This is my first trip to Ireland and a long-held dream. My family left here in 1847, at the height of the potato famine, emigrating to Canada. Jim and I have found fabulous people, music, history and geography, and of course we are tasting our way across the country.
We stayed at Ballymaloe House in County Cork, near Shanagarry. The food was outstanding, perfectly cooked, from excellent products often grown right on their 300 acre farm. We learned to make Irish soda bread and scones with the hotel’s pastry chef, Hannah.
Later that same day we visited the Ballymaloe Cookery School just down the road, attending a class with the school’s renowned cooking teacher and celebrity cookbook author, Rachel Allen. We also met the school’s founders, Tim and Darina Allen, who showed us around the school’s dining room. All the staff at both hotel and school were so generous and kind, and the food at the cooking class was wildly creative as well as tasty. Surrounded by a 100 acre farm, the school raises chickens and cows, herbs and beautiful produce.