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Whether it's dinners, salads or drinks – herbs can add flavour and colour to almost any meal.

Even if you are not a top chef, some well-chosen herbs and edible flowers can make any meal special. Nasturtiums are great in salads, both the flowers and leaves are peppery to the taste.

The seed pods can be used like capers and are delicious fried in butter with fish.

Pansies and violas are often candied but can be added to sweet and savoury dishes. Calendula, known as poor man's saffron, has long been used to add a yellow colour to food. As an addition to a salad, it is tasty and colourful.

Herbs are so versatile, with mint topping my list! Chop it up and add to natural yoghurt, some garlic, cayenne pepper and cumin and you have a delicious mint dip.

Add to couscous to give it a fresh lift. Of course, with lime, it is the basis of a mojito! Mint comes in many forms, spearmint and peppermint are the old favourites but try chocolate mint, apple mint, strawberry and pineapple mint for subtle flavours. Bear in mind that mint can take over the garden, and perhaps grow it in a pot. Divide regularly to keep young tasty growth abundant. For me, the next most used herb would be parsley.

I never seem to have enough. I prefer the flat-leaved parsley as it does not have such a rough texture, and a better flavour, in my opinion.

Used in combination with coriander use it in salsas, Moroccan cooking and Mexican dishes. Coriander and parsley in scrambled eggs are delicious! Parsley likes damp shady conditions and is in danger of going to seed in this warm weather. Coriander, likewise, likes shade, but goes to seed easily, and is best sown at regular intervals.

A real taste of summer is tarragon- I always forget about it until it finally shows itself quite a while after the winter. It is used in pickling, often with fennel or dill, and is delicious in salad dressings. Tarragon and chicken are a match sublime! Tarragon likes deep rich, moist soil, and needs to be protected from slugs when it first appears.

It also detests waterlogged soil. Tarragon, along with chervil and dill are well-known 'French ‘fines herbs', which are often used together in light egg and fish dishes. Lovage is another favourite- it is not that popular here but is used extensively in France and Holland. It tastes like a combination of parsley and celery and is a great addition to soups and Italian sauces.

Lovage grows into a large plant, about five feet tall, so give it space! Both it and fennel, are extremely hardy and are useful as shelter-giving plants.

One herb which everyone associates with summer is basil… Who doesn't love the smell of it? Caprese salad is surely a summer treat.
Many people ask me why they can't grow basil, but it is a difficult plant to keep going. If the weather was always as it has been these past few weeks we would be fine! Basil does not like rain, humidity or temperature fluctuations. When growing from seed it is prone to damping off, as well as mildew and rotting.

Unfortunately, unless you have a warm dry conservatory or glasshouse, growing basil is not really an option… though we can hope this weather lasts all summer…

Rosemary, sage and marjoram are easy herbs to grow, and a must if you enjoy Italian cuisine.

To ensure sweetness of flavour, keep cutting your herbs, even if you are not using them. Often, once the plant gets woody, it tends towards bitterness. Basal cuttings can be taken in late summer from woody plants for rooting, they are generally very successful. Herbs such as parsley, chives and fennel can easily be split in early autumn or late spring.

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O’Connor’s college concert a resounding successAccordion maestro Liam O’Connor does not do things by halves.

He proved it again last Thursday night when he hosted his ninth ‘Liam O’Connor Concert with St Brendan’s College Students’ in the school’s chapel. While the concert was always about […]

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He proved it again last Thursday night when he hosted his ninth ‘Liam O’Connor Concert with St Brendan’s College Students’ in the school’s chapel.

While the concert was always about showcasing the students’ talents as musicians and singers, the guest list would not have looked out of place on Ryan Tubridy’s Late Late Show on RTÉ One.

The GAA world was represented by former Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody, Kerry stars and past students of St Brendan’s Dara Moynihan, David Clifford and Gavin White.

Of course, legendary RTÉ sports commentator Marty Morrissey was on hand to get the best responses out of the sporting stars.

O’Connor and his musical children Saoirse, Oisín, and Cillian who is a student of the college, weren’t even the top musical bill on the night.

That honour went to Paddy Casey.

“Casey royally entertained one and all, and our surprise guest, the RTÉ broadcaster Marty Morrissey, enthralled us with his views on Kerry footballers Dara Moynihan, Gavin White and David Clifford,” Liam told the Killarney Advertiser.

“A night of unbelievable synergies was completed with an abundance of local talent. It was a truly unique night of star talent that will live on in the memories of everyone who was there.”

Liam also paid special tribute to the college Principal Seán Coffey and music teachers Mish O’Donoghue and Niamh O’Connell for their colossal support.

“The students themselves were indeed amazing, with the energy they brought to their singing, dancing and playing music. Their commitment to the event was such that they generously gave up their lunch hours to help make it all work,” he added.

The success of the concert rounded off a busy year for the international-renowned accordion champion that included a high-energy appearance at Electric Picnic and an equally lauded performance with the Celtic Tenors at the rugby clash between Munster and world champions South Africa at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork.

He and his son Oisín also made history in November when they became the first father and son pair to play both football and music at Croke Park on the same day.

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Marie was “lovely, unassuming lady”

By Sean Moriarty Tributes have been paid to Marie Murphy of Aughacureen, who died in tragic circumstances on November 30. Marie was a member of the well known Murphy business […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Tributes have been paid to Marie Murphy of Aughacureen, who died in tragic circumstances on November 30.

Marie was a member of the well known Murphy business family in Killarney – her brother runs KWD Recycling and she was heavily involved in the business.

She was best known for involvement in the local GAA both as a county star and a member of Fossa GAA Club.

She was a third generation Kerry footballer, her grandfather Con and father John all played football for Kerry.

She was extremely proud of her niece Abbie, her brother Seán’s daughter, when she became the fourth generation Murphy to play for Kerry.

Marie played for Kerry in 1976 and re-joined Fossa GAA Club in 2010 when the ladies’ side of the club was re-formed.

She acted as a mentor for current group of ladies.

Back in 2019 when Fossa GAA Club published a book to mark its 50th anniversary she was one of the leading lights on that committee.

This year, when the club held its Night of Legends to raise funds for a new dressing room for the ladies’ club, Marie was one of the guests of honour at the INEC event and was interviewed on the stage in front of a capacity audience.

Only a few weeks ago she was one of the many club members who helped organise the Fossa Golf Classic and acted as official photographer for that event.

“The club is numb with sadness,” said Fossa GAA chairman Dermot Clifford. “She was a loyal member and very proud of the club. Our thoughts are with her family. A lovely, unassuming lady who will be sorely missed.”

Marie will be sadly missed by her brothers Con, Seamus and Seán, sisters-in-law Breda, Gennie and Anna, her nieces Shauna, Amy, Kate and Abigail, nephews John, Jack, Luke, aunties Mairead and Maura, cousins, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends.

She was laid to rest at Old Aghadoe Cemetery on Monday following Requiem Mass at The Prince of Peace Church, Fossa.

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