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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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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 the Perfect Place for a Family Reunion

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” – William Butler Yeats

Do you dream of getting your entire family together?  Many of us live far from each other, the kids are growing or gone, and the grandchildren and cousins don’t see each other often enough.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful legacy to arrange a family reunion in Ireland?

Ireland is all about families, friends and the ties that bind.  Because of this, there is no better place to strengthen your ties, relax together, laugh and reminisce.  You may even arrange to broaden your family circle, and see the Irish family you’ve never met.

Children are treasured in Ireland.  They are welcome most places, and there is a lot for them to do and enjoy.  They’ll even find shopping a small miracle as they wander through the maze of a medieval town, especially when they hear stories of witches and faeries who wandered the same streets.

And there’s so much more: festivals, circuses from Eastern Europe, wildlife parks, tidepooling, the Aquadome,  a Viking tour of Dublin, visiting an Irish farm, horseback riding, ecology for kids, cooking on a farm, visitor centers for kids at Neolithic sites, folk parks, houseboats on the Shannon River, exploring caves… That’s plenty to keep the whole crew wide-eyed and happy.  Rent an Irish house together and explore.

Make the time to enjoy and appreciate each other!

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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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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 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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