Posted by: susanjcaldwell28 | May 10, 2014

CLONSKEAGH CASTLE, MUSIC, VEGAN FOOD AND BYOB

clonskeagh castle

One Friday night a few months ago as I was having a glass of wine and whiling away a few minutes on Facebook, a friend posted up a notification that Clonskeagh Castle was now hosting music nights with vegan food and bring your own booze. I could not believe it.  As a wine loving vegan who adores old buildings and many different types of music and is a ten minute walk from the same said castle, it seemed way too good to be true.

Last night, I finally got to go to one of these nights. It was an Indian themed night with Indian music and food. The event started at 7.30. Clonskeagh Castle is set in beautiful surroundings in an estate in Clonskeagh that backs onto the river. I know it well from marching my girls through this patch of land to their many drama classes in ITW on Clonskeagh Road, but so many people have asked me how to get to it. It is located between the Dundrum Road and Clonskeagh Road and is in the middle of a leafy estate that faces onto a green. It was Friday night and I had visited my mum so I jumped on an 11 bus back from Glasnevin and met my husband in O’Sheas Clonskeagh for a riverside pint outside and then we walked through the park by the river and cut up onto Whiteabeam Road and made our way the short distance to the castle.

We arrived into the wonderful hall and our coats were taken. I felt a tingle of excitement run through my veins. I had been looking at this castle for the last 14 years since I had moved in up the road from it and suddenly I was inside, it was real. Off the hall, there was a kitchen to the left and the entertainment room to the right.  Our host Frank Armstrong was standing in this beautiful kitchen in the midst of the vegan dishes he had prepared earlier.  He asked who wanted dinner and ourselves and the dozen or so guests who had thus far arrived were given plates of amazing food and sat around to the side of the kitchen in different clusters.  Now personally, I feel this was a missed opportunity.  Ok, maybe I’m too in love with old buildings and a little bit of opulence, but I really do feel that sitting everyone around the large dining table with candelabra lit instead of  chairs (some plastic, ouch!!) around the side of the kitchen,  would have given this a fantastic country house/old castle vibe,  plus on a practical level, it would have been much easier to talk to the other guests.  If you go out to a restaurant at night, you have the expectation of intimacy and privacy but coming to such an event, it is more like going to a dinner party and mingling is definitely on the cards.  We did get to talk to the people nearest us and it was fantastic as they were all so interesting a healers, bookshop owner, students from Brazil, drama teacher etc.  I do feel when people arrived at 7.30 had a drink and then a sitting at the table by 8.00 would have been fantastic. This being Ireland of course, many people arrived late, but if people had do leave the table after they finished and make room for others it would have still been a very good option. The food was served between 7.30 and 9.00 which was great as we were all nicely relaxed and everyone just brought their own wine or beer and left it in the middle of the table.  At 9.00 pm we then made our way into the room on the other side of the hall and we had an hour of Indian music. The music was lovely and all the musicians were very accomplished. I would love to hear some vocals here though and was imagining my friend Honor Heffernan singing by the french doors and really lifting the place. An hour of just music did wane for me by the end of it.

frank

We then made our way back into the kitchen for dessert. Again, I think this was an excellent way to break up the evening.  We had a beautiful crumble with soya cream and a chocolate cake. I dont normally eat desserts. I never did before I was vegan but since I went from vegi to vegan I feel at least the desserts are a lot healthier and I am more inclined to try them.  Both desserts were absolutely fabulous, they tasted a bit like christmas with excellent notes of cranberry and coconut, truly delightful.  There was not the usual rush associated with intervals at other venues and no bell ringing. We must have been at least half an hour over dessert.  People were being rounded up for the second half at 11.00 p.m.  Myself and my husband decided not to stay for the last half an hour as he had to be up at 6.30 this morning and we had both had a very busy day and week.  The price for last night’s dinner and gig was 25 euro per person if you booked via paypal in advance or 30 euro on the night and of course BYOB. I thought it was excellent value and of course we had no transport costs. At one point in the evening we took a stroll in the beautiful gardens off the kitchen. This place is magical and I cannot wait to return. Any criticisms I have made are constructive as I can really see what could be done to make this place an amazing venue.  As someone who lives in a tiny cottage, I have so many ideas for this beautiful castle. You can also book a room in the venue and stay overnight. In fact, we met a Brazillian girl there last night who was staying there for six months, wow!. I would love to see a deal for going to one of the gigs and staying over, this would make fantastic sense to me and although I only live 10 minutes away, I would be very tempted to avail of this if it was a good offer.

castle

This is such a beautiful venue with many different types of music. Cookery demo days are also run from here. It is wonderful to see this beautiful castle that is still a family home earning its keep so to speak by diversifying in such a wonderful direction. I cannot wait to go back.

 

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Responses

  1. Wow! Sounds like a fantastic night – do they come along very often? The price sounds great – £20 ish – and the whole atmosphere must really make it a wonderful experience!

    • Yes Jonathan about 20 sterling and we are so lucky, its just a 10 minute walk away. They started doing these gigs recently and there are quite a few on. If you check out their FB page, Clonskeagh Castle, you will see the variety of gigs that they have had on over the last few months. We will have to co-ordinate your visit to Ireland with a visit to the Castle and make sure there is something on.


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