The Irish historically have been a people to develop and perfect skills of life unlike most other cultures of early existence. The Celts were navigating the earth and building sacred sites mathematically based upon astronomy long before the Egyptians. The neolithic site of Newgrange,
just up the road from where I’m staying predates the Pyramids of Giza by 2000 years, possibly dating back to 3800 bc . These first inhabits were using stone tools for felling trees and preparing the soil for growing grains. As ironsmiths they were integrating metal tools into the kitchens and households before most all other cultures. Agriculturally the Irish have been working the land and raising livestock successfully for over 5000 years overcoming a harsh wet environment, stoney fields, unfriendly invaders and political shifts, famine, plague, persecution and genocide, civil war and economic hardship. But all this has only made the Irish a hard working and loyal people that deal with the obstacles, push through the trials of life and continue to survive with a very pleasant and content existence.
On our way back from the coast last Wednesday my friend took a bit of a detour. The morning was meant to be a regional search of sourcing local food and it’s characters and he knew of one more on the way that was a must-meet.
Noel McCabe has been growing veg since knee high and it’s very evident when you walk in to his little road side veg stand he’s definitely gained a green thumb over the years. Buying this spot of land on the road to Collon in 1960 and selling at the Drogehda Market since 1969, you’ll still find him there every Saturday morning offering a wide selection of vegetables, fruit, fresh herbs and potted plants and starts. He’ll also be singing the virtues of buying your veg with the earth still on them and what to look for when selecting. His selection that day way surprising. He had all the standard veg you’d find in an Irish garden; potatoes (3 variety), carrots, parsnips, turnips. But he also had beautiful herbs, fresh apples, chard, kale, broccoli, and STILL had some tomatoes. We both filled bags of delicious freshness to take home for dinner and it would have been hard to spend a €5 er in Noel’s garden shed no matter how high you fill your bag.