The Brasscock feels the project outlined below is a super idea and well worthy of interest and support and indeed participation.

On Wednesday, 24th September at 6.30pm, Waterford City Council Central Library will be the venue for the inaugural meeting of the Waterford Food Producer’s Network.  The group will meet on the last Wednesday of each month and aims to encourage and facilitate back-garden, allotment and community-based food production in Waterford city and county. 

The network is being established by local author and Irish Times contributor Michael Kelly who also runs courses on growing/rearing food in Dunmore East.  “People are mad keen to get involved in producing their own food but often don’t know where to start,” says Kelly.  “The aim of this network is to create a community of growers and to provide a forum where like-minded people can get together to listen to experts on food production and share information and ideas.”

Each month the group will hear a talk on some area of food production (e.g. what vegetables to grow and when; keeping hens, pigs or bees; growing tomatoes; making compost, milking a goat etc) or food issues (e.g. slow food, sustainability, the impact of food on climate etc).  There will also be more informal discussions and the network will facilitate a “virtual” marketplace where members can barter excess produce. 

The monthly meeting of the network is free and open to food producers at all levels, i.e. to people with lots of land and none; from the person interested in growing some herbs on a balcony to self-sufficient smallholders and commercial organic growers.  There are plans for a web-based forum for members as well as ad-hoc events, garden visits and training courses.

The inaugural meeting will focus on establishing what members want from the network and the formation of an enthusiastic steering group.  The network also wants to hear from expert speakers who are interested in addressing the group, and in particular an organic vegetable expert who would commit to providing a monthly slot on what to grow in the month ahead. 

“People are worried about the price of food and food quality,” says Kelly, “and there is unprecedented interest in producing organic food in back gardens and allotments.  Producing your own food is a lifestyle choice that makes you feel more vibrant, alive and connected with your community and environment.” If you are interested in attending please email or call 087 9871080.  Michael Kelly’s blog on food and self-sufficiency, Tales from the Home Farm is at

Bearing Fruit

Here’s hoping this scheme/project takes root! A suggestion from the Brasscock fella is that those who are not inclined to do ‘the good-life’ thing by rolling up their sleeves themselves or get dug in to welly stuff might consider the option of leasing their back/side gardens for the purpose to those who would want to if only they could. The rent could be by way of a supply of produce grown in their garden. Maybe an energetic enthusiast could ‘corne’r a whole area of an estate of gardens. Gee, I can see this whole thing growing and growing and in the goodness of time bearing bountiful fruit (and veg).

What sounds

Now we bring you another report from the wonderful WHAT programme of music. The column is a long time enthusiast and supporter of their pioneering work at the WRH. The Waterford Healing Arts Trust’s Healing Sounds music programme presented a live performance by Marian and Áine Mangaoang in Waterford Regional Hospital, on 7th April last for the benefit of patients, staff and visitors.

Marian Mangaoang started playing violin at the age of seven. She has studied in Waterford Institute of Technology Music School and Cork School of Music. She was a recipient of a Musical Instrument Fund of Ireland (MIFI) violin in 2003 and played on a Colin Mezin violin for three years. She is now a student at University City of Cork (UCC) where she studies languages and religions. 

Marian’s sister, Áine, tried many different instruments from piano, flute and trumpet to glockenspiel, before settling on violin at the age of 14. She went on to study Music and Art History in UCC and was awarded a B.A. in 2006. She continued her studies in music at UCC, performing live using the violin with a local group ‘Eachtra’ and specializing in 20th century avant-garde composers and Javanese gamelan ensemble.

She was awarded a B.MUS in 2007. She recently toured with her side-project, pop outfit ‘Hooray for Humans’, who released their debut album in October 2007. The album can be bought from all good music stores.

Marian and Áine performed a variety of different music in the foyer of Waterford Regional Hospital, their set ranged from classical and Traditional Irish to Broadway Theatre music. This was followed by performances in Surgical 1 and Surgical 2 wards.

Healing Sounds aims to provide an enjoyable diversion for patients, staff and visitors to the hospital through a programme of high quality live music performances.

What a session

Another enthusiast out this way is the very lively, charming and pleasant new manager of the Brasscock – Joe Phelan. Not long after his appointment he had a fresh look at the music/entertainment programme and quickly set about organising traditional sessions for Wednesday night. This week will see the third night in the series which are proving very popular with audiences and fellow musicians alike which has a ‘failte roimh gach einne’ policy. So why not give yourself a treat and come along or join in if you are a ‘serious seisiun person’. Well done Joe P!

What a saint

Last week we learned that the Deise tribe were ex-Tara folk coming down from the county Meath. So surprise, surprise so did the county’s patron saint.

I know a number of people named Odran but I didn’t realise until recently that this name is the Irish for Otteran. So ce he an Odran seo?

St. Otteran, an abbot from Meath, is the principal patron of the Diocese of Waterford, though it is doubtful whether or not he had been Bishop to that See. Otteran, a descendant of Conall Gulban, is usually identified with St. Ordan who preceded Colum Cille in Iona. There has been much unnecessary discussion as to the identity of this Otteran. But the Irish Martyrologies tell us plainly enough that the saint of that name honoured on October 27th was a monk of Hy, a kinsman of St. Columba and that he worked in Iona evangelising the people of Scotland.

Otteran’s death is recorded as being in 548 AD and his grave was greatly revered in Iona. It is said that he was the first person to be buried in the monastic cemetery of the Norsemen, whither they carried their dead chieftains and great men for burial from all parts of Europe.

The Vikings chose Otteran, the titular guardian of their ancestors’ ashes, as patron of the city of Waterford in 1096. Later he was chosen as patron of the Diocese.

Killotteran Parish, west of Waterford City, derives its name from the townland on which stood an ancient Church. The name itself is ecclesiastical, signifying the Church of Odran, or Otteran as it is more commonly Anglicised. Next week we will tell you a little about Waterford’s other two major saints – St Declan and St Carthage.