Growing Wild Rosemary

From the Irish Midlands to the Canadian Wild

My first Bee Hive. How these wonderful creatures entered my life.

I met Marianne last year while she was at an event selling honey and I was working with Irish Eyes. I was drawn to her table not only for the honey on display and the tasty samples she was handing out but she also had hand cream, lip balm, candles, a myriad of other items made from the beautiful yellow bee wax. I couldn’t decide which I liked more, the delicious honey or the fabulous honey scented candles and other items. It brought back memories of my dad and his honey hives back in Ireland when I was a child. I don’t think I was aware of how privileged I was eating the honey straight from the comb and spreading it extremely generously I might add on freshly baked bread. Mmm what memories. Years later my brother Terry also maintained hives in sunny Sussex in England. He loved his hobby and only stopped doing bees when the location he was using (on the property of a couple he was friends with) got a divorce, hence the hives had to be relocated.

Bee keeping must run deep in our genes. All weekend after seeing Marianne and her bee products I couldn’t stop thinking about bees, beehives, bees wax, bees hand cream,bee honey. Wow I sure would like to do that. I googled Marianne’s website and before I knew it  I was signed up for monthly newsletter all about honey bees. Soon it was Christmas and guess what Santa brought? All sorts of books and information about honeybees. The winter was a great time to curl up with sweet honey tea and my bee books. By the end of January I was looking into keeping my first beehive. I am lucky enough that my daughter Siobhan and her husband have a nice piece of property nearby. After some discussion, she said I could put my hive there but on one condition, she wanted to be part of the action and fun. Ok , terrific, as it is not an inexpensive venture! Now, I think she is more excited than me about our adventure into the bee world.
We spent the spring improving our bee knowledge and vocabulary: Hive, pollinate, drone, nurse bee, worker bees, are the easy words! More on that to come later.

We set the hive up on the property in May. What an exciting day. Our bees have been working like Trojans since.

Today with the help of Marianne and Siobhan we did an inspection. The bees are doing wonderfully. What a joy it was to be in the field with the sun shining gently on your shoulders and the hypnotic hum of thousands of bees all around you. I closed my eyes for a few moments and felt the sound take me to another gentle perfect world. I felt I was in a summer poem. I felt the need to share.


Oireachtas 2014

Good luck to all our friends dancing in the Oireachtas this weekend!

We know you can do great things.

Big girl wings

Put on your big girl wings and dance!

soft shoes

hard shoes

Go n-éirí an t-ádh libh!



pop up shop

This weekend Irish Eyes is having two POP UP SHOPS.

We are participating in Homes for the Holidays in support of Hospice Care Ottawa.

Come join us Friday – Sunday at the Residence of the Irish Ambassador at 291 Park Road in Rockliffe.

There will be holiday gifts and treats for everyone: children’s clothes and toys, jewellery, art and textiles, Christmas and home décor and tempting foods and preserves.

homes for the holidas

We will also be at Saint Brigid’s for their Pancake Breakfast.  We know people like to get some Christmas shopping in early.

We look forward to catching up with everyone who can make it.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Saint Brigid’s Pancake Breakfast: November 16

Pancake Breakfast

On the second Sunday of every month Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts hosts a pancake breakfast.  It was a tradition that pre-dated the Centre for the Arts as the once-parishioners of this distinguished and proud church opened their doors for a pancake breakfast on a regular basis as well.  Now community volunteers come together to cook and serve pancakes to anyone who wishes to stop by for good company, music and food.

Our family tries to be there every month to see friends, family, and new-comers.

One of the best traditional Irish music bands in the city entertains the breakfast-goers with fiddle, tin whistle, piano, accordion, guitar and, on occasion, you will hear the pipes or harmonica.

This month is an exception to the “Second Sunday” rule as the breakfast is scheduled for November 16.

Irish Eyes will be set up at the breakfast. Make your early-Christmas shopping easier and stop by and say hello.

We hope to see you there!


Pumpkin Carving Contest

I thought this post was better late than never.  Each year our daughters engage in a friendly pumpkin carving contest.  In the last few years, my son-in-law, Charles, has also been invited to play along.

About three years ago was Charles’ first experience with the competition.  He came with his game-face and told us he had an unbeattable idea.  Now that I know him better, I would take that declaration with a grain of salt – he is talented in many ways, but I have yet to see any budding artistic talent.  He produced a pumpkin and what it lacked in skill, it made up for in speed.  He carved it in under 10 minutes!

That pumpkin had two eyes, a nose and a wide open mouth that was vomiting up its own pumpkin seeds.

He got an honourable mention for use of props.

Here are this years’ pumpkins.  See if you can figure out who carved each one.

Pumpkin Carving Contest 2014

Left to Right:  Aisling – Niamh – Charles – Siobhan

The winner?

Siobhan's Pumpkin!

Siobhan’s Spiderman Pumpkin.

Charles got another honourable mention for his portrayal of a leering Jian Ghomeshi.  Well done Charles!

I hope you all enjoyed a happy Halloween!


Guess who else loves TAYTO? Eva Longoria!

Eva Loves Tayto

Last week Eva Longoria went on a whirlwind tour of Dublin.

During her travels she came across some of my own favourites: Tayto, Bewley’s and Jamieson Whiskey.Cheese & Onion & Jamieson

When my family arrives in Dublin, one of our first stops is Bewley’s on Grafton Street.  We love their full Irish breakfast.

There is nothing like rashers, sausages and black pudding that says: I’m home!


Welcome Eva Longoria! We are so pleased you enjoyed yourself!



Tayto at a picnic lunch. Yummmm

Tayto at a picnic lunch. Yummmm

I get a lot of requests for Tayto this time of year, particularly coming up to Christmas.  I know a lot of people love to gift Tatyo or use them as the ultimate stocking stuffer.  With that in mind I thought I should let you know that our Tayto just arrived this week and are flying out the door. Get yours before they are all gone.

My family’s favourite way to eat Tayto?  Here it is:

Tatyo at a picnic lunch. Yummm

Tatyo at a picnic lunch. Yummm


The Mondays

Today seemed like the kind of Monday for this:

May your

coffee be


and your Monday

be short.


Mug found HERE

Have a wonderful week.


All Saints Day

In honour of All Saints Day, here are the ten most famous people buried in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery. Happy reading.

We’ve been enjoying an easy going Sunday.  The clocks went back last night and we are all happy to get the extra hour of sleep.

 Saint Brigid’s was home to a spooky Halloween party last night.  The Great Pumpkin Charity Ball, held at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, is a charity evening.  Proceeds are split between the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing. The party had a live performance by local mentalist Jaymes White, psychics, raffle prizes, two bars, and best costume prizes.

Saint Brigid's Staff

Saint Brigid’s Staff

I Hope you all had a Happy Halloween and Beautiful All Saints Day.


Vieux Quebec Feis: Gone Feis-ing

Vieux Quebec

Vieux Quebec

Irish Eyes was at the first Annual Vieux Quebec Feis.

Congratulations  to the organizers.  It isn’t easy to host such a big competition, but they organized a great one.

The feis ran on time, the dancers had great music and judges and the vendors were varied.

What was our most popular item for sale?  Barry’s of course!

Barry's Tea

Barry’s Tea

We were delighted to be a part of it and are looking forward to next year.

Happy Feis -ing!


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