Donal Hayes

Freelance writer based in Kinsale, South of Ireland. Happy to write about anything but happiest writing about place and food.

Sinking at Hangman's Point

On the 24th July 2013, a beautiful 100 year old Tall Ship called the Astrid went up on the rocks off the coast of Kinsale in county Cork. What followed was one of the biggest maritime rescues in the history of the state. Thanks to the actions of the RNLI, other emergency services and local sailors, thirty people were successfully taken off a sinking ship and transferred to safety. But behind the good news story was a personal story of loss – the loss of a beloved ship. The Astrid was owned by
Literary Orphans

Literary Orphans

South of Reen Pier, across the harbour from Castletownshend, the Ordinance Survey map shows Reen village and a burial ground.  Neither is readily visible on this stormy morning.  I cycle further on into the wind and my army surplus cape cracks around me like the sails of an old square rigger.  Grass starts to appear in the centre of the road and I am beginning to get worried when I spot a local woman.  Well, local if you live in Frankfurt.  But she had been living here long enough to be quite a
101 Words

Learning Irish

The flirting came as a surprise as we linked up for the Siege of Ennis. Dancing and weaving, since time began, our eyes and smiles and hearts locked in sunlit shafts in the warm, July, Irish College evening. Later, we kissed my first kiss, at 14. Whatever happened to my only love? Freagra. She is married in Perth, is still beautiful, and every St Patrick’s Day in the club when they play the Siege of Ennis, she has to step outside. She closes her eyes and runs her fingers through your soft curl

Time for the sweet smell of growth again

The spreading of slurry is the first sign of spring for Donal Hayes, and he has learned to love it. Before frogspawn, daffodils, or the red buds of elder, the smell of slurry heralds the start of growth — and I love it We had an au-pair last year from Madrid, called Julia. Her English was poor and it was clear that she had rarely, if ever, left Madrid. She lived in a small apartment with her parents and her sense of personal space was limited. She was completely freaked out by where we lived.

How to make delicious cheese

It’s impossible to buy a gallon of fresh milk from a farmer in West Cork. I live, surrounded by cattle and yet I buy all my milk, homogenised in 2 litre plastic bottles. We buy eggs from the farmer next door and once a year we buy a lamb from further down the road and up the other end we buy sacks of muddy potatoes. Not a carbon hoof print in sight. But trying to buy milk is a game changer. The farmer shakes his head with a ‘well, if it was up to me’ but the risk is too great. Up to a few year
Irish Examiner

Getting in a right pickle with pickles

Donal Hayes is taking the frugal approach to food and is teaching himself preserving — not from foraged or home-grown food — but from the gluts of 39c produce in the local discount supermarket. I always enjoy the start of the year when different food writers and critics make their predictions for the year to come. There were some weird ones out there this year (get ready for fried crickets), boring ones (millet is the new quinoa apparently), and some ‘about time’ ones (ice cream sandwiches f

Cook Christmas dinner for five people forunder €25

No need to get in a sweat over the price of the Christmas dinner. You can feed five people a delicious three-course meal for just under €25. Cork chef Donal Hayes tells how. My niece was born on Christmas Day. I know this because it was the first time I cooked Christmas dinner and her arrival (at slightly more than half the weight of the turkey) rather stole the show. It also stole most of the dinner guests and when we finally sat down it was just my mother, my younger sister and her boyfrien

Oranges make a landscape look more beautiful.

Each day I would walk north along the old Roman roadways – the stone humpbacked bridges and forest paths that have brought pilgrims from Porto for thousands of years.  Limestone flags have been worn down by legions of feet before me.  The road has changed little. Through the vineyards and eucalyptus forests, through the farmyards and bucolic peace, through the North of Portugal in the water-colour wintry sunshine.  The land was devoid of young people – they have left for Brazil and the hope of p

Donal Hayes

Below is a written response to Eastern Trips by Martha Cashman. We had moved to Kristiansund in the autumn of the year and we lived in the fourth house down on the left facing the harbour. My dad had joked that he had a one night stand with a girl from Norway and that it lasted six months. And we never left. Dad said that it wasn’t home until you took the wheels off and that summer we did just that. Mum didn’t say a lot and dad called her his still unravish’d bride of quietness. We lived next
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