Celebrate Autumn’s “mists and mellow fruitfulness”!

Celebrate Autumn’s “mists and mellow fruitfulness”!

Many people find autumn a melancholy time. Maybe it’s the post-summer blues (or reds and browns).  We talk about the days shortening or the evenings closing-in. The Autumn Equinox happens when the length of day and night are roughly equal, usually around the 23rd of September. But it’s a bountiful and fertile time for nature. This late burst of production brings us a multitude of fruits, nuts and seeds.

Continue reading
You say to-may-toh…                                   I say poisonous mandrake!

You say to-may-toh… I say poisonous mandrake!

In the Frameyard, in Pithouse Number 3, the tomatoes are ripening.

Among the varieties there are Sungold and Sweet Apperitivo, cherry tomatoes that can be eaten like sweets off the vine.  Standing beside these vines, the wonderful earthy, tobacco smell fills the warm air.

Some say that this smell is a natural deterrent against insects or pests. (It’s suggested that one could pick the foliage, soak it in hot water and use it as a spray). According to the University of California, glandular trichomes are responsible for secreting a yellow substance that gives off that characteristic “tomato plant” smell (see explanation below).  Whatever the scientific explanation is, some gardeners love it, some hate it. But the fruit is universally enjoyed nowadays, unlike the first reaction to tomatoes in medieval times.

Continue reading
The Bees Knees….

The Bees Knees….


In typical Irish fashion, bees are closely associated with folklore and saints.

St. Modomnoc is credited with bringing bees to Ireland in the 6th Century, when his hives resolutely followed him across the Irish Sea as he returned from Wales.
St Gobnait, whose feast day is 11th Feb, is the patron saint of bees. She is portrayed by Harry Clarke in the luminous stained-glass windows of the Honan Chapel, University College Cork.

Continue reading

Fota and the Rising, April 24 1916

That no rising happened in Cork on the 23rd-24th April 1916 might said to be down to Edwardian communications technology. It was impossible to communicate in secret at speed. The rising in Cork ran as follows:

“On Easter Sunday morning Continue reading

Christmas with the Bells

The Hall Dressed for Christmas with Male Bust and Tree

Mrs. Bell and her family used to dress up in very fancy clothes for Christmas. These were kept in storage in a chest in the attic. Christmas Eve was a hive of activity for the staff preparing for the next Continue reading