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Raise a cup of tea to Kilternan Country Market as it celebrates 50 years in business

 

Long before we started buying olives and artisan cheeses at farmers’ markets, there was Kilternan. Fifty years ago, the Kilternan Country Market was started by a committee, and founder member Olive Pearce has been there since day one. As we speak, the shelves and tables are being stacked with jam and honey and potted plants, punnets of raspberries and baskets of warm bread, gluten-free caramel brownies and blueberry slices.

“We started in 1964 following a meeting organised by Michael Birmingham. He was an amazing man – he had the inspiration, the enthusiasm, the focus and the drive to push us. We formed the first committee after that – and now I’m the only one left.”

The first clubhouse was built by Birmingham and Pierce’s father-in-law Joe Pierce, a carpenter, using recycled timber from Trinity College and a “bucket of crooked nails”. The current building stands near the original location, opposite The Golden Ball pub on the Enniskerry Road, and is owned by a trust.

It is unlike a farmers’ market in many ways – the most essential being that all produce is grown, farmed and prepared within an eight-mile radius. Also, there is no branding of products, aside from a number for traceability.

Olive Pierce tells me of her great friend Phyllis Roe, with whom she reared, plucked and sold organic chickens for 34 years, something the market is famous for. “Phyllis died about eight years ago, and after that I stopped rearing the chickens. Now another lady does it for us. It’s hard to think of all that have gone before me. It can sometimes make you feel sad.”

The market is famed for its garden-grown flowers, sold from a table manned by Bernadette Griffin, another long-standing member: “The wallflowers in spring walk out of here, because people remember them from their childhood.” Gentility takes a back seat however when to comes to scoring one of the sought-after bouquets or organic chickens. Wicker baskets and elbows at the ready.

The market runs from 10am to noon every Saturday