• News Update

    Wine Shop/ Pub/Vineyard

    Hargadon’s Pub an Wine shop is well known in Sligo. They own their own vineyards in the Languedoc and have recently opened a new wine shop in Cabinteely village, Dublin.

    Having their own vineyards means they can offer wines that are exclusive to Hargadons. www.hargadons.com

    Wine Sale

    At a recent wine sale in Hong Kong the most expensive  bottle was a magnum 1990 Domain de la Romanee Conti, which sold for €20,500 . The priciest standard – sized bottle was a 2002 Domaine de la Romanee Conti, 3 of which sold for € 9,990.

    The most expensive lot in the sale was a case of 12 bottles of Chateau Petrus 1982, which sold for € 57,000 which works out at almost € 800 per glass. 2010 a case of this wine was sold for €70,000

  • Sommelier

    The Sommelier-Andrew O’ Gorman

    The word sommelier refers to both a service profession and a person. The aim of this profession is to enhance all types of beverages, especially wines and spirits, by an

    acceptable style and standard of service.

    The sommelier is responsible for serving beverages in the most ideal conditions. The role enables the sommelier to impart all the qualities, features, and characteristics of the

    beverages, with the end result of bringing customers pleasure and satisfaction.

    The fact that the French word sommelier is now understood without translation in most countries throughout the world is thanks to the French Sommeliers and the Association Sommelier International (ASI). It is the impression and above all the image conveyed by sommeliers that, for generations, have begun their careers by learning all the subtleties, specific features and professional movements of service professions in restaurants and hotels. These skills require apprenticeship, education, training and advanced specialization in customer service. To this is added the pleasure, determination, attraction and passion of discovering the world of wine and vine growing.

    During their career if they leave the restaurant or hotel business they can often transfer their skills and knowledge to other areas of the wine business, such as sommelier off license manager, sales representative, lecturer, journalist, just to mention a few areas. The profession represents a combination of technical skill, passion, friendship, conviviality, and a desire to share knowledge with others.

    It is unacceptable that the title sommelier be used by those who have never worked in dining room service or has had the responsibility of promoting the best way to serve and consume beverages, the specific feature of this specialized profession.

    It is up to sommeliers to promote their profession and emphasize that a sommelier is essential to restaurants and employers should offer adequate financial reward to encourage sommeliers to remain in their respective businesses and in this profession.

    ASI promotes the sommelier internationally and many join the association with the aim of defending the profession. The Irish Guild of Sommeliers is a member of ASI and has represented Ireland at wine competitions, seminars and meetings for many years. The General Assembly which took place in Stochi, Russia in 2008 drew up the rules and regulations for the world competition in Chile. The Guild was also represented at the World Sommelier competitions in Chile in April, 2010 and in Strasbourg in November, 2010 for the Europe’s Best Sommelier competition.                                                                          Customers should always be encouraged to talk to the sommelier in the restaurant and rely on their experience for something different from the wine list. The following is a conversation I overheard in a restaurant recently: when the sommelier asked one of the glamorous guests on her wine preference, she stated that she could not abide any Chardonnay but is rather partial to a good glass of Chablis. With the face most serious the sommelier, complimented her on her learned choice, whilst trying not to fall about laughing. Chablis is made from the Chardonnay grape.

    Sommelier – Job Description
    Reports to: Food & Beverage Manager
    Liaises with: F&B Manager; executive Head Chef, Restaurant Manager, serving staff,
    commis sommelier
    The core purpose of a sommelier is to ensure that dining patrons are able to find a wine
    within their budget that fits their tastes and complements their food. You will work with
    the kitchen to find suitable wines to pair with dishes on the menu. You will also work
    out on the floor of the restaurant, helping customers to decide the exact wine that best
    meets their needs.
    Job Specifications:
    · Select, buy, store, sell, and serve wines
    · Create and maintain the wine list
    · Keep and manage inventory of wines
    · Ensure proper storage and serving of wines
    · Discuss and recommend wines with guests
    · Wine promotion and sales
    · Organise and promote wine-tasting sessions or events
    · Train waiter/waitresses and commis sommeliers
    · Maintain wine-serving equipment
    · Keeping abreast with local and international wine developments
    · Attending wine fairs and wine tastings nationally and internationally
    Personal Qualities/Attributes:
    · Passion for wine
    · Outstanding customer service skills
    · Team player
    · Meticulous
    · Selling skills

    Sommelier – Job DescriptionReports to: Food & Beverage ManagerLiaises with: F&B Manager; executive Head Chef, Restaurant Manager, serving staff,commis sommelierOverview:The core purpose of a sommelier is to ensure that dining patrons are able to find a winewithin their budget that fits their tastes and complements their food. You will work withthe kitchen to find suitable wines to pair with dishes on the menu. You will also workout on the floor of the restaurant, helping customers to decide the exact wine that bestmeets their needs.Job Specifications:· Select, buy, store, sell, and serve wines· Create and maintain the wine list· Keep and manage inventory of wines· Ensure proper storage and serving of wines· Discuss and recommend wines with guests· Wine promotion and sales· Organise and promote wine-tasting sessions or events· Train waiter/waitresses and commis sommeliers· Maintain wine-serving equipment· Keeping abreast with local and international wine developments· Attending wine fairs and wine tastings nationally and internationallyPersonal Qualities/Attributes:· Passion for wine· Outstanding customer service skills· Team player· Meticulous· Selling skills

  • Winery 6,000

    The earliest known winery has been uncovered in a cave in the mountains of Armenia. A vat to press the grapes, fermentation jars and even a cup and drinking bowl dating to about 6,000 years ago were discovered in the cave complex by an international team of researchers. While older evidence of wine drinking has been found, this is the earliest example of complete wine production, according to researchers from the University of California. They also found grape seeds, remains of pressed grapes, vitis vinifera, still used to make wine.

    The large scale of wine production implies that the Eurasian grape had already been domesticated, according to Patrick McGovern, author of Uncorking The Past: The Quest For Wine, Beer, And Other Alcoholic Beverages, who was not on excavation. He said that wine was consumed at funerals and festivals. (AOG – 12/01/2011).

  • Chile 2010

    Andrew O' Gorman presenting Hector Vergara Flores, President Chilean Sommelier Association with a personalised bottle of Tyrconnell Irish Whiskey on behalf of Mary O' Callaghan, President of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers.

    Written by:

    Andrew O’ Gorman, Secretary The Irish Guild of Sommeliers and President Bartenders Association of Ireland.

    Santiago, Chile hosted the most prestigious sommelier competition at international level during April, 2010. The World’s Best Sommelier competition is organised by Association Sommelier International (ASI) and sommeliers from 51 countries around the world gathered to compete for the much coveted “Moet Silver Mathusalem” trophy.

    ASI was founded in France in 1989 to promote and standardise the profession of sommelier. The Chile chapter was founded in 2000 in accordance with ASI guidelines to promote good service in Chile. Wines of Chile were founded in 2002 to promote the quality and image of Chilean wine worldwide.

    With its soft rolling hills and Mediterranean climate, the lush central-southern valley is the historic home to Chilean wine. Although “terroir hunters” seeking new viticulture zones have expanded south and north, even to the edges of the Atacama Desert, the region is still home to more than half of the wineries that have made Chile a wine powerhouse over the last two decades. It was also one of the hardest hit areas by the February 27th earthquake. The 8.8 magnitude earthquake was felt most strongly in Maule, Colchague, Cachapoal valleys, representing 80% of Chile’s wine industry. The quake cracked storage containers, sent oak barrels crashing and shattered bottles. In all, 125 millon litres of wine – bulk, bottled and aging – worth an estimated US$ 250 million washed away.

    However, Wines of Chile President Rene Merino points out the loss will not affect the ability of the industry to meet export commitments. Much of the structural damage from the quake affected older buildings at wineries, many used for offices, or for the growing wine tours that bring tourists to the region. The actual vineyards and the more modern wine facilities fared well through the quake. Many cellars that were damaged are already repaired and work is continuing. The losses have driven up the price of bulk wine, which has fluctuated since the quake.

    As an industry that exports 70% of production, the US dollar also affects Chilean wine. Exports are sold in US dollars but costs which are bound to increase in the short term are counted in Chilean Pesos. Many vineyard and winery workers homes were destroyed; this is another issue the industry must resolve.

    Local agencies are keeping in close contact with importers assuring them that Chile will be able to meet its international commitments. The industry exports more than half its bottled wine, 22 million cases worth US$ 500 million, to Europe, including the important Irish market. Their motto is that there was a brutal earthquake “but the wine industry is absolutely ready to meet this challenge and continue to provide the best wine in the world to its customers”. This was particularly evident in all the vineyards we visited during our stay in Chile.

    The Chilean Sommeliers and wine producers had no loss of lives among their members and workers.

    The following travelled from Ireland: Andrzej Dasiac,  Competitor from the Annebrook House Hotel, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath and now working in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. He is from Poland, a graduate of the Vocational College, Katowice, Poland, Athlone Institute of Technology and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, Andrew O’ Gorman, Secretary and Honorary Life Member Irish Guild of Sommeliers, travelled as Acting President, as the Guild President Mary O’ Callaghan was unable to travel.

    The contest is the driving force behind the steady progress of the sommelier profession. Young professionals master more and more knowledge when trained by their experienced peers along with attending formal courses. The competition encourages them to master their trade perfectly. The competition is only the tip of the iceberg as standards continue to rise. All professionals of the hospitality business must be able to identify wines, buy them at the best price and be able to recommend them in the most professional way particularly in regard to the marriage of food and wine.

    The delegates from 51 countries attended various seminars and tastings at the following wineries: Casa Vina Montes, Vina Lapostolle, Vineyards in the Maipo, Casablanca and San Antonio valleys, Vina Undurraga, Vina Concha y Toro,Vina Errazuriz, Vina Santa Carolina and Ventisquero, Valdivieso among others. Many tastings of high quality wines were held at Mundo Del Vino – this is a fabulous wine and spirit shop with product from all over the world, but with a most extensive range of Chilean wines. It is owned by the President of the Chilean Sommelier Guild, Hector Vergara Flores. The Moet & Chandon closing gala dinner was held at Castillo Hidalgo where various presentations were made to the contestants and judges. Andrzej Dasiac, and Andrew O’ Gorman were presented with competitor and jury certificates respectively. Andrew O’ Gorman presented a commemorative plaque on behalf of the President of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers to the President of the Chilean Sommelier Association as a token of our gratitude.

    Chile has been producing wine since the mid 16th century, shortly after Spanish settlers arrived and planted the first vines in the new territory. The industry was completely reorganised in the 19th century when modern technology, expertise, and noble French vines were introduced prior to Europe’s devastating phylloxera crisis. A third wave of modernisation took place in the late 1980’s when wineries throughout the country were updated with the latest technology, and modern vinification techniques became standard practise throughout the country.

    Today’s ongoing efforts to continue improving the quality of Chilean wine has led to the discovery and development of new terroirs that have seen vines stretch ever closer to the sea and climb higher into the Coastal and Andes Mountains in search of the perfect conditions for each varietal. The work with Chilean terroir has also seen an exciting increase in the production of excellent cool-climate varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.

    Chile has long been known for its outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, but in the mid 1990’s it also made a name for itself with the rediscovery of Carmenere, a varietal of Bordeaux origin that had been mixed into Merlot-based field blends 100 years earlier. It has since been separated out and today’s better understanding of the long-lost varietal has resulted in exceptional wines that have earned Carmenere its place as Chile’s signature variety.

    Andrzejz Dasiak, candidate and Andrew O’ Gorman

    Back in Santiago the candidates then sat a full-day examination which comprised three written papers covering all aspects of beverages and cigars – ranging from the wines of the world to spirits, liqueurs, beers, non alcoholic drinks including teas and coffees. This was followed by a blind tasting of two wines, questions on the marriage of food and wine and a practical test. This was followed by the semi finals and the finals. For the final competition the candidates assembled before an audience of 1,000 guests and three competitors were selected to compete in the final competition for the title of “The World’s Best Sommelier”. Over more than three hours of competition the candidates were tested in the following categories: blind tasting of spirits and liqueurs, the correction of a wine list and the service of wine to guests in a restaurant, the service of champagne and an aperitif (cocktail), among other practical tests. Andrew O’ Gorman was selected as one of the judges for both the semi finals and the finals. This I accept as a great honour.

    After a very short wait as the judges deliberated, Gerard Basset representing the United Kingdom was declared the winner with Paolo Basso representing Switzerland, 2nd place, and David Biraud representing France in 3rd place. The Irish candidate, Andrzej Dasiak competed to a very high and professional standard. He found the competition and the visits to the vineyards and tastings  a great learning experience. He was a great ambassador for Ireland and the Irish Guild of Sommeliers and will no doubt feature in national and international competitions in the future. Mr. Paddy Keogh, Wines Direct, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath was a big help to Andrzej by facilitating him with numerous wine tastings at his premises during his preparations for the competitions in Chile.

    The World Competitions were a major event in Chile, this year as they were also celebrating the bicentenary of their independence. The event attracted huge sponsorship from wine, spirit and water companies both national and international as well as manufacturers of glassware and national and regional tourism organisations. Moet and Chandon Champagne has been the main sponsor of the international sommeliere since 1989. (Edward Dillon & Co. Ltd is the agent for Moet and Chandon in Ireland).

    Sommeliers are consultants, experts at world level, sharing on a daily basis the extent of their knowledge and skill. The key to this are competitions and a gateway to an international career. In accordance with ASI international regulations a recognised expert from another country is invited to oversee their national competition. Mary O’ Callaghan, President, Irish Guild of Sommeliers was the international expert at the Italian competitions. William Wouters, President Belgium Sommelier Association was the expert who visited Ireland for the national competitions which were held in November,2009.

    The Peter Lehman World Sommelier Award also took place in Santiago. In order to compete for this award candidates took a special written test based around the Shiraz/Syrah family theme followed by a tasting. A cash prize of €10,000 along with a piece of contemporary art from the famous “Hess Art Collection” was awarded to Veronique Rivest , the candidate representing Canada , who achieved the highest scores in the special written test and tasting. This award is overseen by Hans Astrom, President Hess-Family Estates Europe.

    There was also a special prize for the candidate who got best marks in the San Pellegrino – Acqua Panna water paper, which was won by Iulia Gosea from Romania.

    The Irish Guild of Sommeliers has competed at the world wine competitions since 1983 when the candidate was Michael Farrell, Ashling Hotel, Dublin, and other candidates were Albert Mulligan,DIT  who was placed 5th in Venice in 1986, Didier Fiat, K Club, Straffan, Co. Kildare won a bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, this being the best result to date.


    Santiago is in the middle of the Mapocho valley. The small river and the Andes Mountains are the main geographic landmarks in the country’s capital. The area closest to the mountains is known as Santiago Oriente. The mountains seduce your gaze and between June and October, they invite you to go skiing. During the summer they are the regular destination for trekking and hot springs enthusiasts.


    Colchagua valley which we visited is an agricultural valley. It is very good at producing red grapes. Warm and naturally dry but with an abundance of water supplied by the Tinguirrica and Colchagua river; it is a narrow agricultural valley that starts at the foot of the Andes and extends in a westerly direction to the Pacific Ocean. In between you can find numerous microclimates and types of soil, uneven slopes, ideal for plantations and a number of growing vineyards, to make excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and very good Carmenere and Malbec.

    As old as the discovery of Chile, the vineyards in the country’s central region have more than a centenary of tradition. Wine has become part of the national identity, one of the products representing the largest number of exported units that has turned Chile’s valleys into an obligatory reference among wine experts from around the world.

    Over the past few decades the introduction of new capital and technologies has allowed the best of each of the valleys to be developed, from the Elqui area down to Constitucion. Constitucion was badly affected by the most recent earthquake with a large loss of life and destruction of property.

    Diverse and varied grapes and wines identify each of the country’s regions.

    Bernardo O’ Higgins:

    This year Chile is celebrating the bicentenary of their independence. Bernardo O’ Higgins (1778-1842” hero of Chile’s struggle for independence was born on August 20th ,1778, in Chillan, Chile, then under Spanish rule. Bernardo’s father, Ambrose O’ Higgins, had come to Chile from Ireland. Bernardo’s mother was of Spanish descent.

    Bernardo was sent to school in England. There he met a Venezuelan patriot Francisco Miranda. After a journey to Spain, where he met Jose de San Martin, O’ Higgins returned home a convinced republican. In 1810 he joined a group of Chilean liberals, who rebelled against Spain and established the first National Congress. In 1813 O’ Higgins was given command of the republican forces. But Spain’s royalist forces defeated him in 1814, and O’ Higgins had to flee with his broken army into free Argentinean territory. There he joined San Martin. After three years of preparation an army of some 5,000 Chileans and Argentinians, under the command of O’ Higgins and San Martin, marched across the Andes. In 1817 they were victorious at the battle of Chacabuco. San Martin was appointed supreme director of Chile, but he declined in favour of O’ Higgins.

    On February 12th, 1818 O’ Higgins declared the independence of Chile. After a final victory over the Spaniards, at Maipu, he put into effect the first constitution for his country. He aided San Martin in the liberation of Peru. In Chile, O’ Higgins founded schools, imported teachers from England, and started public works. He abolished slavery and titles of nobility. He instituted freedom of worship and taxed the church and the aristocracy.

    These liberal reforms turned Chile’s conservatives against him. In 1823 he was made to resign. O’ Higgins left Chile for Peru. In 1839 the Chilean Senate asked him back. But old and sick O’ Higgins first refused and then was unable to return. He died in Lima, Peru, on 24th October, 1842.

    Andrew O’ Gorman, Acting President presented personally signed bottles of Tyrconnell Whiskey to the ASI President Kazuyosho Kogai, President of the Chilean Association Hector Vergara Flores, Vice President Europe, Serge Dubs. Various other presentations were made throughout our visit.

    Overall an excellent competition and visits to the Chilean vineyards. On the way back to Ireland we had to spend six days in Madrid due to the Volcanic Eruption in Iceland as all flights were cancelled.

  • Diversity Awards

    Oliver Murtagh, Vice President, the Irish Guild of Sommeliers is a member of the Diversity Awards committee.

    Winners in six categories of the Hospitality Diversity Awards were named at a ceremony in the Herbert Park Hotel on Thursday the 16th December,2010.

    1. Dublin Institute of Technology, School of Hospitality Management &
    Tourism which  won the inaugural college category
    2. Crowne Plaza Dublin, Blanchardstown won the Hotel (Individual) category
    3. Sodexo Ireland won the Catering Operations category
    4. Guinness Storehouse Dublin won Other Tourism&Hospitality Business category
    5. Three Q Recruitment won the Recruitment / Contract category
    6. Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin won the Hotel (Groups) category

    This year each was recognised for nurturing a wide diversity of employee and customer backgrounds through structured and meaningful integration strategies and resources within their organisations.

    The Hospitality Diversity Awards have been funded by the Office of State for the Minister for Equality,Integration and Human Rights and were developed to recognise and celebrate the initiatives, policies and practices taken by both companies and individuals who have embraced diversity & equality within the Irish Hospitality and Tourism industry.

    Speaking at the awards Mary White T.D. Minister of State for Equality,
    Integration & Human Rights said: ‘The tourism and hospitality sector is embedded in the economic, social and cultural life of every county in Ireland and is an important contributor to our economy in terms of the employment it creates and business it generates.
    It has helped to establish Ireland’s international reputation as a welcoming and congenial place to visit and do business. In the Irish hospitality industry,  workers are often on the frontline of a service which very much depends on creating positive business images. We must ensure that all staff are valued and can work in a fair, equal and inclusive work environment.
    Ireland has always been known as a country providing service with a smile. It’s not only Irish eyes that are smiling, but the smiles of our new Irish  working in this key frontline area, who are shaping the industry, ensuring quality of service.”

    Also speaking at the awards ceremony was Chief Executive of the Irish Hospitality Institute, Natasha Kinsella who  said: ‘As an industry that faces economic challenges and business pressures its even more important to emphasise that investment into  Equality&Diversity strategies is a key to survival. Due to the developments of the awards and the integration of the 10 Steps guideline which provided a framework for action, evidence within Recruitment & Selection, Induction & Orientation and Training & Development was sought by each panel not alone for employees but also consideration towards the integration of the customer service provisions. Also examined is the wider element of Diversity & Equality of an inclusion programme not just in relation to International workers but evidence of integration of those from minority groups, people with disabilities and local community groups. I am delighted to say that it is both the short listed candidates and overall categories winners who demonstrate this and will be recognized here tonight.

    She added: “Diversity awards focus on awareness but as     afundamental goal of the overall initiative is to learn from each other’s experiences as well as demonstrating the huge benefits, it is the winners of tonight through their involvement will help us to continue the success of such programmes to encourage others both within & outside the Hospitality sector, emulate this approach.”
    The Diversity Awards aim to reward cultural integration in recognizing the work done to integrate workers from all varied backgrounds and in doing so, showcase the benefits from such initiatives and the examples of best practice for other Irish businesses to follow.

  • ASI

    Shinya Tasaki is the new President of the ASI

    At the General Assembly in Alsace (France) on 23 November, 2010 the representatives of the members of ASI held the election for a new President. Shinya Tasaki from Japan was elected President of ASI.

    Oliver Murtagh, Vice President, the Irish Guild of Sommeliers was Ireland’s representative at the ASI General Assembly.

    Danio Braga, Vice President Americas, Michele Chantome, Assistant General Secretary and PR, Gérard Basset, General Secretary, Shinya Tasaki, President, ASI, Philippe Faure-Brac, Treasurer, Bruno Scavo, Assistant Treasurer, Serge Dubs, Manager Technical Committee and Vice President Europe.

  • Whiskey (4)

    These 4 whiskies are worth tasting-Andrew O’ Gorman.

    Connemara Turf Mór Single Malt Peated Whiskey

    58.2% abv.  Price approx. €60 – Retail (2010)

    The cask strength Turf Mór is a new addition to the Connemara range of peated whiskies, all with a distinctive aroma and flavour of turf. Turf Mór is a big rich smooth whiskey with plenty of peaty and woody aromas.

    Made in small quantities, and launched onto the market at the end of November, 2010.

    Available from the CelticWhiskey Shop, Dawson Street, Dublin           www.celticwhiskeyshop.com

    Avoca Irish WhiskeyAvoca Irish Whiskey

    40% abv. Price €15.99 – Retail (2010)

    Produced by Cooley Distillery Plc for Aldi Supermarkets. Avoca has won a number of awards including a Silver Medal at the Blas na hÉireann National food Awards, and a Silver Medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

    It has a light vanilla-scented nose, a smooth oily palate, with some grain finishing on a nice woody lightly honeyed note. www.aldi.ie

    One from Wales – Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky

    46%abv. Price €54.95 – Retail (2010)PENDERYN WELSH WHISKY 700ML

    Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky signals the welcome return of whisky distillation to Wales after an absence of over 100 years. This purpose built distillery is located in the UK’s only UNESCO Geopark, the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is unique in that it unites time honoured distillation methods with modern technology to produce a whisky that captures the spirit of a new contemporary Wales.

    “Absolutely staggering arrival on the palate of malt, immediately a second movement, this time of bitter sweet fruit sweeps down over startled taste buds – “Astonishing Stuff” – Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2009.

    Distributed in Ireland by Classic Drinks Ltd. www.classicdrinks.ie

    The History Of The Tyrconnell

    On a sunny day in 1876 the legend of The Tyrconnell was born.

    Few would have thought, given his odds of 100 to 1, that a young Chestnut Colt owned by the famous Watt whiskey family and named Tyrconnell would win the National Produce Derby, Ireland’s premier horse race. On this occasion the bookies were wrong. As the gates opened Tyrconnell started the race slowly, but with a great finish he romped home to victory to the delight of his owners. To mark this amazing feat the Watt distillery launched a celebratory bottling of their best whiskey and named it after their famous horse – The Tyrconnell.

    Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish whiskey was exported far and wide and quickly developed an international reputati for quality that stands to this day. During the hard times for Irish whiskey, the Watt family were forced to close their distillery in 1925. Few gave The Tyrconnell Single Malt any chance of surviving but once again it defied the odds. Cooley Distillery, Ireland’s only independent whiskey distillery, bought the old brand and has worked hard to restore it to its former glory. Cooley is extremely proud of being able to ressurect Tyrconnell Single Malt and of keeping it independent allowing it to maintain its authenticity. The inspirational image of the Tyrconnell racehorse that so defined the odds back in 1876 can be still seen on the label to this day.

    The Tyrconnell whiskey has a beautiful fresh, malty, fruity bouquet, smooth sweet taste and delicate dry finish. Price: €33 (2010). www.celticwhiskeyshop.com

  • The Palace Bar




    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.

    The Palace Bar “The gateway to Temple Bar” – Around the corner from Trinity College and O’ Connell Bridge.Mary O’ Callaghan making a presentation to Liam Aherne on 10th January, 2012.

    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.

    Liam Aherne and Andrew O’ Gorman


    Andrew O’ Gorman.

    Media Release

    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.

    The Palace Bar 9 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey


    For more information:

    John Cashman

    Tel: 087 9497 964

    E: [email protected]

    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

  • Strasbourg 2010

    Paolo Basso, Switzerland, Best Sommelier of Europe 2010

    l/r David Biraud, France, Paolo Basso, Switzerland, Matteo Ghiringhelli, Italy

    The Irish Guild of Sommeliers delegation: Oliver Murtagh, Vice President, Andrejz Dasiak, Competitor, Liam Campbell, Delegate.

    The 12th ASI Contest of the Best Sommelier of Europe took place in Strasbourg, Alsace, at the Palais des Congrès et de la Musique, on November 22nd. Paolo Basso won the competition and became the Best Sommelier of Europe 2010 in front of a large and enthusiastic audience.

    “It was my third try ! Finally, I win the title, and you are asking me how I feel ? I am just happy, it is as simple as that  ! I have been preparing for these international competitions for years… Years of hard work and sacrifices… You know, I think that the level is higher and higher and it is even tougher to succeed !”

    35 candidates coming from all over Europe entered the ASI Contest of the Best Sommelier of Europe organized by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale and the Union de la Sommellerie Française (UDSF), with the logistical support of the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace (CIVA).

    A fter highly selective tests, eight semi finalists tried to get qualified for the grand finals :

    –          Autriche/ Austria – Andreas Jechmayr

    –          France – David Biraud

    –          Italie/Italy – Matteo Ghiringhelli

    –          Norvège/Norway – Merete Bo

    –          Roumanie/Romania – Julia Gosea

    –          Royaume-Uni /United Kingdom – Matthieu Longuère

    –          Suède/Sweden  – Arvid Rosengren

    –          Suisse/Switzerland  – Paolo Basso

    On Monday 22 November at 3pm, the names of the three finalists are announced : the Swiss  Paolo Basso, the French David Biraud and the very young Italian Matteo Ghiringhelli.

    Emotion is in the air… Paolo Basso has already been second in the European and the World contests. David Biraud was 3rd in the world championship for his first participation in an international competition. As for Matteo, it is his very first continental competition… Anything might happen !

    The tests took place one after the other :

    Serving a Jeroboam of champagne Duval-Leroy, Matching wines and food, decanting a  magnum of pinot noir from Alsace, blind tasting of three wines (Grüner Veltliner, Pinotage, Monastrell from Jumilla), identification of six beverages. Then the wine-list to correct followed by a surprise question about the winners of the European title since its creation in 1988 (Ruinart Trophy at the time). Added to those test, a panel of judges had to mark the attitude and skills of each candidate regarding his foreign language.

    As comperes for the grand finals, two Best Sommeliers of the World (in 1989 and 2004), formerly Best Sommeliers of Europe (in 1988 and 2002), Serge Dubs and Enrico Bernardo conducted the « show ».

    After Shinya Tasaki, president of the technical Commission and chairman of the jury gave him the sealed envelope with the scores, Serge Dubs, host of the competition, announced the results :

    1st : Paolo Basso, Best Sommelier of Europe 2010

    2nd : David Biraud

    3rd : Matteo Ghiringhelli

    No doubt that these three sommeliers will meet again and fight for the world title. Paolo Basso, as for him, is by the rules already qualified as the official Swiss candidate for the next ASI Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World 2013 in Japan. And his country is still welcome to select a second sommelier to enter the competition.

    Within the frame of this contest, David Biraud won the Peter Lehmann Shiraz Sommelier Award, a competition organized by PLW, Hess Family Estates and ASI since 2007 regarding exclusively the shiraz grape all over the world, with a theoretical questionnaire, matching food and wines and a blind tasting. David, who has not yet travelled to Australia, has been invited by Peter Lehmann Wines Ltd to discover the Barossa Valley and improve his knowledge about shiraz. He was also offered a double magnum of “Futures” shiraz by Hans Aström, president of Hess Family Estates Europe.

    The very heavy organization of such an event would not have been possible without the support of partners. If the role of CIVA was vital, we also need to point out the participation of Heineken, Peter Lehmann Wines and Hess Family Estates, Duval-Leroy, Amcor, Arc International, the Royal Palace of Kirrwiller, Strasbourg Events, Croisi Europe, Sommeliers International, Celtic and the Lycée Alexandre Dumas of Illkirch-Graffenstaden.

    The next ASI Contest of the Best Sommelier of Europe is planned in 2013 in Italy and Monaco.

    Candidates List – Click here

  • Delphi, Greece

    1ST World Sommelier Congress Delphi, Greece —- A Development Strategy for Sommellery for the next decade. Andrew O’ Gorman

    This congress was held during May, 2006 in the magnificent surroundings just a few steps from the famous archaeological site of Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, Greece. The congress was targeted at people working in the following areas: restaurants, wine education, wine cellar, winery, journalists, retailers and wholesalers, etc. Ireland was represented at this congress by Mrs. Mary O’ Callaghan, Wine Consultant and Lecturer at DIT, Oliver J. Murtagh, President, Irish Guild of Sommeliers and Andrew O’ Gorman, DIT.

    The congress opened with the question: what does the future hold for sommellery at the dawn of the 21ST century? The international Sommelier association has started discussion on the role of the sommelier towards 2015 / 2020. Since it was founded in France at the beginning of the 20th century sommellery has spread across the whole world and reached the unprecedented influence it enjoys today. But what will its future be in the 21st century? Will there always be a place for the sommelier in the world of tomorrow? How will globalisation affect this profession? Are terroir wines at risk of disappearing to branded wines? Will the “global customer” and “standardisation of tastes”soon render the role of the sommelier outdated? What are the trends in the restaurant business in Europe, Asia and America? These were some of the issues discussed and debated at the congress.

    As a privileged partner of the wine grower and advisor to the consumer the sommelier is in perfect position to lead the discussion on the future of wine and future customer trends. Whether you are a sommelier, wine lecturer, cellar master, journalist, retailer of wine etc. this congress was very worthwhile attending.

    The sommelier is the person who is responsible for beverages — storage, delivery and service in cooperation with management and is also responsible for stock control and categorising the beverages in the restaurant. The sommelier should be good at marketing, communicating, being a team player and a lover of wine. Wine is a rising star in the firmament of change. Gone is the “dusty carafe”and in its place the designer labelled bottle . Another trend is wine ordered by the glass .The sommelier who thanks to his professionalism, training and up – to- date knowledge has enhanced the product of wine worldwide.  In the 1960’s the sommelier was viewed with scepticism by the restaurant establishment. However step by step the profession has come into its own. There is now more dialogue with the customer and subsequently sales are increasing and people are buying better wines. The sommelier is the last link in the chain of distribution.

    To accurately predict the role of the sommelier to 2015-2020 it is essential to listen to the experts, past and present who have made wine great, namely: sommeliers, chefs, proprietors of restaurants, educationalists, students of wine, wine writers and producers. Sommeliers are represented by top professionals who are in touch with the present.  Certificate, diploma, degree, and masters students represent the future in the view of many.

    In the session on sommelier education and training the following were discussed: Hospitality Schools, Universities, Internships, Sommelier Competitions and Further Education. Mary O’ Callaghan was a panel member for this session and she outlined what was happening in wine education in Ireland and particularly on degree courses in the School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, DIT, along with the student wine scholarship to Jerez, Spain and the recent Cote du Rhone competition for hospitality students. Others who spoke on education developments included Giuseppe Vaccarini, Director General Association Sommellerie Internationale , Italy, Mischa Billings, Oreboro University, Sweden, Herve Fleury, Paul Bocuse Institute, France. It was emphasised that the way sommeliers are trained and educated is very important and is regarded as the way forward for the profession.

    One of the keynote speakers outlined the results from an international  study on the global trends in the food and drinks industries and their effects on the sommelier profession. The study involved the world’s most important restaurants with a special focus on wine. It analysed:

    1. The challenges that lie ahead for the restaurant business
    2. The future relationships between food and wine
    3. New products and trends in the wine industry in response to changing customer demands
    4. The role of the sommelier in 2015 / 2020.

    The ever changing world is forcing restaurants to look at not only food, drink and service but also at image, communication and marketing. Entrepreneurs within the sector state that in order to satisfy their customers excellent communication is vital and restaurateurs, sommeliers and chefs are convinced that image is fundamental to the success or otherwise of the restaurant. “The International Sommelier Association are studying today so that you can prepare for tomorrow”. ( Delegate )

    Two quotations from  a Vintner conference:

    “To compete we need more training”.

    “Job satisfaction will only come with training”.

    Overall this was a very worthwhile congress and has posed many questions and topics for discussion that hopefully will be followed up in the near future. This congress was a first in bringing together the diverse interests involved in the wine business.

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