Posted on December 02 2016
By Carleton Varney
Special to the Daily News
As many of you may know, I often spend a bit of the summer in Ireland, as I did recently during the waning of the tourist season. Of all the places in the world that offer impossibly green fields, meandering cows and pedigreed horses, there is only one Ireland.
No other place in the world is comparable. I have heard New Zealand comes close because the terrain is similar, but the climate is a tad less filled with soft rain and rainbow-filled skies. The year might have been an exception, as I experienced during my visit across the pond, when there were just two rainy days in seven weeks. The Irish breezes were soft and cool — and so reminiscent of summer in Southampton. Harbor Springs, move over.
There are so many other places that answer the call for the traveler in July and August. It’s not too early to begin planning a trip to Ireland next year.
You’ll find the country filled with delights for the home, from carpets hand-woven in Connemara to silver crafted in Newbridge. European and American connoisseurs of silver have been Newbridge fans for generations. Did you know that famous Sheffield silver is actually fabricated in Newbridge? Surf the web for “Newbridge silver” and you’ll see the variety of pieces that can adorn your home, as well as lovely jewelry. You have a treat awaiting you.
Ireland also is the land of pine, and pine kitchens are without a doubt my favorite as they are so homey, clean and friendly. I find so many of the kitchens today to be very laboratory-looking. Cold and functional they are. But I prefer comfortable and cozy. When you visit Ireland, you will find in most Irish homes an open pine hutch, which is part of the country’s heritage.
The Irish hutch is a catchall for every accoutrement. You might see on the shelves a pepper mill, a few plates (generally blue and white), along with some hanging cups and a milk jug. Other items might be books, recipes or boxes filled with candy, hidden high from the children.
The Irish hutch is not only a family heirloom but also a collectible for antique dealers. During my recent visit to the Emerald Isle, I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Royal Dublin Society during the Irish Antique Dealers Fair. The event always features plenty of Irish pine pieces looking for a new home where they’ll enjoy pride of place in a dining or living room.
Keep an eye out for a hutch of your own at local antique shops and auctions, and you can enjoy a little bit of Ireland in your own space.