Apart from her warm smile, the first thing you notice about Coeurine Murray is her name. Where did it come from? Turns out it’s an original of the species, made up by her mother who wanted to combine French and Irish in her baby daughter’s name. “Little heart” is the literal translation. Staying with words, the business itself has an unusual name “Murson Farm”. Guess what, that one’s an original too. It’s a combination of Coeurine’s second name (Murray) with that of her husband, Ciaran Henderson.
Murson Farm is a rural idyll in the pretty village of Grange. Coeurine and Ciaran’s small farm has animals, fruit, vegetables and herbs from which they stock their regular market stall. She wasn’t born to the countryside though, Coeurine was brought up in Sligo as one of no less than 11 children. An eclectic schooling career included a year in Irish college in distant Ring, Co. Waterford at the tender age of ten followed by three years of secondary school in Dublin and the final two in the Ursuline, Sligo. All those were as a boarder, even in the Ursuline which was so close to her own home she could see it from the window!
Her next step was Household Management at St. Angela’s College and then Sligo IT for a secretarial course. These two combined to provide Coeurine with skills that meant she has never lacked work or indeed the facility to set up her own business.
Coeurine is the lively type and never seems to sit still, she is forever busy with baking, preserving, crochet or formwork. It’s unsurprising to discover that her mother, who loved to travel, would always bring her home a craft kit of some form – tapestry, embroidery or the like. Crochet is a particular love which she learned from her Aunt Maud, a woman with a remarkable eye for detail. She could see a high fashion crochet dress, go home and replicate it perfectly. Coeurine took up knitting as well and began a micro business making the Icelandic sweaters which were so popular at the time.
After qualifying, Coeurine spent a few months working near home but the bright lights of a big city beckoned and she headed to London. She revelled in the experience, working in Boots Head Offices and throwing herself into everything the city had to offer for the two years she spent there. Her family drew her back home and she worked first with her brother in his plumbing business, and then set up a fabric shop with her sister in High Street.
Itchy feet set in again so selling out to her sister, Coeurine spread her wings and flew to Canada staying six months or so in Vancouver and Toronto, and exploring this very different scene. Returning home, Coeurine appeared to settle, working in an accountants office and training as an accounting technician. During her two decades there however, she made full use of her free time, sailing, playing badminton and training in a new area – holistic therapy. In typical Coeurine style, one qualification just wasn’t enough and she went on to do all sorts of courses. The upshot was cutting back on her office hours and joining the Sligo Wellness Centre where she still works one day a week.
Coeurine met Ciaran through sailing in his native Rosses Point, though these days the two are so busy sailing takes a back seat. Prompted by a housewarming present back in 2002, Ciaran indulged his lifetime love of animals and invested in some sheep. Pigs, hens and bees followed along with an extensive vegetable, fruit and herb garden as well as a native species orchard. Coeurine grasped the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and has developed a bewildering range of chutneys, jams, jellies, cakes and a remarkable set of soda breads. Visitors to Rathcormac market could find themselves confronted with anything from seeds and fruit to smoky bacon flavoured soda bread. Cordials could be anything from elderflower or rhubarb to her homemade Ribena. You can also spend an afternoon with Coeurine jam making. Variety is most definitely the spice of life for Coeurine Murray and Murson Farm. www.sligofoodtrail.ie #SligoFoodTrail
- Visit Rathcormac Market this Saturday to meet Coeurine from 10-3 p.m.