It is October 2020. It turns out that the Estate offers something more valuable than ever; green open spaces, beautiful buildings, garden heritage and an opportunity to be in touch with nature, as society continues to respond to the need to stop the spread of Covid 19.
We continue to engage daily with our dream of making this Estate viable, maintaining a unique 17c Baroque Gardens and Elizabethan Revivial House, sharing this mammoth undertaking with visitors who want to enjoy the place, food from the Estate, help maintain the rich biodiversity, learn, play, celebrate and just be here.
It’s been an odd year, with a shared anxiety that is both bonding and isolating. With weddings, and celebrations largely cancelled, we feel for couples who have had to postpone or adapt their wedding plans. We watch people enjoying the small things, times caught together amid a garden or cafe setting or watching the piglets romp about on the Farm on the way in.
We’ve recently had our story told by Fionnuala Fallon in the Irish Times, about how we’ve rejuvenated the Kitchen garden, to grow vegetables and cut flowers for our Farm Shop and Cafe. Gillian Nelis in the Sunday Business Post says that our Grain Store is a treat for Killruddery visitors with special mention of our pulled pork dish, kale and mash, one of our signature dishes as all components are available from Killruddery Farm and Gardens all year round!
There is something about the written published word that lends affirmation like no other. It’s fascinating to read both articles and see how far we have come! Many thanks to them both! Links below.
When Anthony and I began our journey together, we knew our obligation was to steward and preserve Killruddery, to sustain it so that it could remain the Brabazon family home. We had a vision of doing this with heart, we wanted to enjoy living here, to feel that our activity was relevant to the surrounding community – we wanted to enliven the Gardens in a meaningful way.
Ultimately, our mission to carve out a path to a new era, to embrace change, to allow for a more sustainable future. We have learnt so much about ourselves, people, horticulture, biodiversity and built heritage and, of course, business.
So now we have a Shop abundant with Estate and local produce. We are working to achieve minimum- waste, we actively engage ways to farm and garden with nature. We take certain values such as hospitality and generosity to heart. If we are not meeting these values, we cannot say we are reaching our goals.
As I write, a new Killruddery pork sausage has been developed in our kitchen. Chefs are refining our new take home meals, available from our Farm Shop. Our Bakers have launched a new chocolate cake to vie for love against our best selling amoretti biscuits. Meanwhile our Cafe and Shop teams are dynamically reacting to Covid regulations while remaining open. We offer outdoor seating and with no visits allowed to peoples homes or gardens, people may still meet here for a socially distant catch up…we watch this space.
In our Gardens six Gardeners are working daily. Maintainance is on-going and this week they are restoring an ancient Yew Hedge and developing the Elizabeth Walk – a walk flanked by Magnolia Elizabeth and bulbs with a monument at the centre, commissioned by Lord and Lady Meath and created by our cousin Naomi Jobson to remember her Grandparents who worked tiredlessly from 1948 to the late 90’s to allow these Gardens to survive and they are harvesting in the Walled Garden, things are turing wintry, soon areas of the planting will be put to bed. (Feel free to ask any garden questions here.)
Covid 19 has definitely impacted our business. However, our team is strong, led by Head Gardener Daragh Farren and General Manager Paula Johnston. Anthony and I have had time to reevalute what we are trying to do. We have achieved much towards Estate sustainablity and it’s a work in progress. Are we all we want to be? That remains for you to tell us… we continue to grow and learn. With the Gardens in such good shape, the wider Estate is also thriving, great interaction with Members and visitors, our Farm Shop and all year round Café, the re-launch of our Farm Market and the beautiful feedback on our recent pop-up Suppers, there is certainly much to celebrate.
The Irish Times – Killruddery’s Walled Garden Wonder Revived – Fionnuala Fallon
Sunday Business Post – There’s a treat in store fro Killruddery Visitors – Gillian Nelis
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