• Jimmy Tighe – A Life


    To provide a synopsis of a life like Jimmy’s will undoubtedly prove as difficult as it might be to consume a 10 course Michelin Star tasting menu in 30 minutes.

    L?R Tony Conlon, Seamus Murray, Jimmy Tighe & Albert Mulligan

    Jimmy was multifaceted: a businessman; restaurateur; hotel manager; banqueting manager; educationalist; restaurant manager; catering manager; sommelier; and of course, a raconteur of much repute. Jimmy was a man with many a tale to tell, and as you all know, he had a story for every situation.

    He was born in Temple Bar, grew up in Crumlin, before beginning his (illustrious?) professional career in the Royal Hibernian Hotel in the late 1950s under the guidance of such icons as Kevin O’Mara, Johnny Bacon and Michael Breen.

    His career took him to the Intercontinental Hotel Dublin, The 3 Lakes Hotel Killarney, traversing/around the globe on the cruise liners, before reaching Canada in the late 1960s.

    My first  encounter with Jimmy was in 1972, he having returned from Alberta Canada to join THF for the opening of International Airport hotel. Jimmy brought with him many tales of his adventures in Canada, regaling us often with stories of his meeting with the Queen and others at Jasper National Park Hotel.

    I decided to go to Canada, He got me a job but I met a girl and the rest is history

    A man of redoubtable charm who always dressed to impress (velvet dinner jacket for dinner service)…more like a person going to dine at a formal dinner.

    In the International Airport Hotel, Jimmy led a great team, inspiring those under him with his innovative approach to work – pioneering the notion of the four day week and every second weekend off.

    As a close-knit team, the intimacy he  developed  among his workers inevitably gave way to nicknames, and among his employees Jimmy could count ‘Scutch’, ‘Ate the Hay’, ‘Blinky’, ‘Chopper’, ‘Whacker’,  ‘Grumpy’, ‘Tracker’ ‘Twinkle Toes’, while he himself was known as ’Jasper’ (for obvious reasons!)

    My nickname I never knew.

    All the while, Jimmy managed to operate a business on the side, successfully running the restaurant in the Boot Inn in Cloughran

    In the late 1970s, though I personally lost touch with Jimmy, he continued his ascent in catering in the UK, with his endeavours including a stint with THF, managing various  hotels, working with the Bank of England, proprietor of a restaurant in Nantwich and an outdoor catering enterprise.

    In the early 1990s, Jimmy returned to Ireland, though he left shortly afterwards for the Isle of Man where he worked with Albert Gubay How can you put two people like that together it doesn’t  work  so back to Dublin. In Ireland, Jimmy worked as catering manager with CIE, before moving on to consultancy with Fáilte Ireland, With Taste and Knorr Foods.

    In 1995, Jimmy returned to education in order to gain the required qualification to pass on to others the skills he had built up over a long, varied and prestigious career. He duly took a position at DIT and IT Tallaght, before moving on to teach in  the Liberties  and Crumlin Colleges of  further education where he remained for the rest of his teaching life.    Classical period -Culinary French…Crepes Suzette, Peach Melba Chateaubriand, Rossini

    Jimmy was ardent member of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers and was paramount in establishing IGS when it broke away from the UK branch. He served on council up to the time of his death.

    The two loves of Jimmy’s life were his daughters Kellie and Stacey – fussing over their visits, organising every detail of their accommodation, meals and tours

    Just like the Queens visit– and I know he would have dearly loved to have seen his grandson Jack.

    Jimmy was a man of unfaltering generosity, I was always struck by his kindness, for example he bought presents for all the ward staff during his first Christmas on dialysis treatment in the Mater hospital

    Among his many Charity Acts – Knights of Columbanus   RDS Christmas Day lunch for the homeless and people on the margins of society – Musical talent

    Given the peripatetic nature of his professional career, it was no surprise that Jimmy had something of the natural born traveller in him, journeying to lands as far-flung as Cuba, Russia, Poland, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, South Africa and North and South America

    In later years, we had the privilege of Jimmy’s company on Christmas mornings… where he mesmerised my family and friends with captivating tales of adventure.

    I could go on but this is a synopsis

    To use his own turn of phrase –

    Goodbye Jimmy, you were a gentleman and a scholar

    Jimmy died on Saturday, January,21st, 2012

    Tony Conlon

    26th January 2012

  • New Zealand 2012


    DUBLIN / 30 JANUARY 2O12

    As it is summer right now in New Zealand it seems appropriate to offer you a very warm welcome to our 2012 Annual New Zealand Wine Tasting here in Dublin.

    2011 has been a year of contrasts where the continued impressive growth in sales and the image of our wines has been dampened slightly by the adverse impact of lower foreign exchange rates of the NZ$ thus affecting the financial returns for our winemakers. However, reflecting the true entrepreneurial spirit of the Kiwis, they continue to invest in brand building here in the Irish market and the presence of over 34 New Zealand producers in the room, showing in excess of 250 wines, is an indication of this.

    The 2011 vintage in New Zealand was a comparatively large one, albeit producing superb quality, but with growing global demand the problems of over-supply, which has been prevalent in the last two years, has now been largely eliminated and we now see supply coming back into balance. This fact, coupled with the news that New Zealand’s exports to Ireland are tracking at an impressive +13% growth (MAT to November 2011) means that there is a high degree of optimism amongst growers and winemakers.   The image of New Zealand together with the quality of wine in the bottle has earned us an enviable reputation within the trade but it is the consumers who remain convinced that it is worth paying a higher price than other wines available to them. It is because of this that the average retail price for New Zealand wine in Ireland is one of the highest.

    New Zealand is regarded by many to be the most exciting ‘brand’ in the trade today and you will find in the room highly passionate producers showing a wide range of exceptional wines, giving you the ability to see for yourself that the vintages just get better and better.

    Please note the four self-pour themed tables:

    •    The Riesling Challenge – One vineyard, 12 different winemakers, 12 different wines. Which is best? You decide.

    •     New Zealand Sparkling Wine – A very interesting category now with some new entrants

    New Zealand Chardonnay – Complexity and elegance Bordeaux style red blends – Stunning examples from New Zealand’s North Island

    In addition, at 2.30 pm there will be a Masterclass on New Zealand’s newest grape – Gruner Veltliner, conducted by Matt Thomson, winemaker at Saint Clair Family Estate.   This will take place in the Swift Suite.

    Finally, please note that ALL the 2010 and 2011 vintage wines in the room have been certified as being made in a sustainable way in accordance with the SWNZ programme (Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand). This demonstrates the significant work being done in the vineyard, the winery and the community in New Zealand as part of our commitment to be 100% sustainable by 2012.

    Many thanks for your support and we look forward to working with you over the next 12 months. If you have any questions the NZW team and Jean Smullen are on hand to assist. We hope you have a very enjoyable day tasting and doing business.

    The Team at New Zealand Winegrowers – Europe

    David Cox

    Director – Europe davidc@nzwine.com

    Chris Stroud Marketing Programme Manager – Europe cstroud@nzwine.com

    Sarah Shepherd

    Marketing Programme Manager – Europe sarahs@nzwine.com

    Felicity Johnston

    Market Executive – Europe Auckland Based


    Follow Us : @N2_Wine_UK |  @nzwine  I  #nzwine



    enjoy alcohol sensibly

  • Cherbourg Wine Trip

    SUNDAY MAY 6th 2012WEDNESDAY MAY 9th 2012

    TOTAL COST PER PERSON €270 or less based on two people sharing a car (Includes single occupancy of Cabin and Ambassadeur Hotel on Monday Night).

    Exact cost will be notified to those travelling by Monday 10th April 2012

    Time Table:



    Sun 6th May 3.30 p.m. Meet at Harbour View Hotel, Rosslare Harbour (beside Statoil Petrol Station) for distribution of Tickets
    Sun 6th May 4.45 p.m. Check in
    Sun 6th May 6.00 p.m. Depart Rosslare
    Mon 7th May 2.00 p.m. (local time) Arrive Cherbourg
    Tues 8th May 7.00 p.m. (local time) Check in for Return to Rosslare
    Tues 8th May 8.00 p.m. (local time) Depart Cherbourg
    Wed 9th May 2.00p.m. Arrive Rosslare

    Please note prices are per single person, couples may differ i.e. status of accommodation required

    Those wishing to book should contact:-

    John Merry, 29 Butterfield Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.

    Ph 4932499 Mobile 085 7498393

    Email: – john@merry.org

    By Friday 30th March 2012 Final Date

    Those taking cars to France must provide:

    (1) number of passengers in car

    (2) make and model of car

    (3) Registration number of car

    It is advisable to inform your insurance company of your dates of travel.

    Cheques should be made payable to JOHN MERRY and sent to;-

    John Merry, 29 Butterfield Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.

    P.S. Don’t forget your Passport.

  • Fáilte Ireland

    Friday, 27 January 2012 08:44
    The Failte Ireland Trainee Management Development Programme has been elevated to Degree status and will now be delivered by Tralee Institute of Technology.

    The announcement was made yesterday by Sean O’Malley, manager of Education Operations at Failte Ireland during  a graduation ceremony for 18 trainee managers.

    .Hotel Managers of the Future – Well Equipped for Challenges Ahead

    Matti Reuter (left), who trained in the Clarion Hotel Sligo, was named Graduate of the Year 2011, is pictured with Sean O’Malley, Manager of Education Operations, Fáilte Ireland.

    Students complete three years of rigorous on-the-job training and academic studies in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) whilst employed in a hotel. The programme is a collaboration between Fáilte Ireland, the Irish Hospitality Institute (IHI), the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). Tralee I. T. will now also provide this course.

  • Bridgestone

    Thursday January 26 2012

    PUBS that don’t adapt to offer great food and unusual beverages are doomed to fall victim to the recession, a leading food writer has warned.

    John McKenna said that pubs are bound to fail unless they offer special attractions like great food, craft beers or freshly made cocktails.

    But at the launch of his 2012 Bridgestone Guide to the 100 best eateries and places to say, the publican’s son bemoaned the number of pubs that offered the “same bland drinks”.

    About 1,500 pubs are estimated to have closed in the past five years amid stiff competition from cheaper supermarket alcohol.

    “Why would anyone pay €5 for a pint of Heineken when they can get 20 cans for €20 in the supermarket?” said Mr McKenna.

    He challenged pubs to come up with other reasons for people to visit — pointing out that there was no recession in good food, with many business owners telling him they had enjoyed their best year ever in 2011.

    Matching great food with Irish craft ales and beers was the big trend for 2012, and would come to replace imported wines as an accompaniment to food, he predicted.

    “Pubs that don’t recognise this and adapt are doomed in my opinion,” he said, urging bars to stand out by serving the best dry martini, the best specialist beer, or the best whiskeys.

    L Mulligan Grocers in Dublin’s Stoneybatter was singled out as an example of the new approach, and appears among the top 100 restaurants this year.

    Operating as a pub since 1782, the premises has been given a new lease of life in the past 18 months by husband and wife team Colin Hession and Seaneen Sullivan along with business partner Michael Foggarty.

    You won’t find Guinness or Carlsberg on tap, instead you get your choice of 20 microbrewed specialist Irish draft beers, with over 100 more bottled options. These beers are varied,ranging from Eight Degrees Sunburnt Irish Red to Trouble Brewing’s Dark Arts porter from Kildare and Cork’s Franciscan Well Friar Weiss.

    “There’s seven or eight pubs on this street serving Guinness and Smithwicks, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we just want to offer something different,” said Mr Hession, a former barman who became a “beer geek” through his travels abroad.

    The pub’s range of food includes regularly changed classics with a twist — such as hazelnut-crusted, Inishowen whiskey citrus and garlic-buttered chicken Kiev or mini-haggis with Tatties and neeps.

    Whiskey lovers can choose from more than 200 Irish and international blends.

    The formula has proved such a success the team is expanding to open another gastropub at WJ Kavanaghs in Dorset Street in March.

    It’s not just pubs, but groundbreaking restaurants like Aniar in Galway, that recognise the importance of quality Irish craft beers, said Mr McKenna.

    He noted that on a recent visit he’d been surrounded by people drinking Dungarvan brews from Co Waterford.

    Galway has become a new centre of excellence, with a cluster of quality restaurants such as Aniar and Kai Cafe and Restaurant.

    Meanwhile, AA Ireland announced that 17 Irish restaurants and eateries had been newly awarded AA Rosettes, a 50pc improvement on the previous year when just 11 of these awards were handed out.

    The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford, got the most prestigious three-rosette award for cuisine while the Cellar restaurant at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin was the only restaurant to receive 2 rosettes.

  • IDL

    Irish Distillers forges ahead in 120 markets worldwide

    Midleton Distillery


    JAMESON Irish whiskey won the Bord Bia Food and Drink Export Award for 2011, having passed the milestone of three million cases sold globally in 2010.

    Meanwhile, Irish Distillers and Pernod Ricard are investing over €100m in Ireland over the coming three years to sustain its rapid expansion and expect Jameson to reach four million cases sold globally this year.

    “Irish Distillers has shown huge mar­keting commitment to Irish whiskey and its exceptional export performance is to be welcomed not only for the sus­tained double-digit growth in exports, but for the fact that it promotes the Irish identity in more than 120 coun­tries around the world,” says Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD

    “It is proudly rooted in Irish heritage and tradition and its global reach pro­vides a platform to build awareness and enhance the brand reputation of our entire food and drink industry, a key element of Food Harvest 2020.”

    Irish Distillers employs 500 people and a further 280 jobs are to be created through the expansion of its Midleton distillery over the next four years.

    Speaking at the awards ceremony in Trinity College, newly appointed Bord Bia chairman Michael Carey said this is probably the most exciting time ever to be in the food and drink industry.

    “The increase in exports would be impressive at any time but against the backdrop of global economic uncertain­ty and our own domestic difficulties it is truly remarkable. Equally remarkable are the achievements of the award winners, who have demonstrated success in areas critical to future growth, from innovation and branding to sustainability and entrepreneurship.”

    There were eight companies award­ed under various categories. Kerrygold and Cashel Blue were also honoured with a special recognition of their co-branding, ‘co-opetition’ initiative in the US market.

    Andrew O’ Gorman, January,2012.

  • Water


    Water is our most important food ingredient.Fruit, vegetables, cereals and livestock all need clean water to grow andthrive. More than 80% of drinking water in Ireland comes from surface water supplies (i.e., rivers and lakes), with the rest coming from groundwater (springs and wells), which is in contrast to our European neighbours who mostly use groundwater.  :

    Over 250,000 individual tests are carried out on water supplies in Ireland annually and the good news is that 70% of Ireland’s watercourses are in good condition and we are largely doing better than our EU neighbours in terms of managing our lakes, rivers, groundwater and estuaries. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, we are going to have to work harder in the coming years if we are to meet binding EU water quality and anti-pollution targets for 2015 and 2021. Commenting on a recent report on the subject, the EPA’s Martin McGarricle said that improving water quality management in Ireland will involve tacking three issues: “Firstly, eliminating serious pollution associated with point sources, that is, waste water treatment plants; secondly, tackling diffuse pollution, meaning pollution from farming and septic tanks; and thirdly using the full range of legislative measures available to us.”

    While we like to think of water as a resource we have in abundance, water conservation is set to become an important issue in Ireland n the decades ahead – not least because of he planned introduction of domestic water metering in line with other European countries. New investments in water treatment and wastewater treatment plants, and progammes to tackle water losses through our aging public infrastructure are set to be critical priorities in the coming years.


    The size of the bottled water sector is difficult to pin down, but industry insiders estimate it to be worth circa €250m per annum in Ire/and. Globally, the market is estimated to be worth €102,000m. That is based on annual consumption worldwide totaling 170,000m liters. Ireland’s bottled water companies have established an international reputation for high levels of quality – brands such as Ballygowan, Tipperary, Glenpatrick and Kerry Spring. Most recently, Tipperary Natural Mineral Water celebrated three international gold medals in its 25th Anniversary year at the British Bottlers Institute (BBI) Awards in London. Meanwhile, the leader in the Irish bottled water market, Ballygowan, produces 75m bottles of water per year.

    A question of taste – Tipperary

    Ed Binsted, President of the British Bottlers Institute, which recently awarded three gold medals to Tipperary Water, comments on the subtleties of water appreciation.

    In assessing bottled water quality, professional judges take into account key factors such as carbonation and stillness. The professional taster has a palate attuned to nuanced gradations, according to Ed: “French and German waters tend to be lightly carbonated. Irish waters have much in common with waters from mid-France in that they tend to be soft, due in great part to the amount of rain the country gets and the relative cleanliness of that rain.” If you are drinking a bottled water on its own, rather than with a meal, Ed suggests opting for a premium quality water: “Premium waters that are slightly more expensive have a little more about them in terms of taste. There’s also a widely held perception among serious water drinkers that the taste experience is better when the water is poured from a glass bottle, rather than a plastic bottle.”

    Friday January 27 2012

    WATER costs more in pubs than beer, a new survey has found.

    Mineral water cost €9.44 per litre on average compared with €7.92 a litre for stout and €8.71 for brand-name beers, according to the survey by Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone.

    Soft drinks cost even more, with cola costing €13.45 per litre — the most expensive drink in the survey of over 100 Dublin pubs.

    Ms Noone criticised the high price of non-alcoholic drinks at a time when people were being encouraged to drink less.

    “This survey shows it’s actually more expensive to spend your night sipping on water or soft drinks instead of beer or stout. How can this make sense?” she said.

    “This isn’t just about encouraging people to drink sensibly. It’s also about the fact that punters are clearly being ripped off,” she added.

    Andrew O’ Gorman, January, 2012.

  • Véronique Drouhin

    Véronique Drouhin Interview, 23rd January,2012.

    Véeonique is head winemaker at the Drouhin winery in Burgundy, the great granddaughter of the founder.

    What would be a typical ‘day in the life of? I usually come into the office by around 8am and by 11 am I go to the winery to taste the wine – every day we have wines to taste. All are under the process of maturation so we have to decide what needs to be done next – do we bottle the wine or leave it be? In the afternoon I come back to the office or see customers wanting to see the cellars.

    You’re a well established brand but the market is pretty crowded. How do you keep ahead of the competition? It is achallenge. In our case our philosophy is simply to produce very high-end quality wine. There’s no compromise on anything, the quality always comes first. Yes, sometimes it’s hard but our name has been going for a long time and it’s a name people trust

    Were you expected to join the family business, or was italways your passion? It was not expected but when I discovered I had a real passion for the wine making process. When I was that age my father hired a female wine maker and at that time, back in the 1970s, there were very few women taking care of vineyards. It was, for me, a discovery. I thought: ‘Oh, that’s something I could do, I like it very much!’ So I pursued my studies in wine making and it all worked out perfectly.

    Why are there so few female wine makers?

    That’s a good question. I think it’s a very demanding job if you have a family. For me it has been very nice for my husband and my children to let me take so much time out of then: life for wine. But then it was just not common for women. In Burgundy certainly they were not so welcome in wineries, only in the vineyards.

    Your great-grandfather set up the business in 1880 at just 22 years old. Now, the family owns and manages 200acres. How many staff are employed in the company? We have 80 employees. The name is well known but the company is not that big. We’re lucky to have a beautiful estate and we still have the same partners and suppliers we’ve had for years. The idea is not to become too big a company, and to remain trustworthy.

    Your father was one of the first in Burgundy to introduce ‘culture raisonnee’ – this means organic, right? Yes, and it’s a healthy way of growing fruit – you use products you find in nature, such as herbs and natural fertilisers like manure. It is about finding natural solutions to natural problems.

    What do you remember most about vinifying the first vintage in Oregon? It was very challenging because we didn’t make one in the winery – it was in a place that had no water or electricity. But 25 years on, we’ve built a lovely four-level winery. We still work with a traditional way of wine making. Technology shouldn’t be overused, only when there’s a problem.

    Are you a pinot noir or a chardonnay woman yourself? It depends on the mood, the weather. During the summer I’m more into the Chardonnay but in winter a pinot noir usually finds its way around the fireplace.

  • James Tighe RIP

    To provide a synopsis of a life like Jimmy’s will undoubtedly prove as difficult as it might be to consume a 10 course Michelin Star tasting menu in 30 minutes.

    Jimmy was multifaceted: a businessman; restaurateur; hotel manager; banqueting manager; educationalist; restaurant manager; catering manager; sommelier; and of course, a raconteur of much repute. Jimmy was a man with many a tale to tell, and as you all know, he had a story for every situation.

    L/R Tony Conlon, Seamus Murray, Jimmy Tighe & Albert Mulligan

    Read more in News/Archive section.

  • Alcohol

    After 30 years, scientists prove why alcohol is fun

    Drinking alcohol makes people feel better because it produces the same chemicals in the brain as exercising and laughing, a study has proved for the first time.

    Alcohol is addictive because it releases endorphins, which are the body’s way of making us feel pleasure and reward, the researchers showed.

    The stress and pain-relieving proteins are naturally released in the brain and other tissues, producing similar effects to opiates such as morphine.

    Brain scans conducted to show the immediate effects of alcohol on the brain provided the first direct evidence to support scientists’ belief that it triggers the release of endorphins.

    The discovery of the particular brain regions where the endorphin release takes place could help scientists develop new treatments to help people overcome alcohol addiction.

    Dr Jennifer Mitchell of the University of California San Francisco, who led the study, said: “This is something that we’ve speculated about for 30 years, based on animal studies, but haven’t observed in humans until now.

    “It provides the first direct evidence of how alcohol makes people feel good.”

    Researchers conducted positron emission tomography (PET) scans on the brains of 13 heavy drinkers and 12 non-drinkers immediately after they drank alcohol. Their findings, published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, showed that alcohol caused endorphins to be released in the nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal cortex brain regions.

    In all of the volunteers, larger quantities of endorphins released in the nucleus accumbens were linked to increased feelings of pleasure.

    Increased levels of endorphins released in the orbitofrontal cortex were linked to a more pronounced feeling of intoxication in people who were heavy drinkers, but not in non drinkers, the study showed.

    Dr Mitchell said: “This indicates that the brains of heavy or problem drinkers are changed in a way that makes them more likely to find alcohol pleasant, and may be a clue to how problem drinking develops in the first place.

    “That greater feeling of reward might cause them to drink too much.”

    12th January,2012.