Long-time Irish Examiner contributor Carla Blake dies

Ms Blake wrote a column on country living and cookery for almost 36 years
Long-time Irish Examiner contributor Carla Blake dies

Carla Blake, pictured in Conna in east Cork. She passed away at the age of 93. File Picture

Tributes have been paid following the death of one of the Irish Examiner’s longest-serving and most popular contributors, Carla Blake.

Ms Blake, who wrote a weekly column on country living and cookery for almost 36 years, died in France last week. She was 93.

Irish Examiner Farming Editor Stephen Cadogan expressed his sympathies to the Blake family, to Carla’s friends, and to the many readers who enjoyed her articles in the Irish Examiner over the years. He said:

She was a joy to work with, always reliable and reasonable, and much valued for her loyal readership. May she rest in peace.” 

Born in South Africa, Ms Blake was a writer, cook and gardener, who lived in Conna, east Cork where, along with her beloved husband, Valentine, she raised a family and created a remarkable cottage garden, which was featured in the O’Brien Guide to Irish Gardens, and which helped raise tens of thousands of euro for charity over the years.

A founder of the Irish Food Writers Guild, her book 'The Irish Cookbook', originally published by Mercier in 1971, was described by the late Myrtle Allen as “the first book you need, and a book you will always need”. It has never been out of print.

She wrote for numerous publications and began her weekly ‘country life’ column for the Irish Examiner in 1974, and when Valentine became gravely ill in 1991, it was the only column she maintained as she nursed him at home. She was featured in the UCC Dictionary of Munster Women Writers 1800-2000, which cited her journalism as “a unique record of the 1960s and 1970s Irish social history”.

Ms Blake moved to be close to family in France in 2009 and filed her last Irish Examiner column in 2010 and is survived by her children, Rosalie and her family in England, Jon and his family in Australia, Claire and her family in France, Kerry and family in Clare.

They said: “Carla lived an exceptionally full life with so many passionate interests, joy in her garden, devoted to Val, her family, friends and neighbours, her community, cooking, fundraising for charity, meeting amazing people, which includes her extended 'family' of Irish Examiner readers.” 

Her ashes will be interred beside Val in Conna and her funeral will take place in Ireland once Covid-19 travel restrictions allow.

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