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Introducing Alex Lavarde: Head Gardener at Belleek Castle

08 February 2019

Belleek Castle is very proud to announce that Alex Lavarde has joined the team as our Head Gardener at the Castle. Alex has big ideas for the improvement of the kitchen greenhouses and the gardens at the Castle and we are sure with his level of expertise that he will bring the gardens to the next level. Alex hails from Lyon in France and he has been living in Ireland for the last 10 years. He started gardening for personal reasons and also for desire to be eating wholesome, natural food without any added additives, pesticides or preservatives. This inspired him to start growing his own home grown vegetables & fruit at home. He thought by growing his own food he would be able to help people have a good diet & eat healthy food. He started gardening professionally 7 years ago and has never looked back since. Alex attended a gardening course at Mayo Abbey Training Centre and graduated in 2012. He learned new gardening techniques while attending this course and also hosted regular lectures himself to other gardeners and chefs. In 2013 he joined the team at Mount Falcon Hotel in Ballina after Head Chef Philippe Farineau (now Executive Chef at Ashford Castle) saw his potential. Over the years he has further developed and improved the gardens at Mount Falcon using his expertise to deliver fresh produce which has excellent quality and also tastes better. There was a guarantee to the chef’s in the kitchen that the produce was clean, home-grown and chemical free. In the 1800’s the kitchen gardens in the Belleek Estate were renowned for it’s magnificent gardens, orchard and expansive greenhouses which produced fruit & vegetable of every kind. Alex hopes that one day he will be able to restore the gardens back to their former glory. This will take many years of planning & preparations but there is a possibility the dream can be realised. Recently the kitchen garden at Belleek has been improved over the last few years with the construction of two greenhouses. The greenhouses supply’s home grown vegetables & fruit for Jack Fenn Courtyard Cafe and the kitchen in Belleek Castle. Alex is already planning to build more greenhouses & bee hives as well as expanding the kitchen gardens further to keep up with the demands for fresh food from the kitchen. Head Chef David O’Donnell will be working closely with Alex to source produce from the gardens for his menu at the Castle. Alex also aims to have more interaction with visitors to the Castle by hosting Garden Tasting Tours as well as a gardening workshop or classes in the future. He hopes to teach people to have a better connection with the soil & ground by showing them how to be more self sufficient by growing their own produce. Bringing visitors back to many years ago when their ancestors would plant their own food. Exciting times ahead for Belleek Castle gardens and we are looking forward to having a fruitful working relationship with Alex for many years to come. Expect to hear more about the garden’s at the Castle for 2019 in our blog at www.belleekcastle.com.

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Marshall Doran aka Jack Fenn: A Life Story

08 February 2019

Read all about the life of Marshall Thomas Doran (born Jack Marshall Fenn) – Hotelier, Merchant Marine officer, Mediaeval antiquities expert & restorer, master stonemason & timber hewer, designer, architect, raconteur & charmer. Marshall’s motto was ‘Eat life before it eats you,’ and when you read his life story you will see why. Marshall restored Belleek Castle to it's former glory in the 1960's and added rooms such as the Medieval Banquet Hall and the nautical themed Spanish Armada Bar & Tween Deck as well as the Medieval Banquet Hall. You can learn more about Marshall in the guided tour of Belleek Castle and you will also get to see his collection of antiques, fossils, Medieval Armour & Weapons, one of the finest collections in Ireland.

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Belleek Woods Community Walk

05 February 2019

Join us for a FREE GUIDED WALK through Belleek Woodlands on the banks of the River Moy for exercise, pleasure and well being of mind & body. The walk will begin at 10am on Thursady 7th of February at Belleek Castle and will be an 1 hour & a half long. The walk will finish at Jack Fenn Courtyard Cafe where people can relax after for some brunch & a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea. The group will be guided by Reese the dog & Stephen our Castle Curator who will talk about the heritage of Belleek Castle & Woods. As you wander the woods you will see and learn about it's the variety of trees, flowers, birds & wildlife, such as the red squirrel, who can be seen scampering from tree to tree. As you ramble along you will learn about the story of the Knox-Gore family who lived in Belleek Castle and see buildings from the former estate of the Knox-Gore family such as the icehouse, the hermitage, the old boathouse, cottage ruins and the famine wall. The group will wander through the the Fairy Trail and pass by the Knox-Gore Monument, burial place of 1st Baronet Francis Arthur Knox-Gore, who is buried there with his wife & favourite horse. The walk will continue alongside the banks of the River Moy and learn about the Maritime history of the port of Ballina & see shipwrecks including the concrete SS Creteboom. You will also get to see the old boathouse, cottage ruins, grave of Charles Knox-Gore, the Knox-Gores picnic area and the famine wall before returning back to Jack Fenn's for a relax & chat.

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Wedding Venue of the Year 2019

05 February 2019

We are thrilled to announce Belleek Castle Ireland was voted as the winner of the Wedding Venue of Year award for Ireland & the West of Ireland at the Irish Wedding Awards 2019. Many thanks to all the wonderful wedding couples who have chosen the Castle as their fairy-tale wedding venue and looking forward to celebrating with future couples in 2019. Many thanks to the wedding team at the Castle for all their hard work & looking forward to a busy year in 2019!

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Library Restaurant Open Again for 2019

17 January 2019

The Library Restaurant Belleek Castle Ireland is open daily from Thursday to Sunday until Valentines Day from 5.30pm. Open everyday of the week after Valentines Day. Join us for the world famous Drunken Bullock & we also have an exciting new menu for you to try! The Library Restaurant recently won the "Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year - Connaught" 2019 award at the YesChef Ireland awards. Awards 2019!

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