‘Summit’ for Special Olympics

Summit for the Weekend

‘Summit for the Weekend’ Marks 10th Anniversary of the Special Olympics World Games in Ireland

Bluebird Care Challenge their Teams to Reach the Summit

Who remembers 2003?  We hosted exotic and far away towns, we have memories that will last forever and we got to know so much more about one of the greatest Irish charities.  Yes, it was the Special Olympics World Games hosted in Ireland 10 years ago.

To mark the occasion Bluebird Care has launched a nationwide fundraising campaign which will see them challenge their Directors, Managers and staff to do ‘summit for the weekend’ all in aid of Special Olympics Ireland.

“14 offices. 14 challenges. One Target. Because no challenge is insurmountable when it comes to the Special Olympics Ireland athletes,” says Eddie O’Toole, Operations Director with Bluebird Care.

“We wanted to mark the 10th anniversary of the World Games in Ireland in some way, and we thought taking on a unique challenge in every corner of Ireland would be a great idea.  So all our local Directors have come on board to spread the great message of Special Olympics Ireland and in doing so, raising much-needed funds. We have mountain climbs, abseils, yacht trips, walks, runs and cycles so something for everyone.”

CEO of Special Olympics Ireland Matt English says the campaign to mark 10 years since the world games has a number of aims.

“We want to reignite that feel-good factor the entire country had in 2003 and in doing so recruiting much-needed volunteers, raising awareness of our sporting work and also motivating people into organising fundraising events.

“The ‘Summit for the Weekend’ campaign ticks all of those boxes.  Bluebird Care are already recruiting volunteers from their network to help at the Ireland Games in Limerick next year. They are also closely aligning themselves with our ethos with their slogan, ‘no challenge is insurmountable.’ This is exactly the mantra of all our 11,000 athletes who power ahead in training, in competition and in representing their club and their country at international events.”

Summit for the Weekend will see each of Bluebird Care’s 18 local offices undertake a sporting challenge over the summer months.  Everyone is invited to get involved and can do so by contacting their local Bluebird Care offices.

A digital campaign has also been launched and the twitter community are being asked to use the hashtag #summit4SOI to raise awareness of their efforts. Bluebird Care will donate 10cent for every tweet including the #summit4SOI.

For more details on the campaign or to get involved in an event in your local area log onto bluebirdcare.ie or specialolympics.ie

Notes to Editors:

For media enquiries contact:

Joanne Sweeney-Burke, Managing Director

Media Box

087-6237373 or Joanne@mediabox.ie

 

Sahra O’Neill, Marketing Communications & Fundraising Director

Special Olympics Ireland

086-8100699 or Sahra.ONeill@specialolympics.ie 

 

Photos by  Conor Ó Mearáin

Captions:

“Doing Summit Special for the Summer” Launching ‘Summit for the Weekend’, a Bluebird Care fundraising campaign for Special Olympics Ireland are Matt English, CEO, Special Olympics Ireland; Eddie O’Toole, Operations Director, Bluebird Care; Fiodhna O’Leary, Blackrock Flyers, Special Olympics Club and Denise O’Leary, Special Olympics Coach and Volunteer.

Food for the Soul: Sneak Preview

This month Chef Gary O’Hanlon and food photographer Harry Weir were busy photographing dishes for our upcoming recipe book, Food for the Soul.

We are delighted to give you a sneak preview of some of those pics.

Gary O’Hanlon reminisces 20 years behind the stove

gazza vm berry compote

It doesn’t actually feel all that long ago that I walked into the kitchen of the Rosapenna Hotel in Downings to start my first proper “paid” job scrubbing pots and prepping vegetables but on paper it’s an awful long time and my oh my have I had ups and downs along the way.
Haven’t we all.
I’ve many fond memories of that first day. Most notable was taking the top off my left thumb whilst mucking about with a little red handled knife slicing through green beans. I soon learnt there was a time and a place for showing off knife skills and it was probably three or four years from that first day. I made the famous Rosapenna Dauphinoise potatoes that day. A recipe i’ve never tweaked to this day and it featured on my Wedding Menu! Gorgeous.  I worked with Lobster for the first time. I ate “green” broccoli!! Yes I know it’s all green but the fact of the matter is none of you grew up in Ramelton at the hands of my Mothers cooking. Homely yes, fancy No!! I met two great guys, Joe & James who’d teach me the ropes and two crazy cats who were a few years ahead of me on the Chef ladder, Vinny & Eugene. You really didn’t want to get on the wrong end of Vinny & Eugene. Two local boys who looked upon the KP’s ( Kitchen Porters, A.K.A. Pot Wallopers) as their personal slaves. Very annoying but great guys deep down and as the years went on became good work colleagues and friends. I experienced butter being added to cooked vegetables, a.k.a. flavour and I got to stuff my face with Black Forrest Gateaux in the Pastry kitchen because I opened a case of cream for Helen the Head Pastry Chef. A job I took on on a daily basis as she hated doing it and I knew I would always be her first stop with any sneaky pieces of cake or desserts that made it back to the kitchen. Plus I figured early on, keep your head down, do what your told, go the extra mile and get yourself to the head of the line and nab the first commis chef job that becomes available because washing pots is 100% the worst job in a kitchen.
Another striking memory from day one was the girls. The dish washing enemy at the opposite end of the kitchen. Two of them, Joanne & Sinead.
As a pot walloper you were always envious of the “easier” cleaner job the girls had. Slotted nicely in beside the starter section they got to help plate up some starters and gulp on orange segments when the boss wasn’t looking. They were right next to the dining room doors so they got all the banter from the waitresses.
To me this was prime location.
I, on the other hand, was at the very back of the kitchen sweating like a pig, miles away from the action aside from the loud barks of Eugene and Vinny as they fired pot after pot at the sink. You only lifted your head to glance inside the next pot in line and within seconds you could determine if it was an easy one or a 20 minute job. Eugene was an evil sod so when he lobbed one beside you chances were it was gonna take some elbow grease.
I walked the length of Downings beach that summer’s night and up the steps that led to the pier road then up Murlog Hill and home to my Auntie’s house and I can safely say I was the happiest man (Boy ) alive.
I’d always dreamed of becoming a Chef. Every man, woman and child i’d meet though would try to talk me out of it but I loved the idea. My first day just confirmed I was right.
The buzz was electric. It was loud, fast paced, controlled, precise, demanding and fun. I was Hooked on Food.
Back to the girls!!
Joanne & Sinead. Two wee bossy boots. Didn’t have a soft spot for a Ramelton boy at all at all. A Rival parish and all that but I was well able for the two of them.
Sinead was the sarcastic, dry witted one who didn’t give an inch.
Joanne the scarier and more bossy of the two but like Sinead, I wasn’t overly worried. I’d an inner confidence but I knew my place so I only dared pop over to their section after a few days/weeks until they eventually gave up trying to break me down and get on with the fact that I was going nowhere and we were all stuck there for the summer.
As it turned out, we did many many summers there together.
As the years passed we went our separate ways and on to different colleges.
We’d meet again though.
By then Joanne had experienced an incredible high with the birth of her beautiful baby girl Sophie and not long after the death of the very charismatic Henry. Sommelier of the Rosapenna, Joanne’s boyfriend and wee Sophie’s Daddy. An awful experience for anyone to have to deal with, let alone a young mother with her whole life in front of her.
99% of us would not have coped but Joanne happens to be in the one percentile!
My career brought me to Galway and a Head Chef Position at the tender age of 19.
I needed help though and low and behold who just happened to be living in the same estate only smart ass dish washer Sinead and cranky bossy boots Joanne. Bingo.
Sinead wanted part time work and I needed a trustworthy friend to be in my kitchen on the odd Wednesday night when Man United happened to be playing a European game. Everybody won. Joanne had a ready made baby sitter in me whenever she wanted living practically next door and life was great.
The girls aced college ( no surprise) and once again we went our separate ways. Boston for me to push on with my career but Sinead must have missed me as she appeared looking a job for the Summer whilst on a J1 Visa.
No brainer for me. I had her in a kitchen earning good $$$ within days. Her American boss loved her, just like every Boss that’s ever had the pleasure of calling her an employee I imagine. I love Sinead and she’s still a dear dear friend. I could trust her with my life.
Joanne pushed on with her career and really made waves. As well as being an incredible mother to Sophie she met the lovely Tom, got married, set up her own company (Media Box PR)  and had wee Bobby. What a woman.
Today I thought about the girls and Joanne in particular.
It’s fitting that today I finished shooting the dishes for our cookbook for Bluebird Care “Food for the Soul” 20 years on from first meeting Joanne ( Sweeney-Burke)
It was an amazing feeling. There’s plenty of wee details to finish yet but it’s edging ever so close.
Had I not known Joanne I may not have met Eddie, Brian or any of the amazing crew behind Bluebird Care.
I’ve put my heart and Soul into the book and loved every second of it. Fingers crossed I get to meet some of you  as we tour Ireland in  the Fall with George Hook and the rest of the Bluebird Care team or at my many cookery Demo’s across the country.
I hope my next 20 years behind the stoves are half as much fun as the last.
Happy cooking,
Chef Gary.

 

Food for the Soul – Eating Yourself Healthy

Food for the soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our resident food blogger Chef Gary O’Hanlon is currently finalising his recipes for our recipe book Food for the Soul. We are delighted to announce that award winning food photographer Harry Weir is capturing the essence of the dishes in pictures.

There are a number of reasons why we decided to embark on this latest project, and as the name of the book suggests, food, great food, has a really deep impact on the soul. With this in mind we have compiled this helpful blog post.

For everyone it is extremely important to eat well but especially for older people, people with disabilities and people recovering from illness. It is all about getting the best possible nutritional value. If you fail to keep up a healthy lifestyle there are potentially many unwanted effects, such as weight gain or weight loss. These can then cause difficulty in your day-to-day life including:

  • Reduced mobility
  • Dental problems
  • Social and psychological issues
  • Increased dependence on others
  • Eating habits could be effected
  • Increased health risks

 

In order to sustain a healthy diet you must:

  • Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat. Preferably four portions a day
  • Eat fibre rich products such as wholegrain breads, rice’s and pastas
  • Cut out any fatty foods, especially saturated fat rich foods such as butter, cheese.
  • Fish should always be included in your diet, have at least one serving a week. It is rich in polyunsaturated fats which help to clear arteries and lower the risk of heart attacks.
  • Have plenty of milk and milk products as they provide protein, vitamins, calcium and other nutrients.

 

Here is a sneak preview of one of our Food for the Soul dishes. 

 

Anise orange cured duck leg with beetroot mushroom tarragon and sherry ragout.

Food For the soul dish