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Summer 2015

& Living GETTING CRAFTY Behind the Scenes at Handcraft Week






5 EASY DINNERS Hit a Herbal High

Tea & Chat / Brain Workout / Competitions / Daily Disasters Useful Gadgets / The Last Word / Much More ICA Pitch_Cover FINAL.indd 1

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welcome|resolution “Never mind the money, the gifts of time and skill call into being the richest marketplace in the world.”

MAEVE BINCHY May 28 1940 – 30 July 2012 RIP


AM DELIGHTED to introduce the first issue of ICA Home & Living magazine. Created for ICA members, this magazine is packed full of ideas to keep you busy throughout the summer months. We have fantastic ideas for getting your garden into shape and al fresco dining - fingers crossed that the sun smiles on us this year! Check out the review of Handcraft Week at An Grianán where the sun always shines and fun and laughter abound. Read the profile of Josephine Helly our very own craft dynamo who was responsible for organising Handcraft Week and meet some of the women who make this week the wonderful success and celebration of crafts it has become. Foodies are catered for with gorgeous summer suppers that make the most of the season’s fragrant herbs. Bountiful berries mean jam is on the menu and we look at the story behind our favourite cake at the moment - the Victoria sponge. Fashion fiends can plan their summer wardrobe and get great ideas for using lace as a stylish finishing touch. Beauty mavens can get fresh ideas for home-made facemasks and tips for a five minute face.

Whether you’re planning a trip here or abroad we have some hidden gems for you to see – 48 hours in Cork, Gardens of Ireland, a fun weekends in London, Paris and Florence. And for once I have the Last Word (p64) as I bid goodbye to an incredible three years at the helm of an organisation that will remain an abiding passion. I hope that you enjoy every page ICA Home & Living magazine and I believe it reflects the amazing talent and diversity of our members. We’d love to hear your feedback and any ideas you have for future issues. I’m sure you all join with me in wishing Marie O’Toole every success as she embarks upon her term as National President.

No part of this may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. Opinions and comments expressed herein are not necessarily those of ICA Home and Living . While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within this publication is correct at the time of going to press, Ashville Media Group accept no responsibility whatsoever for any inaccuracies that may occur. © 2015

PUBLISHED BY Ashville Media Group, Old Stone Building, Blackhall Green, Dublin 7. Tel: +353 (0) 1 432 2200. Fax: +353 (0) 1 676 6043. Web:

I wish you all a very happy and fruitful summer!

They say time flies when you’re having fun… well the last three years felt were fantastic, fun and flew. Time well spent!

In friendship

Liz Wall Ashford Guild


EDITOR Mary Connaughton CONTRIBUTORS Rachel Murray, Penny Gray, Conor Forrest, Helen Dillon, Jane Quinn, Megan Cummins CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jane Matthews DESIGN Jennifer Reid PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE Nicole Ennis


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Contents 24



60 Great European cities for a healthy dose of culture, food, fun and maybe the occasional flute of champagne




Meet the makers and the educators who make Handcraft Week a highlight in the ICA’s craft calendar

Whether it’s a seasonal style update or a sensational outfit for a special occasion, we bring you brilliant style inspiration to pull that look together

Helen Dillon shows us how to keep the garden packed with colourful displays all season long





Make the most of the fragrant summer herbs to season these simple weeknight dinners. Great ingredients, served simply and bursting with flavour

If someone you know would make a great addition to the membership, get them to sign up to be in with a chance to win a wonderful two-night break in Killashee House with dinner and afternoon tea



All our members can enter our fantastic competition to win a fabulous two-night pampering stay in Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar with breakfast, four-course dinner, spa treatments and a bottle of prosecco to help you celebrate!


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10 Victoria Sponge A delicious sandwich with a dollop of history



Berry Nice Transform summer’s ruby berries into tasty jams



Upper Cut Ring the changes with your choice of meat cuts

36 Scrub Up Raid the kitchen for our homemade face scrubs

20 Sunday Roast Our alternative Sunday roast fits the bill

37 Five Minute Face Busy women will love our fast-track to looking good 43 Lace: Ancient Craft, Modern World We love lace, from traditional handcrafted heirlooms to haute couture



22 Queen Josephine Human dynamo Josephine Helly tells us where her crafty passion came from 31

Staying on Course Find out what’s happening in An Grianán this summer





48 Gone to Pot Our top gadgets to get your garden blooming

Regulars 5

49 Al Fresco Stylish accessories for outdoor living 54 Garden Heaven A stroll through some spectacular Irish gardens



33 10 Fun Fitness Ideas Give the gym a miss and get outdoors this summer

62 48 Hours in Cork You won’t be at a loss for things to do, see or eat in the Rebel County

34 Give Your Brain a Workout Stay sharp with these eight brain-boosting tips

66 Motoring Change gears with our lighthearted guide to the ultimate wheels



Tea & Chat Grab a cuppa and unwind with our first issue of ICA Home & Living Little Helpers Stay on track with smart buys and travel apps Daily Disasters Lemon love, toddler tantrums and car care


Summer 2015

& Living

BLOOMING MARVELLOUS Helen Dillon on Garden Colour

GETTING CRAFTY Behind the Scenes at Handcraft Week






EASY DINNERS Hit a Herbal High


Tea & Chat / Brain Workout / Competitions / Daily Disasters Useful Gadgets / The Last Word / Much More ICA Pitch_Cover FINAL.indd 1

47 Aerial View Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Justice and Equality reveals her take on life and the importance of good friends and family 68 The Last Word Liz Wall bids a fond farewell to her three years as National President

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On the Cover Grilled halloumi cheese with heirloom tomato salad. Image: Stockfood


... Easy Dinners




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Get heard


DANDELION TEA: Pour boiling water over young leaves or teabags. Roast and grind the dried root to make a coffee-like drink. GOOD FOR: Liver and kidney function relieves water retention. DRINK WITH: Slices of orange and a little honey.

Brew’s Up Superhero in a cup Rooibos, meaning red bush in Afrikaans, is the new tea on the block. Consumed for generations in South Africa, rooibos tea is naturally caffeine free and low levels of tannin. These qualities make it suitable for people with irritable bowel syndrome, which can be triggered by caffeinated drinks. Its anti-inflammatory qualities are derived from the high polyphenol content that act as scavengers for free radicles in the body. It is naturally rich in iron and calcium making it perfect for helping to maintain bone density. Rooibos can be found in health food stores and larger supermarkets. It’s made in the same way as leaf tea by adding boiling water and allowing it to brew for several minutes. Milk and sugar can be added or drink it with a slice of lemon and a little honey for a refreshing change.


Time to ditch your winter handbag. Summer calls for some light and breezy bags that will withstand picnics in the park, trips to the beach and a spot of souvenir shopping on the Champs Élysées if the opportunity arises! Try this for

To pay or not to pay? Another fine mess. There is a lot of talk about the proposed bill on non-payment of bills and fines, and removing the treat of jail for offenders Instead the payments would be deducted from their wages or benefits. This seems to have divided opinion with many feeling that it’s impossible to distinguish between can’t pay or won’t pay. Where do you stand? Let us know at hello@icahomeandlivEMAIL: hello@ and we’ll publish the best mails in our next issue.


CAMOMILE TEA: Available as teabags or dried flower heads, just add boiling water. GOOD FOR: Insomnia, menstrual cramps, stress and anxiety. DRINK IN: A warm bath before bed for a restful night’s sleep.

Should school children use Google? Exam season is upon us and the head of a major exam board in the UK has been roundly criticised for saying that pupils should be allowed use Google and other internet resources in state exams. Is this the start of the slippery slope to stupidity or will it improve students’ critical evaluation of research?


Strictly Ballroom Are you dancing? Yes, we’re asking!

MINT TEA: Two or three sprigs per cup, boiling water and a pinch of sugar. GOOD FOR: Digestion, stomach cramps, nausea and bad breath. DRINK WITH: Cool and serve over crushed ice with sparkling water for a thirst quenching summer drink. STOCKED IN: Littlewoods Ireland, €28

STOCKED IN: Phase Eight, Debenhams, €75

ONE PIECE OF ADVICE The one piece is back – but not the frumpy number your granny wore. These sleek, elegant single pieces will ensure you keep your cool on the beach.

We were having a rummage in the ICA archive when we came across this fantastic shot. Only trouble is we have no idea who’s in it or where or when it was taken. So, we’d like you to tell us what you know. SEND THOSE NAMES TO: SUMMER 2015 | ICA HOME & LIVING | 5

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little helpers FOUR GREAT THINGS WE LOVE THIS SUMMER The weather is set to be glorious, both at home and abroad, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get outside and make the most of it. You can’t beat a walk in sunshine to lift your mood and blow the cobwebs away. These gorgeous Biom-Lite walking shoes, €110 from Danish firm ecco, are stylish, super light and sure to put some pep in your step. Cool down with a healthy drink, use the NutriBullet, €130, to make energy boosting smoothies that will improve your workout and have you bursting with energy. Be in the pink with this feather-light jacket from Marks & Spencer, €82, is a perfect summer cover-up. Of course you’ll want to protect your complexion and still look good so this little multitasker from Clarins is just the job! HydraQuench tinted mosituriser, €34.50, gives your skin a healthy glow, keeps it well hydrated and the SPF 15 provides sun protection.


aphids so plant them near your fruit and My newly planted watch the aphids fruit and vegmigrate to a tastier etable patch home. Homemade is riddled with aphid buster – fill a greenfly and plant spray bottle with aphids. Is there water, 1tsp of vegetaan alternative to ble oil and a couple of chemical pestisquirts of liquid hand cides? soap. Shake well and spray directly onto the aphids or greenfly. You can tackle these A cold blast of water pests in a few ways. onto the affected Ladybirds are their plants will do the trick. natural predator, Repeat once a week to you can encourage keep the plant munchthem by planting dill, ers in check. Last of all, coriander, chives and stay away from the fennel or by growing pesticides as these will marigolds. Nasturkill the ladybirds too! tiums are mana to PAGE



Travel Appy Great weather and long summer days just fill you with an urge to get out and see the world.



TravelSafe Pro


This nifty little app is like having a tour guide in your pocket. Use HearPlanet to learn all about the places you visit on your travels. Available on Android and iPhone devices. €0.75

For the person who carries three books around with them on holiday. Get the Kindle app and download books straight to your phone. Android and iPhone devices. Free

This app stores the important contact details for all emergency services and even your own embassy in hundreds of countries around the world. Android and iPhone devices. €0.99

If the language lessons didn’t go to plan then download this award winning translation tool and break down the language barriers in over 90 languages. For iPhone and Android. Free





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SINGLE PYROLYTIC OVEN – Multifunction Oven, 56 Litre Capacity, Pyrolytic Cleaning & ‘A’ Energy Rating. Model: SOPT523IX.

The intelligent choice for smart living. The NordMende Pyrolytic Oven is the perfect mix of form and function, and brings more than a touch of style to your kitchen. It comes with an impressive ‘A’ energy rating, quadruple glazing and the latest in our Pyrolytic technology, so it cleans itself! And with our 3 year parts and labour warranty, you can finally enjoy a level of perfection that matches your own. WWW.NORDMENDE.IE

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fix | how to

daily disasters

There is sticky tree sap on my car, how can I clean it off without damaging the paintwork?

I mind my three year-old grandson twice a week but I find his tantrums are getting the better of me. Any advice?

Bitter sweet The magic of lemons Get rid of smells in the microwave and give it an antibacterial clean – slice a lemon thinly and place the pieces in water in a microwavesafe bowl. Cook on high for one minute and let the lemon’s antibacterial properties kill the lurking bacteria. Wipe the interior down with a damp cloth and you’ll have a sparkling microwave in jig time. Restore whiteness to a plastic chopping board, rub with half a lemon and wash in warm water. Instead of spraying chemical treatments on your shower tiles and fixtures, juice six lemons and pour the contents into a spray bottle and spritz over the shower surfaces. The citric acid breaks down hard water deposits, dissolves soap scum and sanitises your bathroom. Place half a lemon on the top rack of your dishwasher for sparkling clean dishes. Blitz mildew stains on fabric with a paste of salt and lemon juice, rub into the stains and leave to dry in sunlight, repeat if necessary (test first on a hidden area of the fabric). Use a solution of water, baking soda and lemon juice to bleach delicate fabric for half an hour or so before washing. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a bowl of ice cold water, plunge your drooping lettuce leaves in, pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to revive. Kick start your day by drinking a good squeeze of lemon juice in a glass of hot water, great if you are trying to lose weight and wonderful for the skin – it also helps prevent kidney stones from forming. Get rough elbows in shape by cutting a lemon in half, mix the juice with a couple of teaspoons of baking powder and rub into your elbows then rest them in the lemon halves for five minutes and rinse to reveal baby soft skin. Lemons – you’ve got to love them.

Tantrums are tricky but as you’re aware, this phase is relatively short lived! They’re usually triggered by a denial of demands and they are your grandson’s attempt at ‘persuading’ you to change your mind. If the boundaries you set are different from those his parents set it can be a flashpoint. For example, he might be allowed to bounce on his parents bed to his heart’s content but you’re terrified of him braining himself; setting, in his view, unreasonable boundaries. A quick word with his parents about the situations that trigger tantrums and a gentle word from them to him about what’s allowed in granny’s house may sort things out. Diversion tactics are also helpful, so if you see him heading for the bedroom and the bouncy bed, have a quick fun activity that you know he enjoys in your mind to head him off at the pass. Games that are water related or messy are usually a good bet!

The good news is that it’s not tree sap. The bad news is that it’s honeydew excreted by aphids, yuck! The sooner you tackle it the better. Spray the car with clean water and wipe all over with a clean cloth. Then get hot soapy water and go over the entire bodywork using a fresh cloth. Rinse off and check if there are any remaining spots. These can be tackled with a little turpentine or WD40 on a clean rag, test on a hidden area of the paintwork before you start a full-scale assault. Make sure the spots are free from grit, rub gently to remove, wash the area with hot soapy water and rinse. Then bribe one of the kids to wax and buff to protect your paintwork from further attacks.

Tweet Tweet your favourite story #loveica

Follow Get the latest updates IrishCountrywomensAssociation

Send Send us your top tips, queries or advice for our next issue


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strap | here THE ICA WAY


From the Dutchess of Bedford to our kitchen table this teatime delight is a firm favourite of ICA bakers down the years


ne of the best loved and most nostalgic cakes, the Victoria sponge conjures up memories of childhood anticipation as slices were passed around after Sunday lunch. Light, vanilla scented, butter sponge, filled with my grandmother’s raspberry jam and softly whipped cream topped with a snow-drift of icing sugar. Always served with a pot of tea – absolutely never with coffee. But, what do we know about the Victoria sponge? Well, it originated in 19th century England when the Duchess of Bedford, who found the gap between lunch and dinner too extreme, had her lady-in-waiting smuggle tea and breads into her chamber. Soon she invited friends to join her for this impromptu meal and cakes were added to the menu. The trend became a full-blown fashion known as afternoon tea, enjoyed by Queen Victoria and her friends in formal regalia. This cake was regularly served at the Queen’s afternoon tea parties, as it was know to be one of her favourites, sliced into sandwich style fingers and earning it the name Victoria sandwich and ultimately its place in history. Now, after that history lesson I believe we’ve earned a slice.


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baking|skills VICTORIA SPONGE 3 lge eggs (150g weight in shell) 150g self-raising flour 150g caster sugar 150g butter at room temperature ½tsp vanilla extract 3tbs raspberry or strawberry jam 1 punnet of fresh raspberries or strawberries (optional) 200ml fresh cream, whipped with 1tsp icing sugar Icing sugar for dusting


Preheat the oven to 1700C or gas mark 3. Grease two 18cm round cake tins (spring form or loose bottom) and dust with flour. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Then add the eggs and whisk in one at at time. Sieve the flour and add to the mix a spoonful at a time until you have a smooth batter of dropping consistency. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Allow to settle for a few minutes and smooth the top if necessary. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Continue to cook for a further 5-10 minutes if necessary. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the sponges from the tins and place on a wire rack to cool. Whip the cream with 1tsp of the icing sugar until it forms soft peaks. (If using the fruit, stir through the raspberries or the hulled and sliced strawberries). When the sponge cakes are cool place one of them on a serving plate and spread the sponge generously with the jam. Top with a good layer of cream/cream fruit mix. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a pot of tea.

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KITCHEN LEGENDS Liz Wall National President of the ICA, former restaurant owner and baker extraodinaire explains why the Victoria Sponge is one of her all time favourites. “It was one of the first things that I learned to bake and it’s something I turn to time and again whether for a family celebration or a teatime treat, you can’t beat it. I think the sceret is always choosing fresh, Irish ingredients. The yellow yolks of fresh eggs, silky Irish butter, fresh cream and homemade jam elevate this quite simple cake into a truly special treat fit for any occassion.”


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skills | preserves

Berry Nice Summer and autumn provide us with a bounty of beautiful berries, rich and juicy pickings that a little kitchen alchemy will transform into delicious jams bursting with sunshine flavours. Here are some of our seasonal favourites.


Kathleen Gorman, Laois: Baker, Knitter and Keen Reader. MAKES 6 JARS

A beautiful bittersweet breakfast jam, this is wonderful spread on freshly baked brown soda bread. 900g redcurrants, stalks removed 2 oranges, finely sliced 900g granulated sugar Combine the redcurrants and the orange slices in a saucepan over a gentle heat to release their juices. Bring slowly to the boil and cook gently for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the sugar for a few minutes in the low oven. Add the warmed sugar to the simmering fruit and bring slowly back to the boil. Boil rapidly for 7 to 10 minutes or until setting point is reached. Remove from the heat and let the pan stand for 15 minutes. Spoon into sterilised jars, seal well and label. We are delighted to include this recipe from our friend and fellow ICA member, Kathleen Gorman, who sadly passed away in 2014.


Anne Maria Dennison, Limerick: Former ICA National President. MAKES 810 JARS

This is a lovely jam to make use of a glut of berries and apples. 1kg blackberries 500g cooking apples 150ml water 11/2kg sugar 2 lemons, juice only In a large heavy-based pot, simmer the blackberries in half the water over a gentle heat until soft, stirring to prevent sticking. In a separate saucepan, stew the apples in the remaining water until soft and add to the blackberries. Add the sugar and lemon juice, stirring continuously until the sugar has been dissolved. Increase the heat and boil rapidly, stirring for 10-15 minutes. Test if the jam is at setting point (see opposite). If not set, continue boiling for a little longer and test again. Leave to cool a little and pour into warm sterilised jars. Seal well and label.

ICA TIP It’s always worth making the full quantity of jams and preserves and making an effort to decorate the filled jars with pretty cloth caps or brown paper tied with string or ribbon and hand-written labels. Not only will they look fabulous in your kitchen, you’ll always have a useful stash of homemade gifts to hand!


Mary Connaughton, Dublin: Food fanatic. MAKES 6 JARS

Make this with the gorgeous sweet, glossy red berries of summer and you’ll have a supply of sunshine to keep you going through the Irish winter. Delicious on freshly baked brown bread or scones with cold Irish butter straight from the fridge. 800g fresh strawberries, hulled and halved 800g sugar 60ml lemon juice Place 700g of the strawberries and sugar in a deep non-reactive saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries are releasing their juices. Stir occasionally until it reaches a simmer and add the lemon juice stir through. The strawberries will begin to break down to a pulp. Chop the remaining 100g of strawberries into bite sized pieces and add to the jam. Bring the jam to a rolling boil for 3-4 minutes (1050C if you have a sugar thermometer – and you should!), stirring all the while. Then test if the jam is set (see below). When the jam has reached the setting point remove from the heat and allow cool for 15-20 minutes. Ladle into sterilised jars and cover with waxed paper seals, cover with lids and label.


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preserves | skills


TESTING THE SETTING POINT To test if the jam is at setting point, place a plate in the freezer box of the fridge for 5 or 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Pop a spoonful of jam on the plate and return to the fridge or freezer to cool for a few minutes. If the jam wrinkles when pressed it is ready to bottle. If not set, continue boiling for a little longer and test again.



Heat the oven to 1400C. Wash the jars and lids carefully in hot, soapy water and rinse well or put them on a hot wash in the dishwasher. Dry the lids carefully. Place the jars on a baking sheet and place in the oven until completely dry. Or heat in a microwave for 60 seconds on full power. For jars with rubber seals you will need to remove the rubber seal and boil for a couple of minutes – proceed with the jar as above but do not place the seal in the oven. Always add hot jam to hot jars – never hot jam to cold jars or cold jam to hot jars.


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skills | cuts

Meat Cuts & Cooking

It’s easy to fall into the habit of buying the same old familiar cuts of meat, but take a look at this beautiful selection of often-overlooked cuts with options for family meals and special occasions. These choice cuts will reward you with spectacularly rich, flavoursome dishes that will delight your family.


Cook: Long and slow with tomatoes, onions, celery, garlic, cinnamon, herbs and stock until meltingly tender. Shred the meat from bone and combine with the sauce. Serve: Papardalle or any flat ribbon pasta, Parmesan chese and a glass of Chianti.


Cook: Roast at 1900C with herb crust made with fresh breadcrumbs and finely chopped parsley, rosemary or thyme. Paint the rack with Dijon mustard and press the crumb crust into place and roast. Serve: Sauté spinach, roast potatoes and a glass of Pinot Noir.









Cook: Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with crushed sea salt and black pepper and roast at 1800C for 25 minutes per kg for medium rare. Serve: Bearnaise sauce, sauté potatoes, watercress salad and a glass of Bordeaux.



Cook: Coat cubed beef with flour, cumin, paprika and salt; fry-off and add to casserole with chopped onions, peppers, aubergine, tinned tomatoes and stock, low heat 2 hours+. Serve: Couscous or crusty bread, green salad and a glass of Merlot.



Cook: Dredge in seasoned flour and fry-off. Add to casserole with onion, carrot and celery, pour over a glass of white wine, tomatoes and stock; season and slow cook 2 hours. Serve: Risotto, finely chopped parsley and lemon zest and a glass of Sangiovese.


Cook: Score skin, rub with salt, minced garlic and fennel seeds. Roast at 1900C for 50 minutes, increase to 2200C for 15 minutes to crisp crackling. Serve: Glazed carrots, braised fennel, apple sauce, mash and a glass of Reisling.


Cook: Slice thinly and beat flat. Coat with flour, egg and fresh breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan and thyme; fry for 2 minutes each side. Serve: Mixed salad, baby potatoes and a glass of Pinot Grigio.


Cook: Mix five-spice, fresh ginger, honey and soy to taste. Score skin, brush mix all over, slow roast 1600C for 2 hours, raise to 2000C for a further 30 minutes to crisp crackling. Serve: Stir-fried vegetables and jasmine rice and a glass of Gewurztraminer.


Cook: Marinade overnight in red wine, madeira, sliced onion, bay leaf and garlic. Pat dry and sear on both sides, add chopped onion, carrot and celery, pour over the marinade and cook covered at 1500C for 3-4 hours. Serve: Mash and a glass of Barolo.

QUALITY & HANDLING Buy From a Butcher Get to know your local butcher, they have a wealth of knowledge and are happy to provide advice and prepare meat to your requirements. Your butcher can bone, trim, roll or portion meat more swiftly than you will at home. Their invaluable expertise will save you time and money and ensure you eat well everyday. Store Appropriately Keep uncooked meat covered. Wax paper or greaseproof paper is better for both raw and cooked meats than plastic packaging that can cause meat to sweat. Store on the lowest shelf of your fridge and do not over-stack as this will prevent it chilling properly. Be Selective Only buy what you need for a couple of days or make use of your freezer. Food Safety Most cases of food poisoning originate in our own kitchens. Never store cooked and raw meat together. Keep cooked meat on the shelves above raw meat and always wash or change your chopping board and knife after preparing raw meat. Never rinse raw poultry as this spreads bacteria and always cook chicken until the juices run clear.


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Easy dinners Fragrant herbs abound in summer and they are the perfect way to add a seasonal burst of flavour when the weather is warm – and gravy and heavy sauces are a dim and distant memory.


nybody can grow herbs. Whether you’ve a market garden, window box or kitchen sill you can have pots of green goodness on the go. They will reward you with intense fragrance and bring vibrancy to your summer cooking. The following selection of easy meals concentrates on a few beautiful ingredients that are easy to prepare and enlivened with a herbal flourish. The dough for the pizza dish opposite can be made the day before and stored in the fridge; any leftover dough is perfect for baking as doughballs or garlic bread. Alternative versions include wafer thin sliced baby potatoes tossed in olive oil and rosemary; spinach, garlic, Parmesan and an egg; or traditional with tomato, basil and mozarella. After our five week night dinners we have a fabulous alternative to the traditional Sunday roast that’s easy to scale up or down depending on numbers, and we think it will be a new family favourite!











Pizza bianca with pancetta, mint and broad beans

Herb crumbed chicken

Grilled halloumi with heirloom tomato salad

Pan fried plaice with fresh pesto

Baked salmon with tarragon

Monday PIZZA BIANCA WITH PANCETTA, MINT AND BROAD BEANS PIZZA BASES 500g white flour 100g semolina flour 1tsp salt 7g sachet of dried yeast 2tsp caster sugar 2 tbsp olive oil 300ml lukewarm water

TOPPINGS 8 slices pancetta 2 balls of mozzarella or burrata 100g broad beans, shelled, cooked and skinned A handful of herbs – mint, parsley or purple basil A pinch of chili flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 2200C. Combine the flour and semolina in a large bowl. Mix the yeast, oil and sugar with the warm water and allow to ferment for a few minutes. Add the yeast mix to the flours and mix to form a loose dough. Turn out onto a clean floured worksurface and knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough (approx. 10 minutes). Flour or oil the dough and place in a mixing bowl in a draught free place, covered with cling-film. Allow to prove for an hour. When the dough has doubled in size remove from the bowl and knock back before dividing into mandarin sized balls. Roll out as thinly as possible on a floured surface, then place on a metal baking sheet that has been lightly oiled and dusted with flour or semolina. Tear up the cheese and snip the slices of pancetta and place on the rolled pizza base. Place in the oven and cook for 5-10 minutes until the base is crisp and the pancetta is golden. Remove from the oven and add the cooked broad beans, mint, and chili flakes if using. Serve immediately. Serves 4


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here | strap


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food|weeknights Wednesday

Tuesday HERB CRUMBED CHICKEN 1kg chicken thighs and drumsticks 100g fresh breadcrumbs 2 handfuls parsley (or fresh mixed herbs) 2tbsp grated Parmesan 1 egg, beaten 50g flour 1tsp salt

Pepper Vegetable oil TO SERVE Salad leaves Mayonaise Mustard Crusty bread

GRILLED HALLOUMI WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD 400g halloumi cheese 500g mixed heirloom tomatoes 1tbsp red wine vinegar 1tsp Dijon mustard 1tsp sugar 100m olive oil 1 bunch of basil

TO SERVE Toasted crusty bread

Preheat oven to 2000C. Combine the flour with the salt and a little pepper in a shallow bowl. Beat the egg in another shallow bowl. Finely chop the herbs and combine with the Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Mix well and spread on a plate. One by one dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, dip in the beaten egg and coat in the herb crumb mix. Heat a frying pan to moderate heat, add 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil and fry each chicken piece until golden brown. Lay the chicken on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Serve with crusty bread, a green salad, mustard and mayonnaise. Serves 4-6

Combine the red wine vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard and olive oil. Whisk well to emulsify and create a dressing. Slice the tomatoes and pour over the dressing. Heat a non-stick griddle pan over a moderate heat and brush with a little olive oil. Slice the halloumi into slices 1cm thick. Place on the griddle pan and cook for 2 minutes each side until striped brown. Serve on top of the tomato salad. Tear over the basil and eat with crusty bread to mop up the juices. Serves 4





600g plaice fillets, or any flat fish, skin removed 50g plain flour 1tsp salt 1tsp smoked paprika 1tbsp vegetable oil PESTO 80g fresh basil 80g grated pecorino cheese

40g pine nuts 1 clove garlic, chopped 100ml olive oil ½ tsp salt TO SERVE Lemon Smoked paprika New potatoes, cooked

Combine the flour, salt and smoked paprika in a shallow bowl and mix well. Dust the fillets of fish in the flour mix and set aside. With the blade of a kitchen knife grind the garlic and salt to form a paste. Add the basil, grated pecorino, pine nuts and garlic paste to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the olive oil to the mixture and pulse again to combine. Pour into a dish and set aside. Heat a frying pan to a moderate heat add the oil to the pan. Fry the plaice fillets for 2-3 minutes each side until just cooked. Serve, dusted with a pinch of paprika with the pesto and a side salad and some new potatoes. Store any leftover pesto in the fridge to enjoy with pasta. Serves 4

4 darns of fresh salmon 4-5 sprigs fresh tarragon 50g fresh breadcrumbs 2tsp capers, drained and chopped 1tsp lemon zest Black pepper 2tbsp melted butter

CUCUMBER PICKLE 1 cucumber, finely sliced 100ml white wine vinegar 1tbsp sugar 1tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 1600C. Pulse the herbs, capers, black pepper and breadcrumbs in a food processor. You can chop by hand if you prefer. Add the melted butter and combine well. Place your salmon darns on a baking sheet. Spread the topping evenly onto each darn. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. In a bowl combine the vinegar, salt and sugar until dissolved. Add the cucumber slices and coat well. Place in the refrigerator while the salmon cooks. Remove the salmon and serve with the herbed roasted new potatoes (see recipe on page 20).

Serves 4


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here | strap


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food | Sunday roast Sunday ROAST BREAST OF DUCK WITH LAVENDER AND STRAWBERRIES 4 duck breasts, skin on 6 sprigs lavender 2tsp salt 2tbsp vegetable oil 100g strawberries 4tbsp balsamic vinegar

2tbsp honey ½ lemon TO SERVE Baby salad leaves Sauté or herbed roast potatoes

Score the fat of the duck, just through to the meat, using diagonal cuts. Pre-heat your oven to 1800C. Remove the flowers from 2 stems of lavender and crush the flowers with the salt to form a paste. Rub the paste into the cuts in the duck fat and allow to sit for 30 minutes. In the meantime hull the strawberries and cut any large ones into quarters; leave smaller ones whole. Combine 1tbsp honey with the balsamic vinegar and mix with the strawberries. Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot and place the duck breast, skin-side down, and cook until the skin is golden brown. Turn the duck over and cook on the flesh side for 3 minutes. Place the duck breasts on a roasting tray skin-side up. Mix 1tbsp of honey with a little of the lemon juice to taste, and brush on the duck skin. Place the duck in the oven and cook for a futher 10 minutes, basting occasionally. Add the strawberries to the roasting tray for the last 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour over the pan juices. Serve with baby salad leaves and sauté or herbed roast potatoes. Garnish with the remaining lavender sprigs and strawberries. Serves 4

HERBED ROASTED NEW POTATOES 1kg new potatoes, scrubbed A handful of mixed fresh herbs, see tip below 2tbsp olive oil Salt

Sunday Roast

If the potatoes are small leave whole, otherwise cut in half. Pre heat oven to 2000C. Place in a saucepan with salted

We love a good Sunday roast and summer is the perfect excuse to ring the changes. Duck breast fits the bill perfectly: it’s meaty, tender and works well with fragrant summer flavours of lavender and sweet honey and strawberries.

water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until just tender. Pour the olive oil onto a roasting tray. Drain the potatoes and allow to steam dry for a minute. Add to the roasting tray and cook for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Chop the herbs and sprinkle over the cooked potatoes before serving. Hard herbs such as rosemary can be added 2 minutes before the end of cooking. Sprinkle with salt and serve. Serves 4

ICA TIP Choose the herbs to match your main course. If you’re cooking chicken or fish go for tarragon, parsley, dill and chives; lamb works best with mint, coriander or rosemary and beef is great with thyme and oregano while pork is lovely with sage and fennel and duck loves rosemary, sage, thyme and bay. 20 | ICA HOME & LIVING | SUMMER 2015

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13/05/2015 13:06 13:07 13/05/2015

craft | people


ICA Home & Living caught up with Josephine Helly, the driving force behind the creative chaos that is Craft Week, and got some insights into her extraordinary passion for crafts and the ICA.

I joined the Gort guild of the ICA in Co Galway 35 years ago in 1980. At the time I was in a gardening club and I heard that the ICA were running craft classes and they were doing quilting, which I wanted to learn, so I joined! At the time I had two young children of 7 and 9 and I was a full time homemaker. Once I joined I discovered that you could progress your skills and earn your teachers’ diploma. You had to get five excellent grades in five different crafts and you had to demonstrate three different crafts. A judge from Dublin University and two other judges from the country markets evaluated your demonstration. In 1989 I received my accreditation and began teaching crafts in the VEC and I also started to run handcrafts workshops for the mental health services. The evaluation process is changing for the better I believe. Previously you had to give your class a set piece of work and they had to complete against the clock – making it very stressful. It wasn’t a true representation of how people teach or learn crafts! Now we’re bringing the assessor into a class to witness them teaching and judging their performance and how they respond to their students’ questions. This is the same method used to evaluate all teachers so it makes sense to


follow this model. We’re changing things to make them better and more relevant. I’ve just finished three years as president of Galway federation. During this time my focus was on crafts but I was also conscious of the need to open new guilds or rebuild guilds that had closed. I opened four new guilds and increased our membership, which I’m happy with. I enjoyed my three years and I’m delighted that the woman who has taken over from me is young and engaged and will continue to bring in more members. I’ve been running Craft Week at An Grianán for 16 years now – which seems incredible. My emphasis is on promoting crafts within the ICA and passing them on. Traditional crafts are lovely and you need to know them but it is vital to move them forward, they need to evolve and develop to stay alive. Last week we had a visit from Renata Tesu from the Royal School of Needlework who gave a demonstration on Blackwork and it was so refreshing to get a different take on it. The Bootcamp series was teriffic fun, the girls were great cráic and they were lovely to work with. If they didn’t know something they’d say it and they were keen to learn and enjoy themselves. The high heels and the style was something else! They taught me more about makeup than I ever knew before. I’m still in contact with them on Facebook. It’s great getting younger women involved and we’re keen

to have more of them joining the ICA. Many have studied art in school and they’re very creative, they come up with ideas themselves; they just need to know how to do them. You can teach them and they can teach you an awful lot. The ICA should be out there on women’s issues and we need younger women to tell us which issues are most relevant to them. We can’t look backwards to what we’ve achieved in the past – we got the water, electricity and montessori but we must keep moving forward. There are still plenty of issues to address and we need to be a unified voice for these on the TV ,in the papers and on the radio to effect change. Maybe we can streamline our own structures to increase our impact. Identify individuals that have expertise in particular areas and empower them to make decisions. Have somebody looking after the strategy and development of the ICA, another person focused on the development of crafts, another on the lobbying and advocacy and so forth. Social media needs to be embraced and used as a way of communicating with a wider audience. It’s an area we need to get to grips with as it’s becoming ever more important as more people consume information this way. Used properly it can be very effective. We have to keep looking to the future to ensure the ICA remains strong and relevant to women of all ages.

We have to keep looking to the future to ensure the ICA remains strong and relevant to women of all ages.


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people | craft

Josephine Helly


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skills | crafts


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crafts | skills

Meet the Makers & the educators

Handcraft Week at An Grianรกn is a creative haven in an idyllic setting. Members from around the country participate in a multitude of crafts, share skills, banter and more than an occasional laugh. But when the competition results are announced you had better move fast! Here we meet some of the ICA members who were teaching or honing their skills in the array of crafts on offer.


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skills | crafts

Rena McClean Taughboyne Guild I’m teaching a quilt as you go class and we’re making table runners. Everyone will have a completed piece by the end of the class. There is a lot of preparation to make the kits for the class. I work out how much fabric to buy, cut it all out, press it and pack it into kits. I love teaching this class but this is my last year. Today there are six people that I know really well and six that are new to this class. It’s great to see new people coming along. Even if I wasn’t teaching this class I’d come here anyway as everybody’s very interested in craft. I have qualifications in a lot of crafts but this is my favourite. I used to teach regular craft classes with the North West Regional College. I think the ICA has an image of “tea and buns” but it’s so much more than that. As it happens, knitting and crafts are very fashionable now. I think there’s great support in the ICA if you ever need it they gather around, you don’t have to say anything, they’re just there. It’s a very valuable organisation, which has a lot to offer all the women of Ireland.

What is:

Quilt-AsYou-Go Is a form of quilting where you place all the layers together at the start, compared to patchwork where you join all the pieces and then you layer them and sew them afterwards.

What is:

Redwork Redwork is a form of embroidery using red thread on a white or undyed fabric. It was also known as Turkey work as originally the threads used were dyed colourfast in Turkey.

Ethel Patterson Raphoe Guild I’m doing redwork this week, I’ve done a little myself but this is my first time being in a class and it is very relaxing and enjoyable. Craft is my main interest but I also like drama, cooking and baking. I’m also a member of the Women’s Institute (WI) and I’ve just recently joined the Raphoe guild of the ICA because I’ve been coming to An Grianán so frequently. I’ve been in the WI for 37 years and I was federation chairman of the WI for three years. These days women are very busy, especially young women with jobs and children, but they are also looking to acquire the skills of knitting, needlework and crafts. The ICA provides the nucleus for women to start learning. It has the talents and expertise of people to show them everything from the basics onwards to help them build up their skills. As well as attending a course I’m also teaching a hardanger class at An Grianán. It’s a traditional form of Norwegian over the count of thread embroidery, it’s not too difficult and it’s very attractive when it’s finished. So I have the ideal combination of teaching a skill and learning too!


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crafts | skills

Carmel Mannion Leaba Guild, Galway I properly starting the quilt just after Christmas, I was initally working on another piece, a wallhanging, for this test and I cut out the fabrics for the quilt while I was doing that. I did patchwork years ago and since joining the ICA three years ago, I’ve started again. This is a Kaffe Fassett quilt, he designs and writes books to showcase his work. I chose this design because I thought it would be easy, it wasn’t! The lone star is not his design but had one with four stars in the corners. I also made two cushions as part of this test, with a curved seam which is a special technique. This is my third time to visit An Grianán and my first time at craft week. I have met lots of friends in An Grianán!


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skills | crafts

Elsie Moxham Longford, Federation I teach patchwork, lumra, and leather-work. I also do some Japanese folded flowers and sashiko, a form of Japanese embroidery using white thread on dark blue fabric which is very effective. Here I’m teaching lumra – it’s from the Irish word lomra that means fleece. Some research suggests that lumra came from New Zealand or Australia while others think it has its origins in Ireland. The craft revival is due in part to the recession; people want to learn useful skills and people want to waste less, which is better for the environment. Last year we held craft classes in my guild and another seven members joined which is excellent. We’ve started to see younger women coming in which is really welcome and great for the ICA. It’s important that they get the chances that the ICA gave myself and other women, to try things we wouldn’t otherwise get to do. There was always something going on to help you develop as a person and try your hand at different things.

What is:

What is:



Lumra is the Irish word for fleece and the craft is akin to rugmaking or tapestry in the techniques used. It involves threading Lumra wool through an open weave fabric to create a design.

Cross-stitch is a popular form of counted-thread embroidery using X-shaped stitches to form a picture. It is often done on easily countable even-weave fabric called aida cloth.

Avril Eager Maynooth Guild I’ve been doing embroidery since I was ten-years-old. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents taught me and then many years later my sister-in-law in America taught me cross-stitch but since I joined the ICA three years ago, I have learned many crafts. It is craft night on a Monday night and you can work on something from the class or you can bring your own craft with you. Yesterday we made Christmas decorations, which was really enjoyable. My favourite craft is cross-stitch but when I come to An Grianán I always pick a different craft to do. At the moment I’m doing Carrickmacross lace which is not easy but I am getting really into it, it’s very beautiful and delicate. Yesterday, I was doing Irish crochet lace which is very difficult so I only managed to get a small portion done. I’ve got diagrams and instructions and I hope to finish the piece when I get home. I’ve made so many friends over my time in the ICA and that for me is very important. I’ve been a farmer’s wife for a long time and got stuck into a little bit of a rut. Joining the ICA and coming to An Grianán was really instrumental in getting out and meeting new people.


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crafts | skills

My mother has been in the ICA for over 40 years, she just got her certificate on Sunday. She shares so many interests with her ICA friends, they had family growing up at the same time and would share everything from education, family, and motivation. My mother’s background is very unusual in that she was an orphan at young age. She was sent to a local teacher who taught her all about crafts at a very young age. She’s still making crafts. She’s 83 now and says she automatically puts her hand down at night to reach down to her bag of crafts. When we were in secondary school we would have done knitwear, sewing and patchwork. I made patchwork cot covers and knitted when my children were small and I made my eldest daughter’s school cardigan. This is my first time in An Grianán. I was amazed at how beautiful the setting is. Yesterday, we walked to the beach through the golf course and my mother-in-law and two friends came along. Her friends come to An Grianán quite frequently too.

Ann Leonard Mayo, Federation


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skills | crafts

Kay Roche Kilkenny Federation Kay was the inaugural winner of the Memorial Handcraft Trophy that was awarded for her exquisite cotton crochet centre piece. The award was created to commemorate some of the wonderful tutors and judges that passed away in recent times, so that we may remember them and honour their extraordinary contribution to the ICA down through the years.

Angela Shaw Renmore Guild, Galway

What is:

What is:


Layered Net

Creating a fabric using fine yarn, usually cotton or silk, and a crochet hook. The main principle is interlocking strands of yarn and each piece is created a stitch at a time. The word comes from French meaning a small hook.

Beautiful pictures created using fine layers of coloured net to build up the images and finished embroidery stitching. The finished pieces are a gorgeous combination of colour and texture.

I have been in the ICA for almost 50 years. It was truly the making of me. I always had a love for crafts, but being a member of the ICA means I always teach one and learn a couple more. That is what you do in An Grianán, it’s wonderful. I have been so fortunate with the ICA. I was on the stage with one group, five illustrious ladies, we won the National All-Ireland drama cup which was fantastic. It is a learning process all the time no matter what age you are. I am teacher and a judge. I teach dress making, smocking, blackwork, ribbon embroidery, cross-stitch, all the crafts really. I think it was the early 80s when I got my teaching cert and it wasn’t long after that when I was called to do judges’ tests and judge at the county shows. You can join the ICA from the age of 16. In the Renmore guild we’ve had many new members joining who are so anxious to learn the crafts; it is wonderful. When we turn in the gate at An Grianán, it immediately takes years off me. I come to An Grianán so happy to see my friends and familiar faces; everyone is smiling. An Grianán means the sunny place and it’s true, the sun is always shining, inside and out.


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crafts | skills

dates for your diary

Find the course to suit you. There is so much to choose from and so much to learn from the courses we have available on offer to you throughout the year. With a wide and variable selection of exciting courses, ranging from arts and crafts to baking, beauty, singing, and physical activities, what more reasons would you need to come along and partake in fun, engaging and stimulating activities.

Tues 2nd - Fri 5th June

Wed 3rd June

Mon 8th – Fri 12th June

Fri 12th – Sun 14th June

Mon 15th – Fri 19th June

Fri 19th – Sun 21st June

A Short Break will take place this week. Courses include: Historic House & Garden Tours, Willow Walk, Mixed Crochet, Fascinators/Hattinators, Fit, Fun and Active. Prices €259 per member, €289 per non-member.

The An Grianan Annual Golf Outing is taking place at Seapoint Golf Club, Wednesday 3rd of June. The outing will be followed by a prize giving and gala dinner. Price €45. B&B €45.

Creative Writing, Art by Justo, Ribbon Embroidery with Elna Andrews, Computers for the Terrified, and Mixed Crafts.

Kildare ICA & Tallaght ICA offer Machine Embroidery, Fitness, Encaustic Art, Ribbon Embroidery & Historic Homes.

Digital Photography, Reflexology & Aromatherapy, Beaded Jewellery, Acrylics with Anne Carleton, Millinery and Ribbon Embroidery.

South Tipperary and Mulranny ICA offer Get up, Get Fit, Designer Bags & Rushwork.

Mon 22nd – Thurs 25th June

Friday 26th June

Fri 3rd – Sun 5th July

Mon 6th – Fri 10th July

Tues 14th – Fri 17th July

Tue 4th – Fri 7th August

Basket Weaving, Encaustic Art, Holistics Medley, Soft Furnishings to revamp your home or get involved in a game of Pitch and Putt.

The Annual Garden Party will showcase

Mayo and Donegal ICA offer Gardening, Dancing, Candlewick Embroidery, Painting on Silk, Digital Photography and Beaded Jewellery.

Historic Irish Homes, Stain Glass, Pause & Relax: An introductory course to Aromatherapy & Holistics; Macramé Jewellery; Encaustic Art; Gardening – Start your own vegetable patch.

Wardrobe Wizardry, Aromatherapy, Painting on Silk, Digital Photography, Beaded Jewellery and Fit, Fun & Active.

A Short Break will take place this week. Courses include: Bets Bits, Pitch & Putt, Beading & Embroidery, Singing for Pleasure and Natural Homemade Beauty Care. Prices €259 per member, €289 per nonmember.

Wed 5th August

Mon 10th – Fri 14th: August

Mon 24th – Fri 28th August

Mon 31st August – Fri 4th September

Mon 7th – Fri 11th September

Fri 11th – Sun 13th September

One day courses

Arts Week takes place this week. Courses include:

Botanical Painting, Golf, Mixed Crafts with Breda Bohan, Sketching & Life Drawing, Beaded Jewellery with Eleanor Hewitt and Papercrafts – Decoupage, braying, iris folding.

Fascinators, Hairpin Crochet, Cookery with Edward Hayden, Palette Knife Painting, Line Dancing and Mountmellick Embroidery.

This week you can attend our book club for all lovers of reading. Other courses available: Cookery, Medley of Crafts, Bridge, Parchment Craft and Rambling.

Dublin Federation & Offaly ICA offer: Stain Glass Applique, Free Motion Quilting, Stain Glass Sun Catchers, Botanical Painting, Sugar Craft & Digital Photography.

Mon 14th – Fri 18th September

Fri 18th – Sun 20th September

Mon 21st - Fri 26th September

Wed 23rd September

Fri 25th – Sun 27th September

Mon 28th September – Fri 2nd October

Through the Looking Glass, Bears & Bags, Holistics for the body & mind, Embroiderers Guild of Ireland (Contact Geraldine Tallon on 087 660 3071)

Wicklow ICA and Quilters courses to choose from are; Sugar Craft, Pitch & Putt, Basket Weaving using Paper, Historic Homes and Beading.

The An Grianán Lace Convention will take place this week and will include: Carrickmacross Lace, Romanian Lace, Bobbin Lace, Clones Lace, Youghal and other Irish laces.

On Wednesday 23rd of September there will be An Evening of Lace. Come and get your lace identified and enjoy the fashion show dedicated to the beautiful art of Lace Making. Price €10. Dinner €20.

Kilkenny ICA offer Cookery, Beaded Jewellery, Flower Arranging & Digital Photography

Embroidery, Mixed Crafts, Bridge, Watercolours and Natural Homemade Beauty Care.

available. Prices include tuition, tea/ coffee, scone on arrival and lunch. 9:30am - 4pm. Courses include: Singing for Pleasure and Natural Homemade Beauty Care. Price €55.

Crafts, Flowers, Needlework, Artwork and Assorted gifts. If you would like to be a stall holder, please contact us for an application form. Price €55.

Encaustic Art using heated beeswax, Creative Writing, Bags & Bears, Art by Gusto – Paverol, Yogla – Gentle exercise incorporating a mix of T’ai Chi, Yoga & Pilates, Drama.

FEES 2015 Mid Week Courses Non-members ICA and W.I. Members Non-resident (Mon–Thurs) Non-resident (Mon–Wed) Weekend Courses Non-member fee

€360 €330 €135 €110

ICA and W.I. Member €185 Non-resident €125 Cancellation Policy for 2015 Deposit of €100 is required when booking. This is non-refundable.



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THE ICA needs you!

Join the ICA today and win a sensational break at the stunning Killashee House Hotel.

The ICA is Ireland’s largest network of women’s groups and we’d love to welcome you. Join our expansive and welcoming community to learn new skills and enjoy social activities. Enjoy cooking, crafts or activities such as golf, walking, theatre or dancing? We have a guild to suit you. Join today and improve your skills, share your knowledge and have fun. Plus enjoy member discounts on 100s of products. Complete the form below and return to: Central Office, 58 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4



in a fabulous two night break including bed and breakfast for two guests sharing with dinner on one evening followed by afternoon tea for two at Killashee Hotel, Kildare! Relax in beautifully appointed guestrooms and be pampered by the indulgent service. Killashee is set amidst acres of manicured gardens, walkways and parklands with magnificent views over the Kildare countryside. Ideally located just 30kms from Dublin city centre and just 40mins from Dublin Airport, the hotel is also close to Punchestown, Naas and the Curragh racecourses, making it the ideal location for a day at the races. With 141 opulent guest rooms, Killashee boasts two restaurants; Turners Restaurant


ADDRESS:................................................................. .................................................................................................. .................................................................................................. ..................................................................................................

TELEPHONE:.......................................................... MOBILE:........................................................................ EMAIL:............................................................................. Let us help you find a guild to suit your interests. Membership cost is €50 per annum.

Arts & Crafts Outdoor Activities Gardening Cooking

Social Events Theatre Competitions History


offering fabulous dining with splendid views of the gardens, and the Bistro, which offers a more relaxed dining experience with extensive lunch, dinner and cocktail menus. Retire for a night-cap in The Snug, a traditional Irish pub where you can sip a perfect pint of Guinness and swap stories while toasting your toes in front of a roaring fire. Unwind at the Killashee Spa, offering luxury Elemis treatments to bring you on a journey of total wellbeing for body, mind and soul. Other activities at Killashee include off-road driving, woodland walking trails, a 25m swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and a fully equipped gymnasium. One thing you can be sure of your stay with us will be blissfully relaxing and memorable.

Terms & conditions: Prize includes 2BB1D for 2 adults sharing a room, plus afternoon tea, subject to availability, non-transferable and not valid during Easter, Christmas or bank holidays. Closing date for all entries is the 25th of August 2015. Competition is not open to employees of Ashville Media Group or the Killashee House Hotel. No cash or gift card will be awarded in lieu of prize. Winner will be selected at random from a draw in ICA, 58 Merrion Road, Dublin 4 and will be contacted by phone on August 30th. Competition entrants must be resident in the island of Ireland. One entry per person. Competition is subject to all usual terms and conditions.


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health | fitness


Fun Fitness Ideas for Summer We aren’t all cut out to be gym bunnies and in the summer months we’d rather be outdoors and doing anything but running on a treadmill. It’s much more fun to be off enjoying the long days and fine weather – the getting fit part is a happy coincidence!



If you’re lucky enough to have a rowing boat and access to a lake or river you’ll use up 480 calories an hour in calm, meditative rhythm.



Gentle and great for improving agility and flexibility, an hour spent striking yoga poses indoors or outdoors – unless your garden is on the main road – will burn 272 calories.



We love a dual benefit activity. Grow some delicious produce or fragrant flowers and every hour you spend planting, weeding and watering will cost 340 calories.








Not a member of a golf club? Head to your local pitch and putt course or driving range and let loose. Burn 380 calories an hour and release any pent up frustration!

BOWL ME OVER Whether it’s lawn bowls or a trip to the bowling alley an hour will gently roll away 200 calories


If you haven’t jumped rope since your hair was in plaits than you might want to work up to this one! It’s the fitness choice for boxers: one hour burns 600 calories, a mere 15 minutes, 150 calories.


Hit the local tennis court with a friend or three and get your game face on. Singles or doubles tennis for an hour can burn a whopping 500 calories.


No, we’re not talking about the drive-through car wash ladies. Grab your tracksuit, buckets of soapy water and plenty of elbow grease. 300 calories an hour and a sparkling car, thank you very much!


A brisk stroll on a summer’s evening is a great way to unwind and relax, the bonus being that for every hour you’ll burn 360 calories.


Hit the dance floor and your inner disco diva will burn up to 320 calories. Ff ballroom is more your style you’ll drop 260 calories in an hour.

NOTE Calories burned are calculated on a person weighing 150lbs (10 stone 10lbs or 68kg) people weighing more will burn more calories and lighter ones fewer.


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health | mind

Your Brain GIVE

A WORKOUT M Keeping your brain active is essential at any age to help stay sharp and prevent cognitive decline as you age. Try these eight tips to boost your brain power today.

emory lapses can occur at any age, but as you get older, having more than the odd “senior moment” can leave you worrying that you are suffering from mental decline, which is one of the most feared results of ageing. The brain is not a muscle, but it’s frequently compared to one, as the old saying “use it or lose it” applies to your head as much as it does to your muscles. But forget the bicep curls, the exercise in this case is mental stimulation, which helps the brain grow stronger, faster and more efficient. The good news is that it is never too early, or too late, in life to start giving your head a workout. Try these eight ways to help keep your brain strong and healthy.

KEEP LEARNING Particularly if you’re in a job that doesn’t challenge you too much, many of us worry that once we finish education, our brains will begin to wilt. How many of us have had embarrassing moments when helping kids with homework?! Not surprisingly, a higher level of education is associated with better brain power in old age. It’s believed that keeping mentally active maintains and stimulates individual brain cells. Any

type of stimulation will do, whether it’s a challenging job, learning a new skill or even taking up an enjoyable hobby. On a more immediate basis, puzzles like crosswords and Sudoku stimulate both the visual and the problem-solving sides of the brain.


Having a power nap during the day can help improve your memory, according to a German study. Researchers tested three groups of people during a 60-minute lunchbreak – one group that stayed awake for the whole break, one group that took a power nap of just six minutes, and one group that slept for 30-45 minutes. On a word recall test, those who slept (both groups) performed better than those who didn’t. Plus, make sure you’re getting your good night’s sleep too – a study in New York last year found that lack of sleep was linked with the build-up of rogue proteins in the eye, which is linked with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.


People who keep strong connections with friends and family can live up to 20 per cent longer, according to several studies. But surrounding yourself with people who stimulate you and encourage you to be creative can also boost your brain power. Experts believe that the practical effects of socialising, such as planning and decision-making, boost your cognitive reserve, the part of your brain used as a “back-up” if other parts of your brain decline. In addition, regular socialising reduces cortisol, the destructive stress hormone. Give your brain an added boost by arranging stimulating outings with friends, such as a trip to a museum or a regular book club date.

EAT HEALTHY A healthy balanced diet low in saturated and trans fats is essential to maintaining and boosting brain health. Giving up smoking and limiting alcohol to a one drink a day maximum can also help. But there are certain dietary additions that are particularly linked with brain health. According to research undertaken in Chicago, eating fish once a week can lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 60 per cent. The key ingredi-


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mind | health


A 2007 study found that people who concentrate on happiness and positive emotions were less likely – up to 60 per cent – to develop mild cognitive problems. Other studies have shown that younger adults express more creativity and cognitive flexibility when they are in a good mood, while older adults with less stress and a more positive outlook scored better on memory tests. Try to turn a bad mood around by remembering a happy occasion or reminding yourself of the positives in your life – and if you are suffering from depression or low moods, seek help from your GP or confide in a friend.

ent is DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain and in certain cold water fish, such as salmon, cod and tuna.

yourself and what you can do to help yourself, you have a better chance to keep healthy, mentally.



Naturally as you get older, you may fear becoming forgetful and what it might mean. But studies have shown that middle-aged and older people perform better on memory tasks when they are exposed to positive messages about age and brain function than those who believe in negative stereotypes. It’s believed that those who think they are not in control of their own brain function, and that memory loss is inevitable as they get older (not true), are less likely to work on keeping their brains sharp. But if you believe in

You may think that brawn is the opposite of brain, but it’s been proved that one of the most important ways to maintain your brain health is through regular exercise. Cardio exercise (exercise that raises your heart rate) pumps oxygen-rich blood to the brain, along with glucose, the body’s preferred form of fuel. In the long term, cardio exercise also helps prevent diseases that are associated with cognitive issues, such as stroke and diabetes. Various studies have shown that exercise at any age has a positive effect on the risk of dementia in later life.

DRINK MORE TEA Now here’s a tip that shouldn’t be too much trouble! You may think that coffee will stimulate the brain more than tea, but certain teas contain ingredients that are linked with improved cognitive function. For instance, peppermint helps to improve concentration, while green and black teas help to prevent memory loss. Another member of the mint family, lemon balm, helps with retrieving information stored in the brain.


Tea & Chat




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beauty | face


minute face STEP 1


At 69 Helen Mirren is at the vanguard of a new breed of women, showing it is possible to maintain looks, vitality and energy levels whatever your age.

Prepare the skin with Laura Mercier foundation primer creating a smooth surface between skincare and foundation. A primer will also keep your make-up in place all day long. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Protect SPF 30, €41, Brown Thomas 20 seconds STEP 2


Use Chanel’s Vitalumiére satin smoothing fluid make-up for full coverage. Apply evenly starting at your nose and working your way out. 40 seconds


OUR SKIN IS AT THE MERCY OF MANY FORCES AS WE AGE; SUN, THE ENVIRONMENT, HORMONES AND BAD HABITS. SO WHAT STEPS CAN WE TAKE TO KEEP OUR SKIN SUPPLE AND FRESHLOOKING? Anti-ageing products address the signs of ageing that are already present, and different products are developed to treat specific issues. For loss of skin firmness try New PowerBright Trx travel pack kit, DERMALOGICA; reduced skin elasticity, L’ORÉAL PARIS Age Perfect Cell Renew Serum; increased skin dryness, LA ROCHE POSAY Thermal Spring Water; age spots and uneven pigmentation, PHOTODERM BRONZ Invisible Sun Mist SPF 50; loss of radiance and an increase in dullness, CRÈME DE LA MER The Illuminating Eye Gel; increased redness due to blood vessel dilation, ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Serum.



Conceal any imperfections that are still visible - blemishes, dark circles or bags under the eyes. We recommend Maybelline’s instant anti-age eraser eye concealer, €11.99, stockists nationwide. 30 seconds STEP 4


With your base in place, you need to add the dimensions back into your face. Do this with a light translucent powder on the hollow of your cheekbones, jawline and the top of your forehead, following the hairline. Apply a light blusher on the apple of your cheeks. Lancôme Blush subtil palette, €49.49, Arnotts 50 seconds STEP 5


Brows frame a person’s face and if you don’t have time for much, make time for brows. Use L’Oreal’s brow plumper, €11.99, stockists nationwide. Add a touch of mascara to open up the eyes. YSL volume effet faux cils, €31, Boots 40 seconds Bio Retinoid Anti Ageing Cream, €61.42, REN Clean Skincare

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renew Serum which is a little easier on the pocket, €21.99

La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, €4, Stockists nationwide

Crème de la Mer The Illuminating Eye Gel, €130, Harvey Nichols

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, €83, Brown Thomas

“I am not gorgeous and I never was, but I was always ok-looking and I’m keen to stay that way.” 36 | ICA HOME & LIVING | SUMMER 2015

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Choose a long lasting lip product that you won’t have to worry about re-applying through the day. Charlotte Tilbury is the number one make-up artist to the stars and her recently released beauty line is a huge hit around the world. Charlotte Tilbury lipstick, €29; Charlotte Tilbury liner, €20, Harvey Nichols 30 seconds

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cosmetics | beauty

Face Scrub Oatmeal & Banana Scrub Despite what you may have thought, oatmeal is not just for breakfast! The benefits of oatmeal for the skin are marvellous and it can be used to enhance all different skin types. Oats contain antioxidents and anti-inflammatory properties and are effective in reducing redness, relieving itchiness, improving dryness and can also be used as a treatment for acne. Try this simple and easy homemade oatmeal face scrub recipe:

1 2 

Add half a cup of dry oats to a bowl of a small amount of water or milk. Stir in a spoonful of finely chopped or ground almonds, depending on how gentle or intense you want your exfoliant to be. Mix in a teaspoon of honey. Add more water/milk if the paste is too thick, then apply to your face. After 10 minutes rinse with cool water to close up your pores and leave your skin feeling fresh and smooth.

3 4 

Homemade face masks are simple, inexpensive and effective. Why not try a banana face mask to target wrinkles and leave your skin with a healthy, radiant glow. Simply add 1 tbsp of warmed honey and a squeze of lemon to a mashed banana; apply to your face, avoiding the eye area, relax for 10 minutes then rinse. Depuff and calm skin with 2tbsp of mashed avocado and natural yoghurt, apply for 5 –10 minutes and rinse with cold water.

Best in-store Clarins Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream e31.00 Clarins dual-action microbeads, with soothing Mimosa extract, gently removes flaky surface cells and tightens pores.

Try these off-the-shelf scrubs to refresh your skin and leave you glowing! Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

La Roche-Posay Physiological Ultra-Fine Scrub



This gentle, rice-based exfoliator targets dead cells, instantly leaving skin smoother and brighter.

Enriched withthermal spring water, this scrub gently purifies and smoothes all types of sensitive skin. SUMMER 2015 | ICA HOME & LIVING | 37

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charity profile



fresh look AT LOUGH DERG

he invitation to take a detour from everyday life has been passed from generation to generation; ‘Come as you are, friend or stranger, young or old, searching or at peace, in joy or in sadness; come to the sanctuary of St Patrick – Lough Derg a shrine of prayer and deep awakening to the presence of God.’ Remarkably, Lough Derg continues to hold its appeal for young and old alike. Pilgrims often say that what they get from the experience is something entirely unexpected. The island shrine is a meeting place where God’s healing grace is experienced in an intensity seldom encountered elsewhere, though the spiritual programmes, the companionship of fellow pilgrims and the sheer holiness of the Island. Coming away from everyday life offers the space to look at the past with understanding, make sense of the present and look to the shores of new possibilities. Many people today find themselves at a threshold in their lives, some come to reflect on a life-changing decision, to overcome a loss, to make reparation for their sins or to thank God for joy in their life. Whatever brings people to Lough Derg, it is always a place of surprises. Pilgrims will often say that what they got out of the pilgrimage was something entirely unexpected. And this is as it should be. Generations of Irish people have ensured that Lough Derg remains a piece of living history – the current generation can help ensure its deep spiritual benefits are passed on. People can come to Lough Derg and experience a One Day Retreat, Special Retreat Days, Quiet Days as well as the Three Day Pilgrimage.

Pilgrim Alice reflects through her poem the powerful experience of going on pilgrimage to Lough Derg; ‘ Give me space to roll out my mind, so that I can open the locked corners where lost thoughts are hidden. I need time in a quiet place to walk around the outer edges of my being, to pick up fragmented pieces, to put myself back together again.’ Poem by Pilgrim Alice TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHAT IS ON OFFER, ORGANISED GROUP TRAVEL PHONE MAUREEN OR SHARON ON 00353 (0) 71 9861518 OR GO TO WWW. LOUGHDERG.ORG


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style | inspiration ECHO spring flowers square scarf, €65, Clerys

Bettina tulip jersey dress, €129, Avoca

Lace tunic, €89, Next

Blossom pink lace ‘Lainey’ top, €795, Louise Kennedy

Spliced print bodycon dress, €55, Next


Gold and pink necklace, €25, River Island

to impress

Blossom pink lace ‘Karlie’ skirt, €795, Louise Kennedy


Bag, €34.54, Marks & Spencer


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style | inspiration



6 4


5 1


Lifestyle Caroline Kilkenny Naomi dress, €264, Arnotts 1 Zip through overcoat, €120, Marks & Spencer 2 No.1 Jenny Packham, €89, Debenhams 3 Embellished floral placket cardigan, €130, Karen Millen 4 Twisted floral feather mesh fascinator, €35, Marks & Spencer 5 Gold necklace with green triangle, €39.99, TK Maxx 6 Caroline Kilkenny Naomi dress, €264, Arnotts

Blue skies





7 5 6

Lifestyle Molly dress, €190; nolita coat, €155, Coast 1 Party Ring, €212, The Design House 2 Sebille dress, €136, Monsoon 3 Mark Garvie millinery Dublin blue felt button headpiece, €150, The Design House 4 Piper cover up, €55, Coast 5 Phoenix earrings, €114, The Design House 6 Palma point courts, €23, Littlewoods 7 Weave clutch bag, €28, Next 40 | ICA HOME & LIVING | SUMMER 2015

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style | inspiration

Very violet


3 2 4


5 6


Lifestyle Joanna Hope dress and bolero, €209, Oxendales 1 Vero Moda Skirt, €39.95, Vera Moda 2 Vintage Bogoff crystal drop earrings, €69, Lulu and Belle 3 Debut, €89.99, Debenhams 4 Ana Sousa jacquard print jacket, €144.90, McElhinneys 5 Ana Sousa jacquard print trousers, €79.90, McElhinneys 6 Lotus slingback shoes wide fit, €97.50, Oxendales 7 Amethyst diamond cocktail ring, €3650, Campbell Jewellers 8 Valentino Va Va Voom clutch bag, €1,400, Brown Thomas




4 5

2 1



Lifestyle Therapy orange print dress, €72, House of Fraser 1 Passigatti orange silk square, €27.95, Fabucci 2 VDot print pleated dress, €225, Karen Millen 3 Polarised filigree detail sunglasses, €21, Next 4 Painted daisy sleeveless dress, €84, Cath Kidston 5 Gold contrast ring, €560, Maria Dorai-Raj 6 Cross strap wedges, €45, Next 7 Orla Kiely Zip shoulder, €149, Kilkenny SUMMER 2015 | ICA HOME & LIVING | 41

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commercial profile

Discovering the Cliffs of Moher


magine getting away from it all and coming to a place that nature began creating over 320 million years ago before the Atlantic Ocean was even formed? Looming over Clare’s west coast, the magnificent Cliffs of Moher stretch for 8km and rise to 214m over the Atlantic Ocean. Unchanged for millennia, visitors from Ireland and overseas have flocked to the cliffs in great numbers since the 19th century to marvel at their splendour. There are 750 metres of safe and easily accessible pathways and raised viewing platforms along the cliff edge which permits the visitor to enjoy a spectacular view and healthy cliff walk. The Cliffs of Moher offer a world

class visitor experience and are Ireland’s number one natural visitor attraction, welcoming over one million visitors in 2014. The award winning eco-friendly visitor centre opened in 2007 and is set into the hillside; inside are public toilets, gift shops, a restaurant, café, first aid facilities, and a helpful visitor information area. Disabled parking is available near the visitor centre and wheelchairs are available. The Cliffs Exhibition is a must-see and brings to life the story of the Cliffs of Moher. O’Brien’s Tower was built by local landlord Cornelius O’Brien as a viewing point for visitors in 1835. The tower stands at the highest point of the Cliffs and offers

the best photo opportunity from the top viewing platform. Amazingly, one can view five surrounding counties and the Aran Islands on a clear day. Rangers are onsite for conservation and safety and offer cliff edge guiding and information on the wildlife and geology. Enhance your enjoyment by downloading the free Cliffs of Moher audio guide app for Android and Apple devices prior to your visit at The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is open all year round with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day – please refer to the website for exact closing and opening times; We look forward to welcoming all ICA groups in 2015.

ALL OF THIS IS WAITING FOR YOU Visit between 4pm & sunset D D D D D

No Crowds Great Photo Opportunities Magical Sunsets Romantic Picnics On-site Parking & Wi-Fi


Ph +353 65 7086141

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lace | skills


ANCIENT CRAFT? MODERN WORLD A love affair with lace is a lifelong thing. A beguiling fabric that conceals and reveals, it’s ultra feminine in a dress, adds cachet to casual wear and makes an appearance on some of the most important days of our lives.


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skills | lace BELOW: Mascara plum lace dress and bolero, €295, McElhinneys of Donegal

Valentino lace dress, €4,700


ace has been popular since the 1900s. Synonymous with femininity and fragility it is the number one fabric chosen by women on their wedding day and used in the most famous world-renowned fashion houses around the world. Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Oscar De La Renta, Dior, Valentino, Burberry, Armani, Prada, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana have all spun fantastical creations out of lace. To this day runways are filled with the romantic threadwork, whether sheer and tiered, frilled layers or sleek, lace is for so much more than a walk down the aisle; it is timeless and can be incorporated into every part of your wardrobe. Every trend is trimmed with lace.

BELOW: Paule Ka Bow embellished lace dress, €871, Harvey Nichols

ABOVE: Butterfly lace shift dress, €195, Clerys. BELOW: Rebecca Taylor lace ruffle top, €317;

ABOVE: DKNY, lace overlay dress, €285, Brown Thomas LEFT: Rebecca Taylor fluted lace skirt, €346,

Youghal lace by Brigid Keane is a copy of the motif on Queen Mary’s train

Lanvin strapless tiered lace gown, price upon request

DID YOU KNOW The Carrickmacross lace-making technique used on Kate’s wedding dress also featured on Diana, Princess of Wales’s wedding dress. The English Cluny lace was hand-worked in the Carrickmacross tradition, and was mixed with French Chantilly lace. The Royal School of Needlework worked closely with the Alexander McQueen atelier team, the hand-stitchers washing their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and changing the needles every three hours. The lace was also used to trim the skirt, as well as the veil, which was made in layers of ivory silk tulle, and the ivory duchess satin shoes. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark wore a scoop-neck ivory satin gown, with a veil made from 100-yearold Irish lace that was first used by Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden in 1905. 44 | ICA HOME & LIVING | SUMMER 2015

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lace | skills


ELEANOR CALNAN Leopon Guild, West Cork I made the veil for my daughter’s communion in 1990, it didn’t take me very long to do because I was up against time. I made her christening dress and communion dress out of my wedding dress too. I am a member of the ICA for 28 years and teaching for 26 of those. I teach about 30 crafts, I’ll be back in An Grianán in July where I will be teaching hand-wick embroidery and I am teaching at the lace convention in September.

Sybil Connolly Doyenne of Design


ybil Connolly rose to international stardom in the early 1950s. Her red flannel petticoat and the popular “Irish washerwoman look,” a pleated linen dress was made famous by Jacqueline Kennedy, who wore it when she sat for an official White House portrait. Today, her dresses are harder to come by in auction houses than Dior. Other famous clients included Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Andrews and Merle Oberon. Connolly popularised Irish fabrics like tweed, poplin, lace and linen by softening their colours, textures and construction. Her most famous gowns


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have incorporated overskirts made of Carrickmacross lace. Sybil had a wonderful sense of colour – she once sent a clematis leaf to a linen mill as a colour reference. Her Pink Ice dress, is made with satin overlaid with Carrickmacross lace that Connolly persuaded the nuns to dye for her! In the 60s fashion changed but Sybil remained true to her own style; she was once quoted saying: “I never liked the mini and I always remember what Dior once said to me in Paris, ‘A woman should show her curves not her joints’ and this was so true”. SUMMER 2015 | ICA HOME & LIVING | 45

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the minister | meet MEET & GREET


Frances Fitzgerald, TD, Minister for Justice and Equality I’m delighted to have been asked to contribute to the very first issue of ICA Home & Living magazine. I have a longstanding relationship with the ICA and an appreciation of their work. For many years the ICA has played an important and constructive role in supporting the National Women’s Council of Ireland on a range of issues. They exert an immensely positive influence on the lives of women throughout Ireland. I’d like to wish them continued success in their endeavors and their ongoing support of women and women’s issues in Ireland. I was born in Croom in Limerick to Cork parents and we moved to Kildare and finally Dublin when I was 13. I’ve lived in Dublin since then. My career began as a social worker in St James’s hospital and continued in roles in Dublin inner city, Ballymun, before becoming a TD in Dail Eireann and subsequently Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. I was drawn to politics because I wanted to influence change and bring about a more equal society. I felt that there were many social issues that needed representation in government. The central tenet I live by is creating an environment where people can think well and make the best decisions. This applies politically, professionally and personally. I think positive reinforcement is critical for people to flourish whether that’s in the family or workplace. What I find unacceptable is discrimination in all its forms. Whether it’s ageism, sexism, racism or sexual orientation, discrimination limits people so much and prevents them being all that they can be. Challenges are prioritising what needs to be done. There are many competing demands in this role, which is a very

broad canvas, and they all have to be addressed. It is essential to plan and prioritise what’s urgent and what’s important. It’s equally important in the family. Women today live in a time of opportunity, notwithstanding the many challenges they face in terms of balancing work and family life. There are greater opportunities and things are less rigid in terms of gender roles. It’s an exciting time for women. I’ve coped with difficult times with the support of my friends and family. I think it’s important to reach out and share. We live in a society where that is easier to do now, a society that’s more open and less frightened whether you’re talking about mental health, employment, disability; there are fewer stigmas. Friendship and family take you through a lot in life and my female friends have been and continue to be tremendously important to me. The things worth holding onto are your core values. They provide you with the drive and motivation to carry you through politically. The values you start out keep you focused and balanced in your approach to your work and your life. Progress is not straightforward. It doesn’t always look the way you expect and it means different things to different people. I think it’s not a linear thing, more of a circle like life itself. What defines me is my commitment, energy, humour and zest for life. I think it’s hugely important to be enthusiastic about what you do. It makes all the difference. SUMMER 2015 | ICA HOME & LIVING | 47

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garden | tools Lifestyle perennials, €2.99, Woodies

ABOVE: Planting bag with handles, €4, Tiger Stores BELOW: Pansy wellies, €29.99, Avoca

Gardening gloves, €2, Ikea


Knee pillow for gardening, €2, Tiger Stores


True temper harmony stainless steel hand trowel, €8.29; hand fork, €8.29; both at Woodies

Flower printed watering can, €49.95, Avoca

RIGHT: Fruit and Vegetable Seeds, €0.50, Tiger Stores LEFT: Bakers twine, €6.95, Mira Mira


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win a fabulous break for two in Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar THIS FANTASTIC PRIZE INCLUDES 2 NIGHTS BED AND FULL IRISH BREAKFAST IN A LAKE VIEW ROOM, A 4 COURSE DINNER ON ONE EVENING, PAMPERING SPA TREATMENTS AND A BOTTLE OF PROSECCO ON ARRIVAL. Bloomfield House is situated in the heart of the beautiful Westmeath lakelands in an idyllic setting overlooking Lough Ennell. This Irish family-owned hotel is nestled in rolling countryside amidst acres of rich parkland and lofty trees. This luxurious four-star hideaway is noted for its delicious fine dining, attentive service, superb leisure facilities and warm welcome that extends far beyond the front door. Escape into a world of pure indulgence and total relaxation at Bloomfield Spa – an unforgettable and deeply pleasurable experience. Unwind at Bloomfield Leisure Club with a 20-metre pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Dining at Bloomfield House is highly recommended with extensive menus available at the Stirrup and Reel Bar and the Charles Brinsley Restaurant. Enjoy boat trips, free wifi, lake walks and much more. Bloomfield House Hotel offers the perfect country escape with its combination of traditional Irish hospitality, elegant surroundings and excellent facilities. Relaxation proves effortless at Bloomfield House Hotel. Be it a pampering spa escape, special occasion, romantic getaway or fun family break, an oasis of tranquility awaits for all kinds of celebrations at the Four Star Bloomfield House Hotel. For more information and special offers call us on 044 93 40894 or visit

HOW TO WIN To enter send your answer to the following question, along with your name and address or phone number to ICA Home & Living Magazine, c/o Ashville Media Group, Old Stone Building, Blackhall Green, Dublin 7 or email your answer to

BLOOMFIELD HOUSE HOTEL IS LOCATED ON THE BANKS OF WHAT LAKE? Winner will be notified on August 30th, 2015. Terms & conditions: Prize includes 2BB1D for 2 adults sharing a room, spa treatment and a bottle of prosecco subject to availability, non-transferable and not valid during Easter, Christmas or bank holidays. Closing date for all entries is the 25th of August 2015. Competition is not open to employees of Ashville Media Group or the Bloomfield House Hotel. No cash or gift card will be awarded in lieu of prize. Winner will be selected at random from a draw and will be contacted by phone. Competition entrants must be resident in the island of Ireland. One entry per person. Competition is subject to all usual terms and conditions. SUMMER 2015 | ICA HOME & LIVING | 49

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trends | garden SOFT LANDING Splash a little summer on your garden bench with this pear patterned, print cushion. Pairing comfort with style, it’s the perfect accessory for outdoor relaxation. €4, Ikea

HOME TWEET HOME Add some charm to your garden this summer with this cute bird house. Wooden bird house, €14, Next

TEA FOR TWO Bring a little craft to your planting with this sweet wicker teacup ABOVE: Wicker teacup planter, €34, Next. BELOW: Bring some style to morning outdoor tea with this dainty tea set. Cranham Tea for One, €41.38, Cath Kidston

RELAX If you really need an excuse to relax outside in the garden, this comfortable and supportive sun lounger is it. Sun lounger, €160, Ikea

LET’S GO OUTSIDE SUMMER IS UPON US AND IT’S TIME TO GET BACK OUTSIDE IN THE GARDEN. THESE ACCESSORIES ARE THE PERFECT EXCUSE TO GET YOUR GARDEN READY. I HEART Hang some summer vibes with this pretty heart wreath. Smart solar boxwood hanging heart, €27, Littlewoods

LIGHT UP Set the mood for evening parties or meals with these beautiful birdcage lanterns, €65, Meadows and Byrne

CAN IT Perfect for adding some growth to the garden, these matching zinc buckets bring simplicity to the art of gardening, zinc buckets, €3, Tiger Stores

TAKE A PEW Sit and reflect on the wonders of the outdoors on this magnificent teak garden bench. €825, Industry. Or scour your local bric-a-brac and customise your find!


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the Dillon Garden

Opening times


Garden lessons




45 Sandford Terrace, Sandford Road, Dublin 6 (01) 497 1308 ICA Page 50.indd 68 1 HelenDillon_1C.indd

13/05/2015 08/05/2015 13:11 18:16

colour | garden


Show On THE


Cosmos Tall variety in bloom adds height, texture and colour



very summer I’m looking for ideas on how to keep colour going. First I want to view the garden all at once for a show of sparkling colour, but next I like to wander round admiring each plant individually. I’ve never managed to resolve my main gardening problem, the irresistible temptation to buy yet another plant – although I know perfectly well that 10 of the same plant has much greater impact than a collection of ‘onesies’. But I have managed to concentrate on a few terrific suppliers of longterm flower colour – see below. Let’s consider for a moment the beautiful month of May, every tree with its fresh young leaves and the countryside at its prettiest. But, unless you’ve got lime free soil (and can grow rhododendrons and azaleas), once the bulbs have gone over

Hesperis matronalis or sweet rocket Sow from seed in July


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garden | colour there are not many flowers. That’s when I rely on Hesperis matronalis, or sweet rocket. This year I grew around 70 plants, sown from one packet of seed (try Chiltern Seeds in the UK) and only buy the purple ones (the white ones don’t age so well) and sow around early July. Prick out the plants into small pots and when these outgrow their space line them out in a spare place to grow on. Then, when your beds are all tidy in November, use the young plants to fill any gaps in sun or light shade. Your garden will be a delight the following May and – most importantly as sweet rocket is a biennial – it will die after flowering anyway (keep the seed) and valuable spaces will be all ready in waiting for your summer plants – the dahlias, the cosmos, cannas, Verbena bonariensis and so on. The garden is at its midsummer best in June, with everything wonderfully glossy with health. Roses and spires of foxgloves and delphiniums reach for the sky and everything seems to be in bloom. But in early July, the delphiniums have been cut back to give them time to develop late flowers in September, and that is when I depend so much on alstroemerias in particular. A bad reputation in the life of a plant lingers long in our collective memories, so although alstroemerias or Peruvian lilies were introduced to cultivation in Europe in the 1830s, gardeners soon discovered that they rapidly spread all over the borders. And even when the ‘Ligtu Hybrids’ arrived some 50 years later, which were first described as better behaved, this proved incorrect – even they were soon on the move. People still think that alstroemerias belong on the dining room tables of cheap hotels rather than in their gardens, but there are some absolutely brilliant colours available now such as Alstroemeria ‘Red Elf ’ which flowers for two months nonstop – then you pull out (not cut!) back all the old stems and give it a good feed – and it flowers for another two months. If you get really interested in good colours try Googling Viv Marsh Postal Plants who has a wonderful catalogue and you can order easily, not cheap but well worth it – there are some beautiful dark reds. It’s not only the alstroemerias that get a good feed at the end of June – we give the second major feed of the year (the first being around the end of March) to all greedy plants such as clematis and roses, which get another dollop of seaweed or rose fertilizer.

All colours border in full bloom in the Dillon garden

In July the reign of the dahlias begins, along with the lilies and the agapanthus. Dahlias usually survive winter in the ground in Ireland but I find they are much easier to manage if they are dug up at the end of October and stored in slightly moist peat in crates in the shed, with a heavy blanket always handy to throw over them in cold weather. You need to check once or twice during winter that they haven’t got too dry, so I lug them outside on a nice day, give them a light watering and tuck them up again. If you leave them in the soil the tubers can become very heavy and large to handle, and I always find that what was a brilliant spot one year is quite unsuitable the following year. Dahlias do better planted out than kept in their pots. The lilies and the agapanthus stay in their pots – some are sunk in the beds and others sit on the wide path by the canal. Before they flower they bask in the sun on the terrace and are regularly fed with tomato fertilizer. Best of all for wonderful, long term colour are my beloved cosmos. I only use the tall ones which make a terrific show. I sow seed in late February and again in early April. Be sure to deadhead and feed often.

Agapanthus Eggford Sky bring elegant height and colour

Lythrum and Alstroemeria provide a striking colour combination


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Heritage Ireland Heritage Sites Sites Of Ireland Free Admission: First Wednesday Of Each Month During 2015

OPW Heritage Card — General InformationMany millions Ireland and overseas OPW Heritage Card, costing just 2525 Many millions from Ireland overseas visitvisit TheThe OPW Heritage Card, costing just Adult: 25 Senior: 20from Family:  60and Child/Student:  10 Email: Offers unlimited admission to over 40 fee paying sites for one year. our heritage every Guide/ranger (euro) a Senior Citizen and 6060 our heritage sitessites every year.year. Guide/ranger (euro) for for a Senior Citizen and perper Tel: 00353 1 6476000 Tel: 00353 1 6476592 services interpretative displays Family offers unlimited admission services and and interpretative displays are are Family offers unlimited admission provided at many centres. further to over of our paying provided at many centres. For For further to over ofon our feefee paying find40us40 facebook information please contact: sites year – please information please contact: sites for for oneone year – please ICA Page 50.indd 68 235831_1C_OPW1_ICA.indd 1

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BALLYMALOE Cookery School & Gardens Afternoon Cookery Demonstrations | 2-5pm daily Garden Tours & Gardening Courses | All Year Round


discount for ICA members.

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Please enquire about our

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visit | garden River Garden


overing over fifty of the most beautiful gardens in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, The Irish Garden is laid out thematically, taking you through a tour of gardens, from the grand old demesnes of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy to the intensely personal creations of today’s passionate plants people and garden makers. Visitors to Ireland are often surprised at the ‘palm trees’ that make so many gardens look as if they belong in a holiday postcard. How can such exotics survive on an island that is as far north as the pine forests of Siberia? The answer lies in the tail of the Gulf Stream – the North Atlantic Drift – which wraps around this green land on the western edge of Europe. Its warm and watery embrace bestows the renowned ‘soft’ climate that allows those palm trees to make their homes here – along with tree ferns from Australia and bananas from Japan. Plants from colder

Garden Heaven


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garden | visit

Mount Congreve, Waterford


Altamont Garden, Carlow

regions, including rhododendrons, primulas and all manner of alpines, are equally happy. So, with a range of plants that runs from the subtropical to the subarctic, and a landscape that varies from gently pastoral to savagely rugged, Ireland has some of the most romantic and interesting gardens in the world. The result of a lifetime visiting, considering and writing about gardens in Ireland, and several years of dedicated photography, The Irish Garden is a truly comprehensive exploration of a fascinating subject. Its author, Jane Powers, was born in Ireland to American parents, and spent her childhood moving back and forth between the United States and Ireland. Both her parents were writers and

she has been writing about gardens and gardening for 20 years. The stunning photography is the work of her husband Jonathan Hession, best known for his work as a publicity photographer on film. His keen eye for landscape photography brings an etheral quality to his images of gardens that he captures through the shifting light from daybreak to twilight. The content of the book is curated into sections that reflect the style of garden ranging from the great formal gardens of stately homes to the wild and romantic gardens where nature takes the lead. These magnificent gardens and the fascinating tales behind them, coupled with stunning imagery, make this a book that you’ll return to time and again

The Altamont garden in all its splendour emerges like a Monet painting belying the fact that it owes its existence, in some part, to blocked drains. The offending drains forced the Leckey Watson family to relocate for a period in 1923 to Altamont, near Ballon in Co Carlow. Here among the wilderness of the unkempt grounds lay a lily-pad covered lake. A hangover from the time the property was occupied by the Borror family whose father had been a landscape architect. Further excavations revealed the extent of his work which included beds, borders, terraces and hidden walks leading to a fern edged stream. Isobel Leckey Watson fell under the spell of the house and gardens and instead of returning to their own home they purchased the house and thus begun an epic botanical voyage that continued from father to daughter, bringing new specimens from around the world and restoring the garden to its present day glory.

MOUNT CONGREVE, WATERFORD The dreamlike purple haze of magnolias in bloom, falling down to the river Suir, defines Mount Congreve garden in Waterford. The home of the Congreve family since 1760 the garden has been tended by generations of the family, most recently


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15/05/2015 13:25

Start treating bladder weakness today with Vital Compact one in three women experience a weak or sensitive bladder


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Georgian Villa | 160 Acres of Parkland Victorian Walled Garden | 3 Children’s Playgrounds 10km of Trails | Lakeside setting

OPENING HOURS - May - August 2015 • Open Tuesdays to Sundays, and Bank Holiday Mondays. • Gardens: 12-6pm • Farm Cafe, Gallery & Craft Gift Shop: 12-6pm Newtownbarry House, Bunclody, Co. Wexford, Ireland. Tel/Fax:053 937 6383 |

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Season Tickets Available | Café & Gift Shop Free Parking | Open Daily from 9.30 Seasonal Family Events Check website for details

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garden | visit

Let’s go see... Great Irish Gardens Some of our favourite gardens to visit this summer are highlighted below, we’ve shown summer opening hours but many of them open year round so please check out their websites for further details: TALBOT BOTANICAL GARDENS, Malahide Castle, Malahide, Co. Dublin; W. SUMMER OPENING Mon-Sun 9.00-9pm Salthill House, Donegal

Ambrose Congreve who died in 2011 aged 104. Lionel de Rothschild mentored Ambrose in garden design and botany and his generosity in supplying specimens from his garden in Hampshire provided the foundation for many of the plants that thrive in the estate’s perfect acid soil. One of the defining influences of de Rothschild was the style of planting in swathes rather than single specimens to create maximum impact. The magnolia plantation claims to be the largest in the world hosting more than 100 varing strains of magnolias creating an ostentatious display. A kilometre long hydrangea walk and walled garden shot through with peonies, delphinium and catmint provide a summer spectacle. The garden is arranged to showcase different sections as the seasons transform.

DRISHANE HOUSE, CORK This coastal garden surrounds the home of Tom and Jane Somerville in Castletownshend and is the former home of the writ-

er Edith Somerville. Evoking a backwards glance at times past, the gardens at Drishane House are artfully undone and informal. They are a pastoral paradise with swathes of green and woodland paths sweeping down to the shore.

MOUNT USHER GARDENS, Ashford, Co. Wicklow W. SUMMER OPENING Mon-Sun 10-6pm

SALTHILL HOUSE, DONEGAL Classified in the Fields of Dreams section of The Irish Garden, the Salthill House garden got its name from the local salt works; the house which was built in the mid eighteenth century is now home to the Temple family, owners of the Donegal tweed business Magee. The house and gardens are perched above Donegal bay and feature the walled garden where traditional Donegal ridges are crafted every year. Elizabeth Temple oversees the maintenance of the gardens which extend to sweeping meadows of wildflowers, rolling into woodland that buffet it from the wild Atlantic winds.

DIVERSITY AND DRAMA Drishane House, Cork

POWERSCOURT GARDENS, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow W. SUMMER OPENING Mon-Sun 9.30-5.30pm

One of the most interesting things about Irish Gardens is the sheer diversity of gardens that it showcases. The immense power and drama of our garden landscapes is astonishing. It’s a fascinating insight into the history and development of the most spectacular gardens on this island. It’s well worth seeking out this book as an epic companion to the reader who is interested in the intriguing tales and history behind these gardens, and equally as an inspiration for the garden enthusiast creating their own garden idyll, albeit on a more modest scale!

THE NATIONAL STUD & JAPANESE GARDENS, Tully, Co. Kildare W. SUMMER OPENING Mon-Sun 9-6pm KYLEMORE ABBEY & GARDENS, Kylemore, Connemara, Co. Galway W. SUMMER OPENING Mon-Sun 9.30-6pm BELVEDERE HOUSE & GARDENS, Belvedere, Co. Westmeath W. SUMMER OPENING Mon-Sun 9.30-8pm NEWTOWNBARRY HOUSE & GARDENS, Bunclody, Co Wexford W. SUMMER OPENING Tues-Sat 12-6pm

THE IRISH GARDEN by Jane Powers Photography by Jonathan Hession €50/£40 Frances Lincoln Publishers


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Come and see our 1,000 acre estate and enjoy the perfect day out! • 6 Acre Victorian Walled Garden • Restored Rooms in the Abbey • Gothic Church • History Talks and Guided Tours • Woodland & Lakeshore Walks 131.5x198mm.pdf


+353 (0) 95 52001 /KylemoreAbbeyandGarden /Kylemoretoday /kylemoreabbeygardens


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11/05/2015 09:28

‘I inherited a house with it a garden, in a climate favourable to growing less common plants’ – Lord Milo Talbot








Visit Lord Milo Talbot’s Botanical Collection of Plants at Malahide Castle. Open all year

round from 9.30am

• 5000 Species of Plants • Interactive Garden Exhibition • 6 Glasshouses • 22 Acre West Lawn • • Avoca Cafe & Retail • Guided Tours of Malahide Castle • Just 13KM from Dublin City Centre. Accessible by DART, Bus or Car. Visit for more information or call 01 8169538.

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escape | cities

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Carey’s Lane; Farmgate Café; The Crawford Gallery

A dynamic city with a cultural heartbeat, Cork is centred on a stretched island where the River Lee splits in two, an island filled with Georgian parades, great restaurants and entertaining city quarters. To get your bearings, head over to the city’s tourist office on Grand Parade (open Mon-Sat, 9-5). FINDING YOUR WAY If you’re taking your own wheels, don’t forget to collect parking discs (€1.80 per hour) available from the tourist office and some local newsagents. Bus tickets cost €1.30 while a number of taxi firms operate across the city. If you’re feeling energetic you can rent a bicycle from Cycle Scene at 396 Blarney Street, a ten minute walk from the tourist office, open Monday to Saturday, with booking required in advance.



SIGHTS TO BE SEEN ... Take the chance to see the city from the river with Atlantic Sea Kayaking, a half-day sightseeing trip along the Lee (you can also take an evening trip beneath the bridges, with the option to finish with a hearty meal at Board Walk Restaurant and Grill). If you’d prefer dry land, follow the official walking trails that meander through the city, linking places and buildings of heritage interest from the steeple of Shandon to the adacamic environs of University College Cork. Cork Walks are free and self-guided tours that feature interactive panels with local historic information and colour-coded finger posts along the way. Each trail takes around 90 minutes to complete; brochures available from the tourist office and


HISTORICAL HAUNTS ... Wherever your interests lie, Cork city, Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2005, has a stop for you. Housed


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cities | escape SHOPPER’S PARADISE... There’s no doubt that Cork is the shopping capital of Munster. Take a leisurely Sunday stroll through the city’s longest shopping street, Patrick Street, home to Brown Thomas, Dunnes Stores, Debenhams, Marks & Spencers and the inevitable Penneys. Cork’s Opera Lane outdoor shopping centre offers a mix of historic buildings and high street shops like Next, River Island, Tommy Hilfiger and more. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, visit the secluded French Church Street, perfect for a stroll though clothing, shoe and chocolate shops, not to mention the delightful cafés. The area around here is known as the Huguenot Quarter, once home to a small number of the French Protestants who fled religious persecution.


ABOVE: Mutton Lane BELOW: The English market

in a two storey Georgian house built in 1845, Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park is home to a rich and diverse variety of collections, free admission. Then on to one of the city’s most impressive historical locations – Cork City Gaol. An imposing former prison, an audio tour will take you through the restored cells as you learn about the prisoners who once lived here. The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery is located on Emmet Place and is home to a wide range of Irish art. Open 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday, admission is free. HUNGER PANGS... One of the best food stops in the city has to be The English Market on Grand Parade. Here you will find plenty of great local and traditional foods, Monday to Saturday from 8am-6pm. Upstairs you’ll discover the Farmgate Café where you can enjoy delicious food and afternoon treats until 4pm. For something a little more substantive, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Fenn’s Quay Restaurant on Sheares Street is a bright and busy spot located in a 250-year old listed building, and prides itself on serving the best of local produce. THIRST BUSTERS ... In Cork you’re never too far from any number of great Irish pubs. The Franciscan Well on North Mall is famous for its great home-brewed beer while Mutton Lane is one of the city’s oldest drinking establishments, located off Patrick’s Street near the English Market. Or pay a visit to a former chemist turned wine bar, Arthur Mayne’s on Pembroke Street, which features interesting décor, great food and wines and hospitable staff – arrive early if you want a seat.

RUMBLING STOMACHS ... Fill up with a modern experience at Isaac’s on MacCurtain Street, something of a trendsetter in Cork with its blend of Irish and international themes. Look for the set dinner menu offering three courses for €25. Meanwhile, international flair is on display at Les Gourmandises Restaurant on Cook Street, described as an ‘outpost of France’. Reminiscent of the fabulous family-run restaurants in France, menus change daily to accommodate the local market. With some great food and surprising wines, this really is a hidden treasure. ICING ON THE CAKE ... To finish off your trip with a bang, particularly if you have the kids in tow, take the short trip out to the sixteenth century Blackrock Castle Observatory, located just 5km from the city centre and home to castle and dungeon tours, an award-winning exhibition on the cosmos, Ireland’s first interactive theatre, a professional astronomical observatory and much more (open seven days, phone 021 432 6120 or visit for more information). In a similar vein, the Lifetime Lab on the Lee Road, a five minute drive from the city centre, is a great place to spend a fun day with the family, with a number of attractions including historical buildings, a modern interactive exhibition, Steam Centre, playground and picnic areas, a sensory garden and scenic views over the River Lee. Admission for a family of four is €7, phone 021 494 1500 or visit for more info.

BRING & BUY Bring your sense of humour to deal with the ribbing and a camán if you don’t want to be a hurler on the ditch – you’re bound to get a game! Buy up every concievable craft supply in Vibes & Scribes, 3 Bridge Street, Cork: it’s a veritable wonderland. SUMMER 2015 | ICA HOME & LIVING | 63

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escape | cities


St Paul’s

LONDON In recent years, London has been on the forefront of the global stage. Between hosting the Summer Olympics in 2012, to the royal wedding in April of 2011, to the even more recent Tower of London World War I commemoration, the 1,972-year-old city is far from settling into retirement any time soon. Once the home to a lively fruit and vegetable market filled with flower girls and market stalls, Covent Garden is now filled with cafés, bars, chic boutiques and restaurants. It’s the perfect place for a day of relaxing shopping and delicious food. Not far away, hidden down an alleyway between two shops on Monmouth Street, lies Neals Yard, a hidden gem boasting


BRING & BUY Bring an umberella and dodge the showers as you buy up of all of the buttons and beads that you can lay your hands on at Beadworks, the original London bead shop, in 21a Tower Street, Covent Garden.

candy coloured buildings filled with health products, organic and gourmet eateries, beauty shops and bookstores. Keeping with the theme of secret locations, St. John’s Lodge Gardens inside Regent Park has remained contentedly tucked away since 1928. Designed with an atmosphere for “quiet contemplation” and filled with dramatic fountains and colourful blossoms, the garden is open daily. The Duke of York Pub in Marylebone, located in the actual Duke of York’s former residence, offers a wide variety of beers and traditional pub food. A genuine “Londonder” experience with wooden booths, carpeted floors, and statement bar, the pub is a favorite of the locals and is one of the most welcoming pubs in all of London.


If you plan on spending a lot of time in London’s West End, the Marriot Marble Arch would be the perfect accommodation. The hotel itself is fixed to the four-star restaurant Brasserie Centrale, which is renowned for its contemporary European dishes and casual, relaxed atmosphere. While the hotel may lack some of the quaintness of small boutique hotels, it is ideal for anyone looking for luxury and location at a reasonable price.



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cities | escape Santa Maria del Fiore

Café at Place de Vosges, Marais, Paris


For those whose hearts lie in the City of Lights there is nowhere like Paris. Every visit offers unrivalled cultural delights.

SEE Paris is bursting with hidden gems waiting for the

thrifty traveller. Why queue for an overpriced trek to the top of the Eiffel Tower when the view from Montparnasse Tower is just as breathtaking without the wait or expensive ticket. The Palais Royal Gardens, located behind the Louvre are filled with tree-lined walkways, fountains, and covered arcades are the ideal setting for a relaxing afternoon. Stop at Marché Mouffetard market to pick up the ingredients for a moveable feast en route, where the stalls are overflowing with delicacies brought daily by local vendors. Leave the crowds behind on La Promenade Plantée, created in 1993 as first elevated park in the world. Looping around the city, it features extensive greenery, shops, bike paths, art galleries and exceptional views of the city. L’Ecailler du Bistrot will please any seafood aficionado with their build-your-own seafood platter. It arrives gleaming on a bed of seaweed, accompanied by the restaurant’s celebrated mustard-mayo, and fresh country bread. At Chez Casimir everything from beef bourguignon and omelettes to cod casseroles and charcuterie make up their “continuous” brunch. Reasonable prices, plus the a la carte menus and a Willy Wonka-worthy dessert selection, keep locals and visitors flocking to the door.


Right in the heart of Paris’s artist district, Monmartre, the Chat Noir Design Hotel will surely make you want to kick up your heels and can-can with its spacious rooms, modern bathroom and breakfast buffet; €130. Le Clos Medicis is a former Medici residence near the Luxembourg Gardens; the hotel combines modern amenities with traditional touches. Despite its tourist-spot surroundings, the area is pleasantly quiet and the perfect place to unwind after a day of walking throughout the city; from €195.


BRING & BUY Bring a champagne-stopper and treat yourself to a glass of fizz after a hard day fabric shopping at the amazing Marché Saint-Pierre, in Monmartre 18e.

FLORENCE From the Ponte Vecchio’s closed-arch façade to the Duomo’s skyline-dominating burnt-orange dome, Florence radiates art, making it a stunning location for any getaway. The Piazza della Signoria, Duomo, Uffizi and Academia are essential. But venture across the Arno to the Piazza Santo Spirito, a lively market square popular with locals who pop by to shop between 8am and 2pm; on Sundays it hosts antique market. Stop for coffee in the Cafè Cabiria at the east end of the piazza beside the Basilica di Santo Spirito, which houses a crucifix carved by Michelangelo. The Bardini Garden is one of Florence’s most spectacular secrets. Filled with flower trellises, arched mosaic walls and stone statues, the ten-acre grounds also include the Bardini Museum. For even more spectacular views go to the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, on a hilltop above Florence, once the home of Galileo Galilei; tours are available to the public.


EAT Walking into La Prosciutteria may be a little

daunting, but keep moving forward because this hole-in-the-wall delivers some of the most delicious food in the city. With a vast array of Italian meats, cheeses, olives, and spreads, the restaurant’s served on wooden boards are their specialty. Or try Trattoria Sostanza near the Piazza Santa Maria Novella: it’s a Florentine institution with white tiled walls and hand written menus of local dishes. The Hotel Santa Maria Novella is the epitome of a successful blending of old world charm and modern comfort, filled with murals, antiques, and statues that reflect its 19th century origins; from €150. Only 30 metres from the Duomo, the Palazzo Niccolini al Duomo – a former aristocratic mansion draws heavily on its historic roots – adorned with heavy velvets, canopied beds, gilded mirrors and Louis XIV chairs; from €160.


BRING & BUY Bring comfortable shoes for walking the beautiful cobbled streets and buy up gorgeous gift wrap and marbled paper that the city is famous for. Try Il Papiro, which has stores throughout the city including on Va Cavour and Piazza Duomo.


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escape | motor



for the job

Taking a trip away in Ireland or abroad? Then we’ve got the car(s) for you. CITY BREAK WITH THE I10 Heading for a weekend break away in the city? Then leave the 4x4 behemoth at home and choose something with a smaller footprint instead. City cars, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn, are custom-built for the job, perfect for negotiating small gaps and getting into tight parking spaces. Take note if you’re heading to the Jury’s Inn in Christchurch in particular – we’re grateful to have escaped that particular car park with both bumpers intact. There are quite a few options from which to choose, but we’d opt for Hyundai’s little i10. Starting from €11,995 it’s cheaper than the Volkswagen Up (€12,145) and Toyota’s snazzier Aygo (€12,625). The Aygo might be the best looking of the bunch but the 2015 i10 isn’t that bad to look at, and its size means that if you can’t bear the sight of it any longer, you can just park it behind a large rubbish bin and get on with your day. The i10 is also surprisingly peppy and fun to drive, packing just 65 horses into the engine and a 0-100km/h time of around 14.9 seconds (you won’t be competing in any drag races, essentially). With the i10 you’ll also get room for four adults (put the shorter two in the back to avoid grumbling on your trip into town), plus luggage (the i10 has top of the class boot space of 252L). You’ll have to leave your cat at home, however, as there won’t be much room to swing it once you’ve packed the suitcases. If you really need some extra room then you’ll be happy to find door bins front and back, not to mention cubby holes hidden throughout – think of it as a treasure hunt to help pass the time. You’ll be sitting in Dublin traffic. You’re going to have lots of time.

TAKING A COUNTRY TREK It can be hard to keep the kids occupied, particularly when they’re on holidays. There’s only so much TV and video games they can experience before dissolving into mindless zombies, but a lot of younglings these days would be happier sitting in playing Angry Birds on their smartphone rather than chasing the real thing outdoors. However, if you load them up and take them off for a country drive, they don’t really have a choice about facing the wondrous outdoors. Ireland isn’t the most rugged country, but it helps to have great suspension and some extra ground clearance, particularly if you plan on exploring the back roads. Enter the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Apart from its good looks, it’s also surprisingly useful. It can seat seven, with five in the first two rows and an extra two seats in the boot, which has a load space of up to 541L and room for your furry friends. There’s an optional 360° camera which is helpful when towing trailers or when you find yourself in a tight spot, and the wade sensor will tell you exactly how deep the water is if you accidentally drive into a lake (not that we’d recommend that). The on-board tech has been tested across all terrains in gruelling conditions and in over 20 countries for more than 18 months, so you should be fine trundling along a bumpy back road in Leitrim. You won’t have to drive on snow or sand too often, we hope, but it’s nice to know that you can.


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motor | escape



THE DREADED SUMMER HOLIDAY It’s summer time, the weather is hot (ish), your bags are packed and you’re heading to France via the ferry, 2.5 kids in tow. As much as you might like to take the MX-5, it’s actually against the law to stow the children in the boot. Space is the one thing you need when heading off to the continent in the car. Space for the kids to fight, to stretch out your legs, and to cram as many clothes as possible into the boot. Enter the Skoda Octavia Combi. It’s a great car for a long trip – the seats are comfy, there’s cruise control, a panormaic sunroof, an actual spare wheel as opposed to a repair kit, and sat nav (France is quite big). Unfortunately there’s no dividing partition between front and back, but there are four loudspeakers to drown out any tantrums. There’s also a number of clever little additions and features, like bottle holders and removable bins in the doors and a reflective vest pocket under the driver’s seat. The back seats can be folded down with a remote release button in the boot, while the boot door can be opened and closed electronically. There’s even an ice scraper mounted on the fuel cap, in case you’re taking a summer holiday in Alaska. Enjoy!

It’s a drive we’ve taken many times and simply can’t get enough of – zipping along the roads that lead through the Wicklow Mountains, sun shining, the roof down, the wind rippling through what little hair we have. It’s a glorious drive, Ireland’s answer to Romania’s Transfagarasan mountain pass (say that ten times backwards if you can) on its day. However, you can’t simply show up in a battered Ford Fiesta or a pickup truck (you can, but you shouldn’t, really). No, you need something sporty, preferably with a roof that goes away for a while, a car that requires the wearing of sunglasses and headscarves. Like the new Mazda MX-5. “But I’m not a hairdresser,” we hear you counter in confusion. But just look at it. It’s like the offspring of the old MX-5 and a Toyota GT86, with a dash of BMW Z4 thrown in for good measure. It’s got a 1.5L engine that drives like a 2.0 with a turbocharger and you can wring 50mpg out of the tank. If we have to hang out the barber pole to get a drive in this then we’ll start looking for premises right now. Unless you plan on stopping off at the Glendalough Hotel, or bedding in with the local wildlife for the night, all you’ll need to bring is a pair of sunglasses, a rain jacket (it’s Ireland, rain is inevitable) and perhaps a picnic. Probably for the best, because that’s all you’ll really be able to fit, with boot capacity weighing in around 150L. At least you’ll definitely fit the hairdryer.


48 Hours in Cork




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15/05/2015 13:42

last word | Liz Wall



The launch of the ICA Book of Crafts published by Mercier Press taken in the ICA marquee at the National Ploughing Championships in September 2014. From left to right Peggy O’Brien Chair of the National Advisory Committee, Betty Gorman Laois Federation President and Liz Wall National President 2012 – 2015.

came into office as the National President of the ICA in May 2012 and my three year term has just come to an end. The time has come to hand over to the next president, Ms Marie O’Toole, who begins her new role at the AGM of the ICA on May 23rd2015. Marie is the first ever Dublin president since the formation of the association in 1910 and I know she will do a wonderful job. The three years have flown by and the highlight for me was meeting members from all over the country at guild, federation and regional meetings and celebrating their special anniversaries and their long service to ICA with them. During my term of office the ICA have progressed a wide variety of advocacy issues, however the main focus of my presidency has been to reduce the stigma associated with suicide and to promote positive mental health and wellness. To that effect I worked with a range of organisations including See Change, working on both the Green Ribbon campaign and with the agricultural committee; Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide, on the “Mind our Families” and “Mind your Buddy” campaigns. The Samaritans offered workplace training on minimising the stress associated with emotionally challenging conversations; and guilds around the country took part in the “Walk in my Shoes” campaign raising much needed funds for St Patrick’s Mental Health Foundation. The ICA has also supported the work of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign with the Immigrant Council of Ireland to end prostitution and sex trafficking in Ireland. We have worked with Cervical Check as the National Cervical Cancer Screening Programme to spread awareness of the availability of free screening nationwide and we have successfully campaigned to extend the BreastCheck programme offering free breast cancer screening to women aged between 65 and 69. During my term of office I was delighted to introduce some new publications, three of which were published by Gill and Macmillan, to the shelves of libraries and bookshops around Ireland. These were the ICA Cookbook, the ICA Book of Home and Family and the ICA Book of Tea and Company. We are also currently working on the ICA book of Christmas with Gill and Macmillan. We also worked with Mercier Press and published the ICA book of Crafts. In our adult education centre, An Grianán in Termonfeckin Co Louth I am pleased to have overseen the start of the renovation project in the residential wing, upgrading to en-suite bedrooms. This is all thanks to the funds raised by the generosity of members of our wonderful association. I hope that the new facilities will provide pleasure and comfort to our members for the foreseeable future. As I leave I feel we should all look to the future and embrace change and development in our personal lives and in the ICA. Through change we evolve and improve. Here’s to a happy and healthy future for all of you and for the ICA.


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15/05/2015 16:08




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15/05/2015 17:21

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13/05/2015 06/05/2015 13:23 09:17

ICA Home & Living Summer 2015  
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