A Victorian Christmas

Charles Green, Victorian Christmas

Posted on: 11th December, 2017

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

When I was a student at the University of Massachusetts in Boston my field of study was the history of the Victorian era. My thesis topic was the life of the Eighth Duke of Argyll. As anyone doing research in the 19th century can testify, there is a lot of reading involved as contemporary biographies often ran to multiple volumes. Also, eminent Victorians often wrote on many diverse subjects. George Campbell Douglas, Duke of Argyll, aside from sitting in Gladstone’s Cabinet and opposing Home Rule for Ireland, wrote a famous tract called ‘The Reign of Law’ and also on topics as wide ranging as farming methods in the Scottish Highlands, Glaciology, evolution and world economics.

The Victorians, like myself, had a special relationship with Italy. Many young well-to-do gentlemen of the time spent months on what was referred to as the Grand Tour, which included such highlights as Venice, Rome, Florence and Naples. The list of eminent Victorians whose lives were influenced in a major way by their Italian experiences include Gladstone, Charles Dickens, Robert Browning and John Ruskin.

Incidentally the villa where Ruskin wrote his famous Stones of Venice is now a hotel which happens to be my favourite place to stay in Venice.* Browning’s residence right on the Grand Canal, Ca Rezzonico, is beautifully preserved and is fascinating to visit.

When you think about it, many of our current Christmas traditions and images come straight out of the Victorian era. The Christmas card was invented by one Henry Cole, friend of Prince Albert and chief organiser of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Christmas trees, mince pies and the festive dinner all are associated with this period, especially after the publication of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 1843, which was a huge success and has left a seemingly permanent impression on how Christmas is viewed in modern times.

What about the Victorians and wine? Again, we associate Christmas with claret (Bordeaux) because of how it became the wine of choice during the latter 19th century. I wouldn’t particularly recommend Queen Victoria’s favourite tipple, a mixture of claret and whiskey, but a special Bordeaux from one of the better appellations, Margaux, Saint Estephe or Pomerol is still my favourite choice for the celebration. The trade between France and England for claret has a centuries old history but it was pretty much the reserve of the aristocracy until William Gladstone introduced the Single Bottle Act of 1861, which meant that ordinary citizens could buy claret by the bottle instead of having to buy it by the case from specialised merchants.

*The hotel mentioned in Venice is La Calcina in the lovely Dorsoduro district. *If you are interested in the era, A.N. Wilson’s single volume The Victorians is a wonderful read.

Recommendations:

La Providence Margaux, LIDL, €19.99

Barossa Valley (Australian) Shiraz, SuperValu, on special at €12.

Murphy-Goode California Chardonnay, O’Brien’s Fine Wines, Douglas, €17.99

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Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Cope Foundation's Happy Christmas from Cope Foundation. ... See MoreSee Less

What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to www.cope-foundation.ie/donate. We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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