The Fortune in flowers

Posted on: 9th March, 2018

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Up on a hill in a field overlooking Glandore Harbour, where there used to be cows, now flowers grow. This is where Ruth Fortune sows the seeds of her trade. It’s where she watches the first cornflower of the year unfurl its petals before it joins the other untamed beauties in her romantic bouquets. It’s where she grows every flower without the use of chemicals and picks each one by hand.

The soil is fed with seaweed and farmyard manure while the plants are fed with comfrey and nettle teas.

Ruth’s flowers offer an alternative to mass-produced flowers that are flown in from places like Kenya and Colombia.

Just like the growing awareness about food miles and pesticides sprayed on vegetables, there is a growing awareness with consumers about where flowers come from and how they’re grown.

A new association, which Ruth is a member of, Flower Farmers of Ireland, is hoping that members will work together to support each other and promote seasonal Irish-grown flowers.

If she’s not hard at work in her polytunnels, tending to her many varieties of seeds, Ruth may be found with her head stuck in a hedgerow foraging for foliage or that little bit of wild honeysuckle that will add something special to a bride’s bouquet!

An architect by trade, she moved back to Glandore in 2013. “I wanted to move back home and I was looking for a way to make a living so was throwing about a lot of ideas at the time,” she says.

That autumn, Ruth took the first tentative steps in flower growing when she bought two 25kg bags of spring bulbs and started planting. The following spring, Ruth Fortune Flowers began to blossom and Ruth made the move from her back garden up to the farm.

“I like being my own boss. It’s challenging and you become very aware of every €10 coming into your bank account but it’s very worthwhile when you see the end results.

“I discovered I love sowing seeds and am still bowled over by how such tiny things somehow know how to turn into beautiful flowering plants,” she says passionately.

Seed sowing has now begun in earnest in Glandore – calendula, cornflower, corncockle, scabious, linaria, wild carrot, to name a few.

“My bouquets are natural, loose and unstructured compared to what you’d get in a traditional florist,” explains Ruth. “I love teaming bright colours together or pale pastels.”

If you’re dreaming about natural, romantic flowers for your wedding day, then Ruth is the person to call. She only takes on a small number of weddings each year so she can give each plenty of attention.

You will also find Ruth Fortune Flowers at Skibbereen Market every Saturday morning or if you want to place an order for a bouquet you can call Ruth on (086) 3606830 or email

Photos by Cruthu Creative

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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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17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.
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16th February, 2018  ·  

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