Dancing in Killarney

dancinggirls I spent today in our Killarney shop, doing a bit of Valentine’s decorations, making a few coffees, eating some ice cream and catching up with customers. 

dancinggirls3The 2009 All Ireland Irish Dancing Championships are on in town, and the dancing spilled out onto the street this afternoon. 

Recently, I’ve found it a little difficult to cope with the dour mood in the country and the endless bad news on the radio. There is nothing like the exuberance of children, however, to lift the spirits and to underline the fact that life will go on.


With the sun out, the costumes colourful, and the music lively, Killarney showed that there is plenty of joy left in this part of the world. 

The competition goes through until the 15th, and there’s a timetable of events here.

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Times are Tough

 It’s always upsetting to me when I see children begging, and my friends in NY used to mock me for being a soft touch, since I always gave money. In Killarney, I came across this girl on the street, but as I was reaching into my pocket, I noticed something remarkable.

What a begging bowl! I couldn’t believe it, and as I reached for my camera, my head filled with existential branding questions.

Why would she choose our tub, or was it just handy?

Did she feel that people might think she was just a few pennies short of a scoop?

I stood there and tried to figure out whether I should offer her a different cup or whether I should drop in some money.

In the end, I did neither and just let her be.

Torchlight Children’s Parade in Killarney

 Yesterday evening, Sean and I drove back from Dublin in time for the Childrens Torchlight Parade in Killarney.

It was utterly heart-warming and a tribute to the Christmas in Killarney organising committee.

It’s wonderful to see a town make such an effort over Christmas beyond the usual “stick up a tree, play the Christmas music, and try to sell as much as possible” attitude.

Killarney really does put a lot into its Christmas program, and the festival seems to be growing each year.

Last night, the streets were thronged with people, spirits high, children happy, and even the rain slowed to a drizzle.

We handed out hot chocolates for free to the chilled crowds and were happy enough to simply be a part of it…

For the next two weekends, there is a huge market on Main Street with food and other attractions, and it’s worth a detour for anyone in Kerry…

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Lorge Chocolates in Killarney

 I’m delighted to announce that we now have a mini Lorge chocolate shop in our Killarney Dessert House

For those of you lucky enough to have visited Benoit Lorge’s shop on the road from Kenmare to Bantry or found his chocolates elsewhere, you’ll know how happy I am. 

We’ve had Lorge Chocolates in our shops in a small way, but over the Christmas season we will have a much wider range as well as a delicious selection of loose truffles for mixing and matching or devouring with a coffee.

For the holiday season, Benoit has made chocolate Santas, snowmen, and best (and most random) of all, he has chocolate boots and shoes filled with truffles. We also have his chocolate bars and award-winning nougat.

There’s usually not much chocolate on offer in Killarney, but that’s definitely changed. Not only do we have Lorge, but we still have our own chocolates, Valrhona bars, and a selection from other Irish artisan producers…

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WiFi in Killarney

I’m happy to announce that we’re now offering free WiFi to customers in our Killarney shop. So, if you’re a visiting blogger, business person on the road, or a tourist with a laptop and the need for broadband, come in for an ice cream or a coffee and ask for the password!

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 Anyone who’s been reading these pages for long enough knows that ourselves and other Killarney traders had to survive nine horrific months of construction on Main Street (ending in May 2007). What’s amazing is that they are at it again. Needless to say we’re not pleased about re-living the disruption to business, the sound of jackhammers, and fences outside our shop. I don’t know how long it’s going to go on or what’s the reason for it. One would like to think they would have gotten it right the first time and didn’t forget anything when they had the street open for such a long period, so I have a few alternate theories:

  1. The head engineer lost his keys “somewhere under there.”
  2. Given the government’s talk of redundancies and cutbacks, everyone at the council is trying to look very, very busy.
  3.  Grey paving stones are “like, so 2007.”
  4. In these straightened times, councils are now responsible for finding their own sources of oil and are digging frantically. 
  5. It’s all an excuse to put up a peace wall between Main Street and New Street. 

Not sure. I am open to other theories…

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High Tea in Killarney

 One of the best things to open in Killarney in a long time is Miss Courtney’s Tearooms on College Street. It’s a great addition to the town, I wish her the best of luck, and I would highly recommend to all my readers that they check it out.

I’ve just come from an encounter with their cream tea. With a steaming pot, warmed scones and clotted cream, it naturally reminded me of a trip I took to Devon, as would the decor of the shop with its frills and lace.

A good range of teas, china cups and pots, and even silver tongs for the sugar ensures a refined experience. Plates of cakes on the counter tempt, and a pretty little garden in the back completes the experience. 

The service was professional, and the prices what would one expect for an upscale place in Killarney.

Miss Courtney also has the beginnings of a blog (here), so we might be seeing the beginning of an Irish tea blogger. Fingers crossed.

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Lunch at the Park

 People in our Killarney shop always ask where to eat, and one of the places I suggest is the Garden Bar at the Park Hotel.  

I’m not usually a fan of hotel food – usually there are much better options to be had.

However, not only is there a great vibe – plush yet very relaxed and comfortable, but the food is just as cozy – I had their take on fish and chips recently and the latter came wrapped in newspaper, and it was one of the best and most enjoyable lunches I’ve had for a while.

Parents take note: it seems very child-friendly as well!

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