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Archive for the ‘Irish Culture’ Category

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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Dun Bleisce Towns Gets Back Her Illustrious Name

Years of efforts by Doon, Limerick, Ireland residents to bring back the name of their town, taken away from them in 2003, have paid off. The people have spoken and are triumphant!

Their town has been called Dun Bleisce since at least 774 AD, which is as far back as anyone can remember.  The problem?  The town’s name translates to “Fort of the Harlot.”  This was not cool with the Irish Placenames Commission.  This grand body decided that nice, little towns should not be named after harlots, and they renamed the town An Dun.  That seemed safe since it really has no meaning. Or at least not much.

On came the heated debate.  Residents and irate Irish around County Limerick said that the original name actually translated to, “The stronghold of immoral women.”  Others claimed it meant, “Stronghold of Strong Women,”  because only strong women would have a fort.  Still others claimed the original meaning of the word “harlot” is “powerful women.”  (This is the kind of jam you get into when you mess with history.)

800+ locals signed a petition that was presented to the Great and Illustrious Commission.  They decided it wasn’t worth the trouble, and an order was handed down from on high to rename the town Dun Bleisce.

When in the west of Ireland, stop by.  It truly is a nice town with a juicy name that has withstood history!

Your Dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Old Glory Flies Over Dublin during a Parade

Would your guess be Ireland? If you’re talking about people who are 100% Irish, you’re right.  But the United States has more folks with Irish ancestors than any other place in the world.

Even people with non-Irish sounding last names may have an ancestor who hailed from this country. Oftentimes, the family name was changed when the person or family arrived at Ellis Island. The recorder simply couldn’t understand the accent or their Irish language. Others immigrants changed their name to Americanize, to fit more easily into the giant melting pot called the U.S.

The potato famine caused a large number of crops in Ireland to die, leaving many people without food in the 1830s. These citizens had the option of leaving or staying and facing certain death. (More people died during those years than at any other point in Ireland’s history.) Some moved to other parts of Europe, but a large number of people headed west to America.  Others came due to political unrest at home and looked to homestead in the U.S. after the famine.  And, some Irish people were the first settlers in the States, particularly in the Southern part of the country where their music still has great influence.

Curious about your own roots? For Irish Genealogical Resources, go to this link for a fairly complete list of organizations and websites to help you track down your Irish family. 

http://www.authenticireland.com/geneology

After you’ve found them?  Visit them in Ireland, of course!

Your Dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Ireland is Made for Romance and Intimate Moments

Ireland is a country of romance and mist fueled by fantasy, ancient castles, Guinness, music, pony treks and a warm cuddle by the fire.

Being Irish ourselves, we at Authentic Ireland are hopeless romantics. Choose one of our Ireland honeymoon packages or romantic getaways that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives.

All our romance and honeymoon vacations include accommodation, transportation of your choice, and a selection of unique Irish experiences and meals. A kiss in Ireland is like no other.  Believe it!

Your dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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James Joyce in 1902

Enjoy some of Ireland’s best literature-as-theater as you travel from one infamous Dublin pub to another. (Dublin’s Pubs and Writers are a perfect match.)

No city is as rich in pubs and poetry as Dublin, and Dublin’s literary pub crawl is a genius amalgam of both: a 2½ hour walking tour with Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Behan, Beckett, Shaw, O’Casey, Gogarty and other literary greats.

In the style of Leoopold Bloom, the pub crawl meanders through the streets of Dublin, taking in the sights, the smells, the sounds and the scenes. A team of rambling players and minstrels completes the ensemble, giving renditions of verse, prose, drama and song from the literary hall of fame.

When you join this fun-filled evening of literary greats, you’ll discover some of Dublin’s finest pubs and sample the finest Irish Whiskey and brews.  The wit and humor of the troupe is almost as potent as the drink.

“It combines street theatre with the ‘craic’ that makes Dublin’s pubs the liveliest in Europe and successfully avoids tourist cliches that could ruin an evening of high art and low life”. — The London Times

Authentic Ireland’s dedicated writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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1. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is an historic Irish institution with more than 800 years of faithful service.

2. Visitors to Ireland love to kiss the Blarney Stone. Located at Blarney Castle, it was originally a timber lodge built in the 10th Century and replaced by the stone castle in 1210. Get a picture!

3. The Cliffs of Moher are, quite simply, breath-taking. Overlooking the wild and windy Atlantic in County Clare, they rise straight up over 700 feet.

4. The Four Courts governing the whole of Ireland are the Irish Supreme Court, the High Court, the Circuit Court and the District courts  They’re grouped together in historic buildings. (Learn more about the Four Courts on our Historical Walking Tour of Dublin!)

5. The Oscar Wilde Statue, Merrion Square, Dublin. Wilde is lying back on a rock, as if he hasn’t a care in the world. Take our Literary Pub Crawl to learn more about Wilde, Beckett and other famous Irish writers as you visit local Dublin pubs.

6. When in Ireland, visit at least one castle–there are hundreds. Consider Belfast Castle, more than 400 feet above sea level with panoramic views of Belfast and Northern Ireland.

7. Grafton Street, Dublin, is a historic area with great shopping, pubs, restaurants and a cutting edge art scene.

Visit Ireland and make you own list! (Ours changes from week to week.)

Your dedicated writers, Meredith and Win Blevins

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The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, Magic Steps to the Ocean

Northern IrelandThink about discovering her sights and sounds. It’s truly a hidden gem, and the place many Americans have their roots.

Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland. It is a banquet of lovely gardens and neighborhoods, sublime Victorian homes and buildings.  There are extraordinary museums, great shopping and plenty of pubs filled with trad music and banter.

After all the hum and surprises that the big city has to offer, you might want to wind down and head to the countryside. Northern Ireland has one of the strangest and most exciting coastlines in the world. Explore the volcanic Giant’s Causeway. It’s made of 37,000 basalt columns running straight into the sea.  And, under the water, it leads to Scotland.  Many ancient tales surround the Giant’s Causeway.  How many are true?  There’s simply no way to know for sure, but let your imagination fly.

You’ll also want to explore the nine Glens of Antrim and experience the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea. And, a ramble through wild and gorgeous Donegal is a must, as is the serene Lake Country of Fermanagh.

Ireland is emerging unified, its troubles healed, its beauty and mystery made whole.

Your dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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