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Just One of Ireland’s Finest Brews

From your dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” — Oscar Wilde

Irish Breweries – from Guinness to Beamish & Beyond

Irish brews consist of more than Guinness, and there are enough flavors to please any fan of breweries and beers.  For you who brew their beer at home, you might even get a few tips and other ideas about ingredients. Below are a few of our favorites.  And of course, Guinness may be at the bottom of this list, but it is close to the top of our personal list!

If you decide to visit a brewery, make sure you call ahead.  Hours change, depending upon season and brew capacity.

  • Acton’s Country Pub and Microbrewery The Brooklodge Hotel, Macreddin, County Wicklow Tel: 0402-36444 www.brooklodge.com
  • Beamish & Crawford Brewery Founded in 1792, Beamish and Crawford produces 574,000 hl of beer per year.  South Main Street, the city of Cork Tel:  021-4911100 www.beamish.ieBeamish Irish Stout  4.1% alc.    Stout, but paler than Guinness or Murphy’s.  Close to a porter. 4.2% alc.  Irish ale, Beamish Red Irish  Ale  4.2% alc.    Pale lager, Miller Genuine Draft.  In his book,  Noted Breweries of Great Britain & Ireland published in 1889, Alfred Barnard Wrote:

“The business of Beamish & Crawford in Cork is a very old one dating as far back as the        seventeenth century and it is said to be the most  ancient porter brewery in Ireland.”

The home of the brewery at South Main Street, lies in the heart of what was the medieval city. Originally one of the old city gates nearby  as did the Cork jail. Indeed a stone from the jail, upon which the severed heads of the executed used to be displayed, now stands outside the counting house door at the brewery. The huge lock on the door also came from the jail.

The business partnership prospered and within fifteen years output at Beamish & Crawford had grown from 12,000 barrels per year to a phenomenal 100,000 barrels in 1805, making it the largest brewery in the country and the third largest in Britain and Ireland.”

Today, Beamish & Crawford is owned by Scottish & Newcastle.  (By the way, the stone of severed heads is long gone.  Sorry.)

  • Biddy Early Brewery Founded in 1995 with an annual production of 850 hl. Biddy Early Brewery is a brewpub, and County Clare is thought by many of us at Authentic Ireland to be the best area in Ireland.  (Of course, we are raised here and our offices are here, but we are not one bit prejudiced in passing along the praises of County Clare.)  Iangh, County Clare 353-65-683-6742    http://www.beb.ie/

Brews you’ll find at Biddy Early: Black Biddy: 4.2% Stout.  Brewed from British hops, pale ale malt, Roasted barley and crystal malt.  It is  fined with carrageen moss. Blonde Biddy: 4.2%  A pale lager.  Brewed from lager malt and German Hallertu hops.  Bottom fermented Red Biddy: 4.9% Red Irish ale.  Brewed from pale ale, chocolate & Crystal malts, and bog myrtle. Real Biddy 4.9% Red Irish ale, this is a cask-conditioned version Of Red Biddy.

  • The Carlow Brewing Company Founded in 1998, this is a microbrewery next to the railway station in Carlow town.
  • The Goods Store,” Station Road, Carlow County Carlow Tel:  353-503-34356 www.carlowbrewingcompany.com  Brews your’ll find at Carlow Brewing: O’hara’s Celtic Stout  4.3% Stout Curum Gold Celtic Wheat Beer   4.3% Wheat beer. Cascade, Challenger, and Mount Hood hops, with the ingredients of pale malt, torrified wheat & caramalt. Molings Traditional   4.3% Irish ale; brewed from pale malt, crystal Red Ale malt and roasted barley. Beerkeeper Gold  4.3% Wheat beer, brewed for the Beerkeeper in Dundalk.
  • The Celtic Brewing Co. This is a microbrewery.  After you’ve taken in the intense scenery and the haunting scent of early Irish history in County Meath, this may be just the stop for you. Enfield Industrial Estate, Enfield, County Meath Tel:  (0405) 41558 Founded in 1997 , Types of Brews Available: Finnians Red  4.3% Irish ale Finnians Organic Lager  4.3% Pale lager Finnians Stout  4.3% Stout Shiva Premiuim Lager    5% Pale lager
  • The Franciscan Well Brewery: If you’ve settled into Cork after an adventure at the Blarney Stone, just the smell of a Franciscan Well can take bring you back to reality.  Music on Monday nights, plenty of activities, festivities and festivals.  A nice place after you’ve spent the day wandering the gardens of Blarney.  Founded in 1998, their annual production is 2,500 hl.  All around a good place to visit and relax for an evening in Cork with excellent brews.  14 North Mall Cork, County Cork Tel:  (021) 210130.

Types of Brews Available: Shandon Stout  4.2% Stout Blarney Blonde  4.2% Blonde ale Rebel Lager  4.3% Pale lager Rebel Red Ale 4.3% Irish ale Purgatory 4.5%  Pale ale, American style, hopped with Cascades Friar Weisse 4.7% Unfiltered pale wheat beer.  Bellringer Winter Warmer 6.0% Strong ale that’s malty and hoppy.

  • Galway Hooker Founded in 2006, this is a microbrewery that sells their beer in ten pubs in Galway.   The beer is worth a trip in itself, and finding something from the brewery to take home as a souvenir is a double bonus. You can hardly beat the name of this ale, and who back home will know a Galway Hooker is a ship?  Galway, County Galway www.nameyourbeer.net
  • Great Northern Brewery The Great Northern Brewery was founded in 1897, and produces 1,000,000 hl of beer annually.  It is now owned by Guinness, who bought them in 1959 to brew their lager.  Carrick Road Dundalk, County Louth Tel:  042-34793

Type of Brews Available: Harp lager  3.6% Pale lager Harp Export 4.5% Pale Lager And, last but not least, the brew that keeps putting  Ireland on the map, particularly on St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Arthur Guinness Son & Co. The most well-know brew in Ireland, Guinness was founded in 1749.  In the year 2003, their production was 4,000,000 hl per year.   After moving all brewing facilities to Dublin from London, it is expected that their production will be 6,000,000 hl per year.
  • Guinness Ale Saint James’s Gate, Dublin 8 www.guinness.com

Types of Brews Available: Draught Guinness 4.1% A stout, served by mixed-gas pressure. Filtered, pasteurized and served cold. A bitter    finish with licorice, toffee and cream aromas.  Guinness Original 4.2%  Stout.  Bottled Guinness—not as good as the draught beer, but what beer is? Same flavors without as much zest. Guinness Extra Stout 4.3%  Stout. Bottle-conditioned. Still available in Ireland. A classic — worth going to Ireland to drink!  It has an intense burnt bitterness, balanced with a sour cream undertone. A truly wonderful beer.

If you’re on a self-drive tour of Ireland, please be sure not to drink and drive.  It’s not tolerated in Ireland any more than it is in the States or the UK.  (Plus, some of our roads could make a tipsy drive particularly difficult.)  Either end your day near a brew pub so you can walk back to one of the lovely places on your itinerary, or use a chauffeured tour for part of your travels if you expect to indulge heartily in some of Ireland’s finest!

Enjoy to the fullest, and be safe while you’re at it.

Happiest of New Year’s to You —  The Crew at Authentic Ireland

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The Wren Boys in Dingle, Ireland, Celebrating St. Stephen’s Day

From Your Dedicated Authentic Ireland Writers, Meredith and Win Blevins:

In Ireland, St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, is one of nine official public holidays.

In Irish, it is called Lá Fhéile Stiofán or Lá an Dreoilín, meaning the Day of the Wren or Wren’s Day. When used in this context, “wren” is often pronounced “ran”.

This name alludes to several Irish legends, some linking episodes in the life of Jesus to the wren. Although not practiced often anymore,  in certain parts of Ireland people carry either an effigy of a wren or an actual caged wren through the streets.  They travel from house to house playing music, singing and dancing.

Depending on which region of the country, they are called wrenboys and mummers. A Mummer’s Festival is held at this time every year in the village of New Inn, County Galway and Dingle in County Kerry. St. Stephen’s Day is also a popular day for visiting family members.  (Good-bye Christmas dinner leftovers!)

A popular rhyme is known to many Irish children and sung at each house visited by the mummers.  Here’s a very nice version of the song for you to enjoy, complete with chords and words!:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZI_PzRIqU0

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds…

Happy December 26th, St. Stephen’s Day, from the Crew at Authentic Ireland Travel

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Daniel Day-Lewis, Irish Citizen and Actor Extraordinaire

Daniel Day-Lewis became an Irish citizen in 1993.  We are proud to count Daniel as one of us!

If you haven’t seen the movie, LINCOLN, go see it.  Now. You’ll experience one of the finest performances imaginable by, yes, one of our very own.  Simply brilliant.

Authentic Ireland’s dedicated writers: Meredith and Win Blevins

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Traditionional Pubs and Music in West Clare are Cozy, and Rocking, Affairs.

People come to Clare from all over the world to hear traditional Irish music, or trad for short. Of course it can be heard in most counties of Ireland but nowhere are the people more passionate about it than in Clare. And it shows. The quantity, quality and variety of pub sessions going on across the county throughout the year is simply unmatched anywhere else in Ireland. It would be a shame if you came to Clare and missed out!

Here’s our guide to the trad music pubs of West Clare, pubbing from Kilrush in the south to Ballyvaughan in the north.

Kilrush: Crotty’s Pub – every Tuesday, festival mid-August. The Way Inn – nightly during the summer

Carrigaholt:  The Long Dock – Wed, Friday to Sunday during the summer. Morrissey’s Village Pub – trad music and set dancing at the weekends. Eat here: Fennell’s – top notch seafood

 Kilbaha (near Loop Head): The Lighthouse Inn – irregular sessions

Kilkee: O’ Mara’s – irregular sessions

Doonbeg : Eat here: Morrissey’s Seafood Bar and Grill

Milltown: Malbay Home to the Willie Clancy Summer School.  If you are here for the week commencing the first Sunday of July, you will be treated to the best traditional music this country has to offer all week long in all bars and all free. Do yourself a favour. Outside this week try:

Lynch’s Bar – Wed, Fri & Saturday Hillery’s – Mon, Wed, Fri – Sunday Eat here: Berry Lodge and Cookery School, south of Milltown, great restaurant (reservations essential) Eat here: Black Oak, north of town, sea view location

Lahinch: The Cornerstone – Thursday The Nineteenth – Saturday, The Claremount Hotel – Sunday Eat here: Barrtra Seafood Restaurant. Excellent seafood 5km north of Lahinch Eat here: Atlantic Hotel – great food and a friendly atmosphere

Ennistymon: Daly’s – Thur & Sunday Cooley’s House – Wed & Friday

Liscannor: Eat here: Vaughan’s Anchor Inn – easily the best seafood in County Clare

Corofin: The Corofin Arms – Tuesday, Friday & Sunday Campbell ’s – Tuesday The Inchiquinn Inn – Friday

Kilfenora: A little inland, but Kilfenora can rightly claim to be the capital of the trad music kingdom that is County Clare. Linnane’s – sessions most nights, the Kilfenora Ceili Band (the Arcade Fire of trad music) play here on Wednesdays. Vaughan ’s Pub – set dancing in the barn (no kidding!) – Thurs & Sunday, session in the pub on Tuesdays Nagle’s – Sunday

Doolin McGann’s: – 363 nights a year and weekend afternoons McDermotts’s – 363 nights a year and weekend afternoons O’Connor’s – 363 nights a year and weekend afternoons Eat here: Cullinan’s Seafood Restaurant

Aran Islands:  Tigh Jo Mac’s, Inishmore – sessions throughout the summer Joe Whatty’s, Inishmore – live music all summer though not always trad Tigh Ruairi – Inisheer – most nights during the summer Tigh Ned’s – Inisheer – irregular nights during the summer Eat here: Pier House, Kilronan

Lisdoonvarna: More famous for tangos and slow waltzes, however.. The Royal Spa Hotel – Thur to Saturday Eat here: Sheedy’s Country House Hotel

Fanore: O’Donoghue’s Pub – middle of nowhere bar where anything can happen, Saturday night ballad sessions. Sunday afternoon Irish dances, be ready.

Ballyvaughan: Hyland’s Burren Hotel – M

That should be a good start for you.  Enjoy!

Your dedicate writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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The Ring of Kerry, Ireland, a Kingdom inside a Kingdom

Almost every country has a section of the population that they like to tell jokes about. In Ireland, it’s the people from Kerry. Not because people from Kerry are stupid. In fact they have a reputation for being the opposite.

The main reason we tell jokes about them is that we are jealous. They have the cheek to call their county ‘The Kingdom’, yet there are few people in Ireland who would dispute the aptness of the name. (The origins of that name have been lost, but that doesn’t matter – Kerry does feel like a Kingdom.)

There are soaring mountain ranges, desolately beautiful valleys, crystal lakes and a spectacularly rugged coastline that is alternatively lashed and lapped by the Atlantic Ocean. Kerry has it all.

The town of Killarney, with a population of 14,000, is the most popular base for exploring Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula; the Dingle and Beara Peninsulas are best explored from the towns of Dingle and Kenmare respectively.

Killarney has been welcoming tourists since the 18th century, and the locals have become mighty good at it. It is true there are far too many souvenir shops for some peoples’ taste.  But fear not, Killarney is a very pretty and friendly town. And the Kerry people, regardless of the jokes we make of them, are some of the most welcoming in Ireland.

Authentic Ireland’s dedicated writers: Meredith and Win Blevins

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 What Better Place is there to celebrate your Romance than in Ireland?

Romantic couple on Irish hillside

Imagine the welcoming fire of a 17th century Manor House  in Ireland inviting you into your suite. It’s the perfect atmosphere to reconnect, to unwind, and to enjoy each other.

If you can motivate yourselves to be around other people, take a side trip to the awesome Cliffs of Moher.  For your next stop we’d suggest an elegant castle built in 1590.  Just closeby, it’s the perfect retreat.  Cuddle up and explore the gardens, or amble over to legendary Killarney.  Wrap up your magnificent castle lodging at the library bar.  It is the ultimate kiss.

Dingle is one of Ireland’s best-loved towns, and we’re particularly fond of the Presidential Suite, one of the finest lodgings in Kerry. Dingle’s glorious bay, lovely shops and a world of music… Dingle’s hotel spa and gourmet restaurant are yours for the asking.   Finally, we’d suggest you indulge in each other’s company in charming Adare, and why not make it a Conde Nast Choice Manor House?  840 acres of rolling parkland and gardens will surround you with peace and beauty.

Sometimes the world spins so quickly, and we lose each other.  Our cure?  Surrender, and let Ireland stoke the flames.

featured writers, Meredith and Win Blevins.

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Ring in the New Year with Irish MusicRing in the New Year with Irish Music

 

  Ring in the New Year with Irish Music

       When you think of Ireland you think of music, and there’s a good reason for that.  It’s our gathering, a place we feel as one people at pubs, parties, on a street bench or in a park. The instrument maker and his creation, the beat and the rhythm, and the human voice lifted high have raised our spirits during hard times, and have been the background of our joy during good times.  

Ireland is the only country in the world that has a musical instrument—the harp—as its national emblem.  There is a way in which music captures the soul of who we, as Irish, are, and it’s a way that seems to touch almost everyone.  

Whether you’re in Dublin or a remote town, there’s a good chance that music will be happening in a pub on any given night. (And the pubs are now smoke-free.)  Some sessions are planned.  Others are spontaneous and all are welcome to join in with their instruments, voices, hands, spoons, and foot-tapping.   

If the session is planned and you like the group, pick up one of their CDs.  You won’t find them in stores, and you’ll be glad to have the memory of that time to take home and stick into your CD player while driving down the road or puttering around the house.  We love our traditional music, but all forms of music flourish in Ireland.   

Is there any way to separate dance from music?  When you hear Irish music, your body wants to move.  It’s not surprising that traditional Irish dance has not only made a huge comeback in our own country, it’s finding its way around the globe!   

And so we suggest:  Ring in the New Year with Irish Music!

 

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