Selling point

Christian Deevy with his bird and insect boxes at the Gort Sunday Market. Photo: Hany Marzouk.
Christian Deevy with his bird and insect boxes at the Gort Sunday Market. Photo: Hany Marzouk.

Lifestyle – Gort has a new community market that features everything from handcrafted bows and arrows to herbal remedies, reflecting the diverse range of creative people living locally. Judy Murphy paid it a visit.

The gods were smiling on Sunday, when Gort’s monthly Community Market took place in the spacious beer garden of Hennelly’s pub.  After two days of rain, Sunday was glorious, and the beer garden was buzzing with activity.

The variety of stalls at this market which takes place on the second Sunday of every month reflects the diverse range of creative people living locally. Beautifully made bows and arrows sit comfortably with herbal remedies for varicose veins and muscular problems. Add in colourful crocheted items, earrings, paintings, writing paper and cards made from recycled paper, handcrafted wooden items and cuddly toys – and it’s a mere selection of what’s available.

Food-wise there are crepes, roasted chestnuts, smoothies and apple punch, all served to the sound of live bluegrass music from the Fake McCoys.

The Community Market is the brainchild of Sarah Hennelly and Sibylle Leon who wanted to provide a community space to showcase the depth of local talent – all the stallholders are from nearby.

Sarah is an acupuncturist who also does energy healing and the pub belongs to her dad, who has allowed them to use the beer garden. Sibylle is a life coach who also works for technology company Apple from her home in South Galway.

“This is my space,” says German-born Sibyle who has lived most of her life in Galway. She’s not referring to the beer garden, but to the creative aura of the area.

“There are so many amazing and talented people living around here. Sarah and I were chatting about that one day, saying it was a shame they didn’t know each other. Really, the market was a ruse to get all our friends together!”

The first gathering took place in July, and has expanded since then with new people joining. It’s continuing to grow, according to Sibylle.

Gort already has a farmers’ market, which takes place on Fridays at the Square and has excellent produce, they say. But there’s traffic all round, so it’s more a place to do business than to chill out, unlike Hennelly’s beer garden which is enclosed, partially roofed and with seating.  Sunday was nippy, so there was a brazier with a fire for anyone needing to warm up – not to mention coffees and non-alcoholic punch.

The only charge stall-holders have to pay is €5 a month to cover the cost of insurance. And the participants are delighted with the venture, with every single one of them emphasising “the great atmosphere”.

Ankelica Rost, who lives three miles from Gort, is busy knitting a sock at her stall where goods on sale include apple sauces and blackberry jams alongside more unusual peach and cherry preserves.

These come from her own peach and cherry trees – which she grows in a polytunnel on her smallholding. And she has containers of dried herbs and calendula oil too, again from her garden. The calendula oil is mixed with olive oil as a treatment for varicose veins.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.