It was yet another food festival that got me to Waterford, where the Harvest Festival took place. It was a week- long festival of all things food and drink, with a bewildering variety of events every day. I was there specifically to talk about wine and I shared the talk with Eamonn McEneaney, an expert on the history of Waterford.
I learned some surprising facts from Eamonn, not least that Waterford had, and held on to, a monopoly on the Irish wine trade for over 500 years.
We were in the recently renovated and restored Choristers’ Hall, which has one of Ireland’s oldest wine vaults — so, apart from being a very attractive venue, it was also perfect for a talk on wine.
The hall is part of Waterford’s Medieval Museum, which is really worth a visit.
After our talk was over, I went with a few of the festival organisers across the river to the Hotel Athenaeum for dinner in their restaurant, Zaks.
Part of the hotel’s official address is ‘Christendom‘, which I rather liked, but the oddest piece of topographical trivia I can tell you is that the main house of The Athenaeum is in Co Kilkenny, while the driveway and the gardens are in Co Waterford.
Now, the land the size of a dozen soccer fields off Ireland’s west coast is being offered as a retreat to a potential new owner for 300,000 euros ($384,000), 45 years after the Beatles songwriter bought it. Just before he was shot dead in New York in 1980, Lennon revived plans to build a home on the island before Ono sold it to local farmers in 1984.
“About a year before he was murdered his London solicitor inquired about reviving the planning permission which he had obtained shortly after the purchase,” said Michael Browne, 73, a local who took Lennon to visit Dorinish. “He was constantly panning a cine-camera to get a panoramic of the bay.”
The farmers are selling the 21-acre island because it’s getting harder for them to keep animals there as they get older, according to Andrew Crowley of Sherry FitzGerald Crowley, the agent in charge of the sale. He said he couldn’t specify how much they paid for the island originally, while Browne said Lennon paid about 1,700 pounds ($2,700) in 1967.
“The island isn’t being used as much as it should be, and they were never going to build on it,” Crowley said yesterday. “The owners are getting on in years and maintaining their livestock at such a distance isn’t practicable anymore.”
Choices for Girls – interactive bus shelter ad
Strange Random Choices Quote:
“When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels” – author unknown
- The independent woman: A positive concept with a negative vibe (jennicinparadise.com)
- Independent Spirit Awards 2012 Red Carpet – The Women (socialitelife.com)
- The ad that only plays to women: the future of marketing or useless gimmick? (independent.co.uk)
- Are all short haired women heartbroken? (helgadis.wordpress.com)
- Karen Coleman: Sinister path Hungary is taking should worry us all – Analysis, Opinion – Independent.ie (worldwright.wordpress.com)
- Erin Chapin: Women’s health an issue for both sexes (knoxnews.com)
- Focus on Social Issues Could Shape Battle for Women (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Women beyond the boardroom (allthatfall.wordpress.com)
- Married Women in Maharashtra can keep maiden name need not take husbands’ surname (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- The ad that sorts the girls from the boys (guardian.co.uk)
“Our first customer was an Adelaide plastic surgeon who bought a bottle at a charity auction and paid $500 for it in February this year,” co-owner Ian Schmidt said.
The surgeon has been back to buy more, and the single malt batch 002, lauded as liquid gold by Mr Murray, has sold out at $110 a pop.
The company established a website this year and is receiving increasing numbers of purchases online. Most hits are from Australia, followed by the US and Ireland. It also has won medals through the Malt Whisky Society of Australia.
Strange Random Whisky Quote:
“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” – W. C. Fields (American Comic and Actor, 1880-1946)
- 5 Things You Need to Know About Whisky (Which I Learned from Glenfiddich) (ginosblog.com)
- Whiskey, Scotch & Bourbon: What’s the Difference? (italianenglishblog.wordpress.com)
- Scotland’s Old Pulteney takes 2012 Whisky of the Year title (100gf.wordpress.com)
- Whisky, Japan’s Next Big Export? (blogs.wsj.com)
- Wick malt ‘world’s best whisky’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Rare bottle of 55-year-old single malt whiskey fetches £46,000 to set new world record (dailymail.co.uk)
- Indian Companies Passing Off Alcohol As ‘Scotch whisky’ (aussiecigars.com)
- Spirits of The Times: Whisky From Islay, Scotland – Spirits of The Times (nytimes.com)
- Whisky Blender (uncrate.com)
The summer is officially over – did it ever start? Well, maybe an Indian summer will kick in to help us through the last few weeks of bright evenings. Whatever the weather, there is still lots going on throughout the country, so here’s a look at some of what’s on offer.
Dublin Festival Season (throughout September)
September is officially Dublin Festival month, with a jam-packed schedule in progress. Dublin Contemporary 2011 has turned the city into a gallery for large scale art installations in landmark buildings, established museums and offbeat spaces. Absolut Fringe runs for two weeks, bringing new talent, eccentric ideas and an eclectic mix of performances throughout 40 venues around Dublin. Dublin Culture Night on September 23 sees galleries, museums and cathedrals open their doors for free, while the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival (September 29 to October 16) is hosting an amazing array of incredible Irish and international theatre, readings, rehearsals and panel discussions. www.dublinfestivalseason.com
Arthur’s Day (September 22)
Returning for its third year and now likely to become an annual event in September, Arthur’s Day is an unashamed marketing event for a certain popular Irish stout, but with it comes an impressive range of concerts and intimate gigs all over the country, along with a couple of pints of the black stuff no doubt. This year’s festival includes Stereophonics, Paloma Faith, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran, Aloe Blacc and the Scissor Sisters. www.guinness.ie
Strange Random Ireland Quote:
“The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill.” – Harold Nicolson
- Is Irish Culture Rapidly Disappearing from the Streets of Dublin? (politics.ie)
- Dublin (stephaniecalvet.wordpress.com)
- Temple Bar, Chinatown – And An Ceathrú Gaeltachta? (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- Date for Your Diary: 2011 Dublin Fashion Festival (thepulsemagazine.onsugar.com)
- 10 Irish Designers You Need to Know Now (casasugar.com)
- Theatre and history in Dublin – Dublin, Ireland (travelpod.com)
- Tuned in to Irish roots: Montserrat singers celebrate (repeatingislands.com)
- Diary Extra: The Police, Squeeze and U2 at Dublin (wzlx.radio.com)
Strange Random Ireland Quote:
In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs. – Sir John Pentland Mahaffy
- Seoul Eats: 2011 Saint Patrick’s Festival – A Unique Celebration … (seouleats.com)
- Did St. Patrick Drive the Snakes Out of Ireland? (ptl2010.wordpress.com)
- Saint Patricks Day in San Diego, Authentic downtown pubs and happenings. 2011 (johnwilliamsonsd.wordpress.com)
- (3/2011) In Honor Of Saint Patrick (basilandspice.com)
- What do the Irish think of St. Paddy’s Day in Toronto? (thestar.com)
- Cheaper Cabs on St Patrick’s Day! (longleys.wordpress.com)
Last year about this time we posted a list of sites where you can find out about the origins of Halloween, stemming from the Irish festival of Samhain, or the Feast of the Dead. So we thought it would be an interesting idea to find an explanation for some of the traditions from an Irish perspective – Ireland Information.Com has a special page dedicated to Halloween, including information about Colcannon, Barnbrack Cake and the ever-popular Jack O’Lantern:
The Pumpkin: Carving Pumpkins dates back to the eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some light. He was given a burning coal ember which he placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out.
The tradition of Jack O’Lanterns was born – the bearer being the wandering blacksmith – a damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away. When the Irish emigrated in millions to America there was not a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead.
And if you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be a pumpkin (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?), then you’ll like this short film, The Life and Death of a Pumpkin, winner of Best Short Film and Best Concept at the 2006 Chicago Horror Film Festival.
Strange Random Pumpkin Quote:
“Men are like pumpkins. It seems like all the good ones are either taken or they’ve had everything scraped out of their heads with a spoon.” – Unknown
- Keep that wolf at the door with Halloween recipes – Halloweek part 2 (exitlanguages.wordpress.com)
- Get that Zombie look – Halloweek part 1 (exitlanguages.wordpress.com)
- “The Story of the Jack O Lantern and Sweet Pumpkin Suncatcher” and related posts (lettersnumbersandbooksohmy.blogspot.com)
- “Halloween Pumpkin Carving” and related posts (blogs.smarter.com)
- Carve Those Pumpkins: Our 10 Favorite Halloween Jack-o’-Lanterns (blisstree.com)
- How-To: Carve a Turnip-O-Lantern (craftzine.com)
- Its Time to Get A-carving, Halloween is Almost Here! (socyberty.com)