Posts tagged ‘HOTEL’

April 4, 2011

Cashel House- The Final Day of the Course

by Ciaran Burke

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It was raining during the night. When we woke, Hanna pulled back the curtains, the sun light came flooding into the room. Through the branches of the tress in the secret garden it created twisted silhouettes and golden rays. We had just had an excellent night sleep, the quiet of Cashel Bay wraps your sleep in calm. We strolled outside onto the front lawn, the grass was moist and sparkling. The white tulips looked a little dishevelled, as if they had had a hard night, but still beautiful in their white petal gowns.

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EMBOTHRIUM COCCINEUM FLOWER

We walked to the Secret Garden, it was an orchard one hundred years ago. A previous owner had a greater desire for botanical curiosity than for home grown apples and now the low walled garden is a small woodland comprised of exotic specimens. We walked along the path, passing floriferous camellias, under the great Chilean flame tree, Embothrium coccineum, which in May is a blaze of red flowers. A great white Japanese cherry flowers above a rustic wooden bench. The big leaves of the American skunk cabbage, Lysichiton americanum, are growing in the wet, still in the infancy of spring they have not yet reached their dramatic summer size. Their yellow spathe flowers fill the air around the pond with a heavy odour. Further along the  lady’s matle, Alchemilla mollis, lies at the path side still dressed with last nights rain drops. We stop to wonder at the size and beauty of the huge Magnolia x soulangeana, the biggest I have ever seen. From Mary’s Garden you can see it mingle with and rise above other trees. We walk the upper path and see the last flowers and big paddle shaped leaves of Rhododendron macabeanum. We admire the large trunks of the tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, still undressed, the branches not yet concealed with its unusual shaped leaves nor decorated with yellow tulip-like flowers, not till July will the flowers appear. Just before we exit the garden we have to bow as we pass under a stretched out limb of Persian ironwood, Parrotia persica. Another naked tree, the leaves starting to unfurl. The bareness reveals a wonderful structure of twisted and spreading branches. Soon they will be covered in green foliage that will burn red and orange in autumn.

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MAGNOLIA X SOULANGEANA PLANT IN SECRET GARDEN

There is nothing like a walk under botanical wonders to give me an appetite, so in we went for breakfast. After eating I set up for the day’s class. We continued the presentation on vegetable gardening. Some people had questions about some of the plants that we had seen on our walks in the garden. I showed them pictures of the plants, someone was curious about how the Embothrium flowers would look in May. Before the lunch we took a short walk through the gardens and I answered the group’s garden questions, there were many!

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LUNCH MENU

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LAMB FOR LUNCH

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SPINACH ROULADE

We sat in the bar which over looks the garden. In comfortable laid back seats we ordered lunch. Once more we were spoilt for choice and the food as always was excellent. I had the lamb for main course while Hanna had the spinach roulade. Once we all had finished our dessert and coffee, we went back outside into the sunshine and walked up through the vegetable garden, pausing on the way to explain the origins of the Irish yew, Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’ Our class had been joined by two American guests staying at the hotel, gardeners from Washington D.C. When reaching the vegetable garden I demonstrated pruning, and then we pruned one of the apple trees. I explained the reasons and the method, demonstrating how it was done. The everybody had a go, each member of the party also pruning some branches of the apple trees.

When the day and the course was over we gathered for farewell tea and scones in the drawing room. I had enjoyed the weekend, talking about plants and gardening fills me with enthusiasm. Especially when I meet other people with an eagerness to learn. The weekends of our Cashel House Hotel courses always fly so fast. Its not just the fun of doing the course, the beautiful gardens and the delicious food. We feel that we always make new friends and as somebody from the garden class said, Cashel House is perfect for a gardening course; the garden, the company, the food and the atmosphere.

COPYRIGHT CIARAN BURKE 2011

JAPANESE CHERRY FLOWERING OVER RUSTIC WOODEN SEAT

See more information about Cashel House Hotel courses with Ciaran

Book a Course at Cashel House Hotel

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April 2, 2011

Saturday at Cashel House Gardening Course

by Ciaran Burke
COPYRIGHT CIARAN BURKE 201

TABLES SET FOR BREAKFAST

The sun has been shining all day. The weather has been great for us at Cashel House, as usual. There has been days here in the past where we have had coffee and scones laden with home made jam and whipped cream while sitting on the front lawn and basking in sunshine while the rest of the country was under a deluge. Not just once that it has happened but many times. We would have been sitting at the end of an enjoyable day and people would phone home to various parts of the country and get  terrible weather reports while we sat in the sun. There really is something special about Cashel in Connemara.

The ambiance is of laid back elegance, a refinement from a past age. One would not be surprised to meet Ms Marple sipping tea by the fireplace or see Hercule Poirot swinging his walking stick after a vigorous walk through the fine gardens.We woke this morning as the light filled the garden and took a stroll outside. The scent from the Clematic armandii rambling on the front wall was starting to fill the sun filled garden. The white tulips shook gently in the breeze and the cockrel crowed to greet the day.

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CLEMATIS ARMANDII FLOWERING ON FRONT OF CASHEL HOUSE

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FRONT LAWN WITH WHITE TULIPS THIS MORNING

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FRONT DOOR TO THE HOTEL

We had breakfast with the early risers ffrom the garden group. The breakfast menu is superb. Not many hotels can offer trout or kippers or possibly liver for breakfast. I stuck with srambled egg and locally sourced bacon and sausages and enjoyed freshly squeezed orange juice. Afterwards I stil found room to enjoy a slice of raisin bread with home made raspberry jam.

COPYRIGHT CIARAN BURKE 201

BREAKFAST MENU

After breakfast I set up classroom in the wooden building, admiring the floriferous Kerria japonica ‘Flore Plena’ as I unloaded pots compost, plants and other paraphernalia from the car. When the group had gathered we started the day with a slide presentation before coffee break which was followed by a walk in the garden, admiring magnolia and camellia trees and shrubs on the way. next was lunch, I enjoyed a dressed sorrel salad with parmesan shavings, Irish stew with garlic toastlets and delicious sauteed cabbage flavoured with caraway seeds. This was followed by strawberries and crushed merengue with whipped cream. Finely chopped mint leaves were mixed through the cream giving this dish an extra bit of delight.

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CLEMATIS ARMANDII FLOWERS

After lunch we had a practical session where we sowed seed including Runner Bean ‘Painted Lady and Nasturtium ‘Tom Thumb’. Pricked out seedlings of Lettuce  ‘Cerbiatta’ and made pots from newspaper. We did some soil pH testing and took a walk up to the vegetable garden and nibbled on sorrel leaves, sniffed on lovage and I described how to prune apple trees. By 5 o’clock  all were ready for a cup of tea or coffee which we took by the fire in the drawing room and indulged in scones with jam and cream.

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SOME OF THE GARDEN CLASS POTTING

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POTTING UP THE SEEDLING IN A NEWSPAPER POT

Next we meet for a drink before dinner, more friendly chat, lots of laughter and then face the hard work of choosing from tonight’s great menu.  The garden course is such good value, all meals are included and the full menu is offered. One thing I know for sure, I am having rhubarb pie for dessert.Its seriously good rhubarb pie in Cashel House!

 

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DINNER MENU SATURDAY 2ND APRIL 2011

INFORMATION ABOUT GARDENING COURSES IN CASHEL HOUSE HOTEL

 

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April 2, 2011

Cashel House Hotel, Connemara- a weekend of blooms and food!

by Ciaran Burke

COPYRIGHT CIARAN BURKE

CASHEL HOUSE HOTEL AND GARDENS

 

Menu from Cashel House Hotel 1st of April 2011

I am so lucky that my work takes me to Cashel House Hotel in Connemara, Co. Galway. Situated in a picturesque bay on the Atlantic coast with mountain views and ocean waves, the grounds of Cashel House Hotel are home to a varied and unusual collection of plants. Sheltered from the Atlantic gales and salt laden sea spray, the gardens are lovingly tended by their owner Kay Mc Evilly.

We are here this weekend to give a course ‘Preparing and Planning the Vegetable Garden”. I am going to post updates over the weekend using my iPhone and camera to show you the beautiful plants, capture some of the magic atmosphere and tease you with the delicious menus.

We started the weekend course this evening in the drawing room meting the course participants with complementary pink champagne by the glowing turf fire. After meeting the garden group and introducing ourselves Hanna and I had a lovely evening getting to know the people in our party. This we did over a five course meal in the consevatory dining room and over coffee in the comfortable lounge.

DRESSED FOR DINNER

Tomorrow we start the day at 10am, with a presentation in the classroom and after coffee break we will take a walk through part of the garden. After lunch we plan on doing a practical class including seed sowing.  I will bring my camera and show you some pictures of the garden, I will also show you some of the delicious food.

This evening I had the delicious chicken liver pate, followed by Apple Sorbet,  Connemara Lamb and then Apple tart and Vanilla Ice Cream. The menu will be different tomorrow, if the rabbit is on it i will go for it, Hanna ordered the rabbit and it was delicious. It is a hard job, but somebody has to do it!

TIME TABLE FOR COURSE ON SATURDAY

Details of future courses at Cashel House –LINK

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