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In Praise Of The Super Food Watercress

For centuries watercress was hailed and indeed annually confirmed the arrival of Ireland’s spring season, with rural people in particular collecting bunches of it to consume as part of their evening repast, believing that it would “clear the blood”.  As a small boy in the 50’s, on Sundays, myself and my uncle Bill would make the walk of some three miles to collect this tasty peppery super-food from a fast locally flowing clear stream.

Although not a medical practitioner myself, watercress I was informed was rich in iron, vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin C, E and A). Back then, this incredibly versatile readily available free plant was packed raw into my home-made brown bread sandwiches, as a salad for school lunch breaks, and used in my home to make the occasional soup and sauce.

Today food science experts (which I repeat, I am not) talk about this herb reducing the risk of bladder, colon and rectum cancers, while also preventing breast cancer cells developing. Fact or fiction; most certainly watercress is being seriously scientifically investigated for its anti-cancer properties. Watercress juice is a natural antibiotic, and if applied to the skin, many claim it clears up spots, eczema, psoriasis and when eaten can speed up body detoxification, while relieving stomach upsets, respiratory problems and urinary tract infections. It is also suggested that uncooked watercress is a leading food source of quercetin, inhibiting xanthine oxidase, the enzyme that is responsible for converting purines into uric acid, thus placing watercress into a class of food suitable for those who suffer from painful gout.

The ancient Greek philosopher, historian, soldier and mercenary Xenophon (430–354 BC) insisted his soldiers eat specifically watercress “for vigour” before going into battle believing it could increase their mental powers. Hippocrates of Kos (460-370 BC) one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine and indeed referred to as the “Father of Modern Medicine”, set up his first hospital on the Greek island of Kos, beside a spring thus enabled him access to a continuous supply of watercress with which to treat patients.

The English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper (1616 -1654) in his book “Complete Herbal” (1653) wrote “Watercress pottage is a good remedy to cleanse the blood in spring and consume the gross humours winter hath left behind”.  So too can be found references to this super-food, watercress, in early Irish manuscripts. Watercress supposedly enabled St. Brendan to live to reach the ripe old age of 180, while Irish monks appear to have survived on it for long periods of time, referring to it as “the pure food of wise men”.

Then inevitable came the contamination scare in the 1970’s / 1980’s. Since watercress grows in streams inhabited by water snails; these snails can carry a nasty parasite known as liver fluke, spread by the run off from cattle and sheep and washed into our streams and rivers. Droplets of water and these tiny snails, who cling unto watercress leaves, can pass-on this parasite to humans.

Of course the best way to make sure you don’t contract this parasite is to blanch your watercress briefly at high temperature. In undertaking this most simple of exercises, the threat of liver fluke parasite is eradicated. Perhaps also the introduction and ready availability of lettuce all year round was considered to be now less of a food risk and watercress went mostly forgotten.

Over recent years watercress is once again back on the menu and thankfully sold commercially through our supermarkets here in Thurles and elsewhere. But here is a test, grab four slices of low-G.I. brown bread (Available most days in Thurles Supermarkets) made with linseed, jumbo oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, then make two sandwiches filled with red cheddar cheese and strong helpings of watercress. Once lightly toasted and consumed, I dare you to come back and tell me you did not get a feeling of wellness and vigour, after your simple delicious meal.

Do any farmers grow watercress in Co. Tipperary; I don’t believe so. Perhaps such a happening could be a future addition to the home of excellent food production, while offering at least some limited rural employment.


Parkers Restaurant, Holycross, Damaged By Fire


Parker’s Restaurant, Holycross, Thurles.

Fire broke out early this morning at the well established, busy Parker’s Restaurant, situated in Holycross, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Management of the restaurant, which is a firm favourite of both local people and visiting tourists to Holycross, are unable today to confirm on how the blaze actually started, which caused serious internal damage to the building.

A member of staff arriving on duty this morning is understood to have raised the alarm and nobody is understood, thankfully, to have been hurt as a direct result of the fire.

On their Facebook today Parker’s Restaurant report the following entry, “It is with great sadness that we have to inform you our restaurant will remain closed until further notice due to fire damage. Thankfully no one was hurt in a fire that broke out in the early hours of this morning, however a lot of internal damage has been done.”

Parkers Restaurant have apologies for any inconvenience caused and ask that they be contacted on Moblie Tel. No 087-4417218 with regard to all future bookings and enquiries.


Aherlow House Hotel Tipperary Closed With Job Loses

AherlowAuburn Hotels (Aherlow) Limited, Aherlow, Co. Tipperary has announced, with great regret, that it has been obliged to cease trading as Aherlow House Hotel, with effect from the 9th February 2016.

The scenic hotel has surrendered possession of the hotel premises to the Receiver of Aherlow House Hotel Ltd, Mr Costelloe of Messrs Grant Thornton’s, Limerick office, with immediate effect.

Auburn Hotels (Aherlow) Limited had been in negotiations with the receiver of the hotel over an extended period with regard to the future of the property and in the expectation that it could remain operating the premises, having envisaged that bookings could be taken for functions for dates into the future.

It is now understood that the receiver intends to place the hotel for sale on the open market and that the present lease granted will not be renewed or extended; leaving the company with no option but to cease trading with immediate effect.

Some 25 employment contracts held by the hotels staff have been now terminated and the hotel will not itself be in a position to carry through bookings already confirmed. The hotel is understood to have in excess of 40 weddings and other functions confirmed for the year ahead, but say it will not be in a position to meet future commitments. However the Receiver has requested full particulars of all bookings for weddings and functions to be furnished to them, together with full particulars of all staff currently employed. Same information will be passed on to all / any interested future purchasers.
Dundrum Hse Functions booked to take place in the immediate future at Aherlow House Hotel have now been accommodated at other venues including Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir and at the Clonmel Park Hotel, some 25km to 43km distance from the Aherlow venue.

Dundrum House Hotel

Fears are also growing for the immediate future of the wonderful Dundrum House Hotel, in Dundrum Co. Tipperary, situated some 28km from Aherlow House, where 110 employees have been given notice that their place of employment may also close within a month unless a new buyer can be located.

The loss of both superb Tipperary hotel venues are seen as a massive economic blow to the over all future of tourism in Co. Tipperary, particularly through attendance at numerous visitor centres, museums and the wider county’s rural economy.

Such job losses are not expected to feature on any Irish TV channels, unlike the loss of 140 jobs in Cleary’s department store in O’Connell Street, Dublin. Tipperary after all is only a jobless region somewhere in a long forgotten ‘Rural Ireland’.


New Years Eve Charity Gala Ball – Anner Hotel

New-year-ballA New Year’s Eve Charity Gala Ball, to be held in the Anner Hotel here in Thurles on tomorrow night, may be the ideal opportunity for you to gather a few friends and family and “Ring in the New Year” in style and luxury.”

It may also be that perfect opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to ‘Her Indoors’ for having slaved over Christmas Day festivities.

This ‘Black Tie’ event will commence with drinks and a Jazz Reception; same ‘kicking off’ around 7:00pm.

This official welcome will be then followed by a ‘Banquet Dinner’ complete with an opportunity to dance into the early hours courtesy of the sweet sounds emitted by “Supernova” (Latter widely acclaimed as the ‘Irish Wedding Band of the Year in 2014.’).

Also expect a spectacular ‘Midnight Fanfare’ on the night, which will then continue to the sound of Disco Music.

Tickets for this overall event cost €50 and same are available from the Anner Hotel Tel: (0504)-21799 or by contacting Mobile No. (087) 9774725.

All proceeds from this New Year’s spectacular celebration will go to benefit a recent tragically bereaved Thurles family.


Lidl Ireland Recall Deluxe Crayfish Soup

soupSupermarket giants Lidl Ireland have recalled all batches of their product labelled ‘Deluxe Crayfish Soup with Saffron’. The recalling of this product is due to the possible presence of harmful bacteria.

The country of origin of this product is understood to be the Netherlands. (Click on image shown left to magnify.)

Lidl Ireland has today issued in-store notices requesting that all customers who may have purchased this product should not consume it, but instead return it to any Lidl store.

Five Lidl Ireland outlets exist presently in Co. Tipperary situated at; Abbey Rd, Thurles, Co.  Tipperary – Tel: (0504) 29205; Cahir Road, Ashwellslot, Co. Tipperary – Tel: (062) 62326; Dublin Road, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary – Tel: (067) 43198; Davis Rd, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary – Tel: (052) 612 6679 and Bank Place, Tipperary Town – Tel: (062) 31060.

Customers can also contact Lidl Ireland Customer Services on Tel: 1800 347 447 should they have any further queries.