Nostalgia is back?

Nostalgia. It’s everywhere, especially in the form of sweet shops. they seem to be popping up everywhere. We have  a  new one in Carlow and a little 8 year old took to the Tubridy Show last week to tell everyone about her new “Pop-up” shop, guess what it was?

Yes, a sweet shop with all those nostalgic sweeties for you to buy.

One thing I get nostalgic about is my time in university-U.C.D-the best college ever. I shared a house with some great girls, 7 of us up on North Avenue, Mount Merrion. How lucky were we? £34 a week! A 10 minute walk to the stuent bar..sorry, lectures and the majority of us are still great friends. don’t think there is anything sinister about the fact I said “the majority of are great friends” but some of the girlies disappeared. Stephanie Burke aka Burpie and Fionnuala aka dry soup eater extraordinaire, where are you now?

There was something else brilliant about the Mount Merrion/Stillorgan area. No, not the 80s shopping centre or O’ Dwyer’s Pub.

The best thing about Stillorgan that I still dream about is a chip shop. Not just any chip shop. This was C.Aprille’s of Stillorgan.

They make chips the other ship shops can only dream about making. Super thick, slightly crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside. We would walk down to Stillorgan and buy a big bag with a tub of the best garlic mayo and walk back home. God, life was simple.

But, all is not lost. you can still avail of these chips. C. Aprile’s is still in business! Don’t get confused by the one in Portabello. Not the same. Get your self down to Stillorgan and bag yourself a bag of the “Best chips in Ireland awarded by Rozz”

As I was saying nostalgia is everywhere, usually nostalgia takes a year, maybe a few decades to come back. That’s what makes it truly nostalgic, doesn’t it?

Not in Carlow.

I was out walking through the area of Askea (The wannabe D4 of Carlow) last week and came across a new chip shop. It’s Billy Bunter’s, it closed down about a year or 2 ago and it did bloody good chips too. We were slightly disappointed when it closed down but about a million other chip shops seemed to open and we forgot about it.

You can imagine my joy when I saw that Billy Bunter’s was back, baby!

With a big, colourful and boasting sign saying” Billy Bunter’s is back!”

It’s not nostalgic.

They have good chips but it’s no C.Aprile’s.

The best brown bread you will ever eat:Carlow Farmers’ Market

I love Mike’s bread and the Truffle Fairy’s Chocolate Brownie at the  Carlow Farmers’ Market

See the photo above. That bread is the best bread you will EVER eat. I can place that bet with you. If I’m wrong, you have no taste buds or just want to win a bet by telling lies. The photo does the bread no justice. A lump of cucumber, some Tesco Hummus and on the bread board is the best chocolate brownie you will EVER taste.


These 2 items can be purchased at our Farmers’ Market every Saturday 9-2. If you arrive after 11, these items will surely be gone. The people of Carlow will have scoffed them all. Who could blame them?

Mike’s Brown Bread

Hennessey’s Deli and Cafe only sells yummy food. Fact.

One of those yummy foods is Mike’s Brown Bread. Mike and Trish own Hennesey’s and make all the afore mentioned yummy foods. This bread tastes like cake and bread at the same time. It has seeds, wheatgerm and other nice, secret ingredients. You will not stop until you have finished the whole loaf. That’s a promise. Mike doesn’t know the recipe. He tells me he just throws stuff in a bowl. I don’t believe a word of it. A bread like this had to be planned. He makes 21 loaves for the Farmers’ Market. nce, they’re gone, they’re gone.

Truffle Fairy’s Chocolate Brownies

One of these brownies cost €3.50. At first, I was shocked. I gave out. I complained to simon. How could this be? Ireland is a rip-off. I then tasted the brownie.

That was it.

Complaints finished.

You can find this chocolate fairy at and in Kilkenny, Dun Laoghaire and loads of other places.

The mad hatter cafe in Castledermot

I’ve heard the Mad Hatter Cafe mentioned loads of times, on tv or in the paper and I always meant to visit and sample it. It’s ten minutes drive outside of Carlow in the very small town of Casteldermot. It is very much needed as there are no coffee shops in the town.
So, when I met the owner, Alice at a Pilates class and she was telling me about all the yummy home baked produce that she made, I had to schedule a visit!
Unfortunately, when I did visit, I was full, had a rather large breakfast in the Ritz Carlton, Powerscourt (get me, I know! Simon was at a conference there) and was still full by the time I met my friend for lunch.
Camilla went for the Caesar Salad, I just had coffee and a very good coffee it was. A big mug of it. Alice and her husband make everything on the premises-beautiful multi-grain bread, carrot cake cupcakes, granola bars and lots of chocolate produce!
I bought lots of treats for Simon but I will have to bring him there at some point. We need a good, non franchised, local run and owned cafe in Carlow with homemade produce with a smile. But, at least, I only have to go a few minutes down the road if I get a craving for some nice home made food!
If you’re passing through Castledermot, it’s worth a visit. Just off the main street, opposite Londis, plenty of free parking too.

Free wifi in Lir coffee bar, Ballaghdareen, Co. Mayo.

On our way back to Carlow, I saw three signs on the side of the road telling us to come to sample their coffee and food.

Go on, treat yourself, you know you wanna.
Better food than your Mammy’s!
I had to stop here as they had got the apostrophe right.
Lir’s Cafe bar is really a pub/bar but does rather good coffee. Plus, it has free wifi so me and iPad were really happy!
Lunch is good a chicken pesto wrap with fries to share €5.95. Really, nice little waiting staff. There is never usually a reason to stop in Ballaghadreen and now there is!
This could be our new stop!
After this, I’m on the way to buy my new shoes In Dundrum, LK Bennett shoes are to be mine at last! I had promised myself these shoes if I completed a task( sounds mysterious but it’s not) and when I didn’t complete the task, Simon gave me a voucher for them for my birthday!
Cannot. Wait.
I’ll take photos later and demonstrate how cute they are!

Printed tablecloths, baked potatoes and a rather spruced up Ballina!

Sundays can be boring. Yes, Sundays are boring. The only good thing about Sunday mostly are the papers. I demand that shops open 24 hours a day. I demand that banks open when I finish work.
So, we are in Mayo( where I’m from!) for weekend and decided to take drive. Stopped at Mary’s kitchen coffee shop on the way. Mary’s is in an idyllic, tiny town called Ballycastle, beside the famous Ceide Fields. Always wanted to pop in here, it’s been open for 13 years! I got my chance today. It’s a very homely, printed tablecloth type coffee shop with a glowing, healing crystal alongside a crucifix. Strange but true!
I can’t really comment on the food as I only had coffee. Though, Simon had a scone, which he dubbed “pleasant”. In Simon language, this means “average or ever so slightly above” I might also add that a scone could only really be average. It’s a scone, that’s all.
Mary gave us free refills and generally was very attentive. I was trying to write and found it hard when the quiet coffeeshop turned into a swarm of little toddlers making unnecessary noise and the like.
We got back on the road to Ballina and searched for the Ice Hotel, a venue ice heard great things about. A local informed us that it would take far too long to walk to and pointed us in the direction of “Dillon’s Pub”, this place has won loads of awards and when a local recommends a place, who an u to turn it down?
The waitress was lovely and geeky and expressed her annoyance at the fact that there are no wifi hotspots in Ballina at all. We agree with her totally and ate glad we have 3g!
The menu is massive here and has everything you could ever want! Pizza, pasta, steak, wraps, fajitta and jacket potatoes stuffed with various fillings. I ordered jacket potato with garlic chicken, cheese and garlic sauce and Simon ordered the chicken fajittas.
Really tasty but a massive portion! That’s my criticism of eateries these days. Far to much. Yes, I know there are people out there who like their grub but I shouldn’t have to pay for your portion sizes! I paid 9.95€ for 2 f;$) off jacket spuds loaded plus massive salad and a portion of potato salad! I can only eat half. Why not two options on the menu?
Normal size portion- 1 jacket potato with small salad-5.95€
extra hungry and huge portion designed for 2 people-2 jacket spuds with huge salad and extra potato salad.

Not much to ask for?