My friend Mary was born and raised by her grandmother in a little village called Ranafast on the coast of Donegal while her parents worked in England. At eight years old her parents took her back to England with them. Mary's life went from living in a traditional Irish cottage, speaking Gaelic,and having the freedom to run barefoot along the beach and in the fields, to an English town and school. Once in England she had to speak English!! She had no freedom, had to wear shoes and had to cope with the abuse that many Irish people in England suffered then. It was a transition that Mary never really got over, and she spoke about her idyllic time living in Ireland often, and returned to visit family in her beloved cottage in Ranafast whenever she could.
Mary grew up and married in England, and raised children of her own, and that is when our friendship started. This recipe is one that was passed on to her by her grandmother. Mary would often make it and bring it to our house knowing it would be very much appreciated . (We had four hungry children who loved Mary's cakes). Sadly Mary passed away two years ago at the age of 78. Before she left us she gave me all of her recipes. We miss Mary dreadfully, but her memory lives on in her stories and the lovely Irish recipes she left with me. I hope you enjoy Mary's cake as much as we have.
You can use any mixture of dried fruit. Boiling the fruit rehydrates it resulting in a beautifully moist fruit cake which is lovely with butter and a cup of good strong Irish tea.
Mary said the cake tastes better if you leave the flavours to mingle for 24 hours.. I don't know if this is true as it never lasted long enough in our house to find out :)
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