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You are here: Croan Cottage Blog » Newsletters » Blog article: Christmas Newsletter 2014

Christmas Newsletter 2014

Croan Cottages
Holiday Cottages in Kilkenny, Ireland
Christmas Newsletter 2014
Croan Cottages Christmas 2014
As Christmas approaches, we look back on the eventful year that 2014 has been at Croan.
The garden provided fruit and vegetables in abundance this year, despite a couple of rabbits having taken up residence inside the walled garden and helping themselves to seedlings! From Summer fruits to Winter cabbages and Giant Pumpkins for Hallowe’en, we ate well and had plenty to share this year and look forward to the same next year.
Croan Cottages gallery
Some of our garden experiments worked out very well – we harvested our own sweetcorn for the first time – and others less so. We grew sweet potatoes for the first time and they were delicious but very small. However, the beautiful flowers they produce make them worth growing for that alone. Perennial favourites continued to provide seasonal bonanzas, from strawberries and rhubarb to apples and plums.

As always, we produced much more than we could use or share with guests so the preserving continues apace, as we use the last of our apples to make homemade mincemeat for the festive season. We also took our first (small!) crops of almonds and walnuts from the trees we planted over recent years. We’re hoping for many more for years to come.

One of the crops that did best this year was a wide range of chillies, including Habanero and Jalapeno. The plants have an almost festive look and the fruits provide varying degrees of heat, from the pleasantly warming to the infernal. So abundant was our crop that we dried a huge amount and pickled lots more which should be ready by Christmas. They make a lovely spicy addition to cold meat and cheese platters.  For the recipe, click here.

Our new peacock and peahen have made themselves at home and we’re now fairly confident that Pierre the Second is actually a male! Mammy hen has successfully hatched out three clutches, the last of which is almost ready to be introduced to the henhouse, along with the two new Cochin hens who’ve settled in well last month.

Our two Berkshire sows arrived in the Spring and have now been sold on for the Winter and we’ll take in some new weanlings next year. Our four Isle de France ewes (pedigree, don’tcha know!) are thriving and we look forward to lambs in the Spring.
Daisy and Bill continue to boss all the other animals around, of course.
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 www.CroanCottages.comto check availability.

A mild Spring meant that our moorhen also produced a new family and the frog population should be very healthy, given the amount of spawn we saw on the banks of the pond in the Spring. Our rabbit population continues to thrive – perhaps more than we’d like (particularly when they make their way into the vegetable garden!) but a large rabbit population is a sign of a healthy environment, so we’ll tolerate their abundance.

Though the animals in general are doing very well, this year has been touched with a tinge of sadness as our beautiful dog Bella died in October.
Though we were heartbroken to lose her, we take comfort in knowing that she had lived a long and happy life and didn’t suffer.
Poppy misses her and we’re hoping to adopt a new puppy to keep her company in the very near future.

This year, we revamped our Boules court and erected a beautiful handcrafted (by Francis) scoreboard which, together with our outdoor table tennis table, were the site of some fairly heated competitions over the season. The table tennis table also functions as an outdoor table which can seat up to 20 and it comfortably hosted some long and lazy feasts making the best of the beautiful Summer weather and equally nice Autumn months.

Kilkenny Festivals
In the wider arena, it’s been a phenomenal year for Kilkenny as we took national titles in Tourism awards, the National Tidy Town prize and, of course, the All Ireland hurling title. The annual festivals calendar continues to draw crowds, based on the superb quality of the events and the warmth of the welcome as long standing festivals, such as the internationally renowned Kilkenny Arts Festival  are complemented by newer offerings such as the Subtitle European Film Festival.
This year’s Savour Food Festival was the best yet: more than food stalls and tastings and workshops, it goes to the very core of our community and culture and, together with the award of Michelin stars to two Kilkenny restaurants, copperfastens our reputation as a quality culinary destination.
Kilkenny loves to throw open its doors and welcome visitors to share in our fantastic heritage and vibrant culture. There have been some fantastic additions to facilities and amenities here in Kilkenny this year, from the Ossory pedestrian bridge, linking the city’s linear park with the Nore walking trail, to the amazing work coming to an end on the creation of the School of Food in Thomastown and the extension of the Castlecomer Discovery Park’s tree top walk. Now there’s even more to see and do!
Ireland’s only Olympic sixed outdoor swimming pool which recently opened in Thomastown.

So now the party season in upon us, it’s time to get organised. Bringing together the best of our craftspeople in festive markets is a feature of this Yuletide season in Kilkenny. Christmas Markets will offer festive foodie treats alongside craft stalls.

Buying local means that your money goes to support genuine artisans above faceless companies, keeping our craft culture vibrant and sustainable. Join us in taking pride in our craftspeople and supporting local enterprise this Christmas.

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 2015 bookings. The discount also applies to our gift vouchers!
Simply use the code ‘dec2014’ when paying for your booking to receive the discount.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and looking forward to welcoming you in 2015,
Niamh and Francis

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