Glenbower Wild Garlic Pesto

Last Monday, 16th April, I spent a wonderful morning with Jessica Bonenfant Coogan and Lou Stepney-Power.

I had met Lou and her boys, Tom and Sam during one of our Creative Killeagh Sensory Trails. I noticed Sam’s interest in these dark green plants, which were spread thickly across the woodland floor. Sam introduced me to Wild Garlic and he encouraged me to taste it.

What a wonder he shared with me. Thank you Sam.

I was delighted in my learning and intrigued to hear about his mum’s making of pesto from these Wild Garlic leaves.

Following the Sensory Trail, I made contact with Lou and asked if she would share her experience and knowledge of this plant with me. She generously responded.

We walked out into Glenbower Woods together.

We smelt, tasted, walked, shared, searched for and chose.

Lou shared stories and her knowledge of other plants and trees with me.

We took only as much as we needed.

We stepped carefully, trying to avoid standing on plants.

On returning to Lou’s home, we made Glenbower Wild Garlic Pesto. The transformation in colour as we whizzed up the ingredients absolutely delighted my senses.

We tasted our produce and reflected on the time we had spent together. I felt much energy and excitement in learning about other foods and drinks that could be made with ingredients from our local environment. Elderflower and elderberry cordial, jams from the Autumnal berries, gorse added to ice cream or as a yellow dying agent.

Thank you Lou, Tom, Sam and Jessica.



Pop-up Deliciousness

We’re all still in awe of chef Mike Clery’s cooking skills today, as we snack on leftover homemade biscotti. The Creative Killeagh Pop-Up Restaurant was a smashing success.


As guests arrived they were greeted with a glass of champagne, courtesy of The Old Thatch. Anna O’Sullivan played the piano in the library, and guests mingled for the first while. Also on offer was a special cocktail, Rhubarb and Revenge, made with generously donated bottles of Bertha’s Revenge gin with homemade rhubarb simple syrup, lime, and tonic.

We sat down to five incredible courses: Gin cured trout with wasabi yougurt, then feta, spinach and cashew parcels and leaves from Greenfield Farm in Knockraha, followed by mackerel with chermoula and hazlenut dukkah. Then onto the main course of slow roasted lamb shoulder with purple potatoes Joe’s Farm Crisps, pomegranate tabouleh, broccolini with snap peas, and a warm mint potato salad.

Dessert was a parfait with homemade stracciatella ice cream with crumbled merengue, and red fruits in elderberry balsamic. Finally, coffee and tea with the aforementioned homemade biscotti. Magnifique!


The Main Course was complemented by a set from local musician Eoghan Keniry, and Jude Duffy played during dessert. We even had some impromptu spoon playing.

We must thank the following for donating raffle prizes, food, drink, or loaning us supplies:

Some of the Raffle winners:

Guests enjoying themselves.

A bit from behind the scenes:

A big thank to our volunteers, especially Mary Collins for helping with the set up over two days. Also, artists Carol Anne Connolly and Sara French for pitching in, Kara Sweeney for taking the photos, Hughie Coogan for manning the bar, Lou Stepney Power for helping set up, and Colm Quinn and Dierdre Duffy for attacking the dirty dishes.

Of course, the biggest thanks of all goes to Mike Clery for masterminding and executing this incredible menu!

Jessica Bonenfant Coogan, CK Project Manager

Glenbower Talks – Carol Anne Connolly

“Walking . . . is how the body measures itself against the earth.”

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

I am organising a series of engagements for the Creative Killeagh event on the May Bank Holiday Weekend that explore ideas relating to Glenbower Woods. I am interested in the fact that Glenbower Wood is community owned and want to research what this means for the village of Killeagh today? The woods itself has existed for centuries and is a central figure within the community.  My project, Glenbower Talks is a series of public exploratory walks that speak of the history, culture & biodiversity of the woods. I would like members of the community and from further afield who use the wood to join; wanderers, dog owners, flower pickers, strollers, runners, hikers, cyclists, foragers- to take part and discuss the future possibilities of the woods. 


Botanical Walk in Glenbower Woods

Sat 5 May 2018

11:00 – 13:00

Finbarr Wallace and Edwina Cole from the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) will hold a walk in Glenbower woods looking at plants large and small, wild and cultivated that are found in this charming woodland. People with all levels of botanical interest welcome.


A Woods Through the Ages

Sat 5 May 2018

14:00 – 16:00

Join local historian Paudrig Lee in Glenbower Woods on a walk of the woods through the ages. Paudrig will give an overview of the long history of the woods and its relationship with the village of Killeagh through the centuries.


Mapping under Trees

Sunday 6 May 2018

11:00 – 13:00

Visual artist Carol Anne Connolly will lead an exploratory creative walk for families. Participants will use drawing, mark making and text to illustrate their observations of the woodland and create a collaborative map of Glenbower; documenting sights and sounds from the smallest detail to the largest tree.

Arboreal Book Club

Wednesday 6 June 2018


Meet at Greywood Arts for the first session of the Arboreal Book Club to explore ideas and writing on trees and nature.

To book a place for these events you can go to the following links

Contact or to book for Mapping Under Trees or the Arboreal Book Club

Notes on Walks:

Walks will go ahead rain or shine. Please bring suitable footwear for a variety of terrain and rain proof outerwear.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.




What represents your connection to where you live?

I was reading about an exhibition in the UK where people in a particular community were asked to pick something that represented their relationship to nature. Some picked natural objects, other plastics or rubbish that don’t belong, and others yet selected items with more esoteric connections to their item. Not only did this create a fascinating collection of artefacts, but originated a beautiful collection of stories where participants explained why they chose their item.

So I thought, why not here? And why not our village / home / site / place – this place here and now? 

For me, my greatest connection is Greywood. The house is why I ended up here. It’s a physical representation of my dreams, and a structure beneath which people can create and community can interact. What better place to hold this exhibition?

It’s not an easy question. Especially if you take it seriously – really think it through. But the answer might be poignant or humorous, beautiful or astounding. We want to know – what thing could symbolise a relationship – specifically a relationship to HERE RIGHT NOW? 

And once you’ve thought it over, bring that “thing” or “item” or “object” or “artefact” over to Greywood Arts. Help us create a visual representation of emotional threads. Tell us your story. We promise we’ll keep it safe – whatever it is. And on the May Sunday/Bank Holiday Weekend, we’ll put your object on display – alongside your story. 


Drop off times:
Saturday April 7th 2-4pm
Tuesday April 10th 7-9pm
Can’t make those? No problem – just email or ring 083 845 1750

When you visit Greywood Arts, we’ll do a short interview about why you selected this artefact, and take your photo with it. You leave your object with us (or if you’re not comfortable with that, you can bring it back for the exhibition). We promise we’ll take great care of anything left in our possession. We will then write up you story and display it alongside your object. You can be credited, or remain anonymous.

Exhibition Opening – Friday May 4th.
This will be followed by a lantern making workshop and torchlight procession up to Glenbower Wood at dusk. A beautiful way to kick of the festival.

The exhibition will be open Saturday May 5th and Sunday May 6th.

Participation is open to anyone old enough to answer “why did you pick this?” We hope to get a great range of ages involved!

neck of the woods 2