A special vegan meal was prepared for former US president Bill Clinton at Ballymaloe House last night.
Prepared by chef Rory O’Connell, Mr Clinton dined on a starter of organic leaves with ruby beetroot, pomegranate and roast hazelnut, which was followed by a main course of courgette flower stuffed with broad beans served with a tomato fondue and basil oil
“He absolutely loved it and ate everything,” said Rebecca Cronin of Ballymaloe.
Mr Clinton, who turned vegan a few years ago, was in Cork as a special guest of the Worldwide Ireland Fund. The international philanthropic network which has raised 342 million for charitable causes in Ireland since its foundation in the 70s was holding a three day conference at the Castlemartyr Resort Hotel, which finished today.
And last night’s dinner at Ballymaloe was one of the highlights of the event.
“It was an electric night and everyone enjoyed it,” added Rebecca.
The 250 guests, who included Taoiseach Enda Kenny and poet Seamus Heaney, were entertained by Galway based street entertainers, Macnas, until just after midnight.
It may have been a whistle stop tour, but Bill Clinton still managed to take in some of Cork’s star attractions as well as walk about on Pana. Mr Clinton touched down in Cork airport yesterday morning in a private jet and headed straight for the world famous and challenging Old Head of Kinsale Golf Course where he played a round with former tánaiste, Dick Spring, hotelier, John Fitzpatrick and long time friend and businessman, Declan Kelly.
Commenting after the game, Mr Clinton said: “The course won but it was a glorious defeat.”
After his round of golf, the 42nd president of the United States made an unscheduled stop on Patrick Street.
His security entourage which included gardaí and secret service agents surrounded the former president as he popped into Eason’s Book Shop.
“It was a complete surprise to see him. We weren’t told of his visit in advance at all,” said store manager at Easons, David Lynch.
“Everyone was thrilled to see him and there was a great buzz around the place. He commented on our renovation works and said the shop looked well. We’ve had a few famous people in here, but Bill Clinton was definitely our most famous shopper,” said David.
After his visit to Easons Mr Clinton then made his way to Waterstones where he bought a Seamus Heaney poetry book.
“It was a fantastic visit,” said Waterstones assistant manager Nick Healy. “We didn’t know he was coming and when he arrived he browsed in the Irish section for about 15 minutes.”