How Christmas was nearly lost

Posted on: 1st December, 2014

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.

We take the celebration of Christmas for granted, the trees, gifts, music, and of course the food and wine. How different it would be if Cromwell or the Puritans in America had got their way.

Oliver Cromwell must be a contender for the least popular man in Irish history. His armies committed a number of atrocities during the 17th century, including the burning down of our own famous Franciscan Abbey in Timoleague. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his followers frowned upon ‘the waste, disorder, sin, and immorality of the Christmas celebrations’ and formed a Directory of Public Worship calling for the banning of the celebration of Holy Days including Christmas.

During the years 1642-1660, legislation was passed to this end, including an ordinance passed by the famous ‘Long Parliament’ in 1647 specifically banning the celebration of Christmas and Easter. Fortunately for us, all this legislation was swept away during the Restoration of the English monarchy under Charles II. A similar attack on Christmas occurred in Boston under the Puritans during the years 1659-1681.

In recent weeks I have had two meals out with wine which I thought would be perfect for Christmas, firstly a bottle of ‘Predator’ California Zinfandel, a new arrival at Deasy’s Seafood Bar and Restaurant in Ring, Clonakilty, a wine with definite wow factor. Secondly, dining out with my sister visiting from Connecticut in Cashel’s famous Chez Hans, we sampled the wonderful German wines, both white and red, which are imported directly by the restaurant. It is coincidental that good California and German wines are in short supply in our area, wine suppliers please note!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers of the West Cork People a happy and prosperous Christmas and may we give thanks that Cromwell didn’t get his way!

Recommendations: Christmas wines
Chateau de Carles, AOC Fronsac 2007. Lidl, €18. Very high quality Bordeaux from one of the best properties in the area, a steal at the price.
Guerrieri Rizzardi Pinot Grigio 2013. On special at O’Brien’s Fine Wines, Douglas, Cork. €10. There is a sea of nondescript Pinot Grigio out there, but this fresh, dry white from a top Bardolino estate is gorgeous.
Oyster Bay, New Zealand Sauvignon. SuperValu, on offer at €12. Crisp dry white, perfect for the pre dinner drink.
Lamole, Chianti Classico, 2011. €20. One of the finest chiantis, I’m afraid you must fly to Verona Airport for this one!

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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7th September, 2017  ·  

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