Rose Cottage Fruit Farm, Co. Laois

Strawberries, Blueberries & Raspberries ready to go! It seems to me that the majority of soft fruit sold in large supermarkets is grown & imported from Europe & often times, further afield. Luckily here in Laois between Abbeyleix & Mountrath, there is a family fruit farm growing the most delicious soft fruit, giving us customers the choice of choosing locally grown seasonal produce, which is why to me, the Phelan family are very definitely Food (more…)

Rock of Dunamaise

The first Barbican gate Ask any Laois person about the Rock of Dunamaise and the first thing they’ll remember is the compulsory Sunday Drive, where as many brothers, sisters & cousins could be squeezed into the back of a car. Between fighting & threats of no 99’s after, a sermon was issued on where we were going and there was to be no arguing about it because… “That’s the why”! The Rock was always popular for some (more…)

Granstown Free-Range Eggs, Co. Laois

Every summer on the way to our local agricultural show we pass a field dotted with red hens. These have not just escaped their garden run but are the providers for Matt & Avril Bergin’s Granstown Free-Range Eggs, just outside Ballacolla in Co. Laois. Matt & Avril supply a great quality & healthy product to the shops, cafés, restaurants & hotels around Laois, Kilkenny Tipperary & Offaly. So how does a free-range egg make it’s (more…)

Abbeyleix Saturday Market, Co. Laois

L-R; Tony (Hartley’s seafood), Paddy Lalor (Eggs), Billy Gorman (Plants), John Malone (Firewood/Timber). The past two Saturday’s have been great days for ducks. Grey, overcast skies have been sprinkling intermittently gentle mists and heavier showers of rain which kept people hibernating indoors, or if pushed, running from one shop to another as quick as they could.The ground stayed wet all day with plenty of puddles forming and while I wouldn’t classify the temperature as being (more…)

Slieve Blooms, Mushroom Hunting

A sample of woodland fungi and books before we set off. Edible varieties on the left, unedible to the right. Today I joined the Slieve Bloom walking club ( for a guided Fungi hunt around Glenbarrow in the Slieve Blooms. Having to shamefully follow directions from some American lady on my phone, I found Glenbarrow carpark at the opposite end of my home county, Laois. The weather was certainly not great, but I’m a big (more…)

Slieve Bloom Mountains, Arderin

The summit of Arderin, the highest point of counties Laois & Offaly April 30th 2017. I had pencilled in my diary to walk Arderin, the highest point of counties Laois and Offaly in the Slieve Bloom mountains. Waking up, the weather was pretty grim; dark grey skies, a mist that at times expanded to full on showers and a wind that couldn’t make its mind up which direction it was coming from – and was (more…)

The Leafy Loop, Durrow

Almost at the same time as it was literally taken off the map with the bypassing of the M8, Durrow in south county Laois has developed a popular reputation with the inauguration of the Annual Scarecrow Championships, Castle Durrow winning Trip Advisor over and for Sheppard’s Antiques selling small vases at big prices despite being made in China! The community spirit among locals led to the development of the Leafy Loop walk more than 10 (more…)

Heywood Demesne, Ballinakill

Ballinakill village is home to Heywood Demesne, 50 acres of woodland, lakes and formal gardens. Home to the Trench family in the 18th century, Heywood is set in a Romantic Landscape. Fast forward a few centuries and romantics may still be impressed with how nature has taken care of this beauty. Approaching from Abbeyleix on the R432, you will round a gentle bend to arrive at the gothic entrance. Today Heywood has a large community (more…)

Cullohill Mountain

Firstly let me ‘fess up that Cullohill is my home village and if you think I may be a little bit biased here, well then that is because I probably am! Cullohill Mountain, 250m approx. – yes, it is a mountain to us!! – is a popular spot to go for a walk and with very good reason. When I lived overseas I would take a walk “up the mountain” anytime I was home on (more…)

Killamuck Bog, Abbeyleix

Just as you leave Abbeyleix town heading south, next to the Manor Hotel is a sign for Killamuck Bog. This natural piece of our heritage has been developing since the last Ice Age! Like most of the town, the bog was part of the de Vesci Estate, Bord na Mona took over for a number of years before being handed back to the care of local community groups since 2009, and taken care it has (more…)