Sláinte. Aoife Hammond and Vera Schliebitz celebrate the opening of the Fulacht Fiadh Café at Hamilton’s Castle, Manorhamilton Picture: James Molloy
Manorhamilton’s new community coffee bar and shop, the Fulacht Fiadh Café and Produce Shop was officially launched on Thursday afternoon when a number of local people attended what was a very pleasant inaugural event in the Castle grounds.
The Café, which is a co-operatively run space for both the local community and visitors to the Castle grounds, offers great locally roasted coffee, home baked cakes, sandwiches and soup, and locally sourced produce and goods in their grocer’s shop.
Manorhamilton Castle is a tourism and heritage centre where visitors can learn more about the history of Sir Frederick Hamilton’s 17th century castle and of North Leitrim’s main town.
Meantime the Café project was started by Aoife Hammond, former manager of the Dublin Food Co-op in Dublin and Vera Schliebitz, a chef and baker formerly based in Cork City. Ms. Hammond and Ms. Schliebitz are co-managers.
Both Aoife and Vera moved to the North-West during the pandemic; Aoife is now living in Glenfarne and Vera in Sligo. Both are very excited to be engaging with local people and other independent businesses as part of this new community focused North Leitrim venture.
Vera, who certainly is enthusiastic about the new undertaking, says “Manorhamilton already has a great community and cultural scene with the Bee Park Community Centre, the Farmers Market, the Leitrim Sculpture Centre and the Glens Centre, and we are looking forward to working as part of that community.”
Vera and Aoife are working with Gerry Creamer and the committee at Caislean Hamilton CLG to build a tourism and community hub at Manorhamilton Castle. The crew at the café have been working hard since February renovating the stables where the Café is based, building an outdoor seating area, and setting out plans for the community gardens.
Explaining further what the project is about Aoife sates “we wanted to create an offering that catered for tourists, which includes tours of the castle and rental of electrics bikes, to take in the beautiful and underrated North Leitrim scenery.
“But we also wanted to cater to our local community to create a space for us to meet together safely and work outdoors on our community garden, and when it’s safe to do so, to have a place to have social events, gigs, workshops and talks and most importantly meet over great coffee and delicious food.”
The Café provides a place where shoppers can purchase sustainably sourced local goods. It will provide a social distanced meeting place for the local community and small community groups, and the Café will have a community garden in the grounds growing food for the cafe, local community and for educational purposes.
Local growers and producers who want to sell their goods on the premises will be supported by the Café. They will also directly support growers and producers trading in the Manorhamilton Friday Farmers Market and will encourage collaborative projects.
Meantime the Fulacht Fiadh Café managers express thanks to “Caislean Hamilton CLG, Leitrim County Council and Failte Ireland for supporting us to start up at such a challenging time.”
Aoife and Vera are looking forward to the return of outdoor dining on Monday, June 7. Fulacht Fiadh Café is open from Thursday to Sunday every week from 10am to 4pm.
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