Savour Kilkenny Festival & #1000Feasts | co. Kilkenny

Kilkenny Day 1
Last month, I was super lucky to be invited along with a handful of Irish bloggers to a trip to discover the food and craft scene in Kilkenny. I had never been to the city, or the county for that matter before, my knowledge of Kilkenny city extended to ‘somewhere there is a castle‘ (which, in fairness, could apply to pretty much anywhere in Ireland) so this weekend ended up being the most perfect introduction one could dream of really. I have to say Kilkenny found a cosy warm little spot in my heart after two intense days of exploration and meeting the lovely people behind the local food and craft scene.
I thought I would reminisce with you what happened during those two days and I’m crossing my fingers that I manage to somewhat convey the warmth of this beautiful county through your screens.
Here is Day 1.

Kilkenny Day 1

On the first day, Dee from Green and Vibrant and Mag from a local trout farm welcomed our little group of bloggers in front of the castle (that castle!). The blogger tour was taking place as part of the #1000Feasts campaign (more on that later) and Kilkenny food festival Savour Kilkenny. After all the introductions were made, we had a little wander around the festival, smelling and sampling the best food of the county.
We then headed to listen to a talk on ‘War Stories from the Kitchen‘, an insight into the Irish restaurant business. It was an interesting peek behind the ‘kitchen curtain’.

Kilkenny Day 1
Wild mushroom gnocchi in the Bula bus #1000Feasts #kilkenny

Then all of a sudden, it was lunch time and we made our way to Billy Byrnes pub which shelters the Bula Bus in its backyard. A literal hidden gem.
The Bula Bus serves street food with foraged seasonal goods. I absolutely loved that take on the cuisine genre and the place oozes so much coolness, what with the double decker rescued from the Manchester public service and its street art makeover.
I had the wild mushroom gnocchi which were little mouthfuls of melting joy, accompanied with a side of sweet potato fries. The garlic sauce was so on point, it wasn’t even funny.

Kilkenny Day 1

Replete, we had a little mooch around the town. Kilkenny is quite the charmer what with the cute shop fronts and the river running in its heart.
I was looking forward to have a closer look around the castle and had my mind blown to find a breathtaking autumn wonderland within its walls.

Kilkenny Day 1
Kilkenny Day 1Kilkenny Day 1
Another surprise and a bit of a culture shock also awaited for me inside. The Irish Conker Championship was taking place that very day on the castle grounds. I had never heard of the practice before but I soon found out that it is actually a very popular game in Irish and English school playgrounds. I watched grownups hitting nuts on a thread for a while and felt that I may have missed out on something in my childhood.
Kilkenny Day 1
After this entertaining if not slightly surreal interlude, it was time to go back to Savour Kilkenny where we were to meet some of the new food producers on the county scene. I sampled some tasty cakes from Eadaoin’s Kitchen and chatted with the sparkly Joan from Joan and Bob’s Juicy Jams. Artist husband and wife have put their creativity into the business of jam-making, in every steps from the beautiful drawn label design to the surprising flavour combination. Can you think of something more decadent than putting Strawberry, Peach & Prosecco jam on your toasts for breakfast?
Kilkenny Day 1
The festival closed its doors and it was time for us to head to our accommodations to freshen up before dinner. I stayed in the Abbey House B&B, just next to the Jerpoint Abbey in Thomastown.
Dinner parties were hosted all over the county for the night of the #1000Feasts. The campaign had for goal to raise money for the building of a food hub in Thomastown. The place will serve as a school to train chefs but also provide education for healthy eating and growing with a community garden. This is an important project not only for the county but also for Ireland as a whole to improve and build upon their food destination status. The operation was a great success but the target has not been reached quite yet, so if you’re feeling generous, here is the link if you wish to donate for a great cause.

Kilkenny Day 1

My feast took place in a little cosy restaurant in Thomastown called Cafe Sol Bistro. For starter, I chose the plate of halloumi cheese and orange, the combination was actually incredible. I would have never thought of it! For the main, I had a courgette roast, it was as delicious as beautiful to look at. All the flavours came perfectly through without it being too seasoned or spicy. A mistake I found is often made with vegetarian dishes. I was really chuffed with my choice.

For the second part of the feast, we met again with Mag, she welcomed us into her home where we enjoyed a tasty slice of cake for dessert and lively chats. Her husband Ger even treated us to a little impromptu singing performance. And there it was, in the candle light glow, the infamous Irish hospitality which made the whole campaign a success and a night to remember for years and years to come.

 I will tell you all about day 2 next week so do come back for more awesome Kilkenny people and cute fluffy sheep – edit here is Day 2. Also do check out my fellow bloggers who were also present on the trip: Margaret, Janine, Elaine, Sadhbh and Billy.

The Night of 1000 Feasts | co. Kilkenny


Tomorrow I’ll be heading off to Kilkenny to attend the Night of 1000 Feasts. This very special night is part of the food festival Savour Kilkenny and will see homes, local community centres, restaurants and hotels all across the county gather friends and guests around a meal. The goal of the evening is to raise funds to transform an old school into a food education centre, training garden and community space in Kilkenny’s Town of Food, Thomastown.

The centre will help consolidate Ireland’s position as a food destination and attract cookery students from all over the country. I was super lucky to have been invited to the event and I literally cannot wait to discover Kilkenny and its the local delicacies but above all I’m looking forward to experiencing the Irish hospitality first hand. If you’d like to have a little peep into an Irish home and their cuisine, keep an eye open tomorrow for the hashtag #1000Feasts on social networks. I will be myself updating my twitter, facebook and instagram throughout the night (by the by I just created an instagram account, was I the last person on Earth to join?). So make sure you follow me as well as the bloggers present to the event to join in the fun and spread the good word about Irish food!

PS: We will also attend events and activities, part of the Savour Kilkenny festival during the day as well as Monday so keep your eyes peeled for that too!

5 Places in Dublin That Will Give You the Heebie-Jeebies

Halloween in Dublin

1. Halloween in The Suburbs

Halloween is a great time of the year to visit Dublin, there’s something about the gothic vibe that just works with the celebration. If you have kids (or not), I dare you to go trick-and-treating in one of Dublin’s residential areas. Maybe it’s because Halloween finds its roots in the Irish tradition but Dubliners have a knack for making their abodes look terrifying. I think the decorations especially suit the Georgian neighbourhoods what with the high ceilings and the infamous heavy doors.

Mount Jerome Cemetery

2. Edward Dycer Vault

Have you ever peeped through a vault’s door fearing for what your eyes will meet in the darkness? The Dycer Vault in Mount Jerome Cemetery is your worst nightmare coming true. Inside lies a staring skeleton with a twisted spine. He is said to be a relative of Edward Dycer, a veterinary surgeon who lived in Stephen’s Green in the early 19th century.

Read more on Mount Jerome Cemetery.

St Michan's crypts
3. St Michan’s Crypts

Underneath St Michan’s Church, you can access vaults where the air is so dry that their residents have been mummified. Bram Stoker himself visited the crypts when he was a child and the mummies left such an impression, he drew inspiration from them when he wrote Dracula.
If you’re nice enough, your guide might let you stroke a 650 year old mummy’s hand. Apparently, it brings good luck!

More information on St Michan’s Church (Picture courtesy of St Michan’s Church’s website – photography not allowed inside)

Bram Stoker Festival Dracula's Bride
4. Bram Stoker Festival

This weekend, the Bram Stoker Festival returns in Dublin for the third year straight and it promises to be a bloody good one! Along the street performances, horror film marathon and numerous literary talks that we now expect of the festival, a zip-line has been installed across the city so we can pretend to be bats gliding over Dublin. Two other events worth noting in your diary are the gothic-themed ball in the Irish Modern Museum of Art as well as the Underground Gothic taking place in the secret train tunnel under Phoenix Park!

Find out more about the events taking place this week-end.
Watch my video of last year’s festival.

the cat and the rat
5. The Crypt at Christ Church Cathedral

If you go in the crypt below Christ Church Cathedral, you will encounter a creepy (if not slightly hilarious) pair. A mummified cat and rat, affectionately nicknamed by the locals ‘Tom & Jerry’. They were found stuck in one of the organ pipes during a service in the 1860s. Legend has it that they got trapped while chasing each other. Time and perfectly dry air preserved this perennial cat and mouse’s friendship.

More information on Christ Church Cathedral.

Mount Jerome Cemetery | Dublin

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

I thought it was about time to get this blog in the Halloween mood, and what better way than a visit to the cemetery. I personally love visiting them, especially during Autumn.
Mount Jerome is very much in the shadow of its big sister, Glasnevin Cemetery (Dublin’s biggest cemetery) but I think it deserves a bit of the spotlight. It’s a beautiful slice of Victorian Dublin. It’s often compared to Highgate Cemetery in London and Paris’Père Lachaise and rightly so, it gives off the same sort of moody derelict atmosphere.
It’s an impressive example of Victorian architecture and symbolism, it even features quite a few famous Dublin characters as well as a very spooky vault…

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome was created in the early 19th century as an answer to the worryingly increase of deaths due to the cholera outbreaks of the time. Despite being non-denominational in its original plan, it quickly became the Protestant cemetery.
You see Mount Jerome was located right in the middle of a rich and affluent neighbourhood of Dublin. Walking through the cemetery’s old part today, you can admire the big vaults and tomb stones of the rich families of the time.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome had to wait until the 1920s and the establishment of the Irish Free State to see its first Catholic burial. Since then, beautiful Celtic crosses have stood alongside Victorian features (urns, angels, wreaths, obelisks and other Egyptian inspired structures). And if you look closely, you could even spot some masonic symbols (skulls and hands).
My favourite kind of memorials though are the ones that tell a little story about the deceased. On top of one of the structures stands a howling dog, it is said that the animal was found inconsolable on the shoreline where his master had drowned (see picture below). Or there is this vault which was fitted with a bell and a chain for a lady who had the phobia of being buried alive.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Mount Jerome has also quite a few famous residents. First off, keeping with the Halloween theme, there is Sheridan Le Fanu, a writer specialised in ghost stories. He is one of the founder of the genre and was a huge influence on his peers, most notably Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. You may have seen a google doodle dedicated to him recently as this year marks his bicentenary.
The cemetery counts also among its ranks playwright J.M. Synge, author of The Playboy of the Western World, the Guinness family vault and Oscar Wilde‘s father. You will find on Mount Jerome’s website handy maps (1 & 2) that will help you plan your visit and locate all the memorials that spike your interest.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

Did you know that the real Mr Darcy was Irish? His name was Thomas Langlois Lefroy and he rests in a vault just next to the chapel in Mount Jerome. This member of the bar from Limerick had a few flirtatious encounters with Jane Austen. She was so deeply impacted that it is said she based Pride and Prejudice‘s brooding hero on her Irish suitor.

When I was a teenager, I used to have volleyball training just next to a cemetery. One evening my friend (hi Sandra, if you’re reading!) and I found out that there was a passage between the stadium and the cemetery and sneaked inside.
I may sound like the biggest chicken but walking in a graveyard at night is quite terrifying. We barely dared looking inside the vaults through the stained windows. I remember having to hold my breath while my eyes were getting accustomed to the darkness until I could discern the lines of a thankfully empty room.
Had I have to look into the Dycer vault in Mount Jerome then, I’m pretty sure my heart would have stopped on the spot. Even in clear daylight and knowing well what’s inside, I can’t help breaking into cold sweat when my eyes are met with those of a gawping skeleton with a twisted spine.
The vault belongs to Edward Dycer, a veterinarian surgeon from 19th century Dublin but apparently those bones are one of his relatives’.  The reason they are exposed is due to the fact that the coffin hadn’t been lined with lead.

Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of this jewel of Victorian Dublin. What do you think of visiting cemeteries? Is that something you do on holidays when discovering a new place? Or do you find it too creepy? Or maybe disrespectful? I’d love to read what you think on the subject.

Mount Jerome Cemetery

Practical Information

Mount Jerome Cemetery – website
158 Harold’s Cross Road
Harold’s Cross

Bus: 9, 16, 49 54A

Opening Hours: 8.30am – 4pm (Mon-Sat) / 10am – 4pm (Sun & Bank Holidays)

Admission: Free

Powerscourt Gardens | co. Wicklow

pegasus powerscourtiron garden gate

I visited Powerscourt Estate for the first time last year after a long and cold Irish winter that coincided with a long and dark season in my personal life. It was April and I was starting to wonder if it will be sunny ever again. It looked pretty bleak, it even snowed the week before.
But somehow, the miracle of Spring happened again and as sun rays pierced the thick clouds, I decided to finally visit that place I had heard so much about. Lonely Planet listed Powerscourt as one of the greatest houses and this year National Geographic voted it the third best garden in the world.
Pretty impressive, right? Those titles are definitely not unearned, the estate brought back some needed magic in my life. It made me realise that I have all those amazing places practically on my doorstep and I needed to start exploring, look for my Spring and stop waiting for it (which is a message I’m trying to convey through this blog, everyone’s backyard is worth exploring).

powerscourt housepowerscourt statues
powerscourt house + sugar loafjapanese garden
fountain powerscourt
iron chairspink azalea

Powerscourt Estate goes back as far as the 13th century and has been a work in progress over the years. Today, when you visit the estate, you’re met with an impressive mansion holding an array of shops that boast beautiful Irish design and craft within its walls. If you’re in the market for gifts, souvenirs and local delicacies to bring home, this is a brilliant place to shop as you have so much choice on hand. Not an Irish product but I was super excited to see that the shop Avoca stocks some of Rifle Paper Co‘s divine stationary.

On the first floor, you will find Tara’s Palace, one of the greatest doll’s house in the world, in the Childhood Museum. Click here to read about my visit there.

The terrace café is a lovely place to have a slice of cake (or two) as the views on the Wicklow Mountains are stunning. Outside you’ll be met with the beautiful Italian Gardens and a panoramic view over the estate. There is so much to explore: Japanese gardens, a pet cemetery, a walled garden, a greenhouse, the Pepperpot tower, a deerpark and the highest waterfall in Ireland.

french gardens
gilded garden gate
flower parterre
powerscourt house + mountains
wicklow mountains powerscourt

Did you know?: Stanley Kubrick filmed Barry Lyndon in Powerscourt House. Powerscourt has actually been used as a filming location many times, check out IMDB for the full list.

My favourite part was the walled garden, not surprisingly, and especially the gilded iron gates which reminded of pictures I saw of Versailles’s gates.
Although I’ve been to Powerscourt twice already, I’ve quite a bit left to explore. There’s the pet cemetery, it might sound weird but the stones’ epitaphs are said to be heart-warming (I kind of avoided it last time as my dog had recently passed away and I was worried to lose it); and also the waterfall and the deerpark.
This time, I’ll do a favour to myself and not wait for Spring to visit Powerscourt again.

powerscourt estate

Practical Information

Powerscourt Estate – website
Co. Wicklow

Check out their website for the events programme

Opening Times: 9.30am – 5.30pm; During Winter, gardens close at dusk
Closed on December 25th & 26th

Admission Fee: Adults 8.50€ / Studens, OAP 5 € / Children < 16yo 3.50€ / Children <2yo Free

How to get there (from Dublin): Take the Dart to Bray then the Bus 185 (the departure stop is directly outside Bray Dart Station)

More information on the Waterfalls and Tara’s Palace, Museum of Childhood

Postcards from Courtown Harbour | co. Wexford

courtown harbour main st
Today will be a short but (hopefully) sweet post on a charming seaside town in the East of Ireland. This is Courtown Harbour, which I mentioned in my last post when Magda, her boyfriend and I visited the Seal Rescue Centre.  The purpose of the trip was seeing the baby seals so I didn’t get to see much of the town, but we did manage to squeeze a lunch in the Wishing Well. I had an open prawn sandwich which I thought was good, honest food, but I don’t think Magda was feeling her meal; I think it’s harder to win a foodie’s heart. I, on the other hand, could literally eat anything.
wishing well café
ice cream parlour
verbena house
On the way to the Seal Rescue Centre, we walked a bit along the shore and I was amazed how busy the beach was. I hadn’t expected it as it was the first time I ever heard of Courtown but it turns out it’s quite a popular holiday destination among the Irish. Courtown is next to Gorey train station which is reachable from Dublin by a 1h40min train journey. So that might explain that, other than the fact that it is actually quite cute, don’t you think? I’m definitely keeping that one for a possible week-end getaway next Summer.
courtown beach
souvenir shop + harbour
taravie hotel
courtown harbour

Seal Rescue Centre | co. Wexford

sea petalbaby seal

When I visited Wexford Lavender Farm with Magda and her boyfriend, they cleverly checked the stand in the café with all the leaflets of the surrounding attractions. They found one for the Seal Rescue Centre, located a few miles away from the farm. This looked too amazing to be missed, so we hit the Wexford road again and, in no time, got to the popular seaside town of Courtown (I’ll show you what the harbour looks like in a later post – edit: here is the post if you’re interested).

After a spot of lunch, we headed to the rescue centre and got a super-friendly welcome from the volunteers. We received a tour of the premises and got introduced to all the little seals on the mend. There were Anthony, Bubbles, Mr Yeat, Jenny (the master of the pool), the cutie pie Sea petal (look at her though in the first picture) and other pretties whose names escape me now. The centre was pretty busy as it takes care of all the seal pups in need all over the Republic of Ireland (and sometimes extends their help to Northern Ireland when their own centre is full). Amazed, we listened to the stories of how some of the seal pups ended up in the centre. One was found by a farmer in a middle of his field with no visible explanation as to how it ended there; or another apparently tired decided to jump on a passing boat and have a rest there.

Ireland counts among its seas 2 species of seals: the grey seal and the common seal (ironically the less common of the two). And if you ever encounter a baby seal washed ashore, the rescue centre has some steps for you to follow if you think it is in danger (you should never put it back to the sea).

seal pup in pondanthonythermometers for seal pupsseal rescue centre volunteersclose your eyes

After the introductions, we waited around for the seal pups’ afternoon snack. Volunteers follow three methods to feed their little patients, depending on their age. When they arrive to the centre, seal pups are sometimes as young as a few days and the volunteers have then act as substitute to their mother to help them survive. They will tube-feed the newborns with what they call a fish soup (blended fish). The method looks and sounds a bit traumatic, but the young seal learn to adapt quite quickly. The reason of the tube rather than a more reassuring-looking baby bottle is that the surface from where the seal pup breastfeeds from his mother is completely flat. Instinctively, they would never take a bottle’s teat. After several weeks (it takes much longer than breastfeeding as the fish soup is not as nutrient-packed as the mother seal’s milk), the volunteers will teach the pups how to feed on whole fish. During these 2 phases, the pups are being kept in kennels. Once they’re autonomous enough, they’re transfered to the pool.

feeding fish soup to seal pupsrescued seal pupcollage seal pups BWfeeding fish to seal pupsolder seal pupshousekeeping
                                                     -oh hey, fancy seeing you here!-

Top Tip: Plan your visit around the seal pups’ feeding times. The volunteers will explain and then demonstrate how they’re taking care of them.

It is important for the volunteers not to interact too much with the seals and keep them wild, especially as they’re in the pool stage, the goal is to release them to the sea as soon as they reach a healthy weight. The rescue centre has an amazing 80% success rate upon release.

If you’re ever in the area, I encourage you to pay a visit to the centre, the staff are so friendly and I think it’s good for the soul to be reminded that humans can also do awesome things for the environment. Plus, you’ll be doing a good deed as the centre relies on the prices of the tickets they sell as well as donations to function.

Word of warning, the cuteness overload may be too much to handle though.

seal rescue centre courtown

Practical Information

Seal Rescue Centre – website
Courtown Harbour

Co. Wexford

Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Summer) / Phone in advance (Winter)

Admission: 4€ / <3 y0 Free / Family 12€

Feeding Times: 10 am / 12 pm / 4 pm

Wexford Lavender Farm | Co. Wexford

lavender rowswoodland path & bag

Last year, I got completely obsessed with this article on Kinfolk Magazine called “Tips for Growing Peonies“. I visited the page countless times and sighed so much at the beautiful photography. I had one thought in my mind: one day, I, too, will frolic in a flower field as painfully beautiful as this peony farm in Salem, Oregon.
I wondered if there was something similar here in Ireland. Surely among all the lush greenery the island has to offer, there must be one or two flower fields open to the public. Peony, lavender, sunflower, it didn’t matter. I stored that new goal of mine in my little goldfish tank of a brain for when spring came around the corner.
Fast forward to May, I hadn’t had much luck with my research and decided to ask on Twitter if anyone could help. The ever so knowledgeable Susan from Vibrant Ireland came to the rescue and recommended the Wexford Lavender Farm, which looked like the perfect fit with its cute little café.

So last month, Magda came to pick me up and off we went to Wexford. I should probably start a series on this blog called ‘Wexford with Magda’ , she took me to so many cool places this year in the sunny county.
The lavender farm is about 1,5 hrs away from Dublin by car (a car is probably your best bet to be honest) and even though it feels like the middle of nowhere, once you left the motorway the road to it is well signed.

low-angle lavenderlavender farmlavender fieldhouse lavender field

When you get to the parking of the farm you’re met by a beautiful sea of purple and the distinctive fresh smell of lavender. The field in itself is medium-sized (2 acres), it is next to a play area for kids and a pen where 2 sheep hang out next to ducks busy having their very own pool party. Say quack?!
At the back of the field, a little sign promises woodland walks.

sheeppoppy & lavenderlavender potduckie pool

First; we headed to the café. The home-made cakes looked rather tempting and the shop was full of cute little lavender by-products but we stuck to coffee. We got cozy in the courtyard next to the little plant sale (5€ the lavender pot) and wondered how persistant the Irish sun was going to be that day. Spoiler: not very.

wexford lavender farmcafé courtyardwexford lavender farm cafésoapwoodland walkfields

We finished off our floral escapade by following the sign to the woodlands. We first crossed a bucolic barley field and once in the little forest, opted for the shortest walk (I suspect Magda and her boyfriend were trying to spare my couch potato self). It was lovely and I stocked up on so much oxygen (translate: I nearly fainted – ed.: it was a 15 min walk), and I only wished it was blackberry season as the path was bordered with so much bramble.

The farm will close in the end of September so do go frolic to your heart’s content before the lavender goes into winter mode, it makes for such a lovely day out for the family. Also, check out Magda’s post and her swooning pictures of the day!


Practical Information

Wexford Lavender Farm  – website

Co. Wexford

Opening Hours: 10.30am – 5pm (Apr – Sep) / Closed on Mondays, except Bank Holidays / Open for events on Halloween & in December, check out the farm’s website for updates

Admission: Free 

Tara’s Palace | Co. Wicklow

tara's palacetoy cabinet & view

Last month when my mum came to visit me I knew I wanted to take her to Powerscourt Gardens. I went there last year and was blown away by this beautiful estate in county Wicklow. I only had the chance to visit the gardens, so this time I made sure to head first to the first floor of Powerscourt House where the Museum of Childhood is located. I was quite eager to see Tara’s Palace with my own eyes , this giant of a doll house. 22 rooms, practically all mod cons, priceless antiques and readable miniature books, this house is every little girl’s dream come true. I wouldn’t say I’m a doll house connoisseur but I visited my fair share of toy museums and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a courtyard and a church built in a doll house. It’s that big!

guest bedroomdining & gamblingminiature floral bowldoll's house wallpaperliving roomblue bedroomgiant bathroom creeper
                                                            Bathroom creeper alert!

Tara’s Palace was modelled after 3 Irish Houses: Castletown house in county Kildare, Leinster House in Dublin and Carson House in Maynooth. It was built in the eighties to replace Titania’s palace, another huge Irish doll house built in the early 1900s which eventually got sold to Legoland Denmark. It took 20 years to build and furnished the palace you can see today in Powerscourt House. The craftmanship is astonishing, but what I liked above all is the attention to detail that sparks one’s imagination just looking through the glass. I couldn’t help making up little stories just looking at the way certain objects were displayed : the flowers soaking in the umbrella stand, the mini-slippers left in a hurry under the sink. And what is the meaning of that blue dress lavishly left at the foot of the bed? Could Tara’s walls hold its very own Hollywood drama at night?

roses in umbrella standthe blue dressmini slippersginger nuts

The museum in itself is quite small (two rooms and a little corridor where children can play) but it’s full to the brim with special little treasures. Apart from Tara’s Palace, there are a few other unusual-looking doll houses with a gothic and working-class vibe but also toy cars, a whole shelf full of teddy bears and a model cathedral.

vauxhall victor
a rare childs chairwindow view

Top tip: Don’t let all your attention be grabbed by those tiny wonders and do look out the window. There’s a breathtaking view over the gardens not to be missed! ( Do you want to see more of Powerscourt Gardens? Click here, I’ll give you a tour!)

tara's palace front

Practical Information

Tara’s Palace, Museum of Childhood – website
Powerscourt House
County Wicklow

Admission fee: Adult 5€ / Children 3€ / Concession 4€ / <5yo Free / Family 12€
NB: All profits go to Irish Children’s charities

Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm (Mon – Sat); 12 am – 5pm (Sundays & Bank Holidays)

How to get there (from Dublin): Dart to Bray, Bus 185 (the departure stop is directly outside Bray Dart Station)

Dublin Garden Festival 2014

tree in the cathedral

This week-end, something really pretty is happening in Christ Church cathedral. The first Dublin Garden Festival has established its quarters there, “bringing the outside inside”. I actually never visited Christ Church before so when I saw the event’s programme, I thought what better time than now that the cathedral is all dolled up, filled to the brim with flowers, trees and shrubs.

The festival includes tips from gardening experts and personalities (Diarmuid Gavin will give a talk on Sunday), demos, awarded flower arrangement exhibitions, choirs and concerts. You can check the programme on the festival’s website for more information.

In the cathedral’s crypt, there is also an artisan market where I spotted beautiful wicker baskets (summer is always a good time to bring your inner Jane Birkin methinks) and luscious soy candles.

flower tree
flower basket
vegetable basket
flowery lady chapel christchurch
Garden Festival Christchurch Cathedral

On the cathedral grounds stand a food market (free access) with your standard homemade and organic products as well as flower stalls. Surprisingly, there are also birds of prey on exhibition. I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to an eagle or an owl before.

wicker baskets
lemon curd jars
goat kid

There is also a petting zoo with lambs, a goat kid, a turkey, a piglet, guinea pigs, ducklings and rabbits. My festival experience was topped by some quality time spent with my homies (as seen in the above picture). It is quite possible that a few nudges were exchanged in the process.

dublin garden festival christchurch cathedral

Practical Information

Dublin Garden Festival, 13-15 June 2014
Christ Church Cathedral
Christchurch Place
Dublin 8

Check out the programme at

Admission Fee (Cathedral+Crypt): Adult 12€ / Seniors & Students 10€ / Children < 12yo Free / Passes

The access to the food market outside the cathedral is free.

Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm

Bus: 13, 27, 37, 39 40, 49, 51D, 54A, 69, 70 77, 79, 83, 123, 145