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Martina has been involved in the organisation for many years and is a well known face and organiser of many of Failte’s events and social occasions. Always ready with a genuinely warm smile and no doubt the first to take to the floor if a jig or reel is called for, she has now taken over the position of president and is already making ambitious plans for the coming year.
- Failte (the Irish word for welcome) was established 17 years ago in Tenerife with Brendan Clarke at the helm, a man still very much involved in the organisation and, as its name suggests, works to make sure Irish people are welcome to Tenerife. However, as more and more Irish people integrate into local society, Failte also works to welcome Canarians into the expanding Irish circle of friends and contacts here. Certainly Failte St Patrick dinners see more than a smattering of Canarian business and political individuals with formalities conducted in both Spanish and English, and of course some Irish thrown in.
Failte, the Friends of the Irish Living in Tenerife has a new president, Martina Bowe
Over the years the organisation, not surprisingly, have been most prominent in March, hosting and organising a plethora of events connected to and surrounding St Patrick’s Day on the 17th. However in recent years they decided to let local bars and restaurants host their own event – in fact last year many of the association were in Rome on March 17th for a vital rugby match between Italy and Ireland (with the desired result). This year they will return to La Estancia for the annual dinner, on Saturday March 15th (tickets still available, call Brendan on 609754221) – always a terrific evening, with guest appearances from Brenda Bourke and opera singer Joy Dey as well as other special musical not to mention gastronomic treats.
Martina’s plans for the year ahead are also gaining steam, and she wants to attract some young blood into the organisation, and spread the Irish energy available over the whole year. She is hoping to give Failte a new sporty look and is hoping to attract hurling and Gaelic football fans to the fold, as well as putting out the call for an Irish dancing teacher who would be willing to help set up classes (there’s certainly one Island Connections’ parent who will be eager to take advantage of those).
Martina is also hoping that the second generation Irish, whose may have been born here to Irish parents might decide to get involved – it’s free and it’s definitely a lot of fun. She has also promised that there will be a revival of the St Patrick’s Day parade in South Tenerife in 2009.
Whether you’re Irish or not you’ll find a host of happenings this St Patrick’s day, and while the wearing of the green is not obligatory, make sure you raise a glass in celebration on March 17th.
St. Patrick’s fare
The Claddagh Built up a reputation as a first rate venue for traditional Irish music and hospitality, and now, with new owner Gerry Higgins at the helm, has reopened its doors in San Telmo, Los Cristianos after extensive refurbishments. A Galway man, Gerry is a well-respected figure in the entertainment scene in the south of Tenerife, a fine host and celebrated musician and together with his partner Sandra, from Scotland, as well as Wexford guitarist Joe The Claddagh is working to revive the musical atmosphere that made the venue so successful in the past, and with regular performances from Tony Trilogy with his Elvis show you’re guaranteed a lively evening, every evening. As you walk in you will notice a bank of guitars, ukuleles, banjos, bodhrans, fiddles and pipes. Each note you hear from the stage is sung live by a singer and played live by a musician – no drum machines or karaoke machines in The Claddagh!
The Claddagh Irish Bar first opened its doors in 1994
St Patrick’s Day is, of course, a huge event in The Claddagh Calendar. For 17th March this year, they are planning a really special day with great food and drink, and a wonderful range of entertainment to last the whole day, with live music from 12 am, and dancing into the wee hours as the “ceol, caint agus craic” continue.
St. Patrick’s fare
There are so many good bars and restaurants offering splendid fare on March 17th (and on the other 364 days of the year) that it’s always hard to focus on just one or two but there are some that stand out for great food or fun
The Swiss Atlantic
Long term residents of Tenerife or regular visitors may well have sampled the delights of the kitchen of Swiss chef Heinz Haechler, a true European, who had lived and worked in the gastronomy industry for many years in the west of Ireland before arriving to Tenerife and setting up shop here. The Swiss Atlantic restaurant in The Patch, in Las Américas, (above Burger King) has hosted many wonderful St Patrick day parties, and with the best Irish Stew on the island emerging on a nightly basis from their kitchen it’s no wonder.
Eating and drinking are a requisite for any celebration, but for St Patrick’s day it’s practically an order...
Unfortunately Heinz is no longer with us, having departed this mortal coil late last year, but his son Sean has taken over the restaurant, and insists on the same great food and service. A note for those of us who despair of the preparation of vegetables in Tenerife, the Swiss Atlantic pride themselves on their veg, freshly prepared, a taste delight. On the 17th Sean promises that the Irish Stew will be up to its usual excellent standard, and will offer a special ham and boiled potatoes in fresh parsley sauce to those who may opt for such delights from home. Sean also recommends the lamb cutlets and the rösti, a Swiss potato dish to die for. The Swiss Atlantic is open six days a week (closed on Tuesdays) from 7pm onwards.