It’s Easy to Shop Local and Shop Last-Minute for Christmas in Ballyhoura

Christmas Day is only a few sleeps away, but if you’re still looking for that last-minute gift or some final bits of food and drink shopping, Ballyhoura Country has definitely got you covered.

With an ever-growing reputation as a veritable nature’s larder, Ballyhoura’s delicious range of local artisan food and drink is ideal for doing a last-minute stocking up of the fridge and cupboards. Local suppliers have everything from award-winning mulled apple juice to delectable artisan chocolate to delicious Christmas hampers to local organic, chemical-free fresh vegetables. You can also give a gift voucher from a local eatery or hostelry; look for local when shopping for products, services and experiences, and feel all the better for knowing you’ve supported a local business.

Christmas is a time for indulging, but you can easily put the best of fresh, organic, local vegetables on the dining table for the big day. You can find many of the local producers and crafts makers at one of the Christmas Markets this coming weekend or buy directly.

Urban Co-Op in Ballysimon features suppliers, farmers and local artisan small-scale producers who stock a range of certified organic fruit, vegetables, wholefoods, cheese and wine, as well as a great selection of locally grown/sourced produce - from quality suppliers in and around Co Limerick. Their last-minute Food & Craft Fair is on this Sunday 19th Dec from 11am until 3:30pm. They’re open 7 days and till 3pm on Christmas Eve, with lots of free parking, wheelchair accessible.

Ballyneety Chrismas Market hosted by the Ballyneety Community Hub is taking place at The Community Hub on Sunday, 19th December from 3pm to 7pm. Come and enjoy the festive atmosphere, live music mulled wine & mince pies with lots of treats in store for all the family. Santa will also stop by and say hello!

Slí Eile Farm in Churchtown, Co Cork– will have their last market this Saturday from 10am-2pm and the The Killavullen Farmers' Market - a community market set up at Nano Nagle Birthplace will take place this Saturday from 12pm - 4pm.

Also Doon Social Farm offers a range of organic fruit & veg, eggs and salads. As well as being a successful 33-acre organic farm, it provides therapeutic services to people in society (especially young people) experiencing social isolation.

Nothing says Christmas more than the spicy smell of mulled, warming drinks, and with their range of festive tipples including Red Mulled Apple Juice (awarded a gold in this year’s Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards), Hot Friskey and Mulled Glazing Syrup, Ballyhoura Apple Farm has the perfect drink for Christmas for your family get-togethers. You can pick any of these up last-minute for your drinks cabinet in-stores around the country.

Still looking for a Christmas pudding or cake? Look no further than Praline Chocolate and Pastry Shop in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, run by award-winning pastry chef, Norma Kelly. From the traditional cakes, puddings and mince pies, Praline also has a range of Christmas desserts from Black Forest Gateau, Belgian Chocolate Fudge Cake to Malteser Cheesecake…and even a Rocky Road Christmas Pudding! Everything is made by hand in the shop. Check out www.praline.ie – they’re open till midday on Christmas Eve.

If you’re still looking for some last-minute gifts, why not give a gift voucher to a local café or restaurant? Ballyhoura is delighted to support Failte Ireland’s campaign encouraging people to support local hospitality businesses this Christmas by buying gift vouchers, and the region is chock-a-block with great locations to choose from. You can of course also support them by dropping in for some lunch or a coffee and pastry as you take a break from the last-minute Christmas shopping!

Newly opened since June 2021, Shannon House Restaurant in Castleconnell, Co Limerick is a dream come true for local chef, John O’Donnell. A warm, friendly, homely coffee shop/café situated in the heart of the beautiful village, with a relaxed country feel to make visitors feel at home. Most of their pastries and bread is made in-house and can be purchased to take home. They are open Mon-Friday 9am-4pm, Saturdays 10am -4pm and also this Sunday (only) 19th Dec from 10am - 4pm.

The Thatch and Thyme in Kildorrery, Co Cork is an intimate restaurant known for its delicious Irish cuisine. From perfectly cooked tomato soup, chicken wraps and beef sandwiches to tasty lemon pie and scones, you can drop in here for a welcome respite from the hectic shopping.

With premises in Ardpatrick, Co. Limerick and Charleville, Co. Cork, the family-run Spruce and Willow offers a taste of Christmas with its delicious homemade (by their very own Pauline!) mince pie and plum pudding with crème anglaise, while its coffee is supplied locally from Badger & Dodo Irish Artisan Coffee Roasters.

Townhouse Café Doneraile is going all out with the seasonal cheer! Alongside breakfast and lunch, they have a fabulously festive 5* Afternoon Tea, and of course you can also purchase a Townhouse Gift Card for your loved one for Christmas (with every gift card purchased you are entered to a draw for Afternoon Tea for two) – www.townhousedoneraile.ie or 022-24897

“If your mother wouldn’t pay for it, don’t expect the customer to” is the fabulous motto which sums up the care taken by family-run O’Callaghan’s Deli & Bakery in Mitchelstown, who have gained a reputation for providing fresh homemade food using locally sourced and whose wide selection of healthy salads, pastries and desserts. Serving breakfast & lunch – open up to and including Christmas Eve: www.ocallaghans.ie

Last-minute local arts & crafts gifts are available too in the Garden Centres throughout the Ballyhoura region:

Rockbarton Garden Centre in Bruff has beautiful Table Centres available which are made with fresh foliage and flowers For anyone wanting to pick up a Christmas tree last-minute, they have a range of different size trees still available and patiently waiting to be brought home to be filled with twinkling lights and baubles!

While in Ahern Nurseries in Kilmallock, their Christmas Boxes are back again and packed with goodies for anyone who loves their garden. From fab solar powered garden gifts, starting at just €8.50 they make an ideal present.

With plenty of last-minute gifts available under €25, Two Green Witches in Doneraile offers a range of organic skin and haircare products and holistic therapies.