Outdoor pancake party / Crêpes party en plein air

In advance of Pancake Tuesday, we had a pancake party at the Octagon, in the Glen of the Downs, Co Wicklow.

Two fires in the bitter windchill.
Nine children and six adults.
Two dozen pancakes in total, heartily devoured amongst billows of smoke.

Pancake Sunday

In preparation for our outdoor pancake party, I had bought a new cast iron griddle, to avoid blackening our regular non-stick frying pan over the campfire. I also made three times the usual amount of crêpe batter (nearly 2 litres in total) and poured it in an empty milk bottle for ease of use in the outdoors.

As soon as we arrived at the Octagon with our friend Denise and her son, Brian and ‘fire child’ Squirrel got started with the fire. The blustery wind didn’t help but soon a few timid flames rose from the fire pit.

The rest of our friends had joined us by the time we fired the Kelly kettle. Mermaid knows of a spot in the woods where she collects fine dry twigs that are perfect as tinder.

As Brian turned out the first pancakes, the green stopper on the kettle started whistling as the water reached boiling point. It was time for the first batch of hot chocolate, served in our coloured plastic glasses and topped by mini-marshmallows.

Children first

The kids then picked up in turns one of three enamel plates and queued for pancakes beside the fire pit. The icy temperature meant that the hardened Nutella didn’t spread easily on the fast-cooling crêpes, but it would have taken more than a few tears to stop those hungry kids from wolfing them down. 

Once fed, they disappeared to play in the woods surrounding the Octagon, and it was the grown-ups’ turn to enjoy the pancake feast and hot chocolate. Both were truly appreciated in the swirling smoke and biting windchill.

With the sun disappearing behind the Wicklow Mountains and the wind still not abating, we packed up and gathered the children. The impending darkness meant only one thing – head torches were necessary for the muddy walk back to the cars!

Three hours had gone by in the blink of an eye. Three hours of frantic activity in the bitter cold, but also three hours of heart-warming fun around the fire.

I may have been too busy to take many photos (thankfully my friend Anita covered for me), but Jedi perfectly concluded our pancake party when he said, as soon as he sat down in the car, that “those pancakes were the best EVER!”

Happy Pancake Tuesday!


Deux jours avant “Mardi des Crêpes”, nous nous sommes fait un après-midi crêpes à l’Octogone, au Glen of the Downs, Co Wicklow.

Deux feux dans le froid glacial.
Neuf enfants et six adultes.
En tout, deux douzaine de crêpes, dévorées parmi les volutes de fumée.

Dimanche des crêpes

En prévision de notre après-midi crêpes en plein air, j’avais acheté une nouvelle poêle en fonte, pour éviter de noicir notre poêle habituelle sur les flammes du feu de camp. J’avais aussi préparé trois fois la quantité habituelle de pâte à crêpes (soit presque 2 litres), que j’avais versée dans une bouteille de lait vide, pour faciliter la cuisson en plein air.

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Dès notre arrivée à l’Octogone avec notre amie Denise et son fils, Brian et Ecureuil s’attelèrent à l’allumage du feu. Les bourrasques glaciales ne facilitèrent pas les choses, mais quelques flammes timides dansèrent bientôt dans le brasero.

Le reste de nos amis nous avaient rejoints quand le moment fut venu d’allumer la bouilloire Kelly kettle. Sirène connaît un coin secret dans les bois où elle trouve de fines brindilles bien sèches qui prennent feu en un rien de temps. 

Comme Brian produisait les premières crêpes, le bouchon vert de la bouilloire commença à siffler : l’eau bouillait. Il était temps de servir la première tournée de  chocolat chaud, préparé dans des gobelets en plastique coloré et garni de mini chamallows.

Les enfants d’abord

Ensuite les enfants prirent chacun leur tour une de nos trois assiettes en tôle émaillée et attendirent patiemment d’être servis à côté de Brian. Le froid mordant avait figé le Nutella dans son bocal, mais il aurait fallu bien plus que quelques déchirures dans leur crêpe pour les empêcher de les dévorer.

Une fois nourris, ils disparurent pour jouer dans les bois. Au tour des adultes désormais de savourer des crêpes et du chocolat chaud parfumés à la fumée de bois ! Les deux furent dûment appréciés par ce froid glacial.

Comme le soleil disparaissait derrières les monts de Wicklow et le vent continuait de souffler sans répit, nous avons levé le camp et rassemblé les enfants. L’obscurité grandissante ne signifiait qu’une chose : les lampes frontales seraient nécessaires pour retourner aux voitures !

Trois heures s’étaient écoulées en un clin d’œil. Trois heures d’activité frénétique dans le froid mordant mais aussi trois heures d’aventure chaleureuse autour du feu de camp. 

Certes, je n’ai pas eu le temps de prendre beaucoup de photos (Anita en a fait quelques-unes à ma place) mais Jedi a parfaitement conclu notre après-midi quand, à peine assis dans la voiture, il a annoncé que “ces crêpes étaient les meilleures qu’il ait jamais mangées”!

Joyeux Mardi Gras !

Getting there

The Glen of the Downs, Co Wicklow, is located between the villages of Kilmacanogue to the north and Kilpedder to the south. Delgany is less than 2 kilometres to the east.

It is only accessible when travelling southbound on the N11. Between Exit 9 (Glenview) and Exit 10 (Delgany, Drummin), there is a small brown signpost for a picnic area – this is the entrance to the car park, right off the dual carriageway. Extreme care is recommended on approach, and also on exiting said car park.

The Octagon itself is also accessible by a short walk through the woods, starting on Ballydonagh Lane, a bumpy dirt track linking Kindlestown Wood and Exit 9 on the N11.

Additional information

bellevue-houseThe mysterious Octagon is actually what remains of the once stately Banquet Room of the Bellevue Demesne. The estate belonged to the La Touche family, who then owned most of the lands Greystones and Delgany were built on. David La Touche II built his country retreat between 1754 and 1756, at a cost of £30,000, and called it Bellevue. Beautiful gardens were laid out with winding paths and “extras” built by David and his son, Peter, when he inherited in 1785. Among these was the Octagon, built in 1766, with a panther on springs, which could be made to jump out at unwary visitors. The house was most famous for its huge glasshouse, built between 1783 and 1793, in which many exotic plants were grown.
The house was vacated in 1913, and demolished in the 1950s.
(sourceLa Touche Legacy)

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S’y rendre

La réserve naturelle Glen of the Downs, Co Wicklow, se trouve entre les villages de Kilmacanogue au nord et Kilpedder au sud. Delgany est à moins de 2 km à l’est.

Le site est accessible uniquement quand on circule en direction du sud sur la N11. Entre la sortie 9 (Glenview) et la sortie 10 (Delgany, Drummin), repérez un petit panneau marron indiquant une aire de pique-nique : c’est l’entrée du parking, immédiatement au bord de la voie rapide. En l’absence de bretelle d’accès ou de sortie, soyez extrêmement vigilant à l’approche du parking, et aussi en sortant.

L’Octogone est également accessible au bout d’une courte balade à travers bois partant de Ballydonagh Lane, une allée boueuse et cahoteuse qui relie le bois de Kindlestown et la sortie 9 de la N11.

Pour en savoir plus

bellevue-house1Le mystérieux Octogone représente ce qu’il reste de l’élégante salle de banquet du domaine de Bellevue. Ce dernier appartenait jadis à la famille La Touche (une famille protestante ayant fui la France après la révocation de l’édit de Nantes en 1685), qui possédait alors l’ensemble des terres occupées désormais par Greystones et Delgany.
David La Touche II fit construire sa résidence de campagne entre 1754 et 1756, pour la somme de 30 000 livres, et la baptisa Bellevue. De splendides jardins furent aménagés. David et son fils Peter, qui hérita en 1785, y ajoutèrent des attributs, parmi lesquels figuraient l’Octogone (1766), doté d’une panthère montée sur ressorts, qui bondissait sur les visiteurs imprudents. Le domaine était réputé pour sa vaste verrerie, bâtie entre 1783 et 1793, dans laquelle étaient cultivées maintes plantes exotiques.
La famille quitta la maison pour de bon en 1913, et la bâtisse fut démolie dans les années 1950.
(source : La Touche Legacy)

 

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20 Responses to “Outdoor pancake party / Crêpes party en plein air

  • What a great idea for a pancake party! This looks awesome and I bet all the kids will remember it for years to come! #adventurecalling

  • I’m not a pancake fan, but I think I might enjoy them if cooked out like this, great stuff #AdventureCalling

  • That looked like mighty fun. I must try make some pancakes outdoors soon.

  • Mmm… yum!! My aunt used to make pancakes outdoors forvus when I was little. I’d almost forgotten about it, need to do that some time. Penguin hasn’t liked pancakes for a few years now, so we rarely make them, but maybe pancakes outdoors could spark a new like for them. It’s worth a try anyway. I LOVE pancakes! x
    #CountryKids

  • what an AMAZING IDEA to make outdoor pancakes! #countrykids

  • This has to be the best way to enjoy Shrove Tuesday! What fun for the kids and I believe these really were the best pancakes with that outdoor chargrilled flavour added. A brilliant way to end the day, and a pancake day to inspire everyone.

    Thank you for sharing on #CountryKids

  • Of course you had your pancakes outdoors!!! What a fantastic Shrove Tuesday celebration – love the heart shaped nod to Valentine’s too! I imagine the Nutella was a crushing loss but who can resist pancakes however they’re filled?!! Ours were indoors this year but we did a stir fry on the camp fire for Chinese NY instead. #CountryKids

  • Wow what a really good adventure day out. We didn’t have pancakes this year, I think having them outside is a fab idea! #countrykids

  • Amazing idea! I level up version of pancake day! And you chose an amazing place to cook your pancakes too! Its so lovely there.

    And I always have the same problem with my Nutella! Always so hard to use in the morning.

    #countrykids

  • I love the idea of cooking pancakes like this!!
    #countrykids

  • Oh wow I love this! I would never think of having a pancake party. My girls love pancake Tuesday in fact that is all they could talk about last week!! #familyfun

  • Gosh, how exciting for the children and equally as nice for the adults. My dad used to do this sort of thing with me when I was younger and it makes me realise how different my childhood is in comparison to Luke’s. I think some outdoor cooking is called for! #CountryKids

  • Pancakes should be easier to cook outdoors. Great idea. Looks delish!

  • I love the idea of an outdoors pancake party, so much fun! Although I struggle to make pancakes in my kitchen so I think I’d end up with two disappointed children if I attempted it outside! #CountryKids

  • Right… I know what we are doing at the weekend!

    I love the way that you recreated a banquet in this magnificent setting with a modern outdoorsy twist. (And I am also impressed that Mermaid could find dry twigs in Ireland in February – I never could! 😀 )

    #CountryKids

  • My children and I absolutely LOVE pancakes. I would never have thought to have them outside, but what a wonderful idea. And you’ve got beautiful photos and memories to cherish from it. #CountryKids

  • OMG this looks just like so much fun! And the fresh air makes everything taste better, if pancakes need any tbh, they are pretty tasty as they are already ha ha! Would love to try this 🙂 #countrykids

  • Wow what a different way to celebrate pancake day. I would never have thought to cook them outside, or that you even could (yes really) but no doubt it was lots of fun and the kids loved it.Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  • I’m very jealous of your cast iron griddle – I NEED to get myself one of those! What a great way to spend an evening. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling

  • Everything tastes better cooked outdoors, and pancakes are pretty good to start with! Love the photos, and the idea of a pancake and hot chocolate party sounds like an amazing way to spend a chilly day, I’m not surprised the time went so quickly. Thanks for sharing #AdventureCalling

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