Monday 22 January 2018

Lucinda O’Sullivan

Working Neighbours: Brian Deery and Dearbhla Keenan on South William Street.

Love and success in the capital's creative quarter 

There was a bit of a rumpus in England last week when it transpired a child's school photo had been photoshopped without her parent's permission. "I don't want a perfect photo, I want a photo of my perfect child," said the mother. She had a good point, but when I look back at old school photos, which had us no more than tidied up in the school blazer and hair brushed, while they do reflect the innocence of youth, there can be a cringe factor and many might wish that missing tooth or big spot had been airbrushed.

Joe and Sharon Donnelly at the Fair Play cafe in Ringsend.

A man with a mission for his local community 

"We used to vandalise this place. We had cider parties here in the 1960s." Said Joe Donnelly, talking of his young life growing up in hard times in Ringsend. He was referring to what is now the Fair Play Cafe, set in the former Mission Hall in Ringsend. This cafe, childcare facility and garden centre, which focuses on bringing an ethos of hope, love and togetherness, to the local community is one of the best kept secret treasures in Dublin. All of the above are delivered on here under the direction of Joe and his wife Sharon, with a generosity of spirit that is quite extraordinary. It not only...

Very tasty: Pat Whelan with his award-winning dripping

Mam's dripping reigns supreme 

When Pat Whelan wanted a recipe for 'dripping', he did what all good Irish sons would do, he asked the Mammy! Now the 'Mammy's dripping' is not only being spread on toast, but is the toast of London, where last Monday evening at the Great Taste Awards, it not only won the Golden Fork Award for Ireland but, out of 10,000 entries, was declared Supreme Champion. It is a monumental achievement for Pat and the Mammy, but brilliant also for Ireland's food producing profile. Out of a possible score of 65, the dripping got 63, which is also the highest score ever for a product at...

Ella de Guzman in her shop Siopaella in Temple Bar

Handbags and gladrags at Ella's super stores 

Opening a retail business at the height of a recession, and ending up just four years later with two more shops in your portfolio, is no mean feat, but that is what Canadian Ella De Guzman has achieved. She now has three branches of Siopaella, her designer resale and exchange stores, located very close together in Temple Bar, and she has her sights set on expanding to the UK. At Siopaella you can buy, sell, exchange or part exchange your pre-loved designer handbags, jewellery and clothing. It's a great way to dress, whether you are a buyer or a seller. If you've paid a fortune...

L to R: Tara Hammond of Slated, Pearse Caulfield of Caulfield Country Boards, Vivien Walsh Jewellery Designer & Chloe Dowds of Chloe Dowds Ceramics pictured at the launch of the fifth year of Create at Brown Thomas,showcasing 65 Irish designers across craft, fashion and accessories which

Irish designers and craftspeople creating a buzz 

Last Tuesday saw the launch of Create at Brown Thomas, showcasing and celebrating the works and talent of some 50 Irish designers and craftspeople. The event will run until August 16 in Dublin, with pop-ups also taking place in Brown Thomas Cork and Limerick. This is the fifth year of Create, which coincides with 2015 being the Year of Irish Design. Brown Thomas have been very supportive of emerging Irish designers, for whom it is an incredible opportunity to have their creative works sitting beside long established international designers, particularly in the tourism season, when so many...

Illustration: Eorna Walton

Tabletalk: The Jarvey's Rest... ahead of the rest 

'Anyone here from Philadelphia? Anyone from New York?" So asked the lead singer of the traditional Irish musical group, as they entertained a coach-load of American tourists in The Jarvey's Rest in Killarney. The tourists were in for the 'tour supper' and a bit of Irish crack. Mind you, they were a fairly sedate lot and the entertainers had their work cut out - there wasn't much fear of them letting their hair down and leppin' around the tables!

Illustration: Eorna Walton

Tabletalk: A steamy Italian... at the new Carluccio's 

I must confess I had steam coming out of my ears by the time I'd arrived at the new Carluccio's, which has just opened in Glasthule, Co Dublin. I'd called up to book a table but was told they were not taking bookings for the first few nights, only walk-ins. I could book for the following week - but not for a couple of hours' time. A fat lot of good that was to me at that point. Even pleading my case that it was a long drive in from Co Wicklow for my friend Rena, without the certainty of a table, fell on deaf ears. There was nothing for it but to leg it down to Glasthule early in the...

Durty Nelly’s

Cold Comfort: food in tourist hotspots 

We were in Limerick recently for the launch of the Secret Garden, an innovative, covered-in, outdoor party area at the Limerick Strand Hotel. Head chef Tom Flavin and his team wowed guests with an amazing Chinese banquet, using produce from within a 50-mile radius. We sampled guinea fowl from Liz Ryan's Fowl & Foraged company in Birdhill; rare-breed pork from Rigney's Farm; Skeaghanore duck; and seafood from Doonbeg. The event culminated with a parade of ice swans, holding fortune cookies, gliding through the room.

Jenni (left) and Jennie (right) Crawford pictured for Lucinda. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Jenni & Jennie: sisters doing it for themselves 

Sisters Jenni Crawford and Jennie Crawford share the same Christian name, but then they are unusual women with great drive and passion for their individual fields. Jenni without an 'e' is one of the most revered names in the hairdressing world, whilst Jennie with an 'e' is a restaurateur in south-west France. Jenni is one of a trio of a top stylists at Kazumi in Molesworth Street, and has been nominated as Best Hair Stylist of the Year in the Business of Beauty Awards by Image magazine. Both are highly artistic and hardworking, a fact with which they credit their parents; their father...

Avoid embarrassing wedding bloopers

Avoiding those embarrassing wedding bloopers 

Benedict Cumberbatch slipped off recently to quietly marry Sophie Hunter on the Isle of Wight, while Stephen Fry headed for Norfolk to tie the knot with Elliott Spencer. George Clooney certainly didn't do it quietly, but chose Venice rather than the USA or his bride's hometown of London. Meanwhile, Michelle Dockery, 'Lady Mary' in Downton Abbey, has announced her engagement to one of our own - John Dineen - so perhaps they might choose a castle in Ireland for their big day. Certainly, getting married 'out of the parish' is a solution for some.

File picture of Dr. Tony Ryan pictured in his home in Co. Kildare last October 2006

The final dismantling of an Irish Versailles 

Pioneering aviators have always had a certain cachet that attracts glamorous women. It's not just their money; it's that charismatic whiff of danger and the fact that they are risk-takers. Howard Hughes, the legendary billionaire film-maker and aviator, whose life was chronicled in the Leonardo Di Caprio movie, The Aviator, had every top movie star of the time falling at his feet, including Ava Gardner, Katherine Hepburn and Gene Tierney. He was worth billions of dollars, but died in 1976 an unkempt recluse, who didn't seem to have had a lot of pleasure from his billions.

Poor Benedict Cumberbatch. The ''Sherlock’’ star was on an American chatshow, speaking out about black actors not getting enough opportunities, when he used a forbidden word. “I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK,” Cumberbatch said. Uh-oh. Before you could say straight white male, the Offendables were up in arms at the actor, who is nominated for an Oscar for his superb performance as Alan Turing in ''The Imitation Game’’. Cumberbatch immediately issued a grovelling apology for using the word “coloured”. He was “devastated” to have caused offence. “I make no excuse for being an idiot and know the damage is done. I can only hope the incident will highlight the need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive.” The INCIDENT? Hang on, Benedict, love, you didn’t take part in a drive-by shooting or pinch Michelle Obama’s bum. You momentarily fell back on a word which has now slipped out of use, but which was in common usage when I was growing up. Cumberbatch’s parents would almost certainly have used “coloured”, which, far from being rude or slangy, was then thought to be much more polite and respectful than “black”. Trying to keep pace with where you should and shouldn’t tread, as you cross the minefield of racial language, is no easy task, especially if you are relatively new to American fame. There are two ironies here. First, Cumberbatch clearly had only the best of intentions. He was generously using his celebrity to draw attention to discrimination against non-white actors. Only the hysterical or the hyper-sensitive could be offended. Related Articles
Amal Alamuddin Clooney, left, and Geoffrey Robertson arrive for the hearing in the case Perincek vs Switzerland at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France. The European Court of Human Rights holds a Grand Chamber Hearing in the case at Showcase in the RDS last Wednesday

Artisans designs' on their futures 

Irish design was never more active. The quality, innovation and inspiration out there is quite extraordinary in every genre, from jewellery to pottery and art to furniture. Showcase - the trade show, which took place recently in the RDS - was awash with talent from Kerry to Donegal, Galway to Dublin, and everywhere in between. Within Showcase there is also an enterprise zone, which this year had a record 105 inspiring Irish design businesses hoping to make their mark.

GOURMAND: Aidan Gillen as Charlie Haughey in a still from 'Charlie', preparing to eat an ortolan

Irish Life... A songbird for Charlie's supper 

We are a perverse lot when it comes to food. On the one hand, we are totally squeamish watching reality TV contestants eat live worms and insects, yet we think nothing of eating black pudding made from pig's blood! As the old saying goes, 'one man's meat is another man's poison'. There was, quite rightly, uproar over 'horse-gate', as people weren't aware of what they were buying; yet horsemeat has always been very popular in Belgium and in China. We wouldn't dream of eating a turtle, or snake blood, yet both are delicacies in Asia, while the guinea pig is a big delicacy in Peru.

David Whelehan who has opened a new wine shop at the old Silver Tassie pub at Loughlinstown

A fearless performance in the theatre of hospitality 

John Healy, the effervescent ever-professional maitre d' of TV3's The Restaurant, is back on our screens, and it is a delight to see him in action once again. For me, he holds the show together as he martials the audience into place, is sympathetic to the trials of the kitchen crew and soothes the brow of the irate 'celebrity' chef who perhaps fails to cut the mustard with their culinary efforts. John is always charming, smiling and professional, but when faced with a personal life-threatening medical trauma and an 18-month wait before having a heart transplant in 2012, he was quite...

TASTEFUL NEW YEAR: Rod and Julie Calder-Potts with some of their farm produce. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Apples in the orchard and Cookes in the kitchen 

I've never come across a distillery on an Irish farm before, but that is what has just been installed by Rod and Julie Calder-Potts at their Highbank Orchards Organic Farm at Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny. The couple have already been producing traditional ciders and syrups but now, with incredible enterprise and enthusiasm, Rod and Julie's newly installed awesome copper still, is producing Highbank Irish Orchard Spirit, as well as Organic Apple Schnapps, with Irish Apple Gin to hit the shelves shortly.

The River Lee Hotel, Cork, have a ‘panto package’ that includes tickets to see ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at the Cork Opera House

Ho, ho, ho - it's time to celebrate with a break 

Ho, ho, ho - we're almost there - but there's still time for you to treat yourself, or your beloved, and the family to a Christmas or New Year's Eve break away. Just think of the bliss of having everything served up to you and no washing up to do. So, let me give you the ultimate rundown of packages out there - get your finger out quickly because this year bookings are heavy, with some hotels already full. I have not included children's rates as they vary greatly with each hotel so, if applicable, please check directly with the hotel.

Ross Lewis

Best recipes for serving up success and crucial change 

Today I am talking to another group of people who survived the recession. This time it is the restaurant industry. I ask how they did it? How they coped with the challenges thrown at them when the bubble burst? All three are at the top of their game, some of our best known and respected restaurateurs, but that in itself brings problems because they all employ a lot of people, have enormous expenses and high customer expectations to satisfy.

Kate Browne of Be U Beauty Clinic

How the beauty industry is bouncing back post bust 

Over the past couple of weeks I have spoken to two groups of business people; boutique owners and hairdressers, on how they survived recessionary times. The beauty industry was huge in Ireland during the Celtic Tiger. It became the norm to be pampered and primped to the Nth degree, with many horrendous examples of luminous orange tans gracing our streets. Every hotel worth its salt added a spa - and we just loved it. However, when the jingle of cash stopped, many beauty salons and spas fell off the cliff.

Mark O'Keeffe of Brown Sugar

Cutting through recessionary times with tonsorial artists 

For most women, their hair is their crowning glory; it's the last thing they would 'let go'. From grannies with the perm to the childhood trim, it's been part of our lives from early on. There's a feel-good factor about having your hair done - you go in bedraggled and emerge renewed. So, how did hairdressers fare in recessionary times? Did people cut back on their visits? Were they getting the hubby to apply the colour at home? I spoke to four of our top hairdressers on coping with the recession.

Sarah Gill of Seagreen Monkstown and Deryn Mackay of Khan Blackrock, who have survived the recession.

Triumph of fab fashion and fearless females 

There is a lift, there's no doubt. You can smell it in the air, you can see it in the cars on the road - white is the new colour, by the way - and you can see people walking around with shopping bags once again. Confidence inspires confidence, and now I believe there are real retail opportunities out there for people with an eye for something special. We've had enough of austerity and boredom. Boutiques dropped off the planet during the recession, as did interior furnishing shops, and many others.

Niall Rochford, (centre) General manager Ashford Castle, Cong, pictured with some of his staff from left Michael Conneely, Bar manager, Mary Conroy, Account and stores, Robert Bowe, Resturant manager, Eleanor Browne, Resturant assistant, Stefan Matz, Executive Head Chef, T.J. Mulcahy, Deputy General manager, Paula Carroll, Director of Sales and marketing, Jolanta Tatarzynska, Housekeeing Assistant, Yvonne Peters Hill, Front Office manager, Francis Mannion, and Catherine Kenny, Rooms Division manager . Photo: Ray Ryan

Red Carnation helps Ashford bloom 

The past few years have seen turbulent times for many of our top hotels, between coping with the times we were in and competition in the form of rock-bottom deals in 'tax-break' hotels. Consequently, a number of the jewels in the crown of the Irish tourism industry have been - and continue to be - snapped up by international groups and foreign investors at what, no doubt, we will look back on as 'a real steal'. On the one hand it is sad to see this happening, but on the other hand, it very much depends on the purchaser's commitment to their new acquisition by way of...

Alison De Vere Hunt

'The mart is our family, we all know one another' 

Alison De Vere Hunt is one of few women involved at the coalface of the cattle business - along with her brother, Robert, she runs the Cashel Mart Livestock & Property Sales in Co. Tipperary. Dealing with farmers buying and selling cattle would not be a typically glamorous job for a young woman, but Alison can weigh up an animal at the blink of an eye. She had not anticipated being in the family business, as, after school, she trained as a psychologist and took a Master's Degree in Business and Entrepreneurship. However, life took a tragic turn for the De Vere Hunt family, and Alison took...