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You are here: Croan Cottage Blog » Newsletters » Blog article: Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Now that we’ve changed our website theme to Winter, it seems appropriate to reflect on 2013 here at Croan. The cold Spring seemed to go on a little too long, but we were rewarded with a long, hot Summer that will long be remembered. Volleyball on the lawn, beach days, sailing trips, canoe excursions, fishing in Mount Juliet followed by lazy barbeque evenings with the day’s catch – every day brought new adventures, memories and plans for next year!
The Autumn was equally pleasant: warm, bright days and mild evenings, making the transition to Winter so much easier. It’s only in the last week or so that we have had some storms, so the gardens remain in good shape. We’re still harvesting leeks, beetroot, chard, fennel and carrots. It’s a lovely end to a really great gardening year.
Croan Cottages gallery
The hot days and warm nights of Summer ensured bumper crops of strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and tomatoes right into early Autumn. We even managed to ripen figs outdoors for the first time ever. Orchard fruits grew in abundance and we managed to grow the hugest pumpkins ever (which, of course, we carved for Halloween!). As our various species of apple and pear finish fruiting, we’re beginning to prune and shape for next year, including some espaliers against the stone wall to encourage ripening for next season.
Aside from our fruit and vegetables, we got together with a local specialist primrose breeder and have planted hundreds of plants in our hedgerows and borders to supplement and compliment our Spring bulbs. We can’t wait to see how they turn out!
The other big addition to the grounds has been an all weather table tennis table which can also be used to seat large groups for eating outdoors. In conjunction with the Boules court and croquet lawn, we’ve already seen some furious competitions taking place!
Spring brought some lovely new additions to our animal family, with Sheep the ewe safely delivering triplet lambs, and a new Angus calf to keep Bo company. We were sad to lose our chickens in a fox attack in the early Summer, but thanks to some very generous local poultry fanciers, we gathered eggs from a wide range of species and hatched out 10 new hens and a Welsomer cockerel who’s only just found his voice. He sounds remarkably like a teenage boy whose voice is breaking, but he’ll soon get the hang of it.  We’ve also become home to a young cock pheasant who’s taken up residence in the small field on the driveway. Let’s hope he makes it through the shooting season! Bella and Poppy remain in great health, despite their advancing years and are looking forward to Christmas dinner.

Thinking about taking a break over the Christmas period? Why not visit Kilkenny and enjoy some wonderful Christmas markets, concerts and food?
Of course, we’d like you to stay with us while you are here:-)
Visit our website at
to check availability.
2013 has been an amazing year for Kilkenny with National and International recognition for facilities, activities and people, confirming what we’ve known all along! Kilkenny won the 2013 Tourism Ireland Award for working to enhance the visitor experience. Kilkenny also dominated the Sunday Times best places to live, with top honours in the Best for Food, Best of Culture & Arts and Best for Pubs categories and for Thomastown in the Best Small Town in Ireland award. Conde Nast recognised Kilkenny in its ‘Friendliest Cities in the World’ survey and the Irish Times Gar Quinn reported that Kilkenny has more choice and higher standards than we have found in any one Irish town”. Two local restaurants, Mount Juliet and Campagne, won Michelin stars. See? We told you so!
2013 has also been the ‘Year of the Gathering’ and we were delighted to welcome gatherings from all over the world.
The Hyland and Matthews families from the US and the UK respectively took a few cottages so they could be together for their trip. The Duchemin and Sexauer families from the States joined to celebrate the marriage of Tonie and Eric.
As the Year of the Gathering draws to a close, we look forward to welcoming old friends and new in 2014.
We have  collected our annual supply of pork from our butcher and, as usual, we are brimming over with porky inspiration for the kitchen. This year, the pigs stayed with us a little longer than normal and put on a LOT of fat. It’s not going to waste though. We have been using to make Bird Feeder Christmas Tree Decorations for the big tree outside! Very festive & tasty (for the birds:-)
We post recipes on our blog and our Facebook page throughout the year. Be sure to visit to get copies.

If you are stuck for a present idea, remember that we have gift vouchers available (in any amount) for your loved ones this festive season. Just go to www.croancottages.com or give us a call and we’ll be sure they arrive in time.
Discounts for newsletter subscribers
As this review comes to a close, we’d like to offer you all a 10% discount on all 2013 bookings. The discount also applies to our gift vouchers!
Simply use the code ‘dec2013’ when paying for your booking to receive the discount.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Niamh and Francis

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