Last weekend (8-9th June), Pat and Miriam Mulcahy welcomed visitors to Ballinwillin House and Farm in Mitchelstown, Co Cork to celebrate the Old Butter Roads.
The diverse programme of events included an outdoor pop up Bao Boi supper, an intimate long table dinner and a “Slow at Work” workshop by food writer, Aoife McElwain. I was lucky enough to be a part of this delicious and restorative weekend.
Award-winning chef Bryan McCarthy of Greene’s Restaurant combined organic farmed venison and wild boar from Ballinwillin with ingredients from the locality to create mouth watering menus for guests to enjoy over the weekend. Wines from the Mulcahy family’s vineyard in Hungary were matched with each of the dishes.
One of the highlights was the unveiling of a new holistic garden with areas devoted to mindfulness, meditation and forgiveness. Pat Mulcahy developed the garden in the grounds of Ballinwillin as a result of the mental and physical aftermath of the worst winter he has experienced since his move to Mitchelstown 40 years ago.
This garden is attracting attention from all corners; the Hungarian Ambassador to Ireland is due to visit later this month and an invitation has been extended to Neven Maguire who was struck by Pat’s passion when they met for the first time at the stunning Ashford Castle last month.
During the Saturday workshop with Aoife McElwain, author of “Slow at Work – How to Work Less, Achieve More and Regain Your Balance in an Always-On World,” Pat shared his insights into mindfulness and revealed that he has been meditating since he was a child albeit he was unaware at the time that was what it was called. As someone who struggles with balancing self care with a busy schedule (like so many of us!), I found the workshop very helpful and left with a new clarity on how to manage my time better.
Pat has proven himself to be an innovator in the industry and has the only combined organic farmed venison, wild boar and goat farm in Ireland and the UK. His wife, Miriam, operates a B&B in the 18th century house and courtyard wing, and I can highly recommend it; not only is the accommodation beautiful and very comfortable, but the breakfast is the best full Irish I’ve ever had. The wild boar sausages, in particular, are a real treat.
Ballinwillin is becoming increasingly popular for exclusive corporate events and unique holistic retreats. An exclusive residential retreat designed to nourish the mind and body is currently in development and is expected to launch this autumn and, if last weekend was anything to go by, it will be worth the trip.
“Burn-out is becoming increasingly prevalent in society,” Pat said. “There is a great atmosphere of tranquillity and peace here at Ballinwillin which guests often remark on, particularly those with demanding jobs and busy lives. We are very excited about developing new experiences that focus on good food, health and well being and we are collaborating with various partners in the industry to create a suite of unique retreats.”
Full details will be published on www.ballinwillinhouse.com later this year.
Keep an eye out for our August issue of Easy Food hitting shops at the end of next month, in which I’ll be sharing the the full foodie inside scoop on Ballinwillin and Pat’s organic deer and wild boar in my Eat Ireland column.