Friday, April 1, 2011

out and about on Trail Kilkenny with KETTOW

I spent yesterday out and about with the KETTOW group of Ladies exploring the food and craft businesses around Trail Kilkenny. Trail Kilkenny is an organisation which develops, maintains and promotes a range of leisure trails around the beautiful County Kilkenny. From cycling and walking trails, through food to craft, there is something for everyone; tourists and residents alike.

We started our "road trip" with a visit to the Jerpoint Glass This family run studio has been producing beautiful glass pieces of excellent quality for over 30 years. You may also have a chance to watch the glass blowers in action as the workshop itself is open to visitors. Adjacent to the studio is the Jerpoint shop and gallery where you can see their whole collection of skillfully crafted glass as well as paintings and pottery work by other artists. The visit to this picturesque place is truly a unique experience.

Next stop was Thomastown and Blackberry cafe - an award winning eatery owned by Jackie Hoyne located in a beautifully restored 18th century building. Jackie is very passionate about local food produce and traditional recipes, which can easily be seen in Blackberry's menu- we loved the freshly baked scones and tarts she welcomed us with and will definitely be back for more!

Just across the road from Blackberry Cafe is the Design Studio and Gallery of Karen Morgan an amazing ceramist renowned for her distinctive hand thrown porcelain work. I have been admiring Karen's work for several years and it was great to finally meet her in person.
I was also so absorbed talking to Karen that I forgot to take a picy of the new Gallery, so here at least an image of her work (taken from here)

It wouldn't have been a perfect trip without chocolate and cheese, therefore we made a little stop at Truffle Fairy to taste their fine truffles and fudge (tequila, salt and lemon praline. Yum!) before we headed off to Knockdrinna Cheese - producers of award winning farmhouse cheeses from cow's, goat's and ewe's milk. We got a mini-tour of the farm by the owner Helen Finnegan and made new friends

The latest addition to the farm is the Farm Cafe serving great food prepared using mainly the own farm produce- see the Knockdrinna Goat's Cheese and sundried tomato tart below. You should taste it yourself at Knockdrinna Farm in Stoneyford!

Followed the lavish food and truffles we had no choice but to join Eoin Hogan from Trail Kilkenny for a brisk walk along one of many Kilkenny trails.
The day was truly inspiring and another showcase of how lucky we are living in this beautiful county full of scenic walks, amazing crafts and great food. For all those who think that "the grass is always greener" and travel the world in search of beautiful things, I highly recommend a walk alongside River Nore followed by a cup of coffee at the Blackberry Cafe....mmmmm....

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