Published – Jan.2014 in Restauranger & Storkok – a Swedish magazine
Whiskies Tasted-The Palace Bar 9 year old whiskey,Teelings Small Batch, Bushmills 16 year old, Jameson 18 year old, Celtic Cask Aon and Connemara Turf Mór. Tasting conducted by Michael Lawlor, Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dublin to over 50 people. Oliver Murtagh President & Andrew O’ Gorman Guild Secretary attended this tasting. This was a brilliant tasting.
The Palace Bar & Presentation to Liam Aherne
Locke’s 10 Year-Old Premier Cru Single Malt
A single cask bottling from Cooley Distillery to celebrate 50th Shannon Boat Rally. One of 292 bottles from Cask No. 713, distilled on 10/2/2000 and bottled 7/7/2010. The cask was selected by members of the Irish Whiskey Society.
The Shannon Boat Rally is the premier event held on the Shannon each year. It dates back to the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland’s campaign in the 1960′s to prevent the closure of the Shannon Navigation by the then proposal to replace opening bridges with low-level fixed ones. Today’s users of the waterways owe much to that original campaign and its first Rally held in 1961. Organised by the Athlone & Carrick-on-Shannon branches of the IWAI, the Rally features water-based competitions, social & sports events and, of course, cruising along the rivers and lakes of the Shannon. It culminates in a prize giving ceremony where the ‘Premier Award’ is presented to the winner of the Rally’s main on-water competitions.
The Palace Bar, 21, Fleet Street, Dublin. 2. Established AD 1823
The Family Pub- When Bill Aherne the ‘mountainy-man’ from Rearcross in Co. Tipperary, acquired the Palace Bar amid teconomic post war- gloom of 1946, he had little insight that this premises was about to enter its Golden Literary Age. And indeed while these years were intellectually and culturally bright, they were frequently impoverished times for the literary set. Testimony to that reality remains evident today in that the house holds a returned cheque for £1.10s.0d presented by a famous rural poet. His son Liam succeeded Bill here in the 1970’s and today the third generation of this family including William, steeped in licensed trade tradition, are involved in the day-to-day operations of this famous Victorian jewel.
History. Untainted, unspoiled and unperturbed by the passage of time – that’s what makes the Palace Bar one of Dublin’s best loved original Victorian pubs. This priceless jewel provides a very important bridge between the 19th century Victorian pub and Dublin’s great traditions of literary hostelries. During the 1940’s and 50’s this old pub became the home of international fame and intellectual refreshment under the patronage of R.M. (Bertie) Smyllie, then Editor of the Irish Times. It was the social home of the Fourth Estate playing host to newsmen, correspondents and compositors of Dublin’s three daily papers. Dublin’s literati assembled here each night to intermingle or to gain favour, or a nod of acceptance, from the Chestertonian figure of Smyllie, who held court in the back room surrounded by his acolytes and courtiers. Poets, artists, sculptors, novelists and all aspiring literary stock came to discuss their work and to gain inspiration from their peers. Serious and sustained volumes of whiskey, and beer were consumed as the night wore on and, amid a cloud of thick tobacco smoke; the conversation grew more animated, lively and contentious. At any minute Dublin’s darling son Brendan Behan might breeze in and attempt to unleash a ballad, to be followed by Patrick Kavanagh, rural poet from ‘the stony grey soil of Monaghan’.
“When I first came to Dublin in 1939, I thought the Palace the most wounderful temple of art” (Patrick Kavanagh).
All the great literary figures of Dublin imbibed here including Harry Kernoff, Austin Clarke, Francis Stuart, and Myles na gCopaleen, aka Flann O’ Brien, who was once discovered hiding in the telephone box during a police raid for after hours drinking.Flan O’ Brien was in real life a civil servant who worked in the old Department of Local Government. Asked back in the 1950′s to describe his ideal system of Government for Ireland, he suggested’ two clerical officers in Whitehall’. Perhaps Myles had an unhappy time in the day job, but his suggestion has survived as the cynic’s default option. Myles, I imagine, would vote yes in the referendum to abolish the Seanad Eireann, whenever it comes along. In recent years this house has found favour with Nobel Poet, Seamus Heaney, and with one of Kerry’s most gifted literary sons, Con Houlihan, who writes with unpoisoned pen and beautiful logical, lilting prose.
The Palace Bar – “Internationally famous for our intellectual refreshment”
The Pub. Like all Victorian pubs the Palace pulsates natural ambience and character. But if you wish to see it at its best, go along in early morning, preferably on a sunshine day when shafts of light come filtering through stained glass windows illuminating the old mahogany back bar and the high vaulted ceiling. Ponder over the Victorian magic of this design; austere and simple but yet vibrant, quaint and enchanting. Note the high altar style Victorian back bar- typical of that era – with Romanesque arches and a very clever use of mirrors. While you are here, step into the charming old snug that once echoed to the cadenced Cork accent of Michael Collins, or later generations of cabinet ministers.
The rectangular shaped ‘Backroom’, which has a wonderfully symmetric centrepiece skylight, is in marked contrast to the elongated Victorian front bar and houses a priceless drawing of the Palace backroom in the 1940’s by leading artist, Alan Reeves, entitled ‘Dublin Culture’.
The Palace Lounge. Upstairs at the Palace you will find a delightful bar and room literally festooned with murals depicting the house’s long association with the worlds of sport and literature. Rugby, Gaelic football and hurling are highly favoured here making this pub a virtual museum of culture and social history. The sounds of Traditional Irish Music can be enjoyed throughout the week as some of the country’s finest traditional musicians and folk artists play here on a regular basis.
As you leave the Palace have a look at number 8, a few doors to the right. Here, the young volunteer Kevin Barry was born in 1902. He was executed during the war of independence in 1920 for his part in a fatal ambush in Church Street and inspired a famous song heard today in Irish pubs around the world. When young Barry was being wheeled around these streets as an infant, Patrick Hall was running a pub and grocery shop where the Palace is.
Rearcross has an unusual Church which was erected in 1887 with the following inscription on the baptismal font:
“By the silvery stream at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun
Or some green hill
Where shadows drifted by,
Some quiet hill
Where mountainy men hath sown
And soon would reap
Near to the gate of Heaven”.
Rearcross was a dangerous place for state forces. In 1920, two RIC men from-the village were shot dead while cycling to Newport. And the shooting didn’t end with the Treaty. In December 1922, during the Civil War, Free State troops were ambushed twice on the short journey between Kilcommon and Rearcross, although this time the rebels came off worse in what was reported a “stiff encounter”.
Rearcross has a pub called the “Congo” and a river called “Bilboa”
As can be seen The Palace Bar and Rearcross are steeped in history.
Andrew O’ Gorman.
Monday 15th August, 2011
Cooley Distillery & The Palace Bar Partner to Create a New Whiskey
The Palace Bar Whiskey Brand returns after a 50 year absence
Cooley Distillery, the multi-award winning independent Irish whiskey distillery, has partnered with The Palace Bar on Fleet Street in Dublin to launch The Palace Bar 9 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey.
Owned by the Aherne family since 1946, the iconic Palace Bar used to bottle their own whiskey under the Palace Bar brand – this was a commonplace practice among Dublin pubs throughout the 1940, 50’s and 60’s. However, with the development of on-site distillery bottling this practice disappeared from Dublin in the 1970’s only to be resurrected by Cooley and The Palace Bar this week. The new whiskey was officially launched at The Palace Bar on Thursday 18th August, 2011.
Willie Aherne of The Palace Bar handpicked the new 9 year old single cask single malt. The whiskey is typical of Cooley single malts with its light fruity tones and distinct spicy wood flavour.
The bottle’s label depicts the exterior of the bar founded in 1823 and pays homage to its great literary past. Former patrons of the establishment include Flann O’Brien and Brendan Behan.
The Palace Bar’s Willie Aherne, commented, “We choose to partner with Cooley Distillery for this venture due to the consistent quality of their whiskey and multiple awards won by the distillery over the years. As the only Irish distillery to be named World Distiller of the Year, we knew they would produce a special whiskey for us to resurrect the Palace Bar Whiskey Brand.”
The launch night was an occasion to remember with good whiskey, food and music along with a very large gathering of customers and friends of the Aherne family. The Licensed trade was well represented along with members of The Bartenders Association of Ireland, The Irish Guild of Sommeliers, The Tipperary Association Dublin. Nigel Tynan, Editor, Licensing World was one of many from the trade press reporting on this a first for a Dublin pub.
The Palace Bar Irish Whiskey Inventory published by Willie Aherne will help the customer choose from up to 100 Irish whiskies.
For more information:
Tel: 087 9497 964
About Cooley Distillery
Cooley Distillery is the only independent Irish whiskey distillery. Established in 1987, Cooley takes its name from the location of its distillery, situated at the foothills of the Cooley mountains, in Co. Louth. Cooley has an award winning portfolio of Irish whiskeys including Kilbeggan Irish whiskey, Tyrconnell Single Malt, Connemara Peated Single Malt and Greenore Single Grain Irish whiskey. To learn more about Cooley Distillery visit www.cooleywhiskey.com.
A bottle of The Palace Bar Whiskey was presented to Sandro Boscaini of Masi wines Italy by The Irish Guild of Sommeliers President, Mary O’ Callaghan on the 5th October,2011 after a wine tasting he hosted for the Guild at the United Arts Club, Dublin.
The Palace Bar launch of plaques-5th October,2011
It WAS just like the old days as a large crowd gathered at the Palace Bar on Dublin’s Fleet Street for the unveiling of a set of plaques to that triumvirate of celebrated Irish writers Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan and Flann O’Brien (Myles na gCopaleen), whose centenary is this year.
The fourth commemorative plague was to sports journalist Con Houlihan, who, unlike the others, is still very much still with us, thank God, and whose bronze bust, no less, sits about the bar’s cash register. Con has been a longtime regular of the Palace, and his spirit was invoked, along with generations of literary sorts and newspaper men and women, many of whom turned up in person for the plaques’ unveiling by Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan.
However, there was an unfortunate Flann-like moment inside the pub when the minister decided to dispense with the problematic microphone and thus most of the crowd could only watch his mute figure deliver the homily. Among them was sporting senator Eamonn Coughlan, as well as seasoned Dub and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who, in the absence of the minister’s speech, could be seen perusing the bar’s fascinating wall hangings, not least an old wall hanging warning customers to ‘Be Good or Be Gone’. Another sign famously proclaimed that ‘A bird is known by its song, a man by his conversation’ but unfortunately we were left in a Mylesian void as regards Minister Deenihan’s song. However, it was apparently very witty and included the story about how the Dublin man was warned not to crow about an expected victory over Kerry in the All-Ireland Final, with the caution: “Never cast aspersions on the alligator until you have crossed the river first.”
In fairness, the minister’s presence showed his ongoing strong support for culture and the arts, often a Cabinet afterthought for previous governments — although his predecessor and fellow Kerryman John ‘the Bull’ O’Donoghue didn’t do a bad job there either. The four plaques, set into the footpath outside with panelled portraits, done by gifted sculptor Jarlath Daly, were described as the ‘culmination of 10 years’ pub talk, often in the snug of the Palace itself’, although one unamused imbiber admitted that they did look a bit like funeral caskets. “We don’t want the place looking like a crematorium,” he mused sourly.
Meanwhile, the talk was not just of Myles and Kavanagh and other former Palace literary regulars like Samuel Beckett and (still, apparently) Seamus Heaney but also those generations of newspaper journalists and printers who worked nearby, and moved, by day and night, through not just the Palace but the adjacent watering holes of Bowes, The White Horse, and the now vanished Pearl bar. And, of course, Mulligan’s in Poolbeg Street, where Con Houlihan himself held court. After the official unveiling, the bar was host to a wonderful one-man show by Val O’Donnell, titled ‘Flann’s Yer Only Man’, a short journey through the life and legacy of Flann O’Brien, which needed no microphone to keep the crowd enraptured. Outside, the plaques were “further admired into the afternoon”, as the inimitable Flann himself might have put it.
Written by Andrew O’ Gorman