At home in West Cork

Posted on: 5th September, 2016

Category: Food & Wine

Contributor: West Cork People

After almost 30 years in Paris, food writer and cookbook author Trish Deseine returned to Ireland last year and has made Kilcrohane in West Cork her home.

Originally from Belfast, food has always featured prominently in Trish Deseine’s life. “I think my father was Vatel in a Northern Irishman’s body,” she says laughing.

Trish’s career in food writing started in 2000, when after just setting up her own cookshop company, French publishers Hachette approached her to write a cookbook. “They were scouting for new authors at a lifestyle show, where I was demonstrating products.” Her first book ‘Petits Plats entre Amis’ won the prestigious Ladurée and SEB prizes.

Trish’s style of unfussy and simple cooking has received much praise. In France, her 12 cookbooks, all written in French, have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. ‘Home: Recipes from Ireland’, published last year, is a good-humoured cookbook that honours the plain cooking of Trish’s childhood in Northern Ireland.

Inspired by the power of connection made possible around a table, particularly at home, Trish believes passionately that the “current obsession with professionally produced food and drink, how they have become the accepted goal for non-pro cooks to aspire to, is now doing a disservice to everyday home cooking.

“We are ignoring the importance of the ritual of sitting down together every day for ‘any’ type of food. I see it as part of the undervaluing of caregiving in favour of breadwinning that is also a feminist issue.”

Although she misses the abundance and variety from France’s fabulous ‘terroir’, Trish says the friendliness of the people in West Cork make up for it.

And in terms of beauty, in her opinion West Cork is on a par with France. “The breathtaking, ever-changing, light and scenery in West Cork. It has become a physical requirement! Also the freedom and wildness of the place and how connected people are to their farms, land, culture and communities.”

She believes the reason West Cork has become such a centre of excellence for artisan food production is because “this is where it started – or was reborn perhaps? With a handful of pioneers like Sally Barnes, Tim Yorke, Veronica Steele, Frank Krawcyck, Jeffa Gill, Sally Barnes, Giana Ferguson… And thanks to family businesses like Mannings, Organico, The Stuffed Olive and The Glebe who bought from them and still do.”

Her career has been “great fun so far”. “What comes to mind are when my guide to eating in Paris ‘The Paris Gourmet’ made the Observer Food Monthly’s best books of the year, launching ‘Home’ in the Irish Embassy in Paris with my four children there, and being invited to lunch in Coco Chanel’s private apartment, rue Cambon when my book ‘My Little Black Dress and other recipes’ was published.”

Trish has passed on her love of food to all four of her children. She says that rather than encourage them to cook she “encouraged them more to eat ¬ and socialise when they were doing it – I think. Now they are all decent cooks and my eldest is training to be a chef in Paris so I must have done something right?”

She reels off a long list of places in West Cork where she enjoys eating out…“Organico, The Stuffed Olive, Glebe Gardens, Hacketts, the Snug, Mannings, Arundels, the Porcelain Room on Ballydehob …I’m raging I haven’t made it to Deasy’s or Pilgrims yet. Soon, I hope.”

About to start filming two new cookery shows for BBC NI, Trish writes a regular food column for The Gloss magazine and has another project in the pipeline, which she says “it’s too early to talk about yet”. She will also be partaking the A Taste of West Cork Food Festival this month (check out the programme for details).

But her main ambition “(like so many other people) is to one day live in my own place in West Cork with a bit of land and the sea not far and spend my time writing”.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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