city centre.

On the top of the hill stand three weird-looking buildings: two obelisks (nicknamed The Witches’ Hat after their conic roof) and a step pyramid. They are follies, structures built for no other purpose than to look ‘pretty’. In Ireland, they’re mostly ‘Famine Follies’, like these ones, they were ordered by rich landlords in order to create jobs for the poor in the darkest hour of Irish History.

Did you know?

If you walk around each level of the pyramid and then stand at the top of it, facing Dalkey Island, you can make a wish and it will come true! Locals call the pyramid ‘The Wishing Stone’.

Killiney Hill
Killiney Hill
Killiney Hill

The view at the top of the hill is everything (for a better vantage point, go inside the obelisk). The endless blue of the Irish Sea in front of you (on a clear day you can see the mountains of Wales), in your back the Poolbeg Chimneys can be seen looking over the Dublin Bay, on your left Dalkey Hill and Dalkey Island and on your right Bray and the Wicklow mountains. Panoramic views, innit.
And the cherry on top of the biscuit if you’re a dog lover like me, the place is a prime location for dog-watching. It seems to be the meeting point of all the dog owners in the area. That afternoon, I spotted a lady walking 5 dachshunds! Five! #DOGGOALS

Top tip

Bring a blanket and a picnic, the whole hill is a lovely spot for setting down but you might be able to grab the ‘best seats in the house’, a couple of flat stones facing the sea. I don’t think there’s a more romantic spot in Dublin!

Killiney Hill
Practical Information

Killiney Hill
The trail circuit is 2km

Dart: Dalkey or Killiney

Dublin in Love (and clumsy thoughts of an expat)

Dublin in Love
Dublin in Love
Today’s the day Ireland gets to decide on same-sex marriage. The past few weeks Dublin has slowly morphed into a beautiful bird of paradise, her plumage showing off all the colours of the rainbow.
Exciting new street art pieces appear on walls, shops show their support in creative displays and Dubliners wear colourful accessories and badges. Dublin you’re beautiful when you’re in love.
Dublin in Love
Dublin in Love
Dublin in Love
I’ve been wanting to document this moment in Irish History ever since I was met with ‘Vote No’ posters outside my place a few weeks ago. Their hateful messages made me sick to my stomach and I couldn’t comprehend that they were even allowed in a public space. From then on, I decided to focus on the incredible display of love and creativity shown all over Dublin.

It’s a weird thing moving to Ireland when you come from Belgium where abortion and gay marriage have been legalised for decades (respectively 1990 and 2003). But then it taught me so much and I think (hope) I’ve grown as a human. For the first time, I was faced with people who would openly say they’re against such rights. And these people weren’t the ones I had imagined. I would go as far to say that some of them were free-spirited women. I think it’s easy to think when you live in a country where the vast majority is in favour of these rights that those who are not are simply monsters. Like it’s easy to think that ‘no-ers’ are all bat-shit crazy when you look at the ‘Vote No’ posters.
Ireland taught me something different. It doesn’t take a cruel heart to be against someone else’s right but just a different experience, a different emotional connection (or sometimes an absence of it). That’s all it is.
As humans, we base our opinions on experiences and on the emotions they create. And in a country where abortion is illegal and where homosexuals can’t marry, these experiences and emotions and the way they are discussed and taught are, in essence, different.

Dublin in LoveDublin in Love
Dublin in Love
Dublin in Love
Dublin in LoveDublin in Love
I’m not sure I’m making sense or sounding horrendously patronising, I don’t mean to, but these are the thoughts that have been going round in my head since the Savita tragedy (and the failed attempt at changing the Irish law on abortion).

Recently, those thoughts have been somewhat crystallised by the episode of This American Life podcast called ‘The Incredible Rarity of Changing your Mind‘ where the Los Angeles LGBT lab research send volunteers to talk to voters who are against gay marriage. It was eye-opening to hear voters’ thought process evolve after they made a personal connection with the matter. I really recommend a listen, food for thought, for sure!

I obviously hope with all my heart that today is going to bring us a yes but whatever happens, I’m optimistic as the past few weeks have opened a conversation that can’t be swept under the carpet anymore as so many now feel invested.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you Una, and for you Ireland.

3 interior design shops in Dublin that will make your Pinterest dreams come true

I’m going to blame Spring but I’ve had home decor on the brain a lot lately. I have this urge to strip everything from my flat and redecorate. Start afresh.  I’ve been trawling Pinterest and I enjoy so many current trends: open shelves, brass, wire, copper, earth toned ceramics and linen, marble, … give them all to me! Seeing my current obsession, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the brilliant design shops we have in Dublin today. All of them are greatly curated by passionate owners who pride themselves in stocking contemporary Irish makers. You could say they have their finger on the pulse of interior design trends but each shop differs in personality and atmosphere. Let’s see how, shall we?

Moss Cottage
Moss Cottage

MOSS COTTAGE

Moss Cottage is the cutest little shop located in the red brick cottages on Dundrum Main Street. The owner Jen managed to fit so many goodies in this tiny little space. You can see that she puts so much heart in her shop, only stocking what she would want to buy. As a result, the display changes quite frequently. When I came in last month, she was joking that candles were taken over the shop and funnily enough, as I was browsing, a new delivery came through the door: candles in copper tins whose scents are inspired by famous authors. Some bad-ass candles, if you ask me!
The overlook of the shop is colorful, feminine and there’s a definite crafty vibe about it. The shelves are full of very well-priced giftware and homeware, ranging from cheerful mugs to copper wire candle holders. And if you’re like me, obsessed with anything Anna Bond does, you’ll be delighted to know that Rifle Paper Co stationary is available at Moss Cottage. Hurray!
PS: For all the craft-lovers out there, Jen also hosts chalk paint and wedding DIY workshops.

Main Street, Dundrum, Dublin 14
Opening Hours: 10 am – 6 pm (Mon-Sat); closed on Sundays & Bank Holidays
website | online shop (international)

Dust Dublin
Dust Dublin
Dust Dublin

DUST

Dust is located in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Dublin 8. Two friends, Sarah and Lisa, united by a love of interior design, opened it a couple of months ago, after setting up successful pop ups.
It is pretty much the new ‘kid on the block’ of decor shops and it’s making quite a wave. Understandably so. As I stepped in 4, Grantham Street, I felt like I was entering the living space of a toned-down Diana Vreeland. The girls’ motto is to ban beige, which actually sounds like something Mrs Vreeland would say.
The shop is sophisticated, colourful but doesn’t take itself seriously as fun pieces are also stocked up like cute pillows (look at the little Bowie rock pillow <3 ), porcelain pineapples and unicorn heads (!!).
Another surprising feature of the shop awaits you on the second floor, a whole room is dedicated to faux flowers. I must confess I wasn’t very convinced on the matter but seeing them in person, so intricate and letting the light sofly trickle through their petals like a real flower would, I was decidedly won over. The trick is, according to Sarah and Lisa, to display them just like you would with fresh posies.
PS: They’re celebrating the launch of their new online shop today with a 20% discount (available until Monday 04/05 midnight).

4, Camden Market, Grantham Street, Dublin 8
Opening Hours: 10 am – 6pm (Mon – Sun; opens until 7pm on Thursdays)
website | online shop (international)

Article Dublin
Article Dublin
Article Dublin

ARTICLE

There’s something really serene about the shop Article. It has this vibe that Japanese neighbourhood cafes give off when they’re trying to emulate the Scandinavian aesthetic. On its shelves, you’ll find contemporary homeware mixing natural material and vibrant colours, local independant magazines, Irish stationary and prints as well as something that fills me with joy (hope I’m not the only one here): mini washi tape rolls! They’re really cheap which means you can try lots of them #happynora
Located in the beautiful Powerscourt Townhouse, Article makes for a delightful shopping experience so much that they were voted the best design shop by the Irish Times last year.

Powerscourt Townhouse, South William Street, Dublin 2
Opening Hours: 10.30 am – 6 pm (Mon – Wed, Fri & Sat); 10.30am – 7 pm (Thu); 1 pm – 5 pm (Sun)
website | online shop (international)

National Botanic Gardens | Dublin

National Botanic GardensNational Botanic Gardens
I recently went to Dublin’s Botanic Gardens to film a little segment for an upcoming video and it reminded me that I had some pictures in my archives I haven’t shown you yet. They were taken at the same time two years back. This is one of my favourite places in Dublin but it’s truly glorious come Spring. The tulips are swinging, the bluebells turn the little forest patch into a magic land, the rhododendrons and magnolias fluff out the the trees and the daffodils sprinkle the grass with their round happy faces. There are few other places in Dublin I’d rather be right now.

National Botanic GardensNational Botanic GardensNational Botanic GardensNational Botanic GardensNational Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens is a beautiful place to wander, sit and breathe. I especially love the beautiful iron-wrought glass houses. They host cacti, exotic palm trees and a great orchid collection among other species. Some of the ironwork actually come from London’s Kew Gardens, which make me love the place even more, if that’s possible.

National Botanic GardensNational Botanic GardensNational Botanic Gardens
There’s also a little café with terrace where I had a nice squishy cookie and a lemonade. At the table next to me, a man was singing Irish rebel songs to soothe his baby, which made the infant laugh furiously, which in turn made me grin like a mad cat #onlyinireland

National Botanic GardensNational Botanic Gardens

Did you know?

The scientists at the National Botanic Gardens discovered the potato blight responsible for the Irish Famine. They predicted its effect on the crops before it all happened. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to find the remedy in time.

National Botanic Gardens

Practical Information

National Botanic Gardens – website
Glasnevin
Dublin 9

Admission: Free

Opening Hours
Summer: 9am-5pm (Mon-Fri) / 10am-6pm (Sat, Sun & Public Hols)
Winter: 9am-4.30pm (Mon-Fri) / 10am-4.30pm (Sat, Sun & Public Hols)

Bus: 4, 9, 83

Last Minute Gift Guide: Christmas Shopping in Dublin

I don’t know about you, but each year, i feel it’s the year of change. Every time November rolls around, I firmly tell myself, enough is enough, the Christmas shopping will start now and come december, I’ll be armed, beribboned and wrapped-ready for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even have a colour design and fancy handmade tags for the wrapping. And without fail, a few days before Christmas, my Santa’s sack holds nothing but a sad echo and I convince myself that newspaper is totally cool and edgy to wrap presents.
Well, here it is, the week before Christmas, 2014 was no different, not one name has been crossed off my list. Instead of banging my head against the wall in shame, I thought I would share a little gift guide with you in solidarity for all the last-minute shoppers out there. Believe me, I know how you feel. This list features items that I secretly covet but also some I love and use on a daily basis. Hopefully you’ll find something in there to fill a stocking or two. This post is also an invitation for you to check out some of the awesome shops in Dublin.

christmas gift guide dublin 2014 with prices

Gobshite Mug (€12)
Please tell me, I’m not the only immature one who giggles at the sight of this cup.

Jam Art Factory
14, Crown Alley
Temple Bar

64, Patrick Street
Dublin 8

Bewleys Christmas Chai tea (€2.99)
I normally have this little tradition of buying loose Christmas tea in a specialised shop every year, but I stumbled upon this box of Bewleys Christmas chai tea in my local supermarket a few weeks ago and decided to give it a go. It’s very much on the fruity side which is an interesting change from other Christmas tea offerings I’ve sampled before that were predominantly spicy. Basically, it’s like drinking mince pies. I’m completely hooked and plan to stock up to hold until next Christmas!

Bewley’s Café
78-79, Grafton Street
Dublin 2

Iittala votive (€22)
This cute little votive is totally on my Christmas wishlist. I keep seeing them on Scandinavian blogs peppered around perfect minimalist white decor and while this style is probably out of reach for little old messy me, I see this candleholder as a little piece of the nordic interior dream. And luckily, Dublin has a design shop for all things Scandi!

Inreda
Royal Hibernian Academy
15, Ely Place
Dublin 2

Atlantic Aromatics rosewater (€7.95)
I have gone through bottles and bottles of this Irish organic rosewater and I can’t see myself stopping here. I love what it does to my skin, a few spritzes get it all smooth. I use it as a toner, sometimes make-up remover combined with an oil and it helps me to wake up in the morning. Also, if I need a little pick-me-up while working, it’s always within reach on my desk during the day. It’s fair to say I’m addicted to the stuff and I seriously couldn’t recommend it enough!

Nourish (6 shops are located in Dublin)

Mark’s Inc diary (€14.50)
I was browsing in Article a few weeks back and stumbled upon this Japanese stationary brand and fell in love. It’s very minimalistic and maybe later in the year I will miss polka dots and gold details but right now I feel like it’s been made for me. The layout, the size, the font, … it just works!

Article
Powerscourt Townhouse
South William Street
Dublin 2

Dyflin candle (€35)
Dyflin is the Norse word for Dublin. This candle evokes the Viking past of the city with notes of juniper, birch and camphor. It is a unique scent and would make for a sweet present for someone who misses Dublin.

Indigo & Cloth
9, Essex Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2

Damn Fine City by Annie Atkins (€60)
Not sure if it’s something that made the news outside of Ireland but there was a lot of talk this year that the Poolbeg chimneys should be destroyed. For anyone who’s never been to Dublin, you could say it is our double Eiffel towers. It is a recognisable landmark that can be spotted from anywhere upon the Dublin coastline. For me, they mean ‘home’ as they signal the end of the journey when I travel back to Ireland by ferry.
Amidst those talks, Annie Atkins designed this striking blue poster featuring them. You may remember I visited, earlier this year, the exhibition dedicated to her work on Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel.
I don’t think you could get a cooler gift than this.

Damn Fine Print Block T
Smithfield Chambers
Smithfield Square
Dublin 7

Kilkenny Food & Craft Trails | co. Kilkenny

Abbey House b&b

Here is Day 2 of the blogger tour of Kilkenny I took part in at the end of the month of October. If you missed Day 1 and want to get caught up, you can find the summary of the day here.

After a cosy night at the Abbey House bed & breakfast, I woke up to a beautiful autumnal view outside my window. I packed my stuff and all of us went to Goatsbridge Farm for breakfast. We gathered around Mag & Ger’s table to hear the story of trout fishing in the region and how his father started the family business. The visit of which was our first stop of the day on the Kilkenny Food trail.

goatsbridge trout farm
goatsbridge trout farm
Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Ger gave us a tour of the farm, telling us all about trouts from egg to mature fish. We had a look at the different ponds where the fish hang out in what seems like a constant rush hour, swimming against the current.
Goatsbridge, as well as being a farm, is also a visitor centre and a shop where they sell their beautifully packaged trout products: trout caviar, fillets & pate. They even have a snazzy website with an online shop if you want to have a look and treat yourselves to some local fish delicacies.

Goatsbridge Trout Farm
Thomastown, co. Kilkenny
http://www.goatsbridgetrout.ie
Opening Hours: 9am-5.30pm (Mon-Sat)

karen morgan ceramics
karen morgan ceramics
Karen Morgan Porcelain

Next, we visited Karen Morgan’s studio & shop, where we admired her beautiful homeware collection. She makes these elegant flowy pieces, inspired by the movement of clay and water. Her jugs, cups and dishes have that whole Scandinavian minimalist vibe that is so pleasing to the eye. She also stocks in a couple of places around the county, and she has an online shop as well.

Karen Morgan Porcelain’s studio & shop
Market Street
Thomastown, co. Kilkenny
http://www.karenmorganporcelain.com/
Opening Hours: 10am-1pm/2pm-6pm (Tue-Sat)

jerpoint glass
Stoneyford
Jerpoint Glass

We then managed to squeeze a speedy visit at Jerpoint Glass Studio. There was no glass blowing demonstration unfortunately that morning but Roisin led us in the gallery and told us all about the story of Jerpoint glass. Back in the Sixties, her father went to Sweden to train as a master glass blower and then decided to come back in Ireland and set shop in a beautiful converted barn in Stoneyford, co. Kilkenny. You will find there today a gallery, a shop where they display their colourful creations and you can also attend glassblowing demos. Added bonus, the view outside the barn rolls out on miles and miles of a patchwork of fields. I couldn’t help snapping a quick picture on my way back to the car.

Jerpoint Glass
Stoneyford, co. Kilkenny
http://www.jerpointglass.com/
Opening Times

knockdrinna cheese farm
Knockdrinna Cheese Farm & Shop

At Knockdrinna Farm House, we discovered that Helen’s business started in her back kitchen where she decided to experiment with cheese making about 10 years ago. Fast forward to today, Knockdrinna Farm house holds a visitor centre, cheese making classes and a cute little shop-cum-café. You’ll find there cow, goat and sheep cheese and this month they released a nifty little thing, a combination of soft cheese and pesto, or relish, on top, that looks a bit like those fancy yogurts with jam on top (for my Irish readers, I think it is available in Supervalu). Helen generously gave us a little prototype pot and I can tell you one thing  it was such a success that it hardly had any time in the fridge.

Knockdrinna Cheese Farm, Shop & Café
Stoneyford, co. Kilkenny
http://www.knockdrinna.com
Summer Opening Hours: 9.30am-6pm (Mon-Sat) / 11am – 5pm (Sun)

feta & beetroot salad
Cafe Sol Bistro

For lunch, I was happy to be back at Cafe Sol Bistro where my feast took place the night before. I decided to go for a lighter option this time and picked the feta & beetroot salad, which was very tasty but also filling. Beetroots are my faves <3

Cafe Sol Bistro
Low Street
Thomastown, co. Kilkenny
http://www.restaurantskilkenny.com

thomastown school of food
francis nesbitt
Thomastown School of Food

After lunch, we went on the site of a former boys’ school in Thomastown. This is where the food education centre, the whole county has been raising money for the night before, will stand. Francis Nesbitt, the project coordinator, gave us a tour of the grounds and explained us where everything will be. Once the school is up and running, chef training and public cooking classes will be available. If I’m not mistaken, construction is supposed to start this month but they haven’t reached their target quite yet… Almost there, though! So if you want to give the little push they need, here is the link to donate.

zwartbles farm
zwartbles farm
Zwartbles Farm

And lastly, Suzanna kindly invited us over at her farm where she raises a cuddly fluffy breed of black sheep called Zwartbles. She sells yarn, rugs and blankets made of their unusual wool. What a tremendous place and what a freaking amazing woman. I felt like I had been propulsed inside one of those big countryside saga novels. I left truly inspired and I wish I had more time to roam around, pet the sheep (we were losing the light fast) and unfortunately, I had to catch the bus back to my urban surroundings. Sigh.

Zwartbles Farm
co. Kilkenny
http://www.zwartblesireland.com

I’d like to dedicate a whole post to some of these places so keep your eye out for that if you enjoyed these Kilkenny posts. Also, I wanted to apologise for the few phone pictures inserted in these, I had just opened an instagram account and sometimes forgot to take photos on my DSLR when taking instagrams. I hope you don’t find them too offensive.
A huge thank you again Dee, Susan, Mag, Ger and all the Kilkenny producers for this splendid introduction to Kilkenny. It was amazing to hear all your stories. And finally, I wanted to thank my fellow bloggers Elaine, Billy, Margaret, Janine, Sadhbh & Miriam for their awesome company.

(For transparency purposes, this is not a sponsored post, but accommodation & meals were kindly provided)