Kenmare and Molise

Posted on: 10th September, 2015

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

Kinsale, the starting point or finishing line for the Wild Atlantic Way — depending on which way you are attempting it, and Kenmare, just a few kilometres over the West Cork border into Kerry are two of my favourite Irish towns. Both have stunning waterside settings and attractive town centres with more than their share of good restaurants, shops and pubs.

Both towns are also steeped in fascinating history.

I got to know Kenmare a bit better on a recent visit there for a birthday celebration. What tipped the balance in favour of Kenmare is that our favourite restaurant over recent years, Packie’s, is located right in the middle of the town on Henry Street. The menu has not changed much over the years — why should it when it is so good? I had the signature Roasted Cod in Lemon, which is divine. My dining companion had Dover Sole stuffed with Baby Prawns. Because it was a typical August night in Ireland, in other words wet and cool, red appealed more than white, and we chose a lovely reasonably priced Rioja Muriel, which actually went really well with the fish dishes, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your wine and food matching.

We stayed in Shelburne Lodge run by the former chef and current owner of Packie’s, Maura Foley, and her husband Tom. They make gracious hosts, the Lodge is well located and a great example of an old (Georgian) residence with modern facilities. The breakfast was exceptionally good. For an American, I was fascinated to learn that the building belonged to Lord Shelburne, Prime Minister of Great Britain for a short period and famous for negotiating the Treaty of Paris ending the American War of Independence. He was subsequently popular with the famous American independence leaders but less so with the British populace who promptly voted him out of office. The same Lord Shelburne commissioned the original design of modern-day Kenmare.

We couldn’t resist visiting The Park, one of Ireland’s most famous hotels while in the town. It is owned and run by the celebrity Brennan brothers.

We had drinks in the lovely piano bar and I enjoyed perusing the extensive (and expensive) wine list, stopping short of ordering the Chateau Petrus at around €3,000. Our night was made when Francis himself waltzed through the bar.

One more attraction Kenmare offers is a genuinely independent wine shop, Eugene’s, run by the friendly and extremely knowledgeable Alain Bras who selects all his wines, (mostly French) while engaged on his extensive wine travels. Alain recommended a gorgeous red from one of the least known of the twenty Italian wine regions. Molise is a small mountainous area well off the beaten tourist track and just south of the much more famous Montepulciano d’Abruzzo growing area. Lonely Planet describes Molise as ‘one of Italy’s forgotten regions’. However, aside from having the potential to be one of the up and coming wine regions, Molise boasts a wild national park complete with wolves and bears, a pretty seacoast town, Termoli, a small Albanian enclave of villages, and Saepinum, one of the best preserved Roman sites. Finally an important Palaeolithic site was only just discovered in 1978.

A final treat was the short drive back from Kerry to West Cork, travelling up through the famous Druid’s View in Bonane between the Ring of Kerry and the Beara Peninsula, a truly spectacular experience.

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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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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  ·  

Vikings talk in Clonakilty!

“The Viking Gold and Silver Hoards from County Cork” is the topic of the next Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage lecture on Thursday 22nd at the Parish Centre starting at 8pm.

It will be delivered by John Sheehan, senior lecturer in the Archaeology Department, UCC and a former member of the Heritage Council and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.

The Vikings were an important presence in Ireland for over two centuries. As well as inflicting great terror they were also responsible for introducing urbanism and new economic systems to the country.

In this talk the focus will be on the economy, looking at the gold and silver hoards that were buried in Co. Cork. It will also explore how these hoards were discovered, what happened to them, and where they are now!
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15th February, 2018  ·  

Bandon Toastmasters is a club that helps people overcome Glossophobia, a fear of public speaking. The club is holding a night of inspirational and motivational speakers on February 22 that is a must for anybody wishing to overcome this phobia.
Tickets can be purchased either on the club's facebook page or through eventbrite.
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