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A couple of weeks back we had Irish guests staying… not often that we have homegrown guests.  However, one of the guests past a comment about the fact that as we grow much of our own food, we don’t really contribute to the local economy!

His comment kind of floored me.  It really stopped me in my tracks.  I suppose without going into a deep analysis of it, I would have considered us to be good at supporting ‘local’.

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Home grown tomatoes

I was prompted to analyse our shopping.

If I’m truthful, no we don’t buy from the nearest local shop.  There are a few reasons – they don’t stock what I’d want to buy food-wise.  I gave up buying newspapers years ago … and they don’t stock my preferred read anyway.  Yes, they do stock nice gift items.  I, however, tend to bake/gift home-made food items.

So here’s how our shopping breaks down:

Meat : we grow pigs and sheep too – so we never, ever buy pork, bacon or lamb. We also raise our own duck meat.  Chicken : we have a certain supply, but do buy free-range on occasion.  Beef which is considered a luxury in this house is bought from a local butcher, who now rings me when he kills and saves the cuts I like  – now, that’s customer service!  We plan to get a few turkeys this year too, just to add to the mix of meat choices.

Fruit and vegetables : again we grow a lot.  We try to eat seasonally, but sometimes you get a glut of vegetables coming at you so fast that you cannot eat another carrot or pea – so we freeze them to have later in the year.  Right now I’m busy preserving all sorts.  When we moved here there was a local vegetable shop, that’s now gone.  Our local country market which was another great resource closed down earlier this year, so we are left with the ‘multiples’ as our only choice.  However, even then I do aim for Irish and /or organic/fairtrade (thinking bananas and exotics).

Eggs : we have our own and if I do need more, I buy from our neighbour.

Fish : there are no local fish shops, so we shop in Barna (Co. Galway) for our fish when we can.  Not quite local to us, but it is a small independent fish shop that does great fresh fish.  We’ve also been known to swap pork for line caught tuna. Nice!

Flour:  we buy organic in 25kg bags from a local bakery.

Cleaning products : we do refills from our local independent Organic Store.  They are also a great spot for nice cheese, chocolate and seasonal vegetables.  (I just don’t get there every week.)

Animal Feed : We buy Tipperary grown grain from our local mill, and organic pig feed from “Robins Glen“.

Butchery : We are lucky to have a neighbour who does the necessary dispatching on hens and ducks.  And, we have two local butchers who take care of our pigs and sheep for us.

Yes, unfortunately, we do buy the staples from the ‘multinationals’…. tea, butter, etc.

So are we contributing to the local economy?  I think so.  We are bringing guests into this part of the country that would not otherwise visit.  We recommend local attractions.  Friday night guests are often encouraged to attend the dance at our local GAA Club.

So, yes, I do believe we are contributing in our own small way to our local community.

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Friday Photo

Let me introduce you to The Pig Whisperer…. the pigs love her!  aka Laura aka Day Dreaming Foodie

The Pig Whisperer

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I was in Birr today, and popped into Purcell Auctioneers…. oh my the laugh, when I saw these.  This salt and pepper set is coming up in their auction next week.   Yes, Irish people will get this the best… Joe Dolan, salt and pepper pots!  For those not familiar, Joe Dolan was a musical show band legend here in Ireland, for years and years!

Joe Dolan salt and pepper set

Joe Dolan salt and pepper set

Oh, and yes, you can bid on line… and items can be shipped!!!

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in and around our area over the summer.  It truly is the #MagicalMidlands 🙂

Many of our B&B guests stay here as a stop off point on their way west, on their way to Kerry, or en route back to Dublin having been west or south.  Not many of them actually come to stay and spend time in the Midlands, and yet, when we do convince them to come and stay more than one night, they are generally ‘wowed’ by just how much there is to do within an hour’s radius of here.

I thought I’d share just a short list of what’s happening in our neighbourhood over the coming months…. it just might convince you to come visit and stay awhile.  You don’t have to come and stay with us, but it would be nice if you did!

11th – 24th July : Galway Arts Festival :  there is so much on offer over the 2 week period, it really is best you take a look yourself 🙂  Distance from us ….. 1 hour

Lorrha Countryfest Poster (5)

Sunday, 17th July : Lorrha Country Fest : the first ever country fest in Lorrha GAA Club featuring Entertainer of the Year – Mike Denver.  Distance from us … 5 minutes walk!

17th – 23rd July : Clay Pigeon Shooting World Championship at Esker Shooting Grounds.  Distance from us ….. 30 minutes

25th – 31st July : Galway Races… always worth a day trip.  Distance from us …. 1 hour (although traffic is crazy that week, so possibly longer!)

Friday 29th July – Friday 5th August : Birr Vintage Week : Vintage Week has been running for over 40 years, and has so much to offer… perfect destination for families.  Distance from us ……. 15 minutes

Sunday 14th August:  Tullamore Show : Ireland’s largest one day agricultural and livestock show.  Distance from us about 55 minutes by car.

17th – 21st August:  Terryglass Arts Festival : this is a lovely festival with lots of interesting arts and crafts happenings.  Distance from us…. 15 minutes drive.

20th August : Heritage and Forage : As part of Heritage Week 2016, our local community is organising a walking tour of our village, Lorrha and the surrounding area… collect food on your walk, and enjoy eating it at the end.  Of course, there are lots of other activities in the area for the entire week.  Distance from us …. 5 minute drive

27th and 28th AugustIrish Game & Country Fair, Birr.  If you are in to shooting, hunting, angling, outdoor pursuits… this is the place for you.  Distance from us….. 15 minutes

15th – 18th September:  Shorelines Arts Festival :  this is described as a boutique arts festival.  It has so many great events happening over the weekend from literary to arts to food.  Well worth a visit.  Distance from us ….. 10 minutes by car.

20th – 22nd September : The National Ploughing Championships, this year taking place in Screggan outside Tullamore.  If you haven’t ever been, you should put it on your bucket list.  It is quite amazing.  Distance from us …. normally 55 minutes, but traffic will be crazy.

12th – 16th October : Offline Film Festival :  Birr is the venue for this film festival for both movie goers and movie makers.  Distance from us ….. 15 minutes

If I’ve forgotten any local events, I do apologise… but please feel free to let me know and I will add them to the list.

If you are planning to come to the Midlands well this list may just help with the planning.  However, you don’t have to come for the festivals and events… it is always a nice time to visit us … we’d love to see you here 🙂

 

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Friday Photo

The floods on our road have finally receded but they’ve left major craters behind.  These are the 2 biggest but there are about 10 others.

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The River Shannon has burst its banks at Portumna our nearest town.  From the wall to the blue buoy is usually the car park!  At least we had blue skies for a part of the day.

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Sunset shot taken yesterday after all the rain.

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