Hot off the heels of today’s Taste of Carlow market, I’m now excited to share details of the very special Ducketts Grove House & Estate Christmas Fair that will be taking place this Sunday, 7th December from 12 noon to 5.00 pm.
This is just one event in a whole programme of activities laid on for Christmas in Carlow 2014 from carol concerts to craft fairs and family shows and is a Christmas Fair that I have fond memories of for a couple of reasons. Initially it was a venue we used to head out to, having wrapped our children up warmly first, with promises of a Father Christmas visit, hot chocolate and mince pies.
Skip forward a few years and I found myself on the other side of the table as a stall holder when I was trying my hand at creating and selling homemade seed cards. As a result of being fully immersed in the atmosphere of the Ducketts Grove Christmas Fair, I also learnt how exhausting it is being a market trader! Apart from weeks or months of product making, the stallholders then have to pack it all, unpack it, create their displays, then stand all day and do their best to remain happy and chatty, talking and selling, before packing up and driving home, and quite often, getting up and doing it all again the next day. And all that in wind, rain, frost, sun and snow! Respect to anyone who does this regularly to make a living.
A Christmas market such as the one at Ducketts Grove gives us the opportunity to shop locally in one place for handmade gifts, many of which we mightn’t be previously aware of, helping to support the families of the makers and subsequently our local economies.
However, the Ducketts Grove Christmas Fair isn’t just about browsing through the 50 plus stands of craft and food that will feature ceramics and knitwear, art, jewellery, embroidery, Christmas cards and decorations, as well as cakes, bakes and beverages of all descriptions. There’s lots more to see and do.
Free Family Fun
If you’re a parent who’s minding the euros, you might be tempted to avoid special markets or fairs such a this one, worried that children will be pestering you to spend more money than you can manage, but the organisers of the Ducketts Grove Christmas Fair have thought carefully about this. There is a fee of €7.00 per car for parking but thereafter all the activities will be provided free of charge.
Importantly for the little ones, there will be a Santa Grotto with a free present for every child, free festive face painting and performances by Carlow based musical and entertainment groups. At 2 and 4 p.m. Christmas storytelling workshops will take place in the courtyard, an activity that has previously been a big hit with the children. Additionally both adults and children can enjoy the inflatable game experience of Rodeo Reindeer while a giant snow globe is available as a special backdrop for family and individual photos.
Horses, Birds of Prey & Weaving
Adding to the atmosphere on the day will be a range of traditional craft demonstrations including weaving and horse shoeing while Woodlands Falconry will be showing their range of beautiful birds of prey including hawks, falcons and owls. The start and finish of the Carlow Farmers Hunt, in period dress will add a special ambience to this year’s fair. Celebrating their bi-centenary in 2014 the hunt is returning to historic premises where they would have hunted in the past.
How to Get There
Are you tempted to come along to this unique setting and join in the pre-Christmas fun? If so, you’ll find Ducketts Grove 10 minutes from Carlow and Tullow off the R418 Castledermot/Tullow Road, the R726 Carlow/Hacketstown Road and the R448 Castledermot/Carlow Road. Visitors travelling from Dublin and the south should exit the M9 motorway at junction 4 and follow signs for Castledermot and the R418 Castledermot/Tullow Road.
If you can’t make it to Ducketts Grove this year, maybe there’ll be a Christmas market close to you that you can support in whatever way you can. With all the encouragement for us to ‘shop locally’ over recent years, has it changed your shopping habits at Christmas and beyond?
Green and Vibrant are helping to spread the word about the Ducketts Grove event. Keep an eye out for the #DuckettsGroveChristmas hashtag for more information and updates.