It takes a village: The delights of Terenure's thriving market
It takes a village From cakes and chutneys to cute dogs - and a dash of showbiz - Weekend discovers the delights of Terenure's thriving market
At 11am every Saturday, Katie Brady O'Reilly pops out her front door and strolls across the road to the weekly Terenure Village Market (TVM) in Bushy Park, south Dublin. She gets there bright and early to pick up her favourite purchases, as although the food and craft market has only been running since the end of March, it's already attracting a huge, regular crowd.
TVM is organised and run by local residents Anne Talbot and Georgina Culshaw, who started it as part of Terenure 2030, a community initiative to attract people to the area. They're delighted by the reaction so far, and love that it showcases local vendors such as Terenure Village Bookshop and framers, Canvas Craft.
The atmosphere is fizzing with fun and friendliness as old ladies and couples mix with families and children of all ages, and friends and neighbours greet each other and stop for a chat. There is much cooing over the cute dogs of every shape and size that every second person in the park seems to be walking - there's even a stand for them, Happy Tails, that sells dog treats and accessories. Everyone, whether two-legged or four-legged, is welcome at this market, it seems.
There are 30 stalls there this week, many from local vendors, and as Katie strolls through the market, she picks up artisan chocolate bars from Gerry at Wilde Irish Chocolates, organic cheese from Eamon at The Little Milk Company, cut flowers from Cormac from O'Reilly Nurseries, and organic fruit and veg from Healy's. She also purchases a fairy door for her granddaughters from Caroline from Buttons and Buttercups.
"It's a fabulous market, and I adore it," says Katie. "I love Mr Paleo, who does amazing gluten-free, wheat-free products, and the sauces and chutneys from The Birds and the Teas. My daughter Eva loves the Mr Crepe stand, and her favourite is the one with marshmallows and Nutella. And, of course, we love Twink's lemon drizzle cake."
Speaking of Twink, the star of the show is undoubtedly the colourful cake stand run by the panto queen, who has turned her lifelong passion for sugarcraft and cake decoration into a new business. When I arrive, Twink - aka Adele Condron-King - has just set up with her assistants, Sylvia and Sophia, and is obscured from sight as the queue around her candy-striped canopy is literally four deep.
With typical razzle-dazzle, Twink holds court, regaling her enthralled, predominantly female audience with a mixture of hilarious showbiz- and cake-related anecdotes. Clearly, the 64-year-old applies the same exacting standards to crafting her cakes as her stage shows, and the result is stunning miniature works of art.
Children love the stand because it's as colourful and theatrical as the woman herself, with its fairy castle cake-stands and quirky plates - and within 15 minutes of opening, Twink's famous animal character and princess cupcakes have completely sold out. Her banoffees, lemon drizzle cakes and red velvet cupcakes all fly off the stand after that, and within a couple of hours, there isn't a morsel left. Luckily, I managed to snaffle a bit of delicious rocky road earlier to go with my hot chocolate. "I love it here," she says. "The other vendors are fabulous and we have the best fun every week."
There are blankets on the grass and picnic tables dotted all around the market for people to stop and have coffee from Salpeter or juice from Tutti Frutti, while enjoying the soothing strains of regular buskers Philip Roche and Alexander Baro. You'd be spoiled for choice with the variety of food options on offer, and everywhere you look people are munching on everything from tabbouleh and falafels from Syrian Food, through to sausages from Sausage Hut, pies from Lovin Catering and pizzas from Dave's Wood-fired Pizzas. The sweet-toothed among us say 'feck the calories, it's the weekend', while scoffing donuts from Delish Donuts and meringues from Delish Melish, while those with intolerances are catered for by pastries from Don't Be A Gluten.
For lunch, I feast on a tasty steak sandwich made by Joe Brady of Lough Owel Organic Farm. Joe rears his own organic herd at his small farm in Mullingar, and makes steaks and burgers for customers at several weekly markets. He's getting a great reaction from customers in Terenure, and is accompanied by his son Finn, whose 14th birthday it is. His dad doesn't seem impressed when I suggest to Finn that he should get double time for working on his birthday!
As I leave, I smile as identical twins Brendan and Stephen from bread and scone stand, George's Patisserie, hand a bag of breadcrumbs to a delighted youngster to feed the park's ducks. It's typical of the kind of family-friendly gesture that makes the market so special.
"We hoped it would go well, but we've been blown away by the reaction," say organisers Anne and Georgina, who have planned a special family fun day at the market on Saturday, August 15. "It's been a huge success story for the area."
Terenure Village Market runs from 11am-4pm every Saturday. iloveterenure.ie