My Nana always kept hens. As a child, I spent a lot of time at her house – just the other side of the hill from where we now live – and hens were an ever-present, taken-for-granted part of growing up. Previously my Nana, a trained and skilled poultrywoman, had kept flocks of hens for breeding; by the time I came along she just supplied Dwanes, one of the local shops, with fresh eggs for sale at the counter. But there were still jobs for the grandchildren to do. One of the dreaded chores was that of collecting the eggs. Slowly, slowly, slowly, the straw-lined wicker egg basket banging against my Wellington-clad bare legs, I would go through the gate in the far corner of the yard, wander past the haggart with all its fascinating bits of rusty farm machinery, turn right on to the lane the cows ambled along twice a day for milking and, keeping close to the less muddy inside side, come to the old wooden hen house. After taking a deep breath of clean air, I would twist the old bolt across, opening the door into the musty fug of the hens’ world and prepare myself for the egg search.
Tagged: free range eggs
It was only a matter of time before Kieran Murphy’s entertaining Ice Cream Ireland made it to the printed page. The Book of Sweet Things, written by Kieran and his brother/business partner Seán, tells the story of how two Americans got into the ice cream business in Dingle a few years ago. Now Murphys’ Ice Cream is sold from two shops – one in Dingle and the other in Killarney – and their distinctive blue and white containers are stocked in delis and foodstores throughout Ireland. I got my first taste of their wares by picking up a tub of vanilla (or fanaile) in Morton’s of Ranelagh; now, fortunately, I’m never too far from a freezer-full of varieties at work in Urru.