The Wellwood Centre
This week’s hidden gem is the newly opened Wellwood centre situated just outside Bagenalstown . The Wellwood centre is owed by Pat & Mary Gaynor who purchased the site in 1999. Both Pat & Mary are also avid gardeners so they have combined their love of gardening with their desire to promote wellbeing in both body and mind and have created this stunning local haven.Foor bookings contact Pat or Mary on 087 261 5979 or 087 207 2362 or visit their website at thewellwoodcentre.ie.
Pure Thinking Community Group
This week’s hidden gem is a local group known as the Pure Thinking Community Group. Headed up by the very talented and creative Connie Hyland Byrne, this group began back in 2008. Initially set up by Connie as a means of building and developing her team of talented and creative hair stylists at her salon in Dublin Street, the team went on to do many very interesting and groundbreaking community projects looking at areas such as diversity, the local involvement of youth groups and also their award winning Carlow Personalities project which saw local artists paint portraits of local high profile personalities which were displayed in Carlow Post Office. More recently the team have embarked on a wall art project throughout the town, the aim being to brighten up derelict and vacant units through large scale wall art. Their first piece was unveiled on College Street last June when the Glor Ceatherlach building was transformed to reflect a piece of sheet music. For this project Connie also commissioned the writing of a new song for Carlow. Entitled Sweet As Sugar, Strong as Stone this beautiful piece was performed by local and highly acclaimed choir Aspiro and celebrates the rich history of the sugar factory in Carlow. The roll out of wall art projects is set to continue in the coming months so we can expect to see buildings such as Crotty’s, Detail (side wall) and the Cathedral Parish Centre all sporting new wall art concepts. It is my own personal opinion that our town is indebted to Connie and the Pure Thinking Group for the work they have done over the last number of years mainly on a voluntary basis to make our town a nicer brighter place!!
An Gairdin Beo
Many are still not aware that within Carlow town we have a wonderful community garden. Set up in Autumn 2014, An Gairdín Beo is situated next door to St Leo’s in the grounds of the Mercy Sisters convent. The vision behind An Gairdín Beo (or the “The Garden Alive” as bealra!) is that it “will become a space in which diverse people can connect more to nature, to the growing and making of food and to each other”. In September 2016 An Gairdín Beo hosted Carlow’s final 1916 commemoration event. This was a great opportunity for the entire community to have a look at what’s happening in this wonderful space right in the heart of our town centre! Those of us involved in Love Carlow will definitely be checking it out!
Carlow International Film Festival
This week’s hidden gem is the Carlow International Film Festival. This is a new venture which was recently started by a local group who are planning to host Carlow’s very first International Film Festival in November 2017. The call for submissions has recently opened and closes in April 2017. It would be superb to see such an invent being run in Carlow. If you would like to submit an entry or find out more, check out their Facebook page.
This week’s hidden gem is a place I am sure we have all heard of many times but perhaps have never taken the time to visit. Altamount Gardens is situated just outside Ballon and I can safely say it is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting either here or abroad. A visit to Altamount is a truly magical experience. The gardens themselves are a majestic maze of beauty and a slow stroll around them is definite food for the busy soul. The more energetic among you can follow a looped walk down to the river and back around to the gardens. The river walk does require a certain level of mobility and energy and isn’t suitable for buggy’s but is highly recommended nonetheless. Any time of the year is perfect for a visit to this local wonderland, don’t miss an opportunity to visit this local treasure.
Back in December, the HR Manager from a large local company was telling me that she had used Lisnavagh House (near Rathvilly) as the location for one of their corporate team building events. They were so impressed by the fabulous location and stunning surroundings and couldn’t believe that such a gem existed in Carlow and that they didn’t know about it. So this week I thought it would be good to tell you a little bit about Lisnavagh just in case you are not aware of this beautiful little gem. Lisnavagh House & Estate lies just outside Rathvilly and is the family seat of the McClintock-Bunbury family. The original Lisnavagh house was built in 1696. In 1847 a new house was built and was subsequently downsized in 1952. In 2005, Lisnavagh House underwent a major renovation project under the supervision of William McClintock Bunbury and his wife Emily following William’s return to the estate in 2000. The couple’s vision was to create a financially sustainable life and business on the estate and since then a number of businesses have emerged. The first of these was the Lisnavagh Timber project, which supplies “clear conscience” timber to furniture makers & woodworkers, homeowners, and retail outlets all over the world. The family launched their very popular Bunbury Boards at the Autumn Fair in the RDS in 2008 which are a fantastic Carlow success story and can now be purchased nationwide. Following renovations, the house itself was made available to hire for private and corporate events including weddings, photoshoots etc. The success of the latter project is such that in 2007, GQ magazine named Lisnavagh as one of the “Top 100 things in the world”. From a quick browse of their website it seems that these days there is even more on offer with many opportunities for locals to experience the house for themselves. Current offerings include a One Day Yoga Retreat (Saturday February 18th), Writers Retreat (Monday February 20th to Saturday February 25th 2017) and a Supper Club (Friday January 27th) with further events to be added throughout the year. All details are available online at lisnavagh.com
The Millford Room
This hidden gem will certainly interest all the music lovers among you. By chance, I happened upon the Millford Room in the Seven Oaks Hotel which is a new series of live music sessions being organised by Walter Hennessy. When I was there the guest artist was the wonderful John Spillane (aka My Dunne’s Stores Girl). On the night, the Milford room was transformed almost beyond recognition into an intimate concert venue (picture white table cloths, dimmed down lighting and candles) and the crowd were treated to a close encounter with the fantastic musical talents of one of Irelands most endearing song writers. In the coming months, the Millford room will again play host to several other well-known artists including Mundy, Mick Flannery, Relish, & I Draw Slow, If you are a music lover, I would highly recommend that you check it out. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming artists and dates.