Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tradition Runs Deep in Ireland

Arthur Guinness started the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin back in 1759. Known for its famous creamy head, Guinness draught is a staple at every pub in Ireland. I had four pints Sunday night at Powers Pub in Abbington. I drank my first one on this trip to Ireland at Croakers Pub in Murroe while watching the Irish rugby team play France. Lovely. After waiting for the pour, I allowed the swirling clouds to settle a bit and then brought the bittersweet liquid up to my lips from beneath that velvety head. Mmmmmm.

While the draught form of Guinness is mostly found in pubs, there's a stout version that is consumed as well. It's very bitter, and is sometimes used in cooking - cakes, puddings and an ingredient in fish batter. I don't much care for drinking it. The stout version was also used to give growing children a boost in iron and b vitamins.

I was eating my rashers and sausages and black pudding for breakfast the other day, and in walked Mary's mother with a large Guinness Stout bottle, a rubber nipple stretched over its lip. She found the nipple fit well on this particular bottle, and I felt somehow it was more than that, that somehow it had something to do with tradition. The Irish are proud of their traditions, and Guinness is just one of the Irish traditions dating back hundreds of years.

For a culture that had their land, homes and language (even their corn) taken away, tradition is important. So, I observed a deep sense of pride as I snapped the following picture of Helena Holmes and her son Liam Holmes feeding a newborn Irish Limousin calf out of a Guinness Stout bottle.

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