Showing posts with label Glounthaune. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Glounthaune. Show all posts

Monday, March 20, 2017

Johnny Fall Down. Warm Glounthaune slopes ideal for cider apples.

Johnny Fall Down

Warm Glounthaune slopes ideal for cider apples

A farm that has been recovered from a semi-wilderness is the unlikely scene for a craft cider revolution. Thanks to Dave and Barry of Johnny Fall Down we had a tour of the fields at Killahora (Glounthaune) last week where the south-facing slopes are planted with over 40 varieties of apple.

Not just apples. Pears are there in abundance. And other fruits trees too, including damson, plums. Even though this current operation started in 2010/11, there is a orchard history here, going back through the centuries, evidenced by an old wall (a relic of a walled garden). And reminders in the hedgerows, gnarled old crab trees and some wilding too.

And it is not just fruit either. Dave has a particular interest in trees and plants and so here you’ll find some rare ones, everything from tiny Bee Orchids to huge (not yet!) Sequoias.

They focus on the rare apple varieties here, Barry tells me, as we climb the slopes. “They give us more punch.” And you can try that for yourself. Their first product, the Johnny Fall Down rare apple cider, is available around Cork city in various pubs including Cask and The Roundy.
The south-facing slopes are ideal. It just seems warmer there. And, by the way, there is a fantastic view, a panorama of Cork harbour and estuary and the islands, including nearby Harper’s and Fota. And birds of prey hover above on the thermals.

All the apples and pears (already in flower) are planted in neat rows, all tidy and well maintained. But those twisted old crabs trees in the hedgerows are amazing. The first one that we saw had hundreds of little apples, many of them quite sound, on the ground underneath, months after they had fallen. 
Dave (left) and Barry

And they'll soon have company. Dave and Barry intend to plant fruits and herbs in and about the hedgerows. In a few years time, you'll see cherries and more in the wild.

We were just in time to see Dave do a bit of grafting, a Turner’s Barn pear was being introduced to its host Pyro Dwarf. First he cut the Turner’s, at about 45%, down to the Cambium (layer of tissue in the middle), and repeated the procedure on the host. Then, the tricky part, making a tongue and groove so that the union would be even better. 
from an old crab apple tree!

Then he bound the two with a bio-degradable tape (keeps in the moisture and allows the graft to take) and it was ready to go. “Not rocket science,” he humbly admitted. But still one just had to admire the enthusiasm and the precision as he demoed the ancient art. After the demo, it was work as hundreds remained to be done!

Then, time for a tasting, starting with some of the single varietals. Some had the acidity to the fore, others sugar, others tannins. Getting the balance right is the challenge for Barry in the months and years ahead.
Could be drinking from the fruit of this in about five years time!

It won't be just cider. Already one of their products, a pommeau, is being used in cocktails. Barry also plans a Perry, champagne style!  Perhaps the one that made the biggest impression on me was the Ice Cider, even if it was still only half-way on its journey. I usually - inadvertently, I hastily add -  pick the expensive ones. “A lot of juice required to make this!”.

And soon we would say goodbye and leave this beautiful part of the parish behind. The terroir seems to be just perfect for purpose and Dave and Barry complement each other perfectly also. Their knowledge and expertise is top notch. 
Pear bursting out

And there is enthusiasm in abundance. More importantly though, there is patience, there is no rush, they’ll wait for nature (magic in those hedgerows in years to come) and produce accordingly. I can’t wait to see what Killahora comes up with next but Dave and Barry can and their products will be all the better for it. Watch this space.

An old crab tree

And what of the man himself? We read on our sample bottle that Johnny Fall Down is a rare apple cider, bitter-sweet with an abv of 5.5%, made from 42 varieties of cider, many of them unique to the Glounthaune producers. It has a lovely light amber colour, bubbles galore on the rise. Aromas hint of really ripe orchard fruit and there are hints of tropical fruit on the well balanced palate. The "rosé like" finish comes from a mix "of rarer tannins" that have matured for six months. Well worth waiting for!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Chapel Steps still at the top of the posts

Chapel Steps still at the top

Just been checking some of my Google stats and amazed to see that last November's post on Bandon restaurant, The Chapel Steps, is still topping the poll with almost five and half thousand hits.

The Top Five Posts

1   The Chapel Steps
2    Toonsbridge Dairy Shop
3    Rico's
4    Sharkey meets Ike. Ex US President in Cobh
5    Glounthaune Days

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Excellent Seafood at The Rising Tide


Drove down to Glounthaune and had a very pleasant midweek meal in The Rising Tide recently. It is right alongside my old schoolhouse where we used bring our own kindling to light the fires where our billycans, usually containing cocoa, were warmed up for the breaks.

In those days, in the middle of the previous century, the Rising Tide was a popular pub cum grocery shop and belonged to the Donnelly family. It is a different story nowadays; the shop no longer exists and a very comfortable restaurant, run by the Murphy family, now dominates the business.

TV3 The Apprentice star Sandra Murphy is the leading face for the estuary side restaurant – many of the village premises flooded in the bad old days. She was off duty – a girl has to have her time off – but we were well taken care by the staff that we met. Plenty of info on the menu and no shortage of chat and courtesy either.

We felt welcome and comfortable as we sat down by our reserved window-side seat and started to check the menu. The restaurant is the home of the Murphy’s Oyster Festival so seafood is always prominent here. I started with six oven baked garlic and herb oysters (€9.00) while CL went for the Mussels steamed in white wine and cream (8.50).

Both of us were quite happy with the starter and were absolutely delighted with the mains. Here we each choose the Pan Seared Hake, served with Crosshaven brown crab, fresh salsa and Cashel blue cheese.

Neither of us likes blue cheese, or indeed goats’ cheese, with fish so we requested they leave that out. No problem. The dish, quite a substantial one (with a choice of fries and salad or potatoes and veg), was top notch. The brown crab was a natural accompaniment while the hake itself was cooked to perfection. Very nice. Very filling. No room for dessert!

Most of the food is sourced locally and you can see a list of the producers on the menu. Most of the wine too comes from small producers and we enjoyed two whites, each at 5.50 a glass: San Elias Sauvignon Blanc from Chile and Cave de Gallician Chardonnay from France.

Actually bought some wine in that Camargue town last June. Happy days. But, let me add, it was two happy customers that left the Rising Tide into the March darkness.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Made a quick visit to Glounthaune's Rising Tide this afternoon to sample the oysters from Haven Shellfish. Trish (left, in photo) was on hand with loads of helpful info on the bi-valves. By the way, if you don't fancy them raw, they are also available cooked and they are delicious. Plenty of time yet to enjoy the crack here as the festival continues to-night and tomorrow Sunday. Great credit to the Rising Tide and Sandra Murphy for putting on this festival on the city's doorstep and credit too to their very courteous and helpful staff.

Sandra Murphy (far right and centre) is ready for you in the Rising Tide. Well worth a visit.