Page 8, 1st February 1957

1st February 1957
Page 8
Page 8, 1st February 1957 — illrhether it eomes from the !firer Liffey or the 'springs of the County Kildare—
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illrhether it eomes from the !firer Liffey or the 'springs of the County Kildare—

THERE IS A FLOW AND A FLOURISH IN

IRISH INDUSTRY..

Bu OTTO HERSCIMAN IN Ireland. as indeed is the 1 case in many countries that now attract the tourist in ever increasing numbers. it is inevitable that the visitor's eye and time usually allow him to see but a small fragment of both the country and the people and even less of how they live.

It is natural that the visitor's interest will be primarily concerned with the beauty of the countryside. the sands of the seashore, the fascination of historical associations, art treasures, and the all too familiar items on the itinerary. Rarely do his pleasure travels bring him into contact with the industrial and commercial aspects of a country; rather, the tourist avoids them.

Maybe glass-blowing in Venice, a fashion show in Paris or sherry-blending in Portugal attract a few of the more inquisitive but it is a pity that these are so few, for almost inevitably one finds at these concerns a most courteous host as well as a generous one.

In Ireland, too, there is perhaps one great exception to this lack of interest, and this is the reason for mentioning it first— for it was this first tour that excited further exploration. Ciuinness has become a household word. Guinness, which may be known as Liffey Water: Guinness, which is said to use Liffey water in its brewing (in fact the water tomes from the springs of Co. Kildare); Guinness, whose poster greeted a CATHOLIC HERALD Mall on his arrival at Melsbroek (Brussels' airport) when last year THE CATHOLIC HERALD was printed in Antwerp; Guinness, of London, of Liverpool—in fact, Guinness

that is good for you.

THE St. James's Gate brewery of Guinness, leased in 1759 by the first Arthur Guinness became in the 19th century the

largest brewery in the world. Hundreds of visitors daily tour these impressive buildings, and parties are continually being conducted round: indeed, there is a whole department for this very purpose.

Visitors will be shown round on Monday to Friday between ii a.m. and 3 p.m. and on Saturday between 11 and 12 noon.

The aforementioned hospitality. too, is in no way lucking here, for at the end of the very extensive tour, which even when privately conducted takes some two hours or more, the brewery entertains its guests in a private bar—to their heart's content. You may sample the porter. less well-known in this country than it deserves; extra stout, foreign extra stout, and export stout, the latter brewed mainly for use on the Continent.

The tour of the brewery may take some hours, but the actual brewing takes from four to five days. In addition. there are, of course. certain periods of time allowed for maturing the ingredients which produce the deep ruby gleam: barley, hops, yeast and water. The O'Neill harp, resting in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, is the model for the label which appears on every bottle of Guinness and this suitably so, for in many ways Guinness has played a traditional part in the lives of the Irish citizens, of whom. it is said no fewer than 70,000 are dependent on it for support even if the last word is perhaps a little misleading.

It is said that 2,000,000,000 glasses of Guinness are drunk in a year, so it is perhaps not surprising that the company can afford to pay some people for not drinking Guinness. as in fact it does. For every employee of St. James's Brewery is allowed free of charge two pints of Guinness a day. However, should he not drink it, he is paid a penny a pint not consumed.

FROM this great private con cern let us turn next to a Government Department, Gaeltacht Services Division of the Department of Lands.

This is concerned with the economical and social developments of the Ciaeltacht or Irishspeaking districts situated among the areas of the West of Ireland, roughly Donegal to Kerry. Its principal activities are: 1. Rural industries, comprising the manufacture of handwoVen tweeds, knitwear, lace, embroidery and toys. 2. Marine products.

3. Housing.

This is a branch of industry less readily visited unless you are in the West of Ireland, hut even a glance at its marketing depot, the Gaeltarra Eireann in Dublin, will cause regret that such a visit' is at times not possible. Certainly the visitor to Ireland would be wise not to spend money he has allowed himself for souvenirs and presents on some greeting from such and such a place, only to turn it over and see the all too familiar " Made in Japan." Rather, he should saire his money to buy one or other of these excellent products.

Handweaving of cloth is one of the traditional industries of Ireland. The weaving industry of this department is now in Donegal. Many of the weavers employed are part-time workers who also attend to small farms. The weavers have their own looms, most of them bought through an hire purchase scheme formulated by the Department. All the tweeds, and they are magnificent, in the most beautiful colours and a variety of patterns, coming from Gaeltarra Eireann carry the trademark of the "Round Tower," again not unsuitable for this purpose, for the RoundTower is as familiar a sight in Ireland as no doubt the tweeds should be the world over; and the history of the Round Tower suggests the years of craft, skill and tradition which have gone into the work.

There is no space to dwell further on the Gaeltarra branches in knitwear, lace and embroidery, not even to do more than mention the latest division established in 1938, for the manufacture of toys and some utility goods. The chief products are soft toys, dressed dolls, shopping bags and other utilities.

FROM the largest brewery and the Home Cottage Productions of the Gaeltarra Eireann it will not be out of place to visit a distillery. There are, of course, quite a number, and although they all differ in detail, in essentials they are very much alike, whether it be Jameson's or the Irish Mist and Dew at Tullamore, where Mr. Williams is a most genial host. His advertisement is particularly amusing: " Give Every Man His Dew."

One may also mention the Cork Distilleries, or John Power's, a tour of which proved exceedingly interesting.

John Power established himself as a whisky distiller in 1791. As your guide will explain, Power's Whisky starts in the golden, sun-ripened barley of the cornfields of Ireland. This is converted into malt at John's Lane Distillery, where the malt and other grains are ground to flour by traditional millstones.

If one may compare a brewery with a distillery it is in the fact that both have a distinc

tive perfume throughout the buildings. It may be distasteful to some, but pleasing to others.

The essential difference between Irish whisky and the Scotch variety lies in the fact that the former is pure and the Scotch is blended. It is no reflection on the company, but the kind gift pressed into one's hand before leaving the distillery certainly tasted exceptionally well, even better than the normal purchase, but this of course may be due to the fact that it had been free, which may colour any taste.

HEN the writer visited P. J.

Carroll's cigarette and tobacco firm at Dundalk on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, he was reminded momentarily of the amusing border farce, " The Devil Came from Dublin," by Paul Vincent Carroll, fee it was indeed even more pleasant when one was able to point out to one of the directors that it had been difficult to buy Mick McQuaid tobacco, one of the products of P. .1. Carroll, in a certain town in Ireland, while it was always readily available in Fleet Street.

Hearing of the various economics of tobacco firms, one felt even more than with other firms that these were direct Government employees, here simply to increase taxation for the Government, for even at the cheaper rate of purchase tax on cigarettes in Ireland, the initial cost of the tobacco was only a fraction of the final purchase price.

It is of interest to hear such a Catholic firm as this discussing the problems of automation, and to see them in a most concrete form, for, speaking from memory, these magnificent machines turn out up to 15.000 cigarettes an hour. But to one

who smokes their tobacco and who would also favour their cigarettes if that were another habit he indulged in, it was encouraging to see the care taken both in the selection of tobacco leaf and the blending and ultimate production of one's favourite tobacco.

'I he cigars of the company, which are made by hand, are extremely popular in diplomatic circles.

* • *

TRISH Ropes, at Newbridge, I Co, Kildare, are another flourishing new industrial concern. Waterford glass is gaining renown throughout the world for its workmanship, the

precision and deftness of Beleek pottery would fascinate even the most hardened automaton, and the little story of the handweaving of the " Crock of Gold " in Dublin once again emphasises the quality of the Irish cloth.

Irish sausages. canned meats, milk and cream are sent on the export market in ever increasing quantities, and Miss Sybil Connolly has brought Irish fashions in tweeds to the notice of all the world markets.

So perhaps visitors will find it worthwhile occasionally to include in their itinerary of Ireland one or two of its traditional crafts, or one of its flourishing new industries.




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