Monday 10 June 2013

"From Fields of Gold" - Irish whiskey conference

Youghal, in County Cork, is hosting a two-day conference on Irish whiskey on September 28th/29th. I met the conference chairman, John Kelly, at a recent society tasting and he was kind enough to give me a preview of what we can look forward to. I've included a list of the talks below. The comments are my own.

The Distinctiveness of Richard Boyle as first Earl of Cork
Prof Nicholas Canny (NUI Galway)
We know Cork was already making the good stuff 400 years ago because Richard Boyle gave Sir Walter Raleigh 32 gallons of Irish whiskey as he set off for the New World.

Whiskey Worlds: glimpses into the lives of some Cork distilling families
Dr Alicia St Leger

'There's whiskey in the jar': some thoughts on the history of the Irish distilling industry 1800-1922
Dr Andy Bielenberg
Dr Bielenberg is the author of Locke's Distillery, a History.

Cats, Bats and Whiskey - Establishing a Corporate Archive for Irish Distillers
Stephen Franck
Irish Distillers has quite recently begun to collect and preserve historical material related to its brands and former distilleries. No doubt there is much surprising detail to be mined from this archive so I'll be interested to hear what has turned up.

Innovation: the success of Irish Distilling
Barry Crockett
Barry Crockett is the recently retired Master Distiller at Midleton, a legend in the business.

The Rise and Fall and Rise again of Irish Whiskey
Peter Mulryan
Peter Mulryan is a well-known writer on Irish whiskey.

Cakes and ale: the role of bread and beer in the domestic economy of medieval monasteries
Br Colmán Ó Clabaigh OSB
Brother Ó Clabaigh of Glenstal Abbey reminds us that it was the monks who brought distillation to Ireland in the first place.

Imageries, sensualities and the Water of Life: Harry Clarke's illustrations for Messrs John Jameson & Sons
Dr Anglea Griffith
I came across Harry Clarke's illustrations for a 1924 John Jameson promotional booklet in the National Library. I only knew of him as a stained glass artist before that. Dr Griffith, from the Department of the History of Art and Architecture, TCD, will introduce his illustrative work.

Johnny Jumped Up!: Whiskey in the Irish song tradition
Dr Dáibhí Ó Cearnaigh

There will also be a walking tour of Youghal, an excursion to the Old Midleton Distillery, and a "Whiskey-themed conference dinner".

It all adds up to an unmissable weekend for me!