Announcing an exhibition of work and short film ‘The Mountain’ by my talented brother at the Queens Film theatre next Sat 8th of June at 3pm
below is a short trailer of the film, ‘The Mountain’ based on the beautiful Mourne mountains.
Sometimes the drive to a location isn`t worth it and sometimes like this evening it is worth every penny of petrol used to get there.
Perched right at the edge of Ireland and Europe, is a wonderful Gaeltacht area on the Bellmullet peninsula called Blacksod Bay.
The shot above taken this evening is looking towards Achill Island and Slievemore, a mountain that can appear closer or father away depending on the weather conditions, as Im told by the locals.
Lobsters are to be found in the sea in the foreground and like most Irish lobster it is exported to europe, not finding any place in these parts selling fresh lobster straight off the boat,
I had to content myself with peperoni pizza. One wonders why we dont eat whats on our doorstep? Lobsters in these parts should cost the same as a pizza.
In fact the picture above shows periwinkles and limpets in abundance a seafood feast but again I had a pizza, something for myself to think about there.
On the way here I passed, Ballycastle, Downpatrick head and Bangor, I got a little confused there I thought I was driving the Antrim/Down coastline for a while.
As a foodie aside I can highly reccomend Marys cottage kitchen in Ballycastle for really good food, and chocolate torte all with an open turf fire
Nothing left now but to sit back for the evening put a bit of turf on the fire from the omnipresent Mayo boglands, open a beer and stick a bit of Peter Greens Fleetwood mac on.
A brilliant timelapse compilation from A Taste of Ireland contributor Aidan Monaghan featuring Mount Errigal County Donegal, Mourne Mountains County Down, Crom Castle County Fermanagh, St. John’s Lighthouse County Down. Aidan is a professional photographer and all his timelapse photography is available to be licensed, he is also available for commissions. http://www.aidanmonaghanphotography.com
I am told my images exude a light, a spirituality that is quite special, I am rather pleased with that appraisal so I am posting a shot that (in my opinion exemplifies that). This shot was 7 years in the making! My first attempt at this view was an unsatisfactory watercolour painting. However, on this morning I believe all the elements of a perfect image came together, with the rising sun to the right of the lighthouse the focal point in the scene. It was particularly satisfying given the 4.00a.m. rise to travel to the location. Once I saw the orange glow on the horizon I knew I was not going to leave cold and disappointed. The image was taken at Crookhaven, a picturesque harbour village in West Cork. Crookhaven was once very important as the most westerly harbour along the southern Irish coast. Mail from America was collected here and the nearby Brow Head has a ruined observation tower on the summit from where Gugliemo Marconi transmitted his first message (to Cornwall) and received a reply.
below is a special smiths track to me anyway that goes well with this image (for me).
if you like this here is an acoustic version
So here we are on the the eve of 21 Dec 2012, the day that many people for one reason or another have been saying the world will end. And living here in Sligo the home of western Europes largest megalithic sites, I feel obliged to mark the occasion.
The 5125-year-long cycle in the Mayan long-count calendar ending tommorrow, Friday has prompted a wave of doomsday speculation across the globe. The mayan people still around today, say that yes the long count calendar does end tommorrow but as with most calendars that end, a new one will begin and a new age apparently is upon us. And tommorow will be as unremarkable as any winter solstice.
Some facts about tommorrow are
- it is the winter solstice The word solstice comes from the Latin phrase for “sun stands still”.
- The winter solstice marks the official onset of winter where the sun is at its lowest in sky. The years darkest day.
- The Sun will be aligned with the middle of the Milky Way band, however if this means anything is unclear.
A word on the symbolism of the winter solstice.
Ancient thinkers believed that the cycle of the sun during the day corresponded to the cycle of the sun during the entire year, so, if one imagined the year as a single day, summer would be the morning and winter, would be the night. The middle of the winter, then, was the night of the year, a time when humanity should sleep and dream noble dreams for the next season, when they should wake up and work to make dreams happen.
The winter solstice is and was celebrated in many different cultures and represented in mythology as the battle of the virtuous god against the darkness, or metaphorically, the moment in which an initiate overcomes death and resurrects from the underworld to bringing light again to his people, just like the sun, which rises again after the dark night.
Sligo and its Megalithic monuments.
I am not going to dwell in this article on the many fine megalithic sites that Sligo has to offer, for that is indeed the subject of another post or even book that I am currently working on. Suffice to say, Sligo is full of some of the most intact and oldest sites in Ireland and the best thing is nobody comes to Sligo! Most tourists are busy getting horse and cart rides in Killarney! Fine by me for the moment, as it will allow me space to do my research and photography, but most visitors ( in my opinion) are missing something truly original by leaving Sligo out of their itinerary in Ireland.
Suffice to say our ancestors here in Sligo have arranged many sites in and around the area of Knocknarea mountain with regard to the sun, and at Carrowkeel the the tombs face the setting sun.
As legend has it they face the that way in order to face their enemies to the north. There are stories aplenty that describe how the warriors of Connaght were buried standing up so that they would for eternity face their enemies to the north. Last thing though as this is mainly a food producer blog, there is a fine cheese made in the shadows of Knocknarea nad I will update you all with that soon.
Finally something musical to accompany this article. Worth reading article to the music.
Midleton Distillery is Irelands largest whiskey distillery and home to the famous brands of Jameson, Paddy, Powers and the exceptional Midleton very rare.
It also boasts the worlds largets still pot at an approx capacity of 31,000 gallons.
The old distillery is probably one of the best visitors attractions in Ireland with the tour explaining the history of whiskey making, and a tour of the old distillery, a highlight being one of the worlds largest copper stills and finally a free glass of whiskey. When on the tour make sure you volunteer for a whiskey tasting at the end for more free whiskey!
Originally the site of an old woollen mill established in 1796 the original distillery was established by James Murphy & Co. The original distillery ended its working life in 1975, moving nearby to the modern facility, however it lives on as a whiskey museum and forms the basis for the tour.
After a tour a warm glass of Jameson is waiting at the end for all ticket holders in the Midleton distillery bar.
The hedgerows are abundant with many forgotten treasures such as the blackberry and down the back roads and hedgerows of east Cork on the way to Inch strand there is a real gem in the Poc Ar Buile pub in ‘Ballin ‘ as the locals might say. Like most good things in our wonderful country and any country for that matter, the best things are kept for those in the know as Ballinrostig and the Poc Ar Buile pub is certainly not on any tourist guide of the area.
However for any tourist or foodie, lost around the back roads east Cork trying to find Trabolgan or the Ballymaloe cookery school, they might be lucky enough chance upon this fine watering hole run by the owner Michael Murphy, which boasts a genuine wood fire pizza oven, some of the finest Beamish pints, and probably the warmest welcome in East Cork. Just eight miles from the foodie citadel that is Midleton, customers will find a vibrant country pub, some of the best ‘toilet art’ (the sad clown standing in the sun is a master piece!) anywhere. Next time you are in Midleton you can`t go far wrong if you take a deliberate wrong turn up a back road and end up in ‘Ballin’ where everybody knows everyone else and the craic and ceol is great. For more info check out
The English Market is certainly the jewel in the crown of any foodie’s visit to Cork. Trading as a market since 1788, it feels and looks very much like Barcelona’s famous Boqueria market which it in fact pre-dates by almost 80 years. The hustle, bustle, colour and smells of the English market are truly unique. The English Market is the culinary crossroads of the city making it a tour de force of some of the best food produce in Ireland. The market is packed with artisan butchers, cheese sellers, vegetable stalls and fresh fish much of it from Ballycotton and west Cork. Chefs from many of the hotels and restaurants in Cork can be spotted choosing delicacies for the evening menu over the course of a day. The Observer newspaper has listed the English Market as one of the top 10 food markets in Europe, but Corkonians reckon that it is the best.
A very striking sight at the English market is the sheer abundance of quality and fresh sea food something of a rarity in other parts of Ireland. Again this is where the modern English market competes well with its Barcelona twin. Kay O’Connells stand is worth a visit for the sheer theatre of the stall and also see Pat O’Connell the man the made the Queen laugh so famously.
The English market is home to On the Pigs back one of the finest cheese stalls in the country with a large variety of Irish cheeses and French cheeses.
Isabelle Sheridan is the driving force behind this wonderful stall, and one of the people who have made the English market what it is today. Twenty years ago the English market was very nearly turned into a multi-storey car park but thanks to founder members of the modern-day market such as Isabelle it wasn`t. This cheese stall alone is worth a visit if not only to see how many quality Irish farmhouse cheeses are available in 2012.
Other stalls of note are Frank Hedermans smoked salmon, The good olive company (which always offers a free tasting of their olives, excellent for the very peckish passing foodie photographer, just don`t sample too many, they will notice the free lunch brigade!).
There are a myriad of beef, pork poultry butchers specialising in French and polish cuts of meat and for lovers of game pheasants and quail can be bought easily enough. A favourite of mine also is a particular Asian shop which stocks every kind of spice you could ever want. All in all the English market is a foodie heaven, one I unfortunately took for granted while I was living in the rebel county (how I miss you English market).
Have you ever wanted to make your own cheese? I have always wanted to so here is a very easy way to make a basic cheese that can be spiced up later and used in dishes that have strong flavours as the cheese has a very neutral taste. But it is great fun to do.
Whilst out for a run recently I noticed an older gentleman hanging around the hedgerow, now most people would have thought this odd, that maybe this was a strange old man that should be watched in case he was up to something. I didn`t because I was concious of his secret, which was that the blackberries are in season and the bushes he was picking were yielding a good kilo of delicious ripe blackberries. Admittedly had I not become aware of wild food last year I too would have thought this older, knowlegeable gentleman to be a bit dodgy or in fact quite mad.
He had noticed that I was watching him whilst I was doing my laps so I called over ‘leave me some!’ He went on to explain to me that the bush was yielding at least a kilo a day and would go on so for several more days. We went on to discuss the rosebay willow herb and the ripening elderberries in the vicinity and also how strange it was that noone ever picked blackberries. He even remarked that people would find it strange that two men would be picking wild blackberries instead of buying them down the local supermarket and that some would probably call for us to be taken away in white jackets for doing so. ‘Should be the other way about’ he quipped as he thought it madness to pay for something shipped from Portugal when there it was growing locally for free. I agree, and went back in two days time to pick my kilos worth as the blighter had eaten most of the blackberries going.
Blackberries are in season, I would encourage you all to enjoy a simple pleasure, that is packed full of goodness and vitamin C.
A Taste of Ireland Mount Errigal time lapse. Check out this great time lapse from A Taste of Ireland contributor Aidan Monaghan
The multi award winning Carrigaline Farmhouse Cheese has been handmade by Anne and Pat O’Farrell on their farm at ‘The Rock’ just outside Carrigaline since 1984. The cheese made from pasteurised Friesian cows, is available in 3 flavours, natural, beech –smoked and garlic and herb and are free from artificial additives and preservatives.
The cheese wheel products are very pretty and almost too good looking to eat having been dipped in food grade wax 6-times.
Carrigaline is derived from the Irish “Carraig-Ui-Leighin” meaning Rock of the Lynes who were a local clan who built a castle on a limestone rock in the area in 1170. It is under the shadow of this old Castle that Anne and Pat make their fabulous cheese.
My very talented brother Aidan has decided to join in with my A Taste of Ireland project. Aidan is a one of Irelands most stylish wedding photographers and is the photographer of choice for many film directors such as Terry George director of ‘The Shore, ‘Whole Lotta of Sole’, ‘Jump’ and ‘ upcoming movies such as Keith Lemon the movie. Aidan has also been commissioned by the BBC to work on some of their latest productions soon to hit the screens such as ‘Blandings’. Some of his film work can be seen here
and at his blog
But below is a time lapse film of one of his best selling fine art prints of Mount Errigal county Donegal. The print itself is available to buy online at the house of fraser here
The print itself is available to buy online at the house of fraser here
A Taste of Ireland from the foot of Ben Bulben Co Sligo. This video is taken from the same place I took a favourite image of mine approx 3 years ago in December, it was great to return and see it in the summer.
This is the image I took 3 years ago with a 20 mm prime lens below available to buy at
Finally this is an amazing video shot above Ben Bulben, need I say more I gotta do this. Does anybody need any more reasons to visit Sligo?
A visit to Manning’s Emporium alone, justifies a trip to County Cork. Situated along the roadside in Ballylickey near Bantry, Manning’s Emporium is a gourmets’ oasis. Val Manning is a big reason the west Cork artisanal produce is a success, being one of the first people to sell locally produced cheese back in the 1970’s. Since then the shop has supported countless other small producers and cheese makers.
What makes Manning’s that bit extra special is the dining experience. I would recommend customers to order one of Val’s cheese boards, which come in all manner of shapes from violins to birds, all made from wood. Customers can choose their own ‘lunch’ from the wonderful produce on offer, however I would recommend that you request Val to make you up something special.
What Manning’s Emporium serves up is a non-fussy, casual and relaxed picnic area in which to enjoy some of the highest quality gourmet food Ireland has to offer.
For those who would like to add some history to their visit to Ballylickey, there is a wonderful stone circle at Kealkil nearby. The Kealkil circle situated on Maughanclea Hill, providing spectacular views of Bantry Bay consists of a small stone circle, a cairn, and two large monoliths.
A Taste of Ireland had the pleasure of meeting a true character of Irish artisan beer, Peter Curtin of The Burren Brewery during the Burren slow food festival 2012. See video for details.
Hi, I didn`t video this fine bit of videography, I wish I had, but it looks great and is great for Frank, Corks greatest Smoked salmon producer. See link to my photo and article on Frank Hederman
I am trialling a video blog let me know what you think of my first.
- Farmers Markets
- Free App from Me
- Great Places to eat in Ireland
- Growing my own veg
- Irelands ancient sites
- Irish Artisanal Butchers
- Irish Craft Beers
- Irish Farmhouse Cheese
- Irish Food Festivals
- Irish Landscape
- Irish Producers
- Irish Pubs
- Irish Smoked Fish
- Irish Whiskey
- My Recipes/Cooking
- Smoked Chicken
- Smoked Duck
- Time Lapse
- Time Lapses