The island of Ireland has a rich and well deserved food heritage. Ireland is divided into two political regions Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland also called Eire in the Irish language (Gaelic).
Northern Ireland consists of six counties and is part of the UK. It is also referred to as the North or the province. The Gaelic name is Tuaisceart Éireann and it is also called Norlin Airlann in Ulster Scots. Ireland has four provinces, Northern Ireland is situated in the Irish province of Ulster.
The province produces a range of speciality food and drinks including whiskey produced from the Old Bushmills Distillery, perhaps the oldest whiskey distillery in the world, the youngest Irish whiskey in the world at the Echinville distillery, Simplyfruit (Ire) Limited's Armagh-Bramley apples and their associated products, Comber potatoes, Toome-eels from the largest eel fishery in Europe, soda farls and the world class Kearney blue cheese. A number of these have protected geographical indication(PGI) status under European law.
I have been fortunate to have taught and / or worked with many of those working in these sectors and in this part of the website, which is not technical, I will attempt to give an impression of some exceptional people and their products.
- Written by: Michael Mullan
The author with chemist colleague Ronnie Irvine visited The Echlinville Distillery at Rubane, just outside Kircubbin, in the Ards Peninsula in March 2018. Our guide was Graeme Millar, Distillery Operations Manager who explained the establishment of the business, its operation and its success to date.
Ards Peninsula and estate heritage
The Ards Peninsula derived from the Gaelic Aird Uladh, meaning "peninsula of the Ulstermen" separates Strangford Lough from the North Channel of the Irish Sea on the north-east coast of Ireland. It has a rich history and unlike many parts of Ulster it has been relatively untouched by “the troubles”. The peninsula has a mild marine microclimate, with dry and fertile soils that support extensive crop production and dairying. The coast is particularly scenic and home to numerous sea birds.