13 December 2015, Sunday
By Bryan T. Smyth
In The Ballymaloe Grainstore this this evening at 6pm Rachel Allen will be launching a photographic book depicting a day in the life at Ballymaloe House.
Ballymaloe, A Day in the Life is a labour of love, choreographed by long-term staff member Daphne Spillane, Daphne sought to acknowledge the loyalty and long term service of members of staff have worked at Ballymaloe House over the year, 40 and 50 years for some. A day was chosen, Wednesday 24th June, photographer Joleen Cronin was booked, and the staff informed and with the help of artist Richie Scott and graphic designer Alan O’Shea, Daphne published this beautiful insight to behind the scenes at Ballymaloe House.
Mrs Myrtle Allen celebrated her 90th birthday in 2014 and this was 50 years after placing her “Dine in a country house” advertisement in the Cork Examiner (May 1964). Daphne dedicates this book to all the staff that has been part of The Allen family journey and says “Mrs Allen is a woman of great foresight and an incredible boss; she created a safe and happy working environment that many staff have enjoyed for many years and continue to enjoy”.
Mrs Allen’s philosophy has always been simple, as she told the Wall Street Journal aged 91 in 2015 “serving guests simple Irish food made with our farm’s produce in my home seemed logical”. As Ballymaloe expanded and the reputation of the family passion and talent for producing good food and offering great hospitality grew, the Allen’s began to rely on local families to help them. Some of these local helpers were just out of school and many of these neighbours continue to work at Ballymaloe House, having spent the last 20, 30 and for some, over 40 years loyally serving with the Allen family.
“Ballymaloe, A day in the Life” is a creative photographic peek into behind the scenes at Ballymaloe House on a regular day. From dawn to dusk, as the day progresses, it illustrates the pictorial story of the many areas within the estate working together with the mutual objective to maintain the simple Ballymaloe magic of Mrs Allen’s philosophy.
“We first employed Daphne Beamish (now Spillane) as a young Receptionist in 1986. We congratulate Daphne for producing this book and on behalf our family we appreciate this opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work and loyal support shown by our staff, without this extended family, Ballymaloe House could never have arrived at where it is today” Hazel Allen, Manager of Ballymaloe House.
Hardback copies of ‘Ballymaloe, A Day in the Life’ will be available on the night for €25 each. All are welcome to the book launch.