Spring fishing starts in earnest

The last few weeks have seen an improvement in the numbers of spring fish running the rivers and lakes that form part of Mount Falcon’s 3 Rivers package. Both Beltra and Carramore Lakes now have a good head of fish and are regularaly producing sport when conditions are right. One successful angler was former Mount Falcon Ghillie Mike Wilson (pictured) who on the 15th April hFeatured imagead a fresh 10.25lb fish on Beltra Lake. 

The spate river’s have also seen  the arrival spring salmon. May normally sees the peak of the spring fishing on both the Owenduff and the Owenmore.

Weather conditions over the last week have  seen a slow down in the numbers of fish being caught (and anglers fishing), but with the weather due to pick up we would expect to see both fishing effort and catches rise.

In terms of the Moy, the upper river has been producing fish to both bait and fly. The lower beats including Mount Falcon generally start to fish later than the upper river, but we are pleased to report that the Wall Pool produced it’s first fish to the worm last Saturday (25th April).

One to tie and try.

jonu LomuThe Jonu Lomu.

Thanks to Eammon Kennedy from Beltra for introducing us to this pattern. It works well on the dropper of a 2 fly cast for lake salmon (Mike Wilson took his Beltra fish on this fly).

Hook Size 6-10. Tail red wool with a few strands of crystal flash. Body – Black Floss. Hackle – palmered black cock with a silver rib. Cheeks – jungle cock. Overwing – a few strands of crystal flash.

For more information on fishing at Mount Falcon contact Stuart Price.

email fisheries@mountfalcon.com

Posted in Angling at Mount Falcon | Leave a comment

Spring swings in the air…

Dear Gardener friends,

Spring is almost here. It is wonderful to see all the new green shoots and growth. The bulbs we planted last autumn bring a splash of early colour to the garden. The large quantity of rhubarb that we propagated from seed, planted last summer and covered for the winter is looking very well. The chefs can’t wait to get their hands on it!

Our tree planting projects of the winter months are now completed. We planted a huge variety of flowering and fruiting hedges, fruiting trees and shrubs, all with an end product for the kitchen in mind. We also have been sent, from a wine growing friend in France, some vine cuttings of Cabernet Franc which should be suitable to our climate in the West of Ireland. Early days yet, but Chateau Mount Falcon sounds nice, doesn’t it?


We have also been busy with our landscaping projects; Paul O’Driscoll, our local willow artist, completed some wonderful structures within the Kitchen Garden, which are already budding and taking on their green mantle. We are looking forward to seeing them going from something that looks fairly sculptural to a living green structure. The new field, which dramatically increases our growing area, has been ploughed revealing some great soil. We dug a test hole to discover we have approximately 20cm of topsoil followed by 60cm of subsoil on top of sand, so drainage will be very good. It will be rotovated and put into drills at the end of the month. We are now busy sowing seeds in our already packed propagation area. The heated table is very busy!


We have also begun preparation of our beds in the Kitchen Garden for some early direct sowings. Our Pink Garlic and Onions have survived the winter well and our Broad Beans are growing nicely. We are still getting a very good harvest from our Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Kales and Burdock. We also harvest plenty of healthy leaves and herbs for our salad mix from our tunnels. We are looking forward to a very busy month ahead.

Our gardening  classes, which are becoming very popular, continue this month with Outdoor Growing for Spring on April 24th, costing €15 per person including tea, coffee and biscuits and a tour of our Garden. Also this month, we have a Foraging Day with Will from Walk on the Wild Side in Westport, on April 11th, costing €40 per person, including a walk around the estate and a light lunch. Pre booking is recommended as places are limited.

DSC_0625 DSC_0627

The bees survived the winter too and have started flying around and bringing pollen as well as nectar when the sun is out!

If you are interested in either Paul’s work or any of the classes, please contact Alex at garden@mountfalcon.com.

Finally, a new addition to the Garden, is our Scarecrow, hopefully he won’t have much to do!

To you fork and Enjoy!


Posted in The Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon | Leave a comment

March in ‘The Kitchen Garden’

Dear Gardener friends

A busy time recently in the Kitchen Garden At Mount Falcon, despite the weather. All our tunnels are cultivated and under rotation and our propagating area is full. We have been trying some new things recently including the preparation of beds for sea vegetables, infecting logs for our mushroom garden and planting the first new orchard here for over a hundred years. Our growing area has increased with the addition of the field next to the garden. We have also been busy planting lots of trees and shrubs for our fruiting and flowering hedges and have been establishing soft fruit areas.
Our chefs have been very creative with some of our harvested produce, making wonderful breads with our kales and spinach.

We were delighted to welcome Klaus Laitenburger to the garden for a visit. http://greenvegetableseeds.com/march-gardening-newsletter/

Local willow sculptor, Paul O’Driscoll, has been working with us creating willow arches, fences and sculptures.

The first of our gardening classes happened last week, which included a tour of the garden. The next class is March 14th and is ’An Introduction To Bee Keeping’ with local apiarist Helen Mooney. The price of the class is a very reasonable €20. Alex continues his classes on March 27th at 7.30 pm which will be’ Polytunnel Growing For Spring’, priced at €15 and will again include refreshments and a garden tour. This will be followed on April 24th by Outdoor Growing For Spring. Classes will continue through the year, including ‘Foraging With Will’ on April 11th https://www.facebook.com/pages/Walk-on-the-Wild-Side-Louisburgh-Mayo/688744631186803?pnref=lhc, ‘Mount Falcon Estates Fauna And Flora’ May 9th and ‘Rearing Queen Bees’ June 6th.

Further details are available from Alex at http://www.mountfalcon.com/see-and-do/estate-activities/the-kitchen-garden

To your fork and enjoy!

DSC_0204 DSC_0203 DSC_0210 DSC_0219 DSC_0228 DSC_0209


Posted in The Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon | 1 Comment

Autumn time in the garden …

Dear gardener friends,

I am very pleased to announce  that “The kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon” won the Just Ask Award for September from Bord Bia. The Just Ask campaign was designed to highlight restaurants that are using local produce and where these products are sourced. Thanks to our garden, the bees and other local produce chef Philippe Farineau is crafting for his menus, Mount Falcon Hotel can add another award on the wall!

Now Autumn has started, even though temperatures are still pleasant, it is time to harvests and preserve for winter months. Philippe and his team are pickling all sorts of vegetables in jars that will be on display in the restaurant soon. We`ve collected chamomile flowers and dried them for teas in the bar. Green tomatoes as well as beetroots have been harvested for chutneys. Different herbs such as coriander, parsley, chervil, dill, fennel and basil are being marinated and infused into olive oil.

In the Garden we are actively sowing for the winter and spring with oriental leaves, pak choi, herbs, scallions, garlic, cauliflower, winter purslane, corn salad and spinach. It’s been fertilised with green manure to keep the soil active and covered over for the winter which will allow a better spring preparation. It is also time to order and plant autumn planting bulbs to give a burst of color in early spring until summer.

The bees are working very well and we should have some honey very soon now. A big thank you to Jude Walsh and Fergal O’Shea for looking after them!

Keep following the blog to see what shrub, bare root trees, roses, we will be planting in the coming months.

Until then, To your fork and enjoy!

Alex Lavarde, head gardener at “The Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon”


Chers amis jardiniers,

Je suis tres heureux d’annoncer que “Le Potager a Mount Falcon” a remporte le prix Just Ask delivre par Bord Bia pour le mois de Septembre. Ce prix recompense les restaurants qui font l’effort d’utiliser des produits locaux. Grace a notre jardin, les abeilles et les autres produits locaux que Philippe Farineau utilisent pour ses menus.

Maintenant que l’Automne est la, meme si les temperatures sont clementes, il est temps de faire les grosses recoltes et utiliser differentes methodes de conservation pour les mois d’hiver. Philippe et son equipe mettent un nombre consequent de legumes en bocaux qui seront disposes dans le restaurant dans les semaines qui arrivent et utilises plus tard dans l’annee. Nous ramassons les fleurs de camomille, les sechons pour nos thes. Tomates vertes et bettraves recoltees pour differenes chutneys. Des erbes tellles que coriandre, persil, cerfeuil, fenouil, basilic, aneth sont marinees dans l’huile d’olive.

Nous semons beaucoup pour une utilisation hivernale et printaniere. Feuilles orientales, pak choi, herbes, onion, ail, epinard, mache… Nous semons beaucoup d’engrais vert pour garder le sol actif ainsi que couvert pendant l’hiver, ce qui permettra un travail leger pendant le printemps. Il est temps de commander et planter vos bulbes d’automne qui donneront un eclat de couleusr printanieres et estivales.

Les abeilles travailent vraiment bien et nous devrions avoir du miel tres bientot. Un grand merci a Jude Walsh et Fergal O’Shea pour avoir bien pris soin d’elles.

Continuez a suivre le blog pour voir ce quels haies, arbre et roses a racines nues nous allons planter dans les mois qui suivent.

A vos fourchette et bon appetit!!

Alex Lavarde, jardinier au “Potager de Mount Falcon”

Posted in The Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon | Leave a comment

Honey, Bees, Buzzzz….

Dear Gardener friends!

This month, it s all about bees and honey!

On 19th August, we had the pleasure to welcome Andrew Cote from the New York Beekeeper Association and his his partner Yuliana for an interview while touring the garden. We talked about the different crops we are growing as well as beneficial plants for bees and other pollinators. Andrew is a great passionate of bees and delivered a very interesting talk for the Ballina Beekeeper Assiociation  the evening before.



The following picture is a game called “Where is the Queen?”

The Apairy at Mount Falcon now has 8 hives which were supplied and are looked after by Jude Walsh from the Ballina Beekeeper Association and Fergal O’Shea. The bees, thanks to their queen and their surrounding, are thriving! Some honey has been harvested and extracted so it won t be long before we see Mount Falcon Honey on the tables for breakfast!



We are delighted to announce, thanks to Ellen Mooney from the Ballina Beekeeper Association that Harold Williams and Barbara Chick from Cardiff, Vale and Valleys Beekeeper will be giving a presentation after a tour of the Gardens on September 10th around 6pm. All garden lovers and beekeepers to-be are welcome!


Here is a frame of capped honey ready to be extracted

Here is a frame of capped honey ready to be extracted

We ll finish with this great video showing how bees and pollinators go crazy for green manure Phacelia around the tunnel in the Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon. Thanks to our 3 interns, Paul, Jason and Paul, who are working full time with me in the Gardens to give it its shape as well as Remy, Gerry and John, who helped me earlier this year. We re now getting ready for Autumn and Winter jobs as well as planning for next and possible workshops related to bees and gardening.


See you next time.
To your fork and Enjoy!
Alex Lavarde, Head Gardener


Chers amis jardiniers,

Ce mois ci, ce sera tout pour les abeilles et le miel!

Le Mardi 19 Aout, nous avons eu le plaisir d’accueillir Andrew Cote de l’association d’apiculteur de New York accompagne de sa compagne Yuliana pour une interview lors de notre tour des jardins. Nous avons discuter des différentes variétés que nous produisons ainsi que des plantes qui attirent les abeilles et autres pollinisateurs.


La photo qui suit set un jeu: “Ou set la Reine?”

Pour le moment, nous avons 8 ruches dans les Jardins de Mount Falcon qui proviennent d’un apiculteur local. Il s’en occupe avec l’aide d’un collègue. Grace a leur reine et leur environnement, les abeilles ont eu un bel été! La preuve étant que du miel a été récolte et extrait, ce qui veut dire qu’il y aura bientôt le miel de mount Falcon sur les tables pour le petit-dejeuner!


Nous sommes content d’annoncer, avec un grand merci a Ellen Mooney de l’association de Ballina, que Harold Williams et Barbare Chick vont donner une presentation après un tours des jardins le 10 Septembre vers 18 heures. Tous les amours du jardins et les apiculteurs en herbes sont les bienvenus.

Nous finissons par cette belle video qui monte combien les abeilles aiment l’engrais vert Phacelie autours de la serre au Potager de Mount Falcon.

Here is a frame of capped honey ready to be extracted

Ensuite, nous avons une plaque de miel scelle prête a être extraite:

Un grand merci a nos internes Paul, Jason et Paul qui travaillent a temps dans les jardins sans oublier Remy, Gerry et John qui m’ont aider il y a quelques mois!

Nous nous préparons pour les travaux d’Automne et d’Hiver ainsi que pour l’année prochaine et les potentiels petites formations liées aux abeilles et au jardinage que nous allons proposer.



A la prochaine.
A vos fourchettes, et Bon Appetit!
Alex Lavarde, Jardinier.

Posted in The Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon | Leave a comment

Fishery Report – July 2014

July brought sunshine and high temperatures to the Moy Valley, the river dropped and the water temperature increased. Despite this some fish did leave the tidal waters and make it to the Mount Falcon beats. Fishing conditions were difficult but despite this our guests did manage to catch a respectable 48 salmon on our private water.


Mike Bowsher – 7lb

The first week of month the Lucas Oehslin party (Switzerland), timed their arrival with a small flash flood on the Owenduff, where Lucas succeeded in catching his first salmon on the fly (5lb). A second salmon of 9lb was taken on the fly together with 10 sea-trout before the water dropped. Lucas followed up his fish on the Owenduff with another salmon from Mount Falcon at Connor’s Gap.

Regular visitors Mark Gessink and Paul Van Vert from Holland, took salmon on The Ridge Pool, Mount Falcon and Carramore lake during their stay.
The Moy did have one short lived rise in water level on the 17th of the month, and 8 salmon were taken from the Mount Falcon stretch on the day. The Gerhard Zahn party (Germany) all had salmon (worm/spinner), as did the Schadrack Geno (Germany) party. Victoria Roberts (UK) on her second visit to Mount Falcon had a successful week catching 5 fish (best 6lb), 3 were taken at Mount Falcon while the other 2 were caught on fly on the Ridge Pool, she also lost a fish on fly on Beltra Lake.


Owenduff – 12.5lb on!

At this time there was also a significant (but short lived) rise on the Owenduff and the Bob English party (uk) caught 6 salmon and the same number of sea trout under the guidance of Mount Falcon ghillie Michael O’Kane. The largest fish weighed in at 12.5lb.
On his first visit to the Moy, Mike Bowsher had 5 fish, with his last day being a red letter one when he took 4 salmon including a fresh fish of around 7lb from the Wall Pool. Gary Jerks a regular visitor from UK had 7 fish for his week, while his fishing companion Mike Hornsby had 2.

The Beat Buettler party (Switzerland) here on a fly fishing package all succeeded in catching their first fly caught salmon, the venues being the Moy and Carramore Lake.


Ridge Pool Salmon (Buettler Party)

Good News! At the time of writing (4th August) we have experience our first decent flood in a month, the water has risen by ½ meter, fish are running and before the water coloured to badly we had 4 fish in a short space of time. For more information and to book fishing either at Mount Falcon or on our 3 Rivers Fly Package contact Stuart Price on 0872831776, or fisheries@mountfalcon.com

Posted in Angling at Mount Falcon | Leave a comment

“It’s about wheatgrass”

Dear Gardener Friends,

It’ s been too long since the last post ! Having just completed a very busy period I’m now in a better position to continue this monthly review.

It has been a few weeks since we introduced Wheatgrass Juice at The Spa at Mount Falcon. We’re growing the grass from seeds using Living Green compost ( a certified Organic compost made in Co. Donegal ) in the onsite poly tunnels. Fresh grass is delivered to The Spa each week where the team there juice the blades of grass to produce this elixir of life.

The health benefits of wheat-grass juice include:

~it is a powerful detoxifier
~it contains plenty of extra enzymes that help our own body enzymes to work better.
~it increases the body’s red blood-cell count and lowers blood pressure.
~it brings oxygen to the blood due to the chlorophyll it contains. Great for after a workout!
~it promotes youthfulness!

The ideal time to consume the Wheat Grass Juice is shortly after exercising.

For more information on the benefits, you can go on to:

Wheat-grass juice is available at The Spa at Mount Falcon Estate for just €4 a shot.

Meanwhile… In the “Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon”, harvests are plentiful ! We have our Pink Garlic for the year as well as bulbs to plant for autumn and seeds which we will save later on in the year. July is the month where a lot of produce is starting to come up such as yellow and round courgettes, purple French Beans, kale, scallions, colored radishes, colored carrots, beetroots, mini turnips, mini leeks, micro leaves and micro herbs. We also have plenty of edible flowers to garnish dishes designed by Philippe Farineau and his team for The Kitchen Restaurant at Mount Falcon.

The Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon is online too so you can follow me on Twitter @alexlavarde, for updates and pictures of the garden and its produce.

The bee hives are doing great, busy bees are bringing in pollen and nectar and making lots of honey! If everything goes to plan, we should have a good crop of honey and honey combs as well in the coming months !

Any of your comments or any questions you may wish to ask are welcome.

To your fork and enjoy !!!

Alex Lavarde, Head Gardener.

Chers amis jardiniers,

Cela fait trop lontptemps depuis mon dernier bulletin, mais je suis de retour pour une revue mensuelle.
Depuis quelques semaines, nous avons introduit le jus d’herbe de ble au Spa a Mount Falcon. Nous faisons pousser l’herbe a partir de graines de ble dans la serre en utilisant un terreau certifie bio. L’herbe fraiche est livree chaque semaine au Spa ou l’equipe extrait le jus d’herbe pour produire l’elixir de vie.
En effet, le jus d’herbe de ble possede de nombreuses qualites et benefices tel que:
~etre un puissant detoxifiant.
~contenir des enzymes capables d aider nos propres enzymes a etre plus performantes.
~augmenter le nombres de globules rouges et reduire la pression sanguine.
~apporter de l’oxygene au sang du a la chlorophylle qu’il contient. Parfait apres l’exercice physique.
~promouvoir la jeunesse du corps.
Son utilisation est particulierement interessante pour les personnes faisant du fitness ou autres activites.
Il y a de multidudes d’autres benefices pour la sante que ce soit par utilisation interne (jus) ou externe (application cutanee). Pour plus d;informations, allez sur: http://hippocratesinst.org/wheatgrass/benefits-of-wheatgrass . Ok c’est en Anglais, mais de nos jours Internet fait quasiment tout pour nous… Dont les traductions.

Pendant ce temps… Au “Potager a Mount Falcon”, les recoltes sont abondantes… Nous avons notre Ail Rose pour l’annee, ainsi qu’assez de cailleux pour notre plantation a l’Automne, sans oublier les graines d’Ail Rose que nous allons recolter plus tard. Juillet est un mois ou les produits du jardin commencent a se faire nombreux, nous trouvons: courgettes jaunes et rondes, haricots (verts) violets, kale, oignion de salade, radis multicolores, bettraves et carottes multicolores, mini navet, mini poireaux, micro salades, differents fleurs et des herbes pour garnir les assiettes confectionnees par Philippe Farineau et son equipe.
Le jardin est sur la toile egalement, vous pouvez me suivre sur Twiter @alexlavarde, pour voir l’evolution du jardin et des produits en photos.

Les ruches se portent tres bien, les abeilles sont tres occupees a recolter le pollen and nectar des environs pour produire le miel. Si tout se passe bien, nous devrions avoir une recolte interessante de miel ainsi ques des rayons de miel purs.

Commentaires et questions sont les bienvenus.

A vos fourchettes et Bon Appetit!

Alex Lavarde, Jardinier

Posted in The Kitchen Garden at Mount Falcon | Leave a comment