Ballymaloe Day 62: On yer bike!

My weekend’s worth of energy went into the pedals of my bicycle today – I haven’t gotten a workout like that in a while.

Up early and in the mood to be more proactive in my approach to the weekend, I decided to hop onto my two wheels.

My goal was to head to the Craft and Design Festival that was being held in Ballymaloe House, and the fact that my bike had been lying dormant in our was not a good sign for the 4km journey I was going to embark on.

The sun was shining and beating on my back, and dressed in comfortable attire, I whizzed through the Cork countryside in good time.

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Ballymaloe’s craft and design festival is now in its fifth year, and boasts a vast variety of fascinating stall holders, artists and textile designers.

Running from 10am – 6pm (and tomorrow too), admission is free and the venue sees Ballymaloe’s Big Shed venue joined with the Grainstore.

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(Susan Herlihy of Crafty Hands Pottery – who said she’s a reader of this very blog!)

Visitors can discover quality textiles, pottery, jewellery, wood turning, glass work, paper crafts, fine art, children’s toys, cosmetics, confectionery, knitted textiles and kids clothing.

When I finally arrived, I headed straight for the Big Shed, which I had last visited way back in may for Litfest.

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All of Ballymaloe was abuzz, with people milling around stands and checking out wares. As a hardcore geek, I picked up two swords for cosplay purposes, and I think I was the only adult who went around the rest of the afternoon brandishing wooden sticks.

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Also at the festival was Colm McCan’s Pop-Up Wine Shop (do pop in if you head tomorrow!), where he had a lovely selection of wines to choose from. I came away from the shop with a Meyer-Fonné Riesling, and it was great to see so many good wines “in the flesh”.

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(Myself and Colm holding a rather large 6 litre bottle of Chateau Pibran, Cru Bougeois, Pauillac 2003)

Spying Rachel and Darina hanging around the Grainstore and the Big Shed, I scouted some of the food stalls that were also being hosted at the festival (I smelled the spicy aromas of Green Saffron a mile off!)

Out of nowhere, the clouds drifted over Ballymaloe in their ominous greys and the heavens opened to pelting rain.

Rolling my eyes, I mused at the irony that the only time that I wanted a spin on the bike, it rained like monsoon season.

With a gap in the weather and like a ninja in the wind, I tucked my swords into my bag with the bottle of wine, and cycled back to the cookery school (a right sight indeed!).

Back at the ranch it was firmly about finalising my final exam menu and choosing wines for each course.

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After flicking through reams of paper, I locked my menu down and most of my wines. It’s been quite stressful trying to decide everything but as my Grandad used to say: “all shall be well”.

I’m currently tucking into a kale, tomato and pasta salad (sounds nicer than it actually is), and I’ll be back learning about cuts of meat, spices, business and more…

A riveting night ahead, eh? Bonne nuit!

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