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October 16, 2006

DUP in Dispute Over Pledge of Office Endorsing PSNI

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 10/17/06
DUP In Dispute Over Pledge Of Office Endorsing PSNI
GN 10/16/06 Sinn Fein 'Not Ready Yet To Support N. Ireland Police'
BN 10/16/06 Taoiseach Calls For North Referendum In March
BN 10/16/06 Tell Troublemakers To Run Or Die, Fr Troy Told
IT 10/17/06 IRA Decommissioning Took Place 'At Nine Different Places'
TH 10/17/06 Yet Another Sectarian Barrier Comes Down
BN 10/16/06 Sellafield Leak Proves Case For 'Permanent Shutdown'
BT 10/16/06 Real Ales, Irish Style: A Pub Crawl Around Microbreweries


DUP In Dispute Over Pledge Of Office Endorsing PSNI

Frank Millar, London Editor

The DUP and the British government appear on a potential
collision course over the prior steps required to resolve
the policing issue ahead of the restoration of power-
sharing government in Northern Ireland.

Major differences of interpretation emerged last night even
as Northern Secretary Peter Hain told MPs that the St
Andrews agreement could come "to be seen as a pivotal
moment in Irish history".

The dispute - which could delay if not derail prospects for
the return of power-sharing now scheduled for March -
centres on a proposed new pledge of office requiring
ministers in a new Executive to endorse the Police Service
of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley yesterday confirmed his
understanding - first reported in Saturday's Irish Times -
that he and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness would be required
to take the pledge before the Northern Assembly in order to
be nominated first and deputy first ministers-designate on
November 24th.

However, the Northern Ireland Office last night said it
believed the ministerial pledge would not become "an issue"
until the executive was nominated as per the proposed
timetable on March 26th.

Suggesting either "confusion" within or "over-spinning" by
the DUP, senior Whitehall sources said the new ministerial
pledge would be enshrined in law by November 24th, but that
neither Dr Paisley nor Mr McGuinness would be required to
take it until the new executive was set to "go live".

Moreover, they suggested Dr Paisley would not actually want
to take the pledge of office on November 24th "because that
would mean he was taking office" at that point. The sources
added that avoiding that situation had been a clear
objective of the DUP during the St Andrews negotiations.

This clarification of the British position followed an
assertion by Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams that he had
not agreed any pledge or oath to be sworn by Mr McGuinness
ahead of a special ardfheis to consider the policing issue.

Speaking after talks with British prime minister Tony Blair
in London, Mr Adams said he was "not yet in a position to
put a proposal" to a meeting of Sinn Féin's executive or
ardchomhairle. Amid speculation that the decision-making
Sinn Féin ardfheis will not take place until after November
24th, The Irish Times asked Mr Adams if he had agreed
nonetheless that Mr McGuinness would endorse the PSNI in
order to secure prior nomination as deputy first minister.

Mr Adams said "no", saying that the British and Irish
governments were at this point the only parties to the St
Andrews agreement.

Father Alec Reid, one of two clergymen who witnessed the
IRA's final decommissioning acts, has said the historic
process occurred at "nine different places".

© The Irish Times


Sinn Fein 'Not Ready Yet To Support N. Ireland Police'


Dublin: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said yesterday that
his party was not yet ready to support Northern Ireland's
police force, the next essential step in peacemaking in the
British territory.

Adams spoke as he met Prime Minister Tony Blair and other
British government officials in London, and a day before he
was to meet leaders of Northern Ireland's Protestant
majority in Belfast.


The discussions seek to promote a Catholic-Protestant
administration, a long-elusive goal of Northern Ireland's
Good Friday accord of 1998.

Protestants led by Democratic Unionist Party chief Ian
Paisley insist they will not cooperate with Sinn Fein,
which represents most Catholics, until the Irish Republican
Army-linked party accepts the authority of the Police
Service of Northern Ireland.

A plan unveiled on Friday by the British and Irish
governments, following a three-day summit with Northern
Ireland parties in Scotland, requires Sinn Fein to accept
the police as the first step in a complicated sequence of
events ending with revived power-sharing on March 26.

The Anglo-Irish plan called for Sinn Fein and the
Democratic Unionists to accept their parts of the deal by
November 10, and for the Democratic Unionists to support
the election of the top two power-sharing officials - one
Democratic Unionist, the other from Sinn Fein - on Nov-
ember 24.


The remaining officials would be elected on March 14, but
only after the Democratic Unionists had accepted Sinn
Fein's commitment to the police and Northern Ireland voters
had supported the moves in an early March referendum or

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain was scheduled to
deliver a speech on recent progress on the peace process
yesterday afternoon in the House of Commons in London.


Taoiseach Calls For North Referendum In March

16/10/2006 - 19:22:47

The Government will make a decision on whether to hold a
referendum on the St Andrew’s Agreement after Northern
Ireland parties agree a position on the issue, it emerged

According to last week’s devolution timetable announced by
the Irish and British governments, a proposed power-sharing
deal must be endorsed by the electorate by either an
election or a referendum in March.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said in Scotland that he favoured a
referendum in March.

However Fine Gael has rejected the suggestion because it
said the Good Friday Agreement was already overwhelmingly
endorsed by voters north and south in 1998.

A spokesperson for Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said tonight:
“The political parties in Northern Ireland must first
decide a position on a referendum.

“Then the Irish Government will begin a consultation
process among political parties in the Republic and seek
legal advice from the Attorney General on the issue.”

Any referendum may require a change to the Irish

Mr Kenny said a unanimous vote by the Dáil parliament would
offer any necessary political endorsement.


Tell Troublemakers To Run Or Die, Priest Told

16/10/2006 - 15:29:53

A priest today revealed how dissident republican terrorists
told him to warn 11 youths to flee the North or face
immediate execution.

Fr Aidan Troy refused to take the list of names from a
group of men when they summoned him to a secret location at
his parish in Ardoyne, north Belfast.

The clergyman said he rejected their request due to
concerns it would make him complicit in the plot but he did
seek out one teenager he feared was in imminent peril.

Fr Troy said he has been wracked by anxiety since the
rendezvous a week ago, questioning whether he had taken the
right action.

He told the Press Association: "They were saying its death
or nothing – get out or you're killed.

"This has wrecked me, the emotion of it. I had to go to bed
that night asking if I had made the wrong decision. Suppose
three young people had been shot dead?"

The terrorists met the Ardoyne priest last Sunday to
discuss alleged anti-social behaviour in an area plagued by
street crime.

With the staunchly republican district yet to embrace the
North's reformed police service, paramilitary rough justice
is frequent.

However, even by their standards, the message was stark
when a sheet with names written on it was offered to Fr

"They wanted me to take the list and tell those on it that
basically they were under threat of execution if they
didn't get out of the country," he said.

He turned them down, however, without even listening to any
reasons they could give.

The priest, who on Saturday married dancing superstar
Michael Flatley and Niamh O'Brien in Fermoy, Co Cork,
insisted nothing can justify threatening someone's life.

However after the men repeatedly referred to one youth who
Fr Troy knew, he decided to speak with that family.

"I told them I have reason to believe your son is in
danger, tonight or in the next 24 hours and they should
tell him," he confirmed.

No others were notified, and Fr Troy cannot recall who else
was on the list.

Since the meeting one 17-year-old youth in Ardoyne was shot
with pellets in the head and body.

He is still in hospital, and there is nothing to suggest
any connection.


Sinn Fein North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly also
hit out at those behind the threats.

"Problems in areas like Ardoyne will not be solved by death
threats being issued by these micro groups to young
people," he said.

"Many people within the community in Ardoyne will be
angered by this action and the attempt to involve Fr Troy
and other local clergy in it."


IRA Decommissioning Took Place 'At Nine Different Places'

Jim Dee

The IRA's final decommissioning acts occurred at "nine
different places", over "nine days", according to Fr Alec
Reid, one of two clergymen who witnessed the

"That shows you how much guns were got rid of," said Fr
Reid, during a 50-minute interview that he and Methodist
minister Rev Harold Good gave to The Irish Times in
Springfield, Massachusetts, last Friday.

"They decommissioned everything they possibly could," Fr
Reid insisted. Neither man would discuss the dates or
specific locations, as per the terms of their involvement
in decommissioning.

On September 26th, 2005, the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning reported that final IRA
disarmament had involved "ammunition, rifles, machine guns,
mortars, missiles, handguns, explosives, explosive
substances and other arms".

The three-member commission said the IRA's representative
indicated that the arms represented all hidden stockpiles.
The Rev Harold Good, a former Methodist Church president,
and Fr Reid, a Redemptorist priest, then issued a statement
saying that "beyond any shadow of doubt, the arms of the
IRA have now been decommissioned".

The Democratic Unionist Party initially dismissed their

Since last year, Mr Good and Fr Reid have refused to give
specifics about the process, citing a confidentiality
pledge that they gave to the IRA.

The Rev Good stressed to The Irish Times that divulging
details concerning amounts of weaponry decommissioned or
the methods used, "could cost lives, in addition to
betraying the huge trust invested in us".

Such is their devotion to their secrecy vow that Mr Good
initially protested Fr Reid's divulging of the "nine sites
in nine days" information, before finally being convinced
that it was non-specific enough.

"People want to know if we were blindfolded, this, that and
the other thing. All I say is we were treated with utmost
respect - for ourselves, and the role that we had to play,"
Mr Good said.

"To me, what was even more important than what I saw was
what I heard, which was: 'The war is over. We're not going
back there. Thank God we've now completed this exercise.'

"These were people who could have lived next door to you,
people you could have met on a bus trip," he added. "These
were not grotesque people. These were my neighbours. These
were my fellow countrymen."

Fr Reid said they were accompanied to each site by the IRA
man in charge and at least one armed IRA guard. Other IRA
men met them and the commission at each site. The clergymen
said the last weapon decommissioned was one shouldered by
an IRA man who had accompanied them throughout the entire

"He took the gun off his shoulder and handed it
symbolically to the general," said Mr Good. "And it was as
if we hadn't thought of this gun, as if it hadn't been part
of it all. And he handed it to him. And we all fell silent
at that moment."

Fr Reid, a Tipperary-born priest who has worked for nearly
40 years at the Clonard monastery in Belfast's Falls Road
area, was a key backstage conduit between republicans and
the Government during the crucial early years of the peace

Mr Good was based on the loyalist Shankill Road when the
Troubles began in 1969. He too spent years involved in
peace-building efforts, before being cast into the
spotlight via his decommissioning role.

They were invited to Massachusetts by Democratic
congressman Richard Neal to speak at Elms College in
Chicopee last week.

© The Irish Times


Yet Another Sectarian Barrier Comes Down

Ian Bell October 17 2006

Cardinal Keith O'Brien speaks for Scotland's Roman
Catholics: such is the job description. Do those who share
the cleric's faith attend to his every word? The Labour
Party would dearly like an answer to that question, and it
would dearly like it to be answered in the negative. Much
of the party's history, not to mention its immediate
future, could be at stake.

On paper, the cardinal's church has 700,000 to 800,000
adherents. As such, depending on your calculation of the
numbers, it can lay claim to being the largest faith group
in the country. If that group votes as a block, and if that
block is still influenced by the hierarchy, the electoral
effects could be decisive: two "ifs", neither negligible.
Nevertheless, the future of the United Kingdom could be at
stake. That's no small matter, either.

It does involve an irony, however. For almost a century,
two things could be said with confidence about Scottish
life. One was that Catholics, mainly the descendants of
Irish immigrants, were defined as an "alien" minority in a
Protestant country. The second was that they voted Labour.
Now the cardinal tells the Catholic Herald and a Sunday
newspaper that independence will be along "before too
long", that he is "happy" with such an outcome, and that he
foresees prosperity as a result.

O'Brien does not recommend a party, of course. Modern
churchmen are careful in their public utterances, if wise,
to distinguish between political and moral issues. Generals
may interfere in foreign policy; cardinals may condemn a
replacement for Trident as "iniquitous, irrational and
absurd"; but democratic choices are matters for the
individual. Contrary to some reports, O'Brien has not said:
"Vote SNP." He has all but said, however, that a central
plank of Labour's forthcoming election campaign is not in
Scotland's interests. He has given comfort (and then some)
to Scottish Nationalism. And he has given proof, if proof
were required, that a once distrusted minority is firmly
within the mainstream of Scottish life. As represented by
O'Brien, modern Catholicism is anything but alien: it is
comfortably patriotic. An old, indigenous tradition has
been restored.

How about another irony? As recently as the mid-1970s, the
SNP vote was, as one historian has correctly recorded,
"overwhelmingly Protestant". Among older Nationalists,
indeed, allegiance was confused easily and often with
sectarianism. The twaddle of blood purity and ethnicity-as-
religion could still be detected.

It was not designed to appeal to the Catholics who had
turned to Labour in 1918 as the Liberals collapsed, the
franchise was extended and Catholic schools became part of
the state system. It was intended as a rebuke, not a
welcome, to those who followed John Wheatley and Patrick
Dollan. The unionist Tories began to lose their sectarian
working-class vote in the 1960s, but it took Nationalism a
long time to cross the barriers of faith. To put it
crudely, it is only in the modern generation that the SNP
has felt comfortable hailing the example of Ireland.

Religion isn't everything: never underestimate economics,
taxation policies in particular. Speaking over the weekend,
O'Brien pointed both to the Irish Republic and to
Scandinavia as examples of prosperity through independence.
For Labour, this is worse than an appeal to patriotism. The
cardinal is relaxed about such a future: he is not afraid.
Yet fear, remember, is supposed to be Unionism's chief

Another significant Scot is equally sanguine. Donating
£100,000 to the SNP – and gifting the party 10% of its
election fighting fund at a stroke – Sir Tom Farmer said he
wished only to create "a level playing field". He has not
joined the Nationalists. Yet clearly he is comfortable with
Alex Salmond's policies for business taxation and the like.
Equally clearly, the timing of his gesture and the
cardinal's words amount to a remarkable coincidence. Farmer
is not just a successful figure in the world of commerce;
he is also a devout ScottishCatholic.

It is likely, in any case, that O'Brien has reviewed the
record of his church's dealings with the Labour Party and
the Scottish Executive and decided that the old bonds are
no longer sacrosanct. What the hierarchy regards as its
moral teachings, particularly those involving homosexuality
and abortion, have been ignored. Meanwhile, the cardinal
expresses frustration over a devolved parliament's
impotence towards the Trident renewal programme. So, if the
Scottish church is recognised by the Vatican as
independent, why not the Scottish nation?

Yet you can doubt – I certainly do – that an SNP government
would be more biddable than Labour over reproductive rights
and sexual preference. You can wonder, equally, whether
independence would resolve defence issues at a stroke.
Trident is Pentagon kit under effective American control.
Its abandonment, right and necessary as that might be,
would prove problematic for any Scottish government.

Forget, for a moment, the idea of a Catholic vote, or
whether such a thing exists. Ask instead if it is
desirable. When O'Brien's predecessor, Thomas Winning,
picked a fight over the "teaching" of homosexuality in
schools, the line between moral authority and political
interference was blurred, and blurred deliberately. The
legitimacy of the intervention began to matter at least as
much as the issue at hand. Who elected the cardinal? Was a
single lobby entitled to usurp the democratic process?

As it happens, I agree with the present cardinal when he
senses the inevitability of independence: what we have now
makes a diminishing amount of sense. I disagree, and
disagree profoundly, with his church's views on abortion,
contraception and the rights of same-sex couples. Like
O'Brien, I have only one vote. The difference is that I do
not presume to represent a large pressure group, or imagine
that I can influence the politics of a small country's
small parliament.

The cardinal would probably deny any such intention, of
course. Mercifully, he has no other choice. These days
Scotland's Catholics, most of them Scottish-born, make
their own decisions. Lapsed, intermittent or devout, they
make political judgments for a host of diverse, personal
reasons. Often enough, they think nothing of disagreeing
with their church, even if they respect the head of its
hierarchy. Such evidence as there is suggests that a
"Catholic vote" is a thing of the past.

O'Brien has confirmed it, for my money, and in the process
brought a long chapter in Scotland's history to a close.
Many Catholics will see no reason to desert Labour because
of a cardinal's opinions. Many others will do as they have
done before, and give their vote to the SNP. A prominent
Scottish figure has expressed himself: good. Eighty-three
years ago, when the General Assembly of the Church of
Scotland was accepting a report decrying Catholics for
subverting Scotland's national identity – Protestant, if
you're wondering – the hierarchy was more circumspect.

Those days have gone. Scotland still harbours its dirty
little sectarian secret, but prejudice, of itself, is now
an argument reserved for cretins. Scottish Labour will,
meanwhile, require a period of psychological adjustment
after O'Brien's intervention, but dismay should be held in
check. No party should be identified with a religious
denomination, and vice versa. The cardinal, like Tom
Farmer, confirms only that a little more of the ground has
been cleared. The political is personal, finally, thank


Sellafield Leak Proves Case For 'Permanent Shutdown'

16/10/2006 - 18:37:55

UK authorities should ensure the Thorp plant at Sellafield
remains permanently closed down, it was claimed today as
the nuclear operators were fined €743,000 following a
radioactive leak.

Around 83,000 litres of acid containing 20 tonnes of
uranium and 160kg of plutonium escaped from a broken pipe
into a sealed concrete holding site at the Thorp plant in
west Cumbria in April 2005.

Environment Minister Dick Roche stressed safety issues and
concerns remain around Sellafield.

The operator of the plant, British Nuclear Group Sellafield
Ltd, were fined €743,000 and €101,000 costs by Carlisle
Crown Court today.

The operators had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to
three counts of breaching conditions attached to the
Sellafield site licence, granted under the Nuclear
Installations Act 1965.

Mr Roche welcomed the actions of the UK Regulator in
holding the operators accountable for the serious lapses in
safety procedures at the plant.

“The level of this fine, together with the fines already
imposed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority earlier
this year, goes some way towards reflecting the serious
issues which resulted in the leak of this large volume of
toxic material.

"However it gives little comfort that the poor, ongoing
safety culture identified can, or will, be tackled by the
UK authorities,” Mr Roche said.

“We have been here before. The new safety dawn promised,
and ultimately signed off on, by the UK regulatory
authorities has proved to be false. The Irish Government’s
concerns are in no way diminished by this episode.

"This leak provides further evidence, if such were needed,
that the UK authorities should make the current shutdown of
the Thorp plant a permanent feature.”

Richard Matthews, prosecuting, said the first indication of
a leak at the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (Thorp) was
on August 24, 2004 when 50 grams of uranium was detected
following a sample test.

The full extent of the leak was finally uncovered on April
14, 2005 and Thorp was shut down four days later and
remains closed.

The minister said the Irish Government would continue to
hold the UK government accountable and responsible for the
operation of the Sellafield plant.

“As Minister for the Environment, I will continue to
articulate these concerns clearly and consistently, not
only to the UK Government and Administration, but also to
the European Commission,” Mr Roche said.

The court heard that the leak should have been detected
within days rather than eight months.

Mr Justice Openshaw said British Nuclear Group Sellafield
did not have a good safety record.

The court heard that the company had seven previous
convictions on safety related matters and had received
fines totalling more than €171,000 but none of these
involved a leak.

The court was told that a change in the handling process
had caused the leak.

In a statement the Health and Safety Executive, which
brought the case, said: “Our extensive investigation into
the events at Thorp has shown that British Nuclear Group
Sellafield Ltd fell well below required standards for a
considerable period of time, something we are not prepared
to tolerate.”


Real Ales, Irish Style: A Pub Crawl Around The Microbreweries

On the hunt for the perfect pint in Dublin, Kieran Falconer
discovers some full-flavoured alternatives to the 'black
stuff'. There's a toffee pilsner, a stout made with fresh
oysters and a best-selling rusty red brew

16 October 2006

Dublin is hot. Not in the way poseurs define their latest
pair of pants - it's just bloody boiling the weekend I'm
here. It has never been this hot since dinosaurs did the
breaststroke on the Liffey. Dubliners are shocked into
baring pasty skin and the cubs of Celtic Tigers lie
spreadeagled on St Stephen's Green. Dazed Spanish
schoolchildren, wilting under fluorescent rucksacks, will
return home to tell their countrymen that Ireland is hotter
and drier than Barcelona and send thousands of tourists to
their doom, cagoule-less under the normally unforgiving
Irish weather.

In such a situation, in such a country, the only real
response is to take to drink. Now for most, the drink has
to be the "black stuff". Guinness has dominated the market
for so long, that for most it seems that no other beer has
ever existed in Ireland.

At one time, there were hundreds of local breweries, just
as there were in the UK, and a local pint, was just that,
something made down the road. Guinness's advance was a
slow, steady century-old agglomeration and defeat of
competition. Economically, it's proof that in its purest
state the best company eventually becomes a monopoly.
Sadly, that has meant the loss of a great many flavours and
tastes, beers that were the daily drink of dockers in Cork,
farmers in Limerick, priests in Kildare. Lost, rather
shamefully, and replaced by a range of bland tasteless
beers .

It wasn't until the 1990s that microbreweries revived.
Biddy Early started a brew pub in the depths of County
Clare and from there a trickle emerged. A level playing
field was still needed though. The taxation on Guinness (4
million pints a day) was the same as a microbrewer making
100 pints a week. Lobbying and EU law last year ensured
progressive duty, which gave an easier ride for the small

But back to my pint search - endorphins at the ready.
Obviously, this is not a difficult quest in Dublin but
walking along Burgh Quay, with my back to the O'Connell
Bridge, I come upon Messrs Maguire, a busy brew-pub, whose
airy interior is strewn with armchairs and Polish
waitresses. I knock on a door in between the pub entrances
and it opens quickly to reveal a sweating, ginger-haired
man in a blue boiler suit wearing huge, red rubber gloves -
the sort that you deliver calves with. Coolan Loughane has
a broad grin and pulls me into his domain of beer.

He is chief brewer at Messrs Maguire and we stand beside
the furnace - hot vats of cooking malt. It was already hot
outside and now it's like a dry sauna and my shirt clings
to my back as he gives a lecture on beer production,
feverishly pointing out pipes and valves. Downstairs in his
storeroom, the walls are bedecked with awards, which
modestly, he doesn't point out.

"The great thing about brewing on a small scale," he tells
me, "is the flexibility. One day I might come to work and
it's a glorious, summer day and I think to myself 'let's do
a nice golden ale and celebrate the sun'. Big brewers can't
do that."

He also avoids the pain of consistency. Guinness and big
brewers in general have to ensure that their millions of
pints all taste the same. Loughane doesn't feel the need.
"I produced a pilsner with a slightly caramelly taste to
it, something the big brewers usually try to extinguish,
but it tastes great so why destroy it? Inconsistency is
where you find new tastes."

Inside, the pub is large, comfortable with good service,
and besides the micro beers there are the normal ones you
would expect. Loughane brews a wheat beer with hints of
coriander, a lager of concentrated malt, a pilsner with an
edge of toffee, a plain stout, but the best seller is a
rusty, red ale. Ireland used to be famous for its red ales
and many of the brewers are bringing this lovely ruby,
slightly sweet ale back to the bars.

Loughane didn't start out in beer. He was a plumber and
when he worked in Canada he got roped into microbrews and
then returned, a huge convert, to create the award-winning
Dwans beer in his native Thurles, Tipperary. He commutes
every day to Dublin - and it's a long way to Tipperary.

In response to the growth of microbreweries, Guinness has
started producing its Brewhouse series of limited-edition
stouts, testing the urban Irish market with different
tastes. You'll find them in selected bars in Dublin.
However,by the time the behemoth of Guinness changes
course, finds it has got it wrong and backtracks, having
spent millions, the dozen or so microbrews have developed
maybe 50 different beers and spawned two more breweries.

A place where choice is overwhelmingly catered for is The
Porter House in Temple Bar. This tawdry showground of hen
and stag nights has one glittering haven of quality beer.
Founded by two cousins, Liam LaHart and Oliver Hughes, in
1996, it is now the biggest Irish brewer - since Guinness
is foreign-owned. Their pub is a cavernous three-storey
building with mezzanines and Escher-like stairs working
their way around the central brewing paraphernalia. Giant
glass cases fill the rest of the nooks with beer bottles
from around the world. A group of jolly tourists hoot on
finding their favourite Japanese beers. Old posters and
metal signs for Irish beers long past also flag up a
heritage being revived.

Three stouts, three ales and four lagers are all brewed on
the premises or the premises of the nearby pub. But the
biggest joy is trying a pint from a 19th-century recipe.
Wrasslers 4X Stout was originally brewed in West Cork and
was the favoured drink of Michael Collins. The most popular
is the oyster stout, brewed using fresh oysters with a
sweeter, slightly smoky texture. To clear the palate a very
classy pilsner is on offer.

So successful have they been that they now have five brew-
pubs, including one in Covent Garden. Cheeky advertising
has helped. They named a bottle of lager Probably, so that
they could say it was "the best lager in the world", but
Wiser Buddy, didn't last long thanks to the lawyers.

It takes some cheek and a lot of passion to fight against
the big breweries but the trickle of microbrewers is
turning into a flood. The consequence is that people are
enjoying flavours their grandfathers tasted. It is at once
something old and something new.

1. Arainn Mhor Brewing Company

The beautiful island of Arainn Mhor is off the coast of
County Donegal. Irish is commonly spoken and certainly the
local brewery will aid your fluency. Two bottled ales are
made, one golden (Ban), one dark (Rua), both made without
additives or artificial carbonation.

CONTACT: Arainn Mhor Brewing Company (00 353 87 630 6856;

2. The Biddy Early Brewery

In the middle of nowhere in the west of Ireland in County
Clare. Allegedly this was Ireland's first brewpub, started
in 1995. It produces four beers - Black Biddy, a stout;
Blonde Biddy, a pilsner; Red Biddy, a red ale; and Real
Biddy, an ale.

CONTACT:The Biddy Early Brewery (00 353 65 683 6742;

3. Carlow Brewing Company

This microbrewery produces the award-winning O'Haras Celtic
Stout, Curim Gold Celtic Wheat Beer and Molings Traditional
Red Ale.

CONTACT: Carlow Brewing Company (00 353 59913 4356;

4. The Franciscan Well Brewery

On the site of an old monastery which had a well with
healing properties, this pub makes Rebel Red (red ale),
Blarney Blonde (a fruity kolsch), Shandon Stout, Rebel
Lager and Friar Weisse (a white beer).

CONTACT:The Franciscan Well Brewery (00 353 21 4210130;

5. The Hilden Brewing Company

Its motto is "keep it real" and Seamus Scullion must have
done an excellent job because he celebrates no less than 25
years of brewing this November. There's a visitor centre
and restaurant where you can indulge in a top-class lunch
in a relaxing atmosphere. Beers include four ales and a

CONTACT: Hilden Brewing Company (028 9266 0800;

6. Kinsale Brewing Company

Founded in 1997 in the foodie capital of Ireland, this
brewery produces a golden, hoppy lager using spring water,
natural ingredients and no additives.

CONTACT: Kinsale Brewing Company (00 353 21 4702124;

7. Strangford Lough Brewing

A Viking king has two beers named after him - Barelegs Brew
and Legbiter. The latter is the name of his sword, while
the grave of St Patrick has inspired St Patrick's Gold
(wheat beer), St Patrick's Best and St Patrick's Ale - one
smashed saint.

CONTACT: Strangford Lough Brewing Company (028 4482 1461;

8. Messrs Maguire

You might get the tail end of Maguire's Octoberfest and be
able to taste its new porter, specially developed for
winter. Otherwise its tried and tested Rusty Red would be
my tip.

CONTACT: Messrs Maguire (00 353 1670 5777).

9. The Porter House

With at least nine regulars on tap and possibly a couple of
seasonal specials it's good that Porter House provides the
choice. It is doing a dark lager (Vienna) for the winter, a
bit like Sam Adams.

CONTACT: The Porter House (00 353 1679 8847;

10. College Green Brewery

Situated in Molly's Yard, this is the city's only brewery
producing Molly's Chocolate stout, Belfast blonde lager and
Headless Dog amber ale.

CONTACT: College Green Brewery (028 9032 2600)



Kieran Falconer travelled as a guest of Tourism Ireland and
the Conrad Hotel Dublin. Aer Lingus (08708 765 000; offers return flights to Dublin from several
UK airports including London Heathrow from £60 return.
Doubles at the Conrad Dublin (00 353 1 602 8900; start from €230 (£164) on a room-only


Tourism Ireland (0800 039 7000;

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