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You are here: Croan Cottage Blog » Newsletters » Blog article: Christmas Newsletter 2012

Christmas Newsletter 2012

Croan Cottages
Self Catering Cottages in Kilkenny, Ireland
Christmas Newsletter 2012
– New things to see in Kilkenny
– Fishing on the Nore
– Croan Cottages Video

– Animal News
– Sausages
Progress in the Garden and Orchard

– Mince Pie Recipe
– A 10% discount for every reader!
Gift Vouchers
Our gift vouchers are always popular at this time of the year.
If you know someone who might enjoy a break in beautiful Kilkenny, why not get them one for Christmas?

The vouchers are available for any amount and we can even personalise the voucher for you.

You can buy the vouchers on our website or give us a call and we will post them to you.

Croan Cottages Video
A very talented videographer came to stay at Croan earlier in the year and produced this wonderful video of Croan and the Cottages. Many thanks to Áine O’Meara for a great job

New Year Breaks 2012
There is very limited availability for breaks over New Year’s eve at Croan Cottages.

Visit our website to check availability and to book online!
Award winning Croan Cottages

Croan Cottages Christmas 2012
We always enjoy compiling the Christmas Newsletter more than any other as it gives us a chance to review the successes and failures of the year and to plan for the coming seasons.
Despite continuing challenges in the wider economy, it’s been a good year here at Croan. We’ve done our best to keep our costs low, we doubled the government’s VAT reduction and have focused on providing quality holidays for families and groups.
We continue to compile itineraries with as many free activities listed as possible and to develop partnerships with local producers and providers to offer the best possible value to Croan’s visitors.
This year, we’ve been focusing on fishing in the local area and have increased the options available to guests at Croan: we’ve put in place arrangements with Thomastown Anglers, Mount Juliet Estate and, most recently, Jerpoint Park which is a truly magical place to spend some time.
The medieval ‘lost village’ of Jerpoint near Croan has so much to offer: the final resting place of St. Nicholas, pony rides, geese-herding and the generous hospitality of Joe and Maeve. There’s lots to do for the rest of the family while the fishermen or women cast their lines into the salmon waters of the River Nore. We can make all the necessary arrangements for you, in advance of your visit or when you arrive. We can even provide barbeques for you to cook your catch!
Our next project is to develop a series of itineraries which we can send to you in advance of your stay, depending on your interests and the time you have available: sightseeing, day trips in both the local area and further afield, cultural activities, visits to food producers…
You just let us know what you’d like to do and we can offer day-by-day suggestions.
Our own travels have given us pointers as to what our visitors expect when taking a self catering holiday. In particular, we noted that self-catering or gîte trips in mainland Europe can bring additional charges: linen rental, cleaning charges, water and heating charges which really mount up.
Here at Croan, linen, cleaning and heating are all included in the rental cost of your cottage, so no nasty surprises at the end of your stay.
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.

We’re really looking forward to the big event of 2013 – The gathering. We’ve already taken bookings from groups of families and friends who all want to get together in the one place and celebrate their common heritage together. If you’re interested in organising a Gathering, a reunion of friends, family, colleagues or teammates, get in touch and we can help you plan your event. You’re all invited!
News on the Animals
The animals are all well and healthy. Despite the reduced sunlight that usually results in reduced egg supplies, our girls continue to keep us stocked up with fresh eggs.
Our new calf, Boann, is a really sweet creature, fitting in well with the goats and sheep.
Lucy and Bob, our rescued orphan lambs, have both grown into fine sheep, so much so that we’ve decided to keep them.
Together with Sheep (the sheep) Lucy and Bob will help keep up the supply of new Lambs in the Spring, which our younger guests love!
We’ve just collected our annual supply of pork from our butcher and, as usual, we are brimming over with porky inspiration for the kitchen.
Our Christmas hams are curing in a mixture of our own honey and local beer in preparation for the festive season. This year, we’re planning to smoke them for the first time – we’ll let you know how they turn out.
Homemade Sausages
Usually, we spend a very enjoyable couple of days making sausages, but due to time pressures this year, our butcher kindly offered to do it for us.
He minced the pork according to our preference and added in all of the herbs, spices and flavourings that we had prepared for him in advance. It took him a fraction of the time that it would have taken us and he only charged us a fiver!

If you’re interested in making your own sausages and lack the time, equipment or confidence, maybe you could ask your butcher to do the same? There is, I’m sure you’ll agree, a world of difference in the taste!

Food Festivals
Speaking of food, 2012 has really put Kilkenny on the Food map. The Savour Kilkenny Festival in October was amazing: a cornucopia of enthusiastic and dedicated producers of the finest quality local foods you can imagine: Knockdrinna Cheese (previous winner of the Supreme British Cheese award), Goatsbridge Tout farm have developed Ireland’s first trout caviar and Highbank Orchards have begun producing organic cider (and driver’s cider), all on our doorstep.
All of these, and many more food and craft producers, will be showcasing their produce at the Mount Juliet Christmas Fair which opens today, kicking off the Christmas season here in Kilkenny. It’s a lovely event and we’ll certainly be doing some of our Christmas shopping there.
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.
News from the Garden
The mixed weather and late start to the Summer meant very mixed fortunes in the gardens this year. Given the slow start, we held out little hope of bumper harvests. Unsurprisingly, orchard fruits, gooseberries and currants didn’t do as well as previous years, but we managed to harvest enough to replenish our jam stocks.
We have also removed some of the earlier-fruiting trees from the Orchard (which had never done very well) and have replaced them with almonds and walnuts.
Rhubarb and Pak Choi were the stars of the veg beds and the efforts we made last year in sourcing blight-resistant potatoes certainly paid off and we have stored enough to keep us going right throughout the Winter months.
The greenhouse was a fantastic help when the weather wasn’t obliging. Cucumbers, tomatoes and salad crops are still (just about) going and provided a welcome taste of sunshine throughout the Summer. As we clear out the last of the tomatoes and use up the unripened ones for chutney, we’re hoping to expand the range of tomatoes we grow for next year.
If you have a favourite variety to recommend, please let us know. We’ll also gratefully accept donations of seeds! Our preference is for varieties that are big on taste, so plum tomatoes, beef tomatoes and sweet yellow ones are our favourites.
Our vines were amazingly productive this year, each one bearing huge bunches of sweet grapes right throughout the late Summer and early Autumn. So abundant were the grapes that we really should consider wine-making, if we’re as fortunate next year! Having transplanted one of our fig trees into the greenhouse, we harvested our first few home-grown figs. They made a truly special meal along with our own honey, home-cured ham, and locally produced Knockdrinna goats’ cheese, eaten in the late evening sun.
Earlier in the year, we welcomed a large group of enthusiastic young gardeners from Dublin, most of whom keep allotments in the city. We spent the weekend swopping stories of successes and failures, sharing seeds and cuttings and discovered a little about the principles of gardening biodynamics. We’re now doing some further research in the expectation of applying some of the principles to the gardens here at Croan. We’ll keep you posted…
Around the grounds, our sapling nursery continues to thrive and we’re beginning to plan our hedgerow maintenance for the coming years. We’ve identified which trees around should be removed to allow light and space to the others and improve the overall health of the ecosystem. We’ll be laying some of the more suitable varieties and this is the ideal time of year to tackle the job.
Niamh’s Mince Pie Recipe
As we get ready for Christmas, there’s nothing nicer than to curl up in front of a blazing log fire and look back over another great year at Croan with a mince pie in hand. Feeling lazy this year, we simplified the process a bit and here’s how to turn out delicious mince pies with a fraction of the usual effort:
We post recipes on our blog and our Facebook page throughout the year. Be sure to visit to get copies.
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 ‘dec2012’ when paying for your booking to receive the discount.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Niamh and Francis
Have you enjoyed a stay at Croan Cottages in the past? If so, please post a review on TripAdvisor by clicking on this link

Croan Cottages, Dunamaggan, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, http://www.croancottages.com

Phone: +353 (056) 776 6868
email: info@croancottages.com

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