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16th Jun 2020

Quarantine Queens: Meet the Ballyhaunis women cooking for charity during #Covid

“We’re good at giving a dig out, it’s in our nature.”

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, us Irish have proven our eager ability to give back.

Sponsored walks, 5k challenges, online charity gigs: you name it, chances are we’ve done it, all the while raising a good bit of money in the process.

Enter the Quarantine Queens, a group of women from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo who have been busy doing something a little different: baking, cooking, and sharing their family recipes, all in aid of charity.

What began as a WhatsApp group quickly turned into an e-cookbook, one that’s full of homey, family recipes shared by each of the women.

“We’re just a regular group of women who all have a passion for cooking,” Quarantine Queen Margaret Monaghan tells Her. “Some of us are teachers, some are mums, some are grannies. We’re an eclectic mix of friends.”

“All of the recipes we were sharing were fabulous, so we decided we’d turn it into a book. An e-cookbook seemed like the most appropriate at the moment. Most charities are desperate for help now with the virus, but we wanted to do what we could – and it’s really taken off.”

Since launching their e-cookbook, the Quarantine Queens have (at the time of writing) raised over over €8,000 for their chosen local charity, Cancer Care West.

A service that is close to all of the women’s hearts, Margaret says that opting to raise money for this particular charity was a bit of a no brainer.

“All of us have been touched by cancer in one way or another,” she says. “Some of us have personal links to Cancer Care West too, their family members have used its services.”

“Cancer Care West have been bowled over by the support, they’re so thrilled. We’ve had a couple of people in our group who have had bereavements recently, so it is something that’s quite close to the bone.

“My own uncle was using their services a couple of years ago, they’re really amazing the people who work there.”

Margaret says that while the response to the Quarantine Queen’s e-cookbook has been “overwhelming,” she isn’t surprised by the Irish’s willingness – and eagerness – to give back.

“People really have been digging deep during lockdown,” she says. “Us Irish really do that well, we’re good at giving a dig out, it’s in our nature.”

You can check out the Quarantine Queens’ fundraiser, or donate €10 for a copy of their e-cookbook, here.