The hen party was originally designed to celebrate the last night of ‘freedom’ for the bride to be. She was meant to go out, get drunk and enjoy herself as though the forthcoming wedding was the signal for the onset of getting manacled to the sink for the rest of her days – and her independence being thrown out with the last crumbs of wedding cake! We’d like to think this idea is very old hat! Whilst the traditional hen party still exists, with most brides setting aside a night to spend with the girls before she gets married – gone are the days when the only choice for the event was a trawl round the local pubs. Modern ‘hen’ gatherings are a far more relaxed affair. Some girls choose to spend much needed down time with female friends and family, indulging in a favourite hobby for the occasion – that could be anything from a shopping weekend to a trip to round the museums or art galleries. In this vein , cookery breaks are rising in popularity for hen celebrations. Especially when the location is stunning and the food sensational. Sarah Baker’s Cloughjordan Cookery School at Cloughjordan House in Co.Tipperary, is just such a venue. Sarah is a qualified teacher with highest credentials from her time spent learning under Darina Allen, on the Ballymaloe Cookery School residential professional cookery course. Hen parties and girly gatherings are well taken care of in the state of the art cookery school kitchen. Bespoke classes are available for special events – anything from first time cooking to elaborate dinner party menus – depending on the skill set among the group. Afterwards, everyone gets to sit down and enjoy the fruits of their labour. This house is set in its own grounds and has more than enough facilities to look after hen celebrations or weekends. Luxurious bedrooms provide spacious and comfortable accommodation and Sarah’s husband Peter knocks up a mean full Irish breakfast! You and your girlfriends will be pampered beyond belief. Cloughjordan House can also cater the wedding – with the feast held in the house’s 17th century ballroom complete with rustic stonework and blazing open fire. Off the wall wedding menus are a speciality – barbecued pig on the spit, big platters of local produce to hand round the guests, in fact anything that isn’t the usual is done with style and elegance here. Check out the wedding and events pages on the Cloughjordan website for further details.