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You are here: Croan Cottage Blog » Newsletters » Blog article: Christmas Newsletter 2015

Christmas Newsletter 2015

Croan Cottages
Holiday Cottages in Kilkenny, Ireland
Christmas Newsletter 2015
River Cottage comes to Croan Cottages!
A 3 day residential course with Steven Lamb and Gill Meller from River Cottage, April 15 – 17, 2016
– Some great new Courses at Croan for 2016
– We had some very special visitors in 2015
– Help us get a Teddy back home!
– News from the Gardens
– A Seasonal 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

Award winning Croan Cottages

Croan Cottages Christmas 2015

How strange, when we started to draft this newsletter a few days ago, we sat outside on a warm November day, in a gentle balmy breeze, not bothering with coats, hats or scarves, admiring the spectacular show of Autumn colour along the drive. Today the leaves have all been blown away and it looks like Winter might finally be on its way.
What a perfect week to review the year that’s passed, prepare for Christmas and plan for the New Year.

Croan Cottages gallery
It’s been a year of opposites: a cold Spring, a cool Summer, warm Autumn and (so far) a very mild Winter; we were short of grass in Spring, had a bumper crop of hay in Summer; a slow start to the crops in the garden, but gluts at harvest time; rain in July but water pressure problems to resolve at the tap.

This smallholding life really is about swings and roundabouts, cycles and rhythms.

Smallholding Course, 21 & 22 May 2016
Speaking of smallholding, we’ll be hosting a two day residential ‘Introduction to Smallholding’ course next May 21-22, which will cover the skills and techniques needed for those who dream of establishing or expanding their smallholding.

The course is full-board and includes 2 night’s accommodation.

Places on the course cost from €335 pps. Full details are available here.

2015 on the farm

In the vegetable garden, perennially prolific plants such as courgettes were slow to start. Our Pumpkins failed to grow at all! Strawberries were also later and less plentiful than we’ve become accustomed to.
But there are so many compensations. We had lots of Raspberries & Currants. We planted a variety of pea called ‘Fill the Bucket’ which didn’t come anywhere close to doing what the packet promised, but the stunning purple flowers are still in bloom. Rhubarb continued to deliver a reliable crop right into October. In the greenhouse, we’re still harvesting tomatoes and an odd fig and the Winter salad crops are germinating nicely.
Because the berries were in such abundance we’ve jam in abundance to see us through to next year. We’ve also pickled cucumbers and chillies to brighten Winter salads and sandwiches.

Bucking a bit of a national trend, our Bees gave us a much larger crop of honey than ever before.
We’ve replanted two side beds in the Walled Garden with plants chosen to attract and sustain bee and butterfly populations.

The buzzard family who nested in the tall tree at the top of the hay field successfully hatched out a single chick and the family of three can be heard whistling and seen circling overhead as they hunt. Our resident barn owl was unfortunately evicted from his preferred tree by the peacock and peahen, but I’m happy to say he’s take up a new residence close by and shows up around dusk.

River Cottage at Croan Cottages

Looking forward to next year, and in response to your feedback, we’re planning a new series of courses here at Croan. It’s a direction we’ve been considering for some time and it feels like the right time to embark on a new adventure.
We are so very excited to have a couple of our heros coming to stay at Croan from April 15-17.
River Cottage Chefs, teachers and all round good blokes Steven Lamb and Gill Mellor will host a three day residential course at Croan. During the course we’ll learn, harvest, cook, eat and drink together.
If you, like us, are a fan of the River Cottage series on Channel 4 then this is an amazing opportunity to cook with and learn from two of the best and most engaging chefs who celebrate nose-to-tail cookery and the best of local produce.
Are you 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.
The buzzard family who nested in the tall tree at the top of the hay field successfully hatched out a single chick and the family of three can be heard whistling and seen circling overhead as they hunt. Our resident barn owl was unfortunately evicted from his preferred tree by the peacock and peahen, but I’m happy to say he’s take up a new residence close by and shows up around dusk.
His arrival means we will have to update the Bird-spotting list in the Cottage information folders.

Our own newly hatched chicks are pecking around with their mammies and aunties. Our Spring lambs have moved on to their new farms, and Peggy is settling in well, despite her youthful exuberance.

Our friend Martina, compiled of beautiful shots of Croan and the surrounding area. This year, we decided not to be selfish and offer them as a prize in our Autumn Facebook competition. Well done to all of the winners.

Some Very Special Guests

To complement the burgeoning fame of our own animals, we were delighted to welcome Missy, proud winner of Dog of Dublin contest this year, along with Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody who put us through our paces, and TV Chef and River Cottage Brand Ambassador Steven Lamb.
This year we also received a beautiful gift of this pen and ink drawing of our rooster Rusty by Wicklow artist Julie Balfe.

It’s been a great year for festivals in Kilkenny, from the annual Rhythm and Roots music festival to the Internationally renowned Kilkenny Arts Festival, to Kilkenomics and everything in between, with the Subtitle Film Festival still to come along with all the usually Christmas markets and celebrations, details of which we’ll post on our Facebook page as they become available.
Kilkenny is also very excited to welcome Rod Stewart for his concert in Nowlan Park on June 25th next year. It promises to be a great weekend!
Can you help us to get this little fella home?
One of the team found this teddy in one of the cottages earlier this year and then ‘put it up safe’!
Do you recognise him? We’re sure he’s very special to someone and we’d love to reunite them.
Please let us know if you know who he might belong to.

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 2016 bookings. The discount also applies to our gift vouchers!
Simply use the code ‘dec2015’ 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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