Saturday 17 August 2019

As Christmas closes in, give Irish craft as a gift

Irish Craft Fair
Irish Craft Fair
Touching honesty: Mary Kennedy writes about feelings.
Roly's oysters

If, like so many of us, you are stuck for a truly elegant, original Christmas present this year, there is the chance of a speedy resolution, thanks to the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and their Give Irish Craft campaign.

The campaign highlights items that are designed and made here - including the Co Mayo-based Foxford Woollen Mills, one of the last working mills in Ireland. Their collection of designs for contemporary interiors attracted international attention at the inaugural Irish Design Pavilion at Maison et Objet in Paris.

Also the Meath-based Caulfield Country Boards produce a range of functional but beautiful solid-wood cutting boards.

Saturday Workshop is a family-owned company which mixes traditional skills and new technologies to make simple yet original wooden products from locally sourced native hardwoods.

These and many more wonderful items will be on sale in over 140 stores around Ireland, including Arnotts, the Kilkenny Group, House of Ireland and Brown Thomas.

Or try the newly revamped, fully user-friendly website, which is full of gift ideas and information.


Reflections that matter

What is the difference between desirable honesty and what we now call TMI, Too Much Information? For us, it's the presence, or absence, of heart. A true desire to share even the difficult bits of life, in the belief that someone, somewhere may be cheered or encouraged by finding that they are not alone with the thoughts that trouble them will never be excessive. And so, Mary Kennedy's new book, What Matters, Reflections on Important Things in Life, is a wonderfully wise, sane and touchingly honest collection of her thoughts and experiences, communicated with humour and honesty. She writes about loneliness, even as a mother to four grown-up children with a busy career and a huge circle of friends - self-doubt and melancholy, and how these are inevitable parts of life, especially as the years advance. It is an admission that many will thank her for, delivered with the charm and grace that are her invariable hallmarks. Alongside, there are plenty of entertaining observations, including, on cosmetic surgery: "It's looks a bit like the G-force is pulling you."

What Matters, published by Hachette Ireland, €15.99

Winter evenings at Roly's

Roly's Cafe in Ballsbridge, so long the setting for relaxed coffees and quick bites, as well as more celebratory occasions, has just unveiled a new evening menu, based around fresh shellfish and a state-of-the-art rotisserie counter.

The Shellfish Corner will serve Carlingford Lough oysters, Wexford mussels, Castletownbere crab and Dublin bay prawns in a variety of delicious ways, as devised by chef de cuisine Paul Cartwright and head chef Hugh Hyland.

Meanwhile, the rotisserie counter will be slow-cooking fresh Irish chickens with Roly's special blend of herbs and spices, ready to eat in or take-away, accompanied by homemade herb stuffing.


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