Posted by: A Taste of | August 7, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: Ardsallagh Goats Cheese

Ardsallagh cheese from Tall Story media on Vimeo.


To celebrate the launch of my new food film ’12 mile’ tomorrow at 12 o’clock here is a sneak peak of the piece on Jane Murphy`s Ardsallagh cheese

A longstanding presence at the Midleton Farmers Market, Ardsallagh hard goats cheese is a semi hard, mature cheese. It develops its famous taste as it matures, from an extremely mild cheese when young, to a distinctive flavour as it ages. The most mature Ardsallagh hard cheese can even be grated for a Parmesan-like  taste. It is available in a range of different sizes, suitable for the individual, restaurant, supermarket or delicatessen.

As Ardsallagh  is a personal favourite cheese of mine it is the cheese shown at the top of this blog site for the last 3 years. Maybe I should change that now?

Anyway if you wish to keep up to date with our video blogs please do subscribe to this blog site (look in the bottom right hand corner of the site for a cross and the word follow and you will receive an email each time we post a piece.

Alternatively and in addition you can subscribe to our you tube channel,

which with the help of a chromecast you can watch on your TV in full wide screen.

Beoir ‘A Tale of Ireland’s Craft Ale’  The full Short film

Beoir: A Tale Of Irish Craft Ale from Tall Story media on Vimeo.


 3 years ago this photographer went to visit Gordon Fallis of Innismacsaint brewery in Co Fermanagh. I was fascinated with a microbrewery opening in the Fermanagh countryside. Until then my only experience of craft beer had been the Franciscan well and Dungarvan brewing company, both novel breweries but novelty nothing more it seemed. Back then I was a Guinness, Smithwicks and Heineken drinker, (that’s all that was on offer wasn’t it?). As always with the meeting with Gordon I was more interested in the producer, his personality and story and how they came about to be doing what they were doing. I have to admit I knew nothing of beers. But Gordon`s story was brilliant and I published a blog post on it.

The intention was also to finally write an all-Ireland version of my book “A Taste of Cork” and Gordon would be in it.

Fast forward 3 years I have just completed completed my second 30 minute short film “12 Mile” see trailer

and my first “Beoir A Tale of Ireland’s craft ale” is posted in this piece. I hope you enjoy this film as much as I enjoyed making it. Beoir the sequel is in production so watch this space.

12 mile the film trailer from Tall Story media on Vimeo.

At first I must admit I was more interested in the story behind the brewers. However, now I am afraid all has changed, the craft beer world that the wonderful Beoir organization opened me up too has taken hold. Like someone discovering a new language or learning to use my eyes and see for the first time, the craft beer world is a world of whole new possibilities and adventure in flavor and variety. You will see from earlier posts I decided to release some of the brewery shorts in a series, this then in effect meant I had become a beer blogger. This led  naturally to the European beer bloggers conference 2014.

 EBBC 2014 (Note: All photos taken with a Samsung phone)

This was quite simply the best conference I have ever attended. Hosted at the Church bar in Dublin it was a conference where you get to meet brewers and beer bloggers and most of all taste new beers.
I didn`t bring my camera as I wanted to experience the conference as a participant rather than as someone documenting it (so apologies for photo quality taken with my phone only).

On arriving I was met by offerings from The Franciscan Well, Galway Hooker, Black Donkey, N17, Bru brewery and others. After some talks and advice on blogging it was off to Guinness for a tour and food. I must admit 3 years ago I would have been very excited at the thought of a trip to Guinness and the promise of free Guinness and food. I felt less excited and it is because things have changed.

 20140627_185959  20140627_190118

Despite being a small percentage of the current market, I now personally desire to taste more flavorful varieties of locally produced beers, I am much more likely now to drink Sarah Roarty`s N17 stouts than that of a major brewer. Moreover there is a building tidal wave among younger drinkers for this kind of product. More than that as I experienced at the conference, these younger more educated/informed beer drinkers certainly communicated that they see the major familiar beers as something to be avoided and they are viewed by your average beer aficionado as bland industrial beers.


But let me now speak of the Charlie in the chocolate factory experience I had at St James’s Gate, after all it was a beer bloggers conference, not a craft beer bloggers conference. Guinness certainly know how to do hospitality. On arrival we were walked through the historic site, which was a strange mix of buildings from a bygone era and modern industrial buildings and the trappings of that, which don`t look out of place on a pharmaceutical plant. The walk took us through a tunnel reminiscent of the London underground, linking the Guinness storehouse to the brewery block and delivered us to the new brewery codenamed Project Phoenix. This very impressive, shiny new & gleaming facility, pics of which I was asked not to post, should be capable of producing tonnes of Guinness for years to come.

After the tour well what can I say, I was brought up in a glass lift to foodie heaven, where we were treated to Oysters, Cheese, Fish & chips, BBQ ribs & Burgers, all paired with a different Guinness product. Personally I found the Oyster and Guinness pairing still a classic and a highlight. There was also a trial pilot Guinness product on offer called Night Porter which the appeared to go down well with the assembled beer experts.

Vaclav Berka

Vaclav Berka

Normally this would be enough to say that was great day, time to put the boots up, and go home, however I found that this was only half the entertainment planned. We were then bused to the no name bar and introduced to Pilsner Urquell’s master brewer Vaclav Berka. Vaclav personally and ceremoniously opened and tapped, several casks of his world famous unfiltered, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell. A first for this beer drinker, another new world, “cask beer”.

The generosity of the sponsors didn`t end there and lunch the following day at the conference was a very generous BBQ and more cask Pilsner. This is were I left the EBBC as I had other commitments that evening, shame given the riches that were on offer.

Below I have posted the agenda of what was a really fine conference and I must mention the generosity of MolsonCoors returning the conference Stipend in return for blog posts.

Thursday, June 26, 2014
18:45                 Optional Pub Crawl (the #TrailofAle) of Dublin departing from the Main Bar of The Church and led by beer blogger Reuben Gray of The Tale of the Ale.  For details on the crawl please visit the blog post.

Friday, June 27, 2014
12:30                 Registration and Expo (Eat lunch first!) – Tower Bar
14:00                 Conference Opening – Cellar Bar
14:05                 History of Beer in Ireland – Cellar Bar
15:00                 Keg versus Cask and Bottle versus Can – Cellar Bar
16:05                 Panel of Irish Craft Brewers – Cellar Bar
17:00                 Break
17:45 -18:0       Depart The Church for 30-minute walk to Dinner and Tasting at St. James’s Gate hosted by Guinness and Smithwicks
21:00                 Dublin Beer Tour with Pilsner Urquell

Saturday, June 28, 2014
10:00                An Inside Look at the Irish Beer Industry – Cellar Bar
11:00                 Advanced Social Media Strategies for Bloggers – Cellar Bar
12:00                Pilsner Urquell Barbeque – Terrace
14:00                Supercharging your Blogging with – Cellar Bar
15:00                Video on Your Beer Blog – Cellar Bar
16:00                Irish Craft Beer Reception with Beer Ireland – Tower Bar
18:00                Dinner provided by Franciscan Well Brewery with keynote speaker Shane Long – Cellar Bar
20:30                Evening Party with Carlow Brewing Company – Tower Bar

Posted by: A Taste of | June 25, 2014

A Taste of Ireland episode 5: Kinnegar Brewery Co Donegal

Ok folks, in honour of the European beer bloggers conference taking place in Dublin this weekend I offer this blog on Kinnegar brewery, one of my current favourite breweries! Rick Levert was the first brewery I visited when making my short film Beoir “A tale of Ireland`s craft ale.”

There was a good reason to start with Kinnegar, I personally have a soft spot for “the underdog (or brewdog if you like) the small guy” but not only that, Kinnegar brewery is probably situated in one of Ireland`s most scenic spots on its Wild Atlantic way route, as you can see from the timelapse of the famous Fanad head lighthouse and the shots of the beaches etc. Not only that nearby is the party town of Letterkenny, so a visit taking in the beautiful area, the brewery and the nightlife is well worth any tourists time and spending money!

At the time Rick introduced himself as Ireland`s smallest brewer and smallest brewery, amazing given the now omnipresence of Kinnegar throughout the northwest of Ireland and Dublin. Well done Rick and god luck with the giant slaying. The pic below taken in the very fine craft beer bar Furey`s in Sligo (@fureyspub on twitter) shows the David vs Goliath feat that Rick is pulling off at the moment.

David and Goliath


Kinnegar boast an ever changing broad variety of beers, my hope is some of them stay around long enough to become classics.

I am liking the variety but worry is the choice becoming too broad too quickly?

I just was getting used to loving my devils backbone before having a new fling with my new found love Scraggy bay pale ale (on tap in Furey`s Sligo).

Let the punters decide I say as the brand is becoming strong and instantly  recognizable.

The List of Kinnegar Beers

Beer Crests_Limeburner


Limeburner is light, crisp and refreshing, like a summer’s evening with a hoppy accent at the end.
Alc. 4.7% vol.

Beer Crests_Devil's Backbone


Devil’s Backbone is full bodied and full flavoured like a mellow autumnal day with a hint of chocolate thrown in.
Alc. 4.9% vol.

Beer Crests_Scraggy Bay

SCRAGGY BAY  India Pale Ale

Fondly known as “Yellowcap”, Scraggy Bay is a balanced golden ale with a snappy little bite of hops.
Alc. 5.3% vol.

Beer Crests_Rustbucket


Rustbucket is a balance of rye and barley malt. The rye gives it a little spiciness which combines nicely with hops that contribute a citrusy note.
Alc. 5.1% vol.

Beer Crests_Rustbucket


 Yannaroddy is rich in traditional dark roasted malt flavours laced with an exotic streak of coconut.
Alc. 4.8% vol.

Tasting Line-Up




Posted by: A Taste of | May 28, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: Sheridan’s Food Festival 2014

This was the fifth Sheridan’s food festival, however it was my first. One wonders how living in Cork during those last 5 years and interested in food & cheese for the last 10 years,  how I had never heard of the festival before. This year it was thanks to twitter I realized it was on. In fact twitter has now become the main instrument how I, like many people nowadays keep up to date with what’s going on in the world, but more importantly what’s going on with things I’m interested in, so if you are a food producer it’s imperative you are using twitter, to get your message out there.

The video above is a short summary of what I saw at the festival, it sticks mainly to producers I had not met before and was keen to meet. It was a truly great festival and well worth a visit only complaint is that it is only on once a year!

Also at the festival were many legends of food I had previously met, see the previously published articles below

Sally Barnes  Woodcock Smokery see

Jeffa Gill’s Durrus Cheese

Carrigaline Cheese

Corleggy Cheese

If you are interested in food heroes then let me point you in the direction of my food heroes vol 1 charity book which contains photos and some details of 40 of my food heroes from the last few years.

available as a book or a pdf download and e-book.



Posted by: A Taste of | May 23, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: Mescan Brewery, Westport Co Mayo met with Mescan brewing company coincidentally on the eve of St Patricks day 2014 on their brew day, Mescan is a brewery started by Irish and a Belgian vets Cillian and Bart. These guys named their brewery after St Patrick’s (Irelands patron saint) personal brewer Mescan. They also brew their beer at the foot of Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick.

Music by Sligo based musician Glen Cal

Other videos in this series are
A trailer for our short film Beoir A Tale of Ireland`s craft Ale

The film is receiving good reviews from online Beer magazines and US bloggers See links below
Journey to the Beer Store afforded me my first interview

And Beers of the World Mag gave the article the title
‘There’s more to the Emerald Isle than Guinness’

Other breweries in the video series are
Poker Tree Brewing Company

Donegal Brewing Company

Posted by: A Taste of | April 22, 2014

A Taste of Ireland: The Galway Food Festival 2014

So here is the Galway festival through the eyes of

What a great festival will be back again and again.
If anyone knows the busker please pass me on his name.

Posted by: A Taste of | April 9, 2014

A Taste of Ireland Presents Beoir ‘A Tale of Irelands Craft Ale’

Ok folks, here it is a trailer for Beoir the first film from the Tall Story Media stable, specially produced for

This film will soon be available for screening.

  • So if you are a Restaurant, Pub, venue, a society, a festival  or a beer club that would like to show an Irish made short film about Ireland`s emerging craft beer scene please leave us a comment to arrange a screening.


Beoir, (the Irish word for beer), is a short  film about the emerging Irish craft brewery scene, showcasing The Donegal brewing company, Innishmacsaint brewing company, Mescan brewing company, Kinnegar brewing company and Poker Tree brewing company. These new mainly farmhouse breweries are based on the wonderful green island of Ireland. This film showcases not only  the breweries but the Island of Ireland itself. Listen to the brewers tell their story in their own words and follow them on their journey at the very start of this emerging craft brewing scene in Ireland. From under Irelands holy mountain Croagh Patrick to the lakes of Fermanagh, Beoir is a fascinating and beautifully shot film.

Music by Stray Theories “Even though we sleep”

And Irish band  (formerly Ladydoll: “Genetics”, (Currently Noir Noir).



Donegal Brewing Company sits high on the banks of the Erne in Ballyshannon, Irelands oldest town and hometown of Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher. Established in 2011 their first beer is now ready for your enjoyment…“A delicious blond style beer, with hints of biscuit, malt and a good balance of hop flavours. No artificial colours or preservatives”

Featuring: Brendan O’Reilly of The Donegal brewing company and Dicey Reilly’s off license, Probably Ireland’s best off license, which is an Aladins cave of craft beers and rare alcohols in general.


We have a some Donegal Brewing Company, Donegal Blonde beer, as seen in the video to giveaway.

The case can only be delivered within the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. The winner will be randomly chosen and notified by email. Giveaway will close at 6pm 10th APRIL.

Subscribers to this post will be in for a chance to taste some poker tree in our Poker Tree Brewing company giveaway, closing date 6pm 30th March.

A Taste of Ireland can also be followed on facebook for more news on great Irish food heroes and giveaways.



EPISODE 2: Donegal Brewing Company Co Donegal

Episode 3: Mescan Brewing Company Co Mayo

Episode 4: Innishmacsaint Brewing Company Co Fermanagh

Episode 5: Kinnegar Brewing Company Rathmullen Co Donegal

Episode 6: West Mayo Brewing Company Co Mayo

Want to be involved, contact us at A taste of Ireland via twitter, facebook or this blog site!

Or we can be reached via the contact page at



Poker Tree Brewery – Brewers series by Tall Story Media from Aidan Monaghan on Vimeo.

A Taste of Ireland has teamed up with Tall Story media to bring you an exciting new series on the blossoming Irish Micro brewery scene. This is the first in our series of films on this subject.

Based in Carrickmore, Darren Nugent founder of Pokertree Brewing Company, tells how he produces his signature range of four ales. These ales are all bottle conditioned and open fermented using traditional techniques.

Produced by Tall Story Media especially for A Taste of

Featuring: Darren Nugent – Poker tree Brewing Company


We have a case of Poker Tree Brewing Company  Ghrian beer, as seen in the video to giveaway.

The case can only be delivered within the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. The winner will be randomly chosen and notified by email. Giveaway will close at 6pm 30th March.

A Taste of Ireland can also be followed on facebook for more news on great Irish food heroes and giveaways.


Oh and by the way tell us what you like about the video!


EPISODE 2: Donegal Brewing Company Co Donegal

Episode 3: Mescan Brewing Company Co Mayo

Episode 4: Innishmacsaint Brewing Company Co Fermanagh

Episode 5: Kinnegar Brewing Company Rathmullen Co Donegal

Episode 6: West Mayo Brewing Company Co Mayo

Want to be involved, contact us at A taste of Ireland via twitter, facebook or this blog site!

Or we can be reached via the contact page at



January God: A short film by A Taste of

January god, Janus Figure Boa Island, County Fermanagh Northern Ireland from Aidan Monaghan on Vimeo.

I have always been fascinated by the Janus figure and Seamus Heaney was moved enough to write his poem January God about it. So here is a short film I have created in tribute to Seamus Heaney and in celebration of Fermanagh’s most famous tourist attraction. The second figure is the Bishop’s stone an equally interesting but less well known stone figure at Killadeas.

Boa Island close to Belleek strangely enough is joined to the mainland via a bridge at either end with a road running through the middle of it, which makes it more convenient for visiting than either White or Devinish Islands on Lower Lough Erne which are all very rich in Celtic spiritual mythology. Follow the signpost for Caldragh Cemetery for here you will find one of the oldest and most famous carved stones in all of Ireland. Known as the Janus Stone which is over 2000 years old and predates Christianity far back into Celtic times. The double sided figure represents the male and female form with a sunken piece in the middle, perhaps for holding antlers and interlacing thought to represent hair, joining them. Nobody knows for certain what its origin or purpose was but it seems highly unlikely that it had anything to do with the Roman God Janus. A more likely suggestion is that it is a representation of the Goddess Babhbha, a Celtic God of war and fertility after which the island is named. Seamus Heaney, our late great poet visited in 2006 and wrote the poem ‘January God’ about it which of course captures the mood and mysticism.


The second stone figure is the Bishop’s Stone at Killadeas

The “Bishop’s Stone” – so-called because of the low relief depiction of a cleric – is 1.05 meters high, o.39 wide and 0.23 thick. Facing the church on the broad side of this stone is a simple depiction of of an elderly ecclesiastic in a short garment, holding a crozier and a bell and wearing pointed slippers. The triangular head with the elongated nose and chin of old age and the hunched back make it easy to imagine the short, halting steps of this cleric. It is blieved to have been carved sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries.  On the narrow edge facing away from the church drive is a grotesque head in relief, and a panel of interlace filling the space below. The head, with the rounded features of youth, stares out with rounded eyes (though it’s left eye is somewhat defaced), well defined nose and slightly open mouth. Along it’s left eye and cheek are striating scars – possibly indicating status or membership in some clan.




Posted by: A Taste of | November 28, 2013

A Taste of Ireland Food Heroes Vol 1 , Charity book

Hi all,

I am pleased to announce I have published a new book with all the proceeds going to Twist Soup Kitchens.

The book, A Taste Food Heroes Vol 1 is a collection of some of the fantastic Irish food producers I have met since I began this blog in 2011.

It is available as hard cover, soft cover, PDF download and ebook depending on your preference. See links and preview below

Ebook available for ~2 euro at

Book available online by clicking on image above.

Book available online by clicking on image above.

About the book

In the words of Glen Hansard, “I’m working on a high hope.”

And this high hope is that this book will raise some awareness of two very important and contradictory facts that exist at the present time on this green island of ours.

Firstly, this island is bursting with some great produce & really fine artisanal food producers, in fact I would go so far to say we have some truly world class food producers here at the edge of Europe. Many of these food heroes went unnoticed and dare I say it, unsupported for many years. Luckily there is now a change occurring. Where the general consciousness is awakening to the fact that top quality food, that was always present on this island, is still right on our doorstep. Many chefs thankfully throughout the country are leading the way on this. Local food, made locally by local people with every penny spent on local produce, helping the local economy. This renewed/traditional food culture may turn out to be our most precious resource in terms of economy and tourism.

Secondly however, on this island at this time, Oliver Williams of Twist soup kitchens is seeing “a marked increase in demand” for food at his soup kitchens. The shocking thing is that the demand is no longer just from the homeless and marginalised in our society. The demand is becoming more and more due to pressures on families, particularly single parents, struggling to pay for schoolbooks and uniforms.

Twist is a donation based enterprise where food is donated by local businesses or time is donated by volunteers in order to provide a soup kitchen service that offers free food for anyone that needs it. It relies on the good will of others to help others.

About Twist and their Mission statement

The greatness of a nation is measured by how well it treats the weakest members of its society, not the strongest. My name is Oliver Williams and I am the founder of the Twist Soup Kitchens Galway, Athlone, Roscommon, Sligo and Tuam. When I was 15 years old I left Galway in times similar to now in terms of recession and high unemployment. I went to England to seek my fortune but found myself on the streets alone and frightened. I was lucky to find a place called centrepoint in Soho where I received a hot meal, a bed, and some good advice that paved the way for me to become firstly a panel beater, then mechanic and eventually a helicopter and airplane pilot.

This experience gave me the inspiration to open up the first soup kitchen in Galway. I have never forgot the feeling of being alone and uncared for by society and the crucial helping hand that was centerpoint. I shudder to think what would have happened to me without that help. The Twist outlets have been a total success and we are now feeding over 1,000 people every week. Twist survives on the kindness and goodwill of the Irish people. What we do is give the more needy members of Irish society a hand up rather than a hand out. We are now setting up a food delivery service to those in need and in particular the new poor that are saddled with debt in this country. I am asking you to look into your heart and help me to help them. I am doing my very best to make sure the forgotten members of our society are no longer alone and uncared for. It could be you some day.

Twist soup kitchens kindly request Irish companies to donate any tight dated food or any overstock of product to this cause.

Posted by: A Taste of | July 26, 2013

A Taste of Ireland Sage Restaurant Midleton 12 mile menu

The last few years I had the privilege of living in Midleton Co Cork and as a consequence I had the good fortune to have dined at Sage restaurant, which I always enjoyed, mainly because it was right up my street. Gourmet quality food without the fuss and pomp added to a relaxed and cool atmosphere. Fast forward those few years and I have had the further  good fortune of working on a photographic food project with Kevin Ahern, chef and owner of Sage restaurant Midleton. The portrait work I performed can be seen on permanent display in the new
re-vamped Sage (The 12 mile producers) and in the video below. The old Sage can still be seen on a blog post from a while back while we were working on the project

Some of the food photography I was doing is also on the new Sage website.  but more will follow soon.

I shall start publishing some of the photographic and video work from those sessions also so keep tuned to my posts right here on this blog.

So for now some of the Sage 12 mile portraits are below (some are my personal choices, Kevin may have printed and displayed an alternative picture in the restaurant).

pork-1-(3) A-Taste-of-Ireland-Tom-Clancy A-Taste-of-Ireland-Orslard-cottage-carrigtwohill A-Taste-of-Ireland-OFarrels-Midleton A-Taste-of-Ireland-John-Tait-Angus-Beef A-Taste-of-Ireland-Ballyhoura-Mushrooms A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton-12 A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton-11 A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton-9 A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton-7 A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton-6 A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton-5 A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton-3 A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton-2 A-taste-of-Ireland-12-mile-menu-Sage-Midleton

Good luck and success to Kevin with the Green room (A tapas bar with a 12 mile theme) newly opened alongside the revamped sage restaurant.

Posted by: A Taste of | July 7, 2013

A Taste of Ireland Eithna’s by the Sea & Mullaghmore Co Sligo

Mullaghmore Harbour Co Sligo, and the view from Eithne`s by the sea.

Mullaghmore Harbour Co Sligo, and the view from Eithne`s by the sea.

Mullaghmore harbour co Sligo, on a sunny day in July, like today, is in the humble opinion of this writer one of the most stunning locations to spend a day.
Why does this small fishing village in Irelands north west deserve this accolade?
The reasons are many, the fantastic views of the Dartry mountain ranges, (Ben Bulben, Ben Wiskin…), the wonderful sweeping sandy beach, the really beautiful stone harbour, the water sports available such as diving, snorkelling, sailing, the wonderful Atlantic walk around Mullaghmore head, the stunning Classie Bawn castle.

Classie Bawn Castle Mullaghmore

Classie Bawn Castle Mullaghmore

All these things go to making Mullaghmore very special however, top of the list for this writer is the sea food. Mullaghmore is a major port for lobster, crab, and prawns,


You would expect to find the best quality sea food available and find it you will, as thankfully Eithne`s by the sea has re-opened,

Eithes by the sea in the sun, best place to be to see the fantastic views of Ben Bulben from Mullaghmore Harbour.

Eithe’s by the sea in the sun, best place to be to see the fantastic views of Ben Bulben from Mullaghmore Harbour.

Eithne at her restaurant.

Eithne at her restaurant.

Eithne`s by the sea is the inspiration for this post, as I have to say I enjoyed probably the best ever lunch I have ever had in any Irish restaurant (Kevin Aherne’s, signature pork dish in Sage Midleton comes a close second), but given the location, the freshness of the Lobster, crab and the sun today, I cannot recommend this wonderful newly re-opened restaurant any more highly.

A little more on the history of the beautiful harbour in particular.

In the 17th century the Confiscation of Connaught was put into effect and the land divided up as payment among the Cromwellian adventurers and soldiers. The two main beneficiaries in Sligo were the Gore-Booth family of Lissadell who were given 32,000 acres and Sir John Temple. The first owner to set foot on the conquered lands of north Sligo was Henry John Temple, the third was

Viscount Palmerston, who arrived by horse and carriage in 1808. He is best known as Lord Palmerston, who served two terms as Prime Minister of England

Palmerston’s greatest achievement and contribution to the area was the development of the beautiful stone harbour in Mullaghmore which still stands. Work on it began in1822 under the direction of the engineer Alexander Nimmo. It was completed in 1841. Palmerston had big plans for it as an exporting harbour, but they never came to fruition.

Myself with the real stars of Mullaghmore, Irish Lobsters

Myself with the real stars of Mullaghmore, Irish Lobsters

Posted by: A Taste of | June 23, 2013

A Taste of Ireland The Mountain Short film in full.

Introducing the full short film by Aidan Monaghan from

This film underlines why we don`t have to go far to see amazing things on this wonderful island of ours.
This summer why not visit Aidan Monaghan`s mountain, the Mourne mountains in Co Down and see their glory for yourself.

Posted by: A Taste of | June 3, 2013

The Mountain short film and exhibition Sat 8th June at QFT Belfast.

Announcing an exhibition of work and short film ‘The Mountain’ by my talented brother at the Queens Film theatre next Sat 8th of June at 3pm
below is a short trailer of the film, ‘The Mountain’ based on the beautiful Mourne mountains.

Posted by: A Taste of | April 19, 2013

A Taste of Ireland: An Fod Dubh Co Mayo

An Fod Dubh Co Mayo

An Fod Dubh Co Mayo

Sometimes the drive to a location isn`t worth it and sometimes like this evening it is worth every penny of petrol used to get there.

Perched right at the edge of Ireland and Europe, is a wonderful Gaeltacht area on the Bellmullet peninsula called Blacksod Bay.

The shot above taken this evening is looking towards Achill Island and Slievemore, a mountain that can appear closer or farther away depending on the weather conditions, as Im told by the locals.

Lobsters are to be found in the sea in the foreground and like most Irish lobster it is exported to europe, not finding any place in these parts selling fresh lobster straight off the boat,

I had to content myself with peperoni pizza. One wonders why we dont eat whats on our doorstep? Lobsters in these parts should cost the same as a pizza.

In fact the picture above shows periwinkles and limpets in abundance a seafood feast but again I had a pizza, something for myself to think about there.

On the way here I passed, Ballycastle, Downpatrick head and Bangor, I got a little confused there I thought I was driving the Antrim/Down coastline for a while.

As a foodie aside I can highly reccomend Marys cottage kitchen in Ballycastle for really good food, and chocolate torte all with an open turf fire

marys-cottage-kitchen 2 marys-cottage-kitchen


Nothing left now but to sit back for the evening put a bit of turf on the fire from the omnipresent Mayo boglands, open a beer and stick a bit of Peter Greens Fleetwood mac on.

Posted by: A Taste of | February 17, 2013

A Taste of Ireland Timelapse compilation

Timelapse photography Ireland & Northern Ireland by Aidan Monaghan from Aidan Monaghan on Vimeo.

A brilliant timelapse compilation from A Taste of Ireland contributor Aidan Monaghan featuring Mount Errigal County Donegal, Mourne Mountains County Down, Crom Castle County Fermanagh, St. John’s Lighthouse County Down. Aidan is a professional photographer and all his timelapse photography is available to be licensed, he is also available for commissions.

Posted by: A Taste of | February 9, 2013

A light that never goes out.

Crookhaven County Cork, what a dawn the most uplifting dawn shot I have ever witnessed!

Crookhaven County Cork, what a dawn the most uplifting dawn shot I have ever witnessed!

I am told my images exude a light, a spirituality that is quite special, I am rather pleased with that appraisal so I am posting a shot that (in my opinion exemplifies that). This shot was 7 years in the making! My first attempt at this view was an unsatisfactory watercolour painting. However, on this morning I believe all the elements of a perfect image came together, with the rising sun to the right of the lighthouse the focal point in the scene. It was particularly satisfying given the 4.00a.m. rise to travel to the location. Once I saw the orange glow on the horizon I knew I was not going to leave cold and disappointed. The image was taken at Crookhaven, a picturesque harbour village in West Cork. Crookhaven was once very important as the most westerly harbour along the southern Irish coast. Mail from America was collected here and the nearby Brow Head has a ruined observation tower on the summit from where Gugliemo Marconi transmitted his first message (to Cornwall) and received a reply.

below is a special smiths track to me anyway that goes well with this image (for me).

if you like this here is an acoustic version


Sunset over Sligo`s holy mountain Knocknarea, where Queen Maeve is said to be laid to rest.

Sunset over Sligo`s holy mountain Knocknarea, where Queen Maeve is said to be laid to rest.

So here we are on the the eve of 21 Dec 2012, the day that many people for one reason or another have been saying the world will end. And living here in Sligo the home of western Europes largest megalithic sites, I feel obliged to mark the occasion.

Maeves Tomb at Sunset atop Knocknarea Sligo. According to some records not Meves tomb at all but that of an older Celtic King.

Maeves Tomb at Sunset atop Knocknarea Sligo. According to some records not Maeves tomb at all but that of an older Celtic King.

The  5125-year-long cycle in the Mayan long-count calendar ending tommorrow, Friday  has prompted a wave of doomsday speculation across the globe. The mayan people still around today, say that yes the long count calendar does end tommorrow but as with most calendars that end, a new one will begin and a new age apparently is upon us. And tommorow will be as unremarkable as any winter solstice.

The Mayan Long Count Calendar

Some facts about tommorrow are

  • it is the winter solstice The word solstice comes from the Latin phrase for “sun stands still”.
  •  The winter solstice marks the official onset of winter where the sun is at its lowest in sky. The years darkest day.
  •  The Sun will be aligned with the middle of the Milky Way band, however if this means anything is unclear.
Carrowkeel Sligo, older than the pyramids facing the setting sun.

Carrowkeel Sligo, older than the pyramids facing the setting sun.

A word on the symbolism of the winter solstice.

Ancient thinkers believed that the cycle of the sun during the day  corresponded to the cycle of the sun during the entire year, so, if one imagined  the year as a single day, summer would be the morning and winter, would be the  night. The middle of the winter, then, was the night of the year, a time when  humanity should sleep and dream noble dreams for the next season, when they  should wake up and work to make dreams happen.

The winter solstice is and was celebrated in many different cultures and represented in  mythology as the battle of the virtuous god against the darkness, or  metaphorically, the moment in which an initiate overcomes death and resurrects  from the underworld to bringing light again to his people, just like the sun,  which rises again after the dark night.

Carrowmore Western Europes largest megalithic site.

Carrowmore Western Europes largest megalithic site.

Sligo and its Megalithic monuments.

I am not going to dwell in this article on the many fine megalithic sites that Sligo has to offer,  for that is indeed the subject of another post or even book that I am currently working on. Suffice to say, Sligo is full of some of the most intact and oldest sites in Ireland and the best thing is nobody comes to Sligo! Most tourists are busy getting horse and cart rides in Killarney! Fine by me for the moment, as it will allow me space to do my research and photography, but most visitors ( in my opinion) are missing something truly original by leaving Sligo out of their itinerary in Ireland.

Suffice to say our ancestors here in Sligo have arranged many sites in and around the area of Knocknarea mountain with regard to the sun, and at Carrowkeel the the tombs face the setting sun.

As legend has it they face the that way in order to face their enemies to the north. There are stories aplenty that describe how the warriors of Connaght were buried standing up so that they would for eternity face their enemies to the north. Last thing though as this is mainly a food producer blog, there is a fine cheese made in the shadows of Knocknarea nad I will update you all with that soon.

Belbulbin view from atop Carrowkeel passage tombs.

Belbulbin view from atop Carrowkeel passage tombs.

Finally something musical to accompany this article. Worth reading article to the music.

Posted by: A Taste of | October 22, 2012

A Taste of Ireland Midleton Jameson Whiskey Distillery Co Cork

Coppers still pots at the old Midleton Distillery

Midleton Distillery is Irelands largest whiskey distillery and home to the famous brands of Jameson, Paddy, Powers and the exceptional Midleton very rare.
It also boasts the worlds largets still pot at an approx capacity of 31,000 gallons.

The old distillery is probably one of the best visitors attractions in Ireland with the tour explaining the history of whiskey making, and a tour of the old distillery,  a highlight being one of the worlds largest copper stills and finally a free glass of whiskey. When on the tour make sure you volunteer for a whiskey tasting at the end for more free whiskey!

Old lorry at Midleton Distillery

Originally the site of an old woollen mill established in 1796 the original distillery was established by James Murphy & Co. The original distillery ended its working life in 1975,  moving nearby to the modern facility, however it lives on as a whiskey museum and forms the basis for the tour.

Jameson Whiskey the final product

After a tour a warm glass of Jameson is waiting at the end for all ticket holders  in the Midleton distillery bar.

Midleton Distillery Co Cork kids will love the big still pot and adults the uisce beatha.

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