Mrs. Myrtle Allen has been awarded by Monsieur André Cointreau with an honourary award of distinction from Le Cordon Bleu in France. It was in association with The 21st Cork French Film Festival's Gala dinner that was held in Ballymaloe yesterday evening. The Gala dinner was followed by a screening of the popular film of 'Julie & Julia'.
Myrtle Allen awarded, 'Diplome d'Honneur le Cordon Bleu'
The February 2010 issue Lonely Planet magazine includes the spring wine course at Ballymaloe House in Co Cork among their listing of 10 BEST WEEKEND COURSES. It is the only wine course to be chosen in a wide-ranging article about 52 interesting weekend breaks in many different countries. There is an appealing symmetry to the accolade, too, as these wine appreciation weekends at Ballymaloe are now in their tenth year.
Lucky baby piglets.
Celebration is all around as we welcome the latest addition to the Ballymaloe Farm. A lovely, healthy litter of piglets.
A Fantastic Week!
November Music Week started off with a bang and ended on a high note, literally. From Tuesday through to Sunday we had an abundance of incredible talent down here in Ballymaloe.
Beginning the week on Tuesday in the Drawing Room was a mighty informal session with ex Stockton’s Wing members Mike Hanrahan, Kieran Hanrahan and Tommy Hayes. The lads from Stockton’s Wing played throughout the night along with the other guest musicians. Kieran’s banjo and Mike’s great songs had the crowd engrossed and Tommy too with his bagful of instruments and stories of where or how he had acquired them. Tales from Tibet were told and a goat’s bell, a Jews harp, a bodhran and spoons were played.
Rory’s old friend Doug Jeffords from Santa Fe, a charter Music week attender, joined in on guitar, local fine harpist Bonnie Shaljean, Mike Probert from Cichester on bodhran and of course our host, Rory Allen, who sang us a few songs. The night was a fantastic musical melting pot.
Wednesday, in the first formal Grain Store concert of the week, Belgium blues duo Roland Van Campenhout and Steve De bryun opened the night with pulsating energy. Bouncing riffs back and forth as if having a conversation between themselves, they were a treat to witness and even better to hear.
Then the lads from Stockton’s Wing then took to the stage playing tunes from ‘back in the day’. That got the crowd going even more! Mike Hanrahan, who is currently teaching in the Ballymaloe Cookery School, truly impressed his students in the audience. He is not only a wonderful guitarist, songwriter, and singer, but can cook too. What a concert!
Thursday Night. After a delicious dinner in Ballymaloe House we headed back into the Drawing Room. Rory was joined by a lovely local singer, Deirdre Casey from Shanagarry, who sang a number of well known traditional songs. That girl can sing- what a stunning voice!
Rory performed several of his Percy French ballads which went down a treat. An old school friend of Rory’s, Jane Hayter-Hames, who is a published poet and historian recited a couple of her amusing statistical poems poking fun at our governmental policies. An American girl from Chicago, Aisling, who is also at the cookery school took out her guitar and sang a couple of her original songs. Another hugely talented person and she is only living around the corner! You just don’t know what’s going to arrive up in Ballymaloe in a Ballymaloe Drawing Room Session. It’s always a fantastic affair!
Friday 13th! The weather was pitiful that night- wind howling and rain bucketing down. Regardless the show went on and fair dues to those that ventured out. Friday night was an eclectic mix in The Grain Store. First on stage were Paul Harrington and his band. Shay Healy was supposed to have joined him but unfortunately was unable to make it down on the night. Needless to say Paul and his band played a number of well known hits but the night would not have been complete without a performance of his hit song, Rock’n Roll Kids. Following this our Belgium guests took to the stage. A true blues legend Roland Van Campenhout- an original troubadour from the 60’s and his harmonica player Steve De bruyn. Steve is definitely one of the best harmonica players I have ever heard.
Well, after Friday the 13th’s weather had passed, the Saturday Drawing Room session was a corker! You would have paid your wage to be there had you known the night that was to unfold. We had poets, dancers, singers galore, including noted local tenor Dave Maguire, Orla McCarthy from Cloyne and her sweet, sweet voice. The audience was in flying form singing along to all the choruses. Our blues duo Roland & Steve joined Doug in giving us a taste of real Rhythm & Blues with Jimmy Reed and Johnny Cash songs being belted out. Rory, of course was in the midst of it all. Mike then braved the spotlight and sang us a ballad with a gentle bodhran beat. As Mike was in a drum fade to end, Steve gently intervened with a short sound of the harmonica. Mike worked off this and picked up his drum beat setting up a fantastic impromptu jam, Roland then joined in leading us all into a high spirited, stomping frenzy. An outstanding night!
Rory’s Music Weeks always provide such a wonderful eclectic mix of fabulous music and musicians. On Sunday night Opera and classical music provided a fitting cap to the week. This was a slightly calmer and more collected evening after our high octane session the previous night.
The concert, styled “A Night at the Opera” featured Ilse’s Scarlet String Quartet, pianist Nicole Panizza, soprano Mary Hegarty and mezzo soprano Sonya Keogh. All of these lovely ladies were dressed to kill and their performance was thrilling! Mary and Sonya gave marvelous renditions of well known opera favorites and the Scarlet String Quartet played a beautiful program of light classical pieces as well.
Talk about sophistication and elegance - truly an enchanted evening. The room looked like it was from another era with large bouquets of dried autumn flowers and candle lit chandeliers.
A week I will certainly remember.
Kinsale Pottery & Art Centre Run a One Day Workshop in conjunction with Ballymaloe.
Adrian Wisteich from Kinsale Pottery & Arts Centre is running a one-day workshop in Ballymaloe on Saturday, February 27th 2010.
In one day you will learn to throw on the potter's wheel, hand-build figures and pots and produce some unique coloured clay work.
The course will include the following;
- Hand-building sculptures with coiling
- Throwing at the wheel
- Pinch Pebble Sculpture
- Slab-building porject with pre-pared slabs
- Slip Decoration
- Talk on glazing
All your pieces will be transferred to Kinsale Pottery for glazing and can be either collected or sent on to you.
Times ~ 10:00-5:00pm with lunch included.
Why not come to stay in Ballymaloe and enjoy a night with dinner, bed and breakfast included.
To book, please call 021 4652531 or see special offers. Vouchers also available.
Dining Nirvana at Ballymaloe House
Within seconds of walking through the doors of Ballymaloe House I was already planning my next visit. Not textbook restaurant reviewing, admittedly, but there you go.
There is a calm, restful air about the place, emphasized by the high ceilings, copious artwork, and comfy couches. The muted decor in the dining room – plush burgundy carpets and cerulean wallpaper – soothes the senses. Mobile phones, scourge of modern life, cannot be used here.
To read more from Paul Kiernan click: bit.ly/1iAkr0
Ballymaloe House Celebrates 45 years
Last Tuesday, September 22nd, Ballymaloe celebrated their 45th year in business. The Allen Family held a celebration dinner in honour of the occasion and especially to thank senior staff members who had worked there from the beginning.
Ballymaloe House was opened as The Yeats Room Restaurant in May 1964, by Myrtle and her late husband, Ivan Allen. After travels abroad they concluded that the quality of Irish food was better than any other they had encountered. This gave them confidence to start a restaurant which would serve mainly their own high quality produce often cooked in a traditional way.
Myrtle paid a special tribute to those members of staff who helped to build up the business in all departments and to those families who had worked there through several generations giving the place a cohesion and continuity. The following were presented with long service awards, three of whom have been employed by the Allen Family for 50 years.
They are as follows; Mick Cullinane, who single handedly looks after the vegetable garden, starting work on the farm in 1950. Joe & Rita Cronin, well known to many Yeats Room customers, who started work there in 1951. Jack Ryan, who recently retired and Johnny Daly, both working on the farm for many years. Ann MacNamara, head morning waitress. Maura Daly in charge of office and accounts. Mary Morrissey, Eileen Eaton, Margaret Lahive, Margaret Archer, Mary Hayes, Deirdre Walsh and Mary Walsh, housekeeping and laundry. Rosie McLeod worked as a chef for many years and now teaches at the Cookery School, Tom Morrissey groundsman.
The original ‘Yeats Room’ team from 1964 was Pat Swanwick, Rosie McLeod, Mary Morrissey, Wendy Whelan and Myrtle Allen. All were present.
The Georgina Campbell Wine Award of the Year 2010
Hazel Allen, Ballymaloe, pictured with some of the Award winners.
Ballymaloe House were delighted to be awarded The Georgina Campbell Wine Award of the Year 2010. In announcing the award, Georgina Campbell spoke about how the cellar at Ballymaloe has built up over 45 years and began with the late Ivan Allen when he and Mrs. Myrtle Allen opened Ballymaloe in 1964, a year marked on the current wine list by Chateau Canon 1964. In tune with the educational philosophy of Ballymaloe as a whole, many wine events and courses are held throughout the year, including visits by many guest experts such as the enormously popular twice yearly intensive wine weekends with wine writer Mary Dowey - to be held next time in Ballymaloe's beautiful new music venue, The Grainstore. Current Sommelier's Colm McCan and Samuel Chantoiseau have overseen the development of the 'new' wine cellar, which was designed by Rory Allen, and located in the ancient rock foundations of the old castle and as well as being naturally temperature controlled, is also an atmospheric space, effectively spotlit and lined with new wine storage bins made from Ballymaloe beechwood by Sacha Whelan. There is also a bank of pratical Eurocave tepmerature controlled wine cabinets for dining room service.
Hazel Allen, Ballymaloe and sommelier, Colm McCan, with Georgina Campbell.
Bees and News
Ballymaloe has just aquired two new beehives and are hoping to collect a swarm of bees from around the local area. If we are sucessful then the Ballymaloe chefs will hopefully be using their own honey by September, it will only be a small amount but Ballymaloe means the 'place of sweet honey' so it is fitting that there are beehives here.
It has been a busy time in the glasshouse, planting lots of lettuce seeds, herbs and flowers for the garden. We are of course hoping for a lovely warm summer which is great for the growing of vegetables that you will find on the menu, it will soon be aspargus time - such a treat! Last weekend we planted strawberries, carrots, and tsatsoi outside and tarragon, pakchoi, beetroot, sorrel, pea shoots and calendula inside. In the woods the wild garlic and bluebells carpet underfoot and we have had lots of sunny days to enjoy long walks on the beach.
Everyone Loves It Here
Babies love it here
Ally is the madest when he is here
Lots of kids are crazy here
Laughing is what you do here
Yelling is heard everywhere
Meringues are the best here
Arabella is the coolest here
Lyndsay is the best receptionist here
Ollie buys lots of chocolate here
Everyone loves it here
Harriest is the best child here
Only cool kids can come here
Unicycles can be ridden here
Swimming in the summer is great here
Everyone is a big happy family here
What a Week! What a Night!
Rory Allen’s November, 2008 music week at Ballymaloe was over the top
The week began on a very high note, with Moya Brennan of Clannad fame, her husband Tim, Cathy Jordan of Dervish, and one of Ireland’s finest harpers, Cormac de Barra, performing in the Ballymaloe drawing room for two nights. Hearing beautiful and distinctive voices of those two ladies in that setting was pure magic.
Mid-week Eoin Duignan, a wonderful piper from Dingle along with his friend guitarist and singer John Brown, set the room dancing to his reels, slides, polkas, and jigs. Also, another fine Harpist, Bonnie Shaljean, who lives near Ballymaloe, and Rory’s American friend Doug Jeffords, from Nashville and Santa Fe, performed songs, airs, and some of the duets from Doug’s CD released last year in Ireland.
Frankie Gavin arrived on Thursday with his lovely fiancée Michelle Lally along with Matt Keane of the famous Keane family of singers. Two nights of Frankies fabulous fiddle, Michele’s haunting voice and Matt’s vast repertoire of stories, jokes and wonderful songs both old and new kept the drawing room audiences enthralled.
Rory Allen served as always as “master of the revels” in the drawing room performing his Percy French songs and many others.<br /><br />On Saturday, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin arrived with his singer/songwriter sons Eoin and Mícheál, and also Frankie Lane, the brilliant Irish “dobro” (resonator guitar) player. This combination produced a very unusual, dynamic, and eclectic session for the Saturday crowd. (Irish Rap at Ballymaloe!!!)
The week concluded with the inaugural concert in the “Grain Store”, a wonderful hall created this year from an old Ballymaloe farm building. As with Rory’s other projects, such as his farmyard apartments and his “castle tower”, his genius for architecture and building is brilliantly demonstrated in this space. The evening began with a mulled wine reception.
For the first half of the concert, Sarah Bryans, an internationally known pianist and old schoolmate of Rory’s and her Jubal Trio from Vienna with Barbara Gisler-Haase, Flute and Eva Landkammer, Cello performed selections from Haydn, B. Martinu, and A. F. Doppler.
Following the interval, Pianist extraordinaire Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin performed his own new improvisations on Irish Traditional Themes.
Then Mícheál was joined by Eoin and Mícheál plus Frankie Lane and they performed some of their original songs which are due to be released on CD in February.
The Ó Súilleabháin brothers then introduced Rory, who sang “Almost Persuaded”, a favourite of his dear friend Brendan O’Brien who passed away in April. Then he introduced his protégé and “East Cork Surprise” Orla McCarthy who sang the Blackbird beautifully with the audience all singing out on the chorus, <br /><br />The concert concluded with Frankie Lane’s rousing rendition of Ghost Riders in the Sky, accompanied by Mícheál and his sons, which brought the house down!
Standing ovation-what a night!
For another review and some nice pictures: http://omaniblog.blogs.ie/2008/11/24/
Cully & Sully recently won the Global Sial d'Or Awards in Paris. These are the Oscars of the food world internationally and Cully & Sully are the first Irish food company to ever win!
On top of that, we are delighted to have recently received the Good Food Ireland Top Overall Member Award.
Good Food Ireland Top Overall Member Award sponsored by Independent Newspapers. This award was presented to Ballymaloe House & Ballymaloe Cookery School , Shanagarry, Co Cork - the member who most represents the philosophy of Good Food Ireland and is a benchmark for all others, Ballymaloe epitomises what it means to be a member of Good Food Ireland.
Late Summer- Autumn
September We are waiting patiently for our blackberries and apples to come, the weather this year has not been very kind so they may not be in plentiful supply as we would hope.
Both Terre Madre ( Slow Food) event in Waterford and Midleton Food Festival have just taken place these last two weekends. A wonderful turnout for both events and visitors to both events enjoyed all that was on offer.
September 17th - 21st inclusive East Cork Early Music Festival, a great week of music from very talented musicians.
September 20th We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Ballymaloe Cookery School. Darina has invited all her past students and teachers for lunch at the school to meet up and enjoy a day together. For lunch Darina has invited many of the small local producers who will bring their produce and a wonderful variety of food will be available.
Taste of Cork
June 27th-29th, Taste of Cork Ballymaloe House along with 10 Cork city and county restaurants took part in the successful Taste of Cork Festival. The location of the Taste of Cork Festival in Cork's City Gaol was wonderful. The weather was very kind and the weekend was a great success. From our menu we served Potage Bon Femme with Garden Lovage Pesto, Grilled Ballycotton Mackerel with Gooseberry Sauce and Organic Salad Leaves from the Ballymaloe Cookery School gardens. For dessert we served caramel ice cream with rhubarb and strawberry compote and caramel ice cream. All lovely local seasonal produce from the garden and fishing boats.
It was a wonderful opportunity to taste many dishes from the restaurants and any exhibitors that took part
July and August Summer is here and families are visiting once more. We have very creative young guests this month and they have all been inspired by the 2008 Olympics, some are building ramps dotted throughout the wood and garden for bike races, others are trying to learn how to synchronise swim much to the amusement of us all. Unfortunately some of our eggs got used for a bowling competition by two very mischievous young girls ( the chefs did not get their hands on them in time!)
For some Rory's fishing boat has taken on a new meaning, it is fun to think you can imagine you are Steven Redgrave, a powerful rower when you are enjoying a relaxing afternoon mackerel fishing for supper!
Rare Breed Of Hens
Last week Darren purchased some rare breed hens from Giana Fergusson. The hens are called Houdan and are a French breed that are a mottled black and white, with five toes on each foot. See if you can spot them in our enclosed bird sanctury when you are out for a walk. The summer has finally arrived and we have been enjoying some beautiful warm sunny days, great for lounging by the pool, walks on the cliffs in Ballycotton and cocktails out front in the sunshine.
Wine Weekend with Mary Dowey
Ballymaloe House - The Georgina Campbell Wine Award of the Year 2010
Lonely Planet Top 10 Weekend Breaks - Ballymaloe Wine Weekends
Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2009
The Daily Telegraph Top 10 Wine-Tasting Courses UK & Ireland 2008
Ballymaloe House Wine Weekend Course with Mary Dowey, 2nd -4th March 2012
“I was at last week-ends wine tasting which I thought was terrific. Mary was a terrific host and the hotel staff were superb at delivering the right atmosphere and superb food and wine. My thanks to everybody.”
“A little note to let you know how much we enjoyed the wine tasting week-end in Ballymaloe. It was a fantastic weekend and we will highly recommend it to our friends.”
“We had a wonderful time in Ballymaloe…great food, great wine (of course!), great course and great fun. Thanks a million”
This was some of the feedback we received from people who attended the Ballymaloe Wine Weekend with Mary Dowey
Mary Dowey, Wine Editor, The Gloss Magazine, is an Irish wine writer, lecturer and irrepressible food and wine enthusiast. Mary has been running these wine weekend courses at Ballymaloe for the past eight years and they have become a firm fixture on the Spring calendar at Ballymaloe.
Open to all, and ideal presents as vouchers for the wine lover in your life, Mary wears her expert knowledge lightly, so there is plenty of interesting information and wine for those who feel they do not know anything about wine, and for those also who know a little and a lot – as the world of wine is constantly evolving and changing every year, there is always lots to learn – and its fun learning it here!. Mary has been to every corner of the wine world and met everyone who is anyone in the wine world, and is the ideal person to run these wine weekend course.
The weekend course features the star elements which have helped to make these weekends so popular – a welcome dinner with wine tasting on Friday evening, a gala food-and-wine-matching dinner on Saturday night and a sparkling wine and champagne workshop on Sunday morning. Both courses offer an array of worthwhile wines in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere underscored by Mary’s unstuffy but highly informative approach – and they are punctuated at regular intervals by delicious food.
We hope to see you at one of our wine weekends
Last week our sow had 11 piglets! We hope to see them out of their house this week, so if you have your wellies, and want to take the kids down to have a peek do!
The daffodils are brightening up the front and back drive with their golden heads and there is a lot of wildlife around at the moment. A few pheasant have been spotted scuttling across the front lawn and a white egret was also seen, hare are a common sight as well as rabbits.
In three weeks we have the Introduction to Wine Appreciation Course with Mary Dowey which is already booked out, but dont worry she is hosting another wine course - Classic Blends and New Trends in April, check out our home page for more details.
Spring is here with the arrival of the daffodils popping their bright heads above ground all over the farm. The chefs are keeping guests warm with delicious hot soups:...mushroom soup, white vegetable soup, leek and potato soup, while it snows outside!
Last week we hosted the annual Life Boat Dinner which was a huge success and raised funds for a worthy cause.</p><p>Don't forget to book a romantic night out for Valentine's Night, a great night out.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Autumn is here
The leaves are turning red, orange and gold and leaving multicoloured carpets around the trees. The weather has been bright and sunny with a fresh breeze. Red Cabbage, Savoy cabbage, leeks and curly kale are also bursting with goodness in the garden, all of which you will find in the menu in the evenings. Take a walk through the woods and admire the shades of autumn and afterwards enjoy a hot whisky or port beside the fireplace in the drawing room.
Summer is here
For the next three months we can all enjoy the beautiful produce from the gardens, new potatoes, garden vegetables and all fresh fruit and berries. The walled garden and woodland are in blossom with sweet pea, hydrangeas and wild summer flowers. The swimming pool is now filled, bicycles tyres are pumped, tennis court swept and the croquet lawn ready for use. Why not enjoy a lovely Pimms or a glass of Summer bubbles on a Saturday afternoon before dinner and music in the drawing room.
Thank you Ballymaloe!
We have just had the heavenly pleasure of spending two nights in Ballymaloe House. I belive we may have found heaven on earth in this wonderful retreat. It has everything. Our large, elegant bedroom overlooking the garden and duck pond, with it's own terrace, was our haven. The estate provides all the country walks you could desire and two days here makes you feel as if you have a had a week away.
We decided last minute to bring our, two and half year old, son with us and to say that he was welcomed with open arms is an understatement. In this magnificent, serene country home, childrens tea is served each day at 5.30 for their smaller guests or delivered on a tray to your childs room with homemade lemonade and miniature dessert. I managed (with difficulty) to grab on to one of his fresh fish goujons deep fried in a feather light batter and contemplated asking if I could have the same that evening for dinner.
With delight our son welcomed his Ballymaloe babysitter, so that we could visit the drawing room upstairs to order pre dinner drinks and try to choose from a tantalising menu of fresh local produce. Dinner in the maze of buzzing dining rooms, was a masterpiece both nights. I have never tasted food like it. Ballymaloe celebrates ingredients, leaving them untouched by fuss, allowing vegetables and meat to shine in their own right. I am still dreaming of the tomato and mint soup, the goats cheese and aubergine tart, the stuffed duck and their dessert trolley, a welcome reprieve from the tiny architecturally intricate desserts offered in so many other places. I pray that I may I not die without again trying their French Chocolate cake and Praline ice cream!
Following a perfectly restful nights sleep the three of us (son in happily provided highchair) enjoyed a Ballymaloe breakfast. What an honour to have Myrtle Allen slice four different freshly baked breads into a basket for our table offering home made butter and jams to accompany them. My son and husband tucked into free range eggs and dry cured bacon, while I enjoyed the porridge with cream and chose among the bowls of fresh and dried fruits and fresh fruit juices. The staff could not have been more friendly, patient and professional and from reception desk to household, from waiter to sommelier were a pleasure to meet.
Ballymaloe is a treat that anyone who truly appreciates food and service should experience at least once in a lifetime. Thank you Ballymaloe
St. Patrick's Day
On Saturday enjoy a lovely walk in the woods and pick your own shamrock, relax in the TV room and watch the 3 rugby games lined up for the afternoon. Rory will be playing Saturday night as usual in the Drawing room, songs and music till late. Lovely fresh Shamrock at reception for all guests. Irish Coffees and Murphys will be flowing. Sunday afternoon the Chernobyl Charity walk will be leaving from Ballycotton to Ballinrostig, a great charity walk to support.
The Craic has truly been mighty at Ballymaloe House this week with Rory Allen's winter Music Week on. Beginning with Zoe Conway's amazing fiddle it has been non-stop and over the top! The talent has been both excellent and varied-from Matt Cranitch to the legendary Brendan O'Brien of the Dixies. Last night featured Jimmy Crowley, Frankie Gavin, Tim Edey, and Michelle Lally. Eleanor Shanley, John Spillane, and Frankie Lane arrive today to round out a week of extraordinary music. Doug Jeffords. (Guest from Santa Fe, New Mexico)