Ireland – a country with beautiful nature, rocks, caves and traditional beer

National Pride: All about Irish Pub Culture

The history of Irish brewing goes back more than five thousand years. As it happens, Ireland’s fertile soil, gentle rain and cool winds have created the perfect conditions for growing excellent barley. And it was in this area that it was easier and faster to brew beer than other alcoholic beverages. Most pubs appeared in local breweries, which allowed the beer to be of high quality and unique to the area. In this material we will talk about the birth and development of this culture.

The pub, or as the British call it, boozer (beer house), the local, rub-a-dub-dub (literally, “the place of rub-a-dub”), takes its name from the abbreviation “public house”. Such public houses were not invented by the Celts; the first forebears of pubs, alehouses, appeared in Great Britain and Ireland with the arrival of the Romans to these lands. Their main function was drinking and sleeping. The owners of the alehouses attached green branches to poles nearby, which meant that the ale was ready and the alehouse was open to all comers and passers-by. Brewing developed rapidly in Ireland during the Bronze and Early Iron Ages. Legend has it that the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, could not do without his own brewer, a priest named Meskan.

St. Patrick’s Day

We all know how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated now, it’s mostly green outfits, a sea of beer and fun. It used to be a little different. On March 17, after Mass, women and children rushed home to prepare a festive dinner that included pork, jacket potatoes, lard, and sweets for the children. The men, on the other hand, filled the pubs to drink a “St. Patrick’s mug”-a pint of beer with a shamrock leaf at the bottom, which had to be spit out over their left shoulder after emptying the mug. During and, indeed, after the festive dinner people chatted, sang, and, of course, continued to drink.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day was until recently considered a religious holiday and was celebrated much more modestly than it was by Irish communities in other countries. Thus, in the 20th century, until the seventies, all pubs in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day were closed, and the holiday was celebrated by the Irish in a family circle at a traditional dinner.

It so happened that Irish monasteries dominated the making and supply of beer for centuries. The monks called beer liquid bread, and they drank it mostly on Lenten days. Peasants drank beer in winter for practical reasons, as vegetables and other vitamin-containing products were very difficult to find and expensive. At first travelers preferred to stay in monasteries, but later the demand for alehouses began to grow, and with it the tradition of brewing. At a certain point there were so many drinking establishments that the rulers became alarmed. By 965 King Edgar issued a decree that there should not be more than one pub in one village so that the population would not drink.

The pub takes its name from the abbreviated “public house.

National Pride: All about Irish pub culture. Image #1.

Nevertheless, by the beginning of the eighteenth century the population of Dublin was no less than 70,000 people, and they accounted for about 1,500 taverns and hundreds of small home breweries producing dozens of different kinds of beer. In 1869 a law was issued regulating gambling, prostitution, and including procedures for obtaining a license to sell alcohol in drinking establishments. The license required compliance with certain rules: opening the establishment at certain hours, conditions for serving food and cleaning the premises. Because of this, the number of pubs declined sharply again.

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The Irish, more than anyone else, care about their cultural heritage, and folk dances, songs and ballads have never been forgotten here. In village homes, at fairs and sporting events, and in the bustling pubs of towns and cities throughout Ireland, there has always been singing.

Brobdingnagian Bards – Whiskey in the Jar

The first Irish brewery that produced bottom-fermented beer (lager) appeared in Dublin in 1892: the Darty Brewing Co. But it lasted only five years. The second attempt was made by Regal Lager Brewery Ltd. in 1937. It lived a little longer and closed in 1954. Stable lager production began when Guinness began brewing Harp beer at the Great Northern Brewery (Dundalk) in the 1950s. Ireland is particularly famous for one beer in particular: the stout. The modern stout is not the same as the one brewed before World War II. The density of classic porter and stout has declined considerably over the years. Before the First World War Irish stouts were made stronger, they were denser than the beers produced in Britain. For the last 40 years stouts have been steadily losing their audience, but the variety is still the most popular beer in Ireland. Ireland remains the only country in the world where most of the beers produced are top-fermented beers (ales).

Incidentally, it was Guinness who first invented bottling beer under pressure with a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the 1960s. The system is ideal for serving stouts and ales. Prior to that, stout was poured from two barrels. First, two-thirds of the old and exhausted stout from the lower barrel was poured into the glass, and then one-third was topped off with fresh sparkling stout from the upper barrel.

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The ordinary Irish live largely by farming, farming, and fishing. Now, with a population of only 4.5 million people, Ireland has about 140,000 family farms and 1,400 boats that catch up to 300,000 tons of fish, and up to two million hectares of pasture is used for grazing. Now imagine that after a long voyage you are finally in port. Or getting soaked in the rain. Or somewhere in the fields, chilled to the bone from the freezing wind. It’s times like these when you need friendly company, a warm room and a glass of whiskey or a pint of beer. That’s how the Irish pub was born. An Irish pub is neither a bar nor a pub. Its difference from the usual drinking establishments is that it is a house of culture, a place of latest news, a place of relaxation, and perhaps even a second home for the man . Especially in rural areas, where men simply have no other places to gather.

If you take an average pub somewhere in the Irish countryside, which serves people for at least 50 years, you are likely to see the walls covered with photos from the life of the village: here you see the first soccer team of the village, here you see the bartender smoking his last cigarette in the pub (since 2004 smoking is prohibited in Irish pubs), here is the independence, here is the great grandfather of the owner with kegs of beer under the still new signboard. The pub is furnished only with wooden furniture, the windows are decorated with frosted and smoked glass so that the light and the hustle and bustle of the street do not interfere with the visitors. The interior is decorated with colorful glass mosaics. The bar of the Irish pub is impressive and made only of wood.

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In the corner where the bar meets the wall (the best place in the pub), the main local boozer, who knows all the latest rumors and news, is on duty. He will definitely confirm to you that coming to the pub “dry” is a bad tone and, moreover, stupid. There are strong drinks in the pub besides beer, but why pay more for them when you can drink something strong on the way to the pub? That’s why most of the time the pub is a local stout or the usual, but native to every Irishman, Guinness. Guinness, in fact, is probably the best thing that has happened to Ireland since the mid-18th century, and could be second only to Jameson.

Guinness first invented bottling beer under pressure with a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the 1960s. The system is ideal for serving stouts and ales.

A true locomotive of brewing in Ireland. For more than 50 years the Irish brewing market has been dominated by Guinness. Its last Dublin rival Findlaters ceased to exist in 1949, and by the mid-1960s Guinness was faced with only a few small breweries. The only barriers to full control were Murphy’s and Beamish & Crawford breweries, which had developed networks of pubs that were not about to give up. However, even these companies surrendered to multinational brewing corporations that wanted to sell the prestigious “Irish stout” brand. Now these brands are sometimes easier to find abroad than in Ireland itself. Nowadays Guinness can be found in every pub in Ireland, as it is produced in the volume of six million hectoliters per year (for comparison: other Irish brewing companies pour 45 thousand hectoliters per year).

A pint of Guinness should get to the customer from the moment of ordering in canonical 119.5 seconds.

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How to pour Guinness properly

A pint of Guinness should be delivered to the customer from the moment the order is made in the canonical 119,5 seconds. The stout is first poured at a 45% angle just above the brand mark (about ¾ of the pint’s volume) and allowed to rest so that it can take on its exceptionally black color as the foam rises. The resting process is what takes up most of the time. Guinness has rested when it has a “bishop’s collar” (a cream-colored foam cap). The pint is then refilled to the edge so that the foam is just above the edge of the mug. A proper Guinness is served hexagonal.

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Interesting facts about Guinness

  1. Guinness is brewed in over 150 countries.
  2. Though the Irish are very fond of their stout, 40% of all Guinness is drunk in Africa.
  3. Guinness is quite a diet drink. A pint of the signature stout contains only 198 calories. That’s less than most light beers, wine, orange juice or even skim milk.
  4. Guinness is made from roasted malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. Also, it’s not really black. In fact, it is the color of a dark red ruby.
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In the XVIII century, pubs were equipped with another hall, where visitors could play music, dance and hold sports competitions. For example, some pubs had their own garden clubs, where shooters could compete in pigeon shooting. Later pubs began to be equipped with entertainment games: darts, billiards, kicker, cards. In the second half of the 20th century they began to show live soccer, rugby, motor racing and equestrian sports, which greatly influenced the soccer and pro-football culture that was born in Britain.

In authentic Irish pubs, one does not traditionally eat out. The Irish eat at home and are very fond of homemade food, preferring it to restaurant food. An Irish pub is for drinking and partying, for drinking and nostalgia, but not for eating. The maximum you can order is snacks to go with your drink. Now many pubs in the capital have changed and the owners have become more flexible to visitors and tourists and offer breakfast and lunch. The food is served very masculine and simple. Colcannon is a mixture of cabbage, onions, and potatoes served with sausage or bacon. The mixta coddle is sausage cooked with bacon.

National Pride: All about Irish pub culture. Image #4.

If you want to visit an authentic Irish pub, go not even to Dublin, but to somewhere closer to the villages where there are still many truly authentic pubs. In 1991 the Irish Pub Company was founded, whose mission was to flood the world with authentic Irish bars. During its existence, Dublin-based IPCo and its franchise competitors have designed and built more than two thousand drinking establishments in more than 50 countries. Guinness gave weight to the movement, and the whole industry was built around recreating “Irishness” on every continent and even in Ireland itself. A guide on how to make an Irish pub was even invented. Can’t you think of a name? The answer is simple: “You can add ‘& Sons’ to the surname to create the illusion of history.” So the branding of most current Irish bars owes much to cultural stereotypes and the modern global economy, rather than to Celtic heritage.

Ireland’s Nature

Nature of Ireland.

Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe and the world. It is known for its unusual architecture, unique cultural heritage and natural attractions. Describing the nature of Ireland, many use different shades of green, and the country itself is called “emerald. In addition to lush vegetation, the island is rich with winding rivers, sandy beaches, rugged mountains and underground caves. It is not for nothing that the ancestors of the Irish were Celts, who had a cult of nature. For this reason, to immerse yourself in Irish culture, you must learn about, or at least become familiar with, Ireland’s nature.

Geography and Climate of Ireland

The territory of this country occupies a large part of the island of the same name, located in the northeast Atlantic, as well as small adjacent islands. Its coasts are washed by the Irish Sea, the Celtic Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the North Channel and the Straits of St. George. This is the reason for the richness and diversity of Ireland’s nature. Its highest point is Carrantouil Peak (1,041m), part of the McGillicuddy Rix Mountains.

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Ireland’s climate also influences the diversity of its nature. It is characterized as temperate maritime, influenced by the warm Gulf Stream. Despite the fact that the country is located at relatively high latitudes, warmth is brought here by southwest winds blowing from the Atlantic Ocean. Irish winters are mild, with a minimum temperature of -10.1°C (December) and cool summers, with a maximum temperature of +28.7°C (August).

Mount Carranthueil, the highest point in Ireland

Landforms and Mountains in Ireland

The northern, southern and western coasts of the country are in the form of high cliffs, dissected by numerous bays. The largest of these are considered to be:

  • Shannon;
  • Galway;
  • Donegol;
  • Loch Foyle;
  • Dingle.

The middle part of Ireland is flat. The center is in the lowlands, which rise only in the east and west closer to the coast. Along the coasts of the country rise the low McGillicuddy Rix Mountains and plateaus, the largest of which is Antrim.

The topography of Ireland

Flora and fauna of Ireland

The country is divided into two ecoregions: one has Celtic broadleaved forests and the other has North Atlantic mixed forests. Altogether, forests account for 12% of the country. Thanks to constant rainfall, the trees here are green almost all year round, which makes it possible to describe Ireland’s nature as “emerald.

The country’s flora can be roughly divided into the following zones:

  • Natural forests (10%), with oak, birch, ash, willow, and pine;
  • artificial plantations of conifers;
  • peat bogs (20%);
  • fields and meadows (about 50%).

The first scientist who attempted to describe the nature of Ireland and create a monograph of its flora was Caleb Threlked. In 1726 he published his perennial work Synopsis stirpium hibernicarum.

The fauna of Ireland, because of its insular origin, is much poorer than that of Great Britain or other countries of continental Europe. It is home to:

  • 400 species of birds;
  • 26 species of mammals;
  • 10 species of fish;
  • 3 species of amphibians;
  • 2 species of terrestrial reptiles.

Relatively recent extinctions of Irish wildlife include the beaver, the wild forest cat, and the wingless loon. In 1786 the last wolf was shot in County Carlow. An interesting fact is that there are no snakes in the country. For 90-200 years there were no golden eagles, white-tailed eagles or red kites. Thanks to introduction programs in national parks, populations of these Irish wildlife are gradually being restored.

Forest in Ireland

Marine Fauna in Ireland

There are many companies like the Northern Irish Diver that organize boat trips to observe the inhabitants of coastal waters. The most famous representative of Ireland’s marine wildlife is the Fangi dolphin. This solitary dolphin is 37 years old, most of which he has spent in a small cove. He can return to the open ocean at any time, but prefers to live in a body of water teeming with fish. Fangi has been a major attraction in Dingle and Kerry County since 1991, but locals prefer to call him just an old friend.

Fangi's Dolphin, the main attraction in County Kerry, Ireland

Tourists who want to experience Ireland’s larger marine life can contact Whale Watch Ireland, a cetacean conservation organization in Cork. Every August it invites residents and visitors to take a boat trip to see silvery gray dolphins and humpback whales.

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You don’t have to sign up for an excursion to see or photograph Ireland’s marine life. Seals, dolphins and whale sharks are not uncommon on the country’s beaches, a little further from the shore. More recently, killer whale dolphins have been seen off the coast of Inishowen, in County Donegal.

Beach in Ireland

National Parks of Ireland

There are six registered reserves with national status. Among them are:

    (205 sq km) in County Wicklow; (117.79 sq km) in County Mayo; (110 sq km) in County Clare; (110 sq km) in County Donegal; (102.89 sq km) in County Kerry; (30 sq km) in County Galway.

They are managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of Ireland, a government agency tasked with preserving the integrity of the country’s ecosystems and biodiversity. The organization is obliged to provide everyone with the opportunity to visit the national parks and explore nature in Ireland.

Wicklow Mountains National Park, Ireland

Natural attractions of the country

You don’t have to drive through all the counties and districts to appreciate the island’s biodiversity. You can get an idea of the richness and beauty of Ireland’s nature and take memorable photos by signing up for excursions to its popular natural attractions. These include:

  1. Skellig Michael Island . This small rocky island sits in the Atlantic Ocean on the southwest coast of the country. It is known not only for its spectacular scenery and unique natural scenery. It is home to the ancient monastery of St. Michael, one of the most inaccessible and interesting monastic complexes of the early Christian period.
  2. Killarney Lakes . The group of water bodies of glacial origin, which includes Loch Lane, Upper and Macross, delights not only with beautiful views, but also with interesting monuments. There are ancient copper mines, ruins of a 7th-century abbey, and the Macross House homestead.
  3. Craig’s Cave . This natural monument of Ireland is a two-level cave formed over 1 million years ago. It is about 4 km long, making Craig one of the largest cave systems in the country.
  4. Moher Cliffs . One of the most beautiful natural attractions in the country consists of 200-meter cliffs stretching for 8 km along the Atlantic coast. Seagulls, petrels, hawks, cormorants, and many other species of birds nest here.
  5. Mount Brandon . Ireland’s 952-meter natural monument has a rounded and smooth peak, a gentle western slope and eastern glacial cirques formed during the glacial period. This unusual contrast attracts many naturalists and hikers.

The Environmental Condition of Ireland

Throughout its history, this country has never suffered from environmentally harmful industry. The only source of environmental pollution in Ireland is agriculture. Its waste pollutes sewage and river water in some areas.

For the people of Ireland, nature is a national treasure. That is why they take many measures to preserve and maintain its ecological state:

  • sort and recycle trash;
  • stop using disposable bags;
  • pay high taxes for cars that are very polluting, etc.

The country’s authorities severely punish violations of the established rules. For example, if you throw garbage in an area not provided for this purpose, you can get a hefty fine. Because of its nature, Ireland is called “environmentally friendly island,” even considering the relatively favorable situation in other European countries.

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