Things to Do in Dingle – Diseart

Harry Clarke Window  I sometimes forget that there is more to life than ice cream, but today I took a few hours and called up to the Diseart, which is now under new management.Diseart

I think it is one of the interesting things to visit in Dingle, and most visitors tend to miss it.

Originally a Presentation convent, with only one Sister remaining, it is now home to an Education and Celtic cultural centre.

These days, you’re much more likely to meet a student taking part in a variety of courses than anyone who is a member of a religious order.

The real draw is the upstairs chapel with a stunning set of Harry Clarke windows, commissioned in 1922. Clarke was originally from Dublin and considered one of the very best of his craft. It’s well worth the €3 entrance fee.

Diseart tunnelYou can also wander around the gardens, and there will soon be tours of the famine kitchen and the secret tunnel leading between the convent and the church (in the mean time just ask!).

These days, with the mad housing boom, we seem to be much more interested in ripping down old buildings to make room for new developments than in preserving them.

It’s a joy, however, to spend some time inside a bit of history!

Harry Clark Window Closeup

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Â

Milltown Market and Petrol Heads

Milltown market2

For anyone travelling between Killarney and Milltown MarketDingle, I highly recommend a stop in Milltown to visit the market there. Set in one of the prettiest buildings of any Irish market, it is certainly worth a browse, especially on a Saturday, when there are rows of organic farmers, bakers, etc. selling their wares. With a good range of natural products, organic and biodynamic wines, food, and gardening and farming supplies, it makes a very pleasant break to the drive. At the very least you will come away with some snacks, and if you have a green thumb and room in your car, you might come away with all sorts of treats for your garden.

You will find it in the old church on the right as you come into Milltown, down from the school and opposite the petrol station.

The opening hours are Tues-Fri 2-5 and Saturday 10-2.

road closed

Meanwhile, unless you’re car mad, avoid Dingle each year during the rally, which is this weekend. Dingle town is at a standstill today and the roar of cars echo around the peninsula.

rallyAt times like these I get that parallel universe feeling as the whole town is taken over by an entirely different crowd of people than the usual visitors. Besides the racers there are spectators, hawkers of all sorts of racing merchandise, chipper vans just for the event, etc.

The roads are closed to the West, and even Dingle town is virtually impassable as boy racers rev their engines and creep along the streets looking to impress. Confused tourists wander around shell-shocked, a free day on their hands after being told they can’t visit sites or tour around the place.

At least this event is not marred by the violence that seems to accompany the Killarney rally, and I guess it is a wonderful thrill for people who live for their cars…

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Craquantes and Other Bits and Pieces

Chocolate PearlsStill on the subject of chocolate, I received a sample yesterday of Valrhona crunchy chocolate pieces from our supplier Odaios (see left). It surely is a wonderful thing to be in this business and get such presents! I’m practically sick from them; they are so good, and the sample size is so large! If there are any left on Tuesday, they will make a great addition to a batch of ice cream.

The factory was also brightened by the lovely Clodagh McKenna and Aoife, the producer for the excellent RTE radio show Winter Food. They recorded us and various factory noises. We should be on next Saturday’s show so listen in if you can.

Clodagh wanted a recipe for ice cream. I was thinking of white chocolate and rose water. I guess I can’t get chocolate off my mind!

Since I can’t, I might as well mention that my friend Conor brought back chocolate covered espresso beans from Caffe Sant’Eustachio in Rome, who make some of the best coffee in the world. As I munch away I think that it’s a pity he couldn’t bring back a cappuccino to go with them! Happily the Dingle shop will be open on Wednesday, and I’ll be back in the coffee again.

CourtyardAs we’re on that subject, I have been trying to do something with the interior courtyard in the shop. We inherited a half-plastered wall and have left it that way for the last six years. Finally I’ve decided to tackle it and tried painting it with a wash of our blue. It’s a bit electric, though. I don’t know what I think! I should be in there today painting away and getting ready for the opening, but I’m feeling lazy and besides we’ve given over the shop to the West Kerry Mental Health Assn for the weekend so they could raise some money by selling books.

Finally, this whole blogging thing is still quite new to me, but it’s quite exciting to see what’s out there, and what they are writing about. conoroneill is an interesting gourmet site, and I just did a search to see who’s writing about our company, and he was one of them! Sometimes one can feel a bit isolated as a foody in a rural part of Ireland (mind you, Dingle has its fair share), and this should help!