Luck of the Irish

A week-long road trip through the southern region of the Republic of Ireland can provide one with many opportunities, adventure, culture, history, and most importantly, reasons to drink great Irish beer.

Landing in Dublin, we traveled in a small Fiat, 5-speed standard, driving on the left hand side of mostly narrow roads, with unpredictable weather providing more reasons to end each day with a tasty dark brew.

Our favorite such place was a famous pub/restaurant in Kilkenny, named “Matt the Millers.” This beautiful old pub is rich in history, most notably that of its namesake.

Kilkenny Irish Beer signKilkenny, the medieval capital of Ireland, stands in the light of the majestic Kilkenny Castle. In years gone by all castles had their own mills which were served by local peasants, who would turn their crops in to their landlord in lieu of rent. These crops were delivered daily to a young miller called Matt who ran the mill at its present site of John’s Bridge.

Now young Matt was an enterprising young lad as he kept the best of barley to one side to develop his own home brew. As the years went by so Matt’s brew grew stronger and more popular, and he opened his own tavern in the mill.

Condemned men were lead to the gallows below Greensbridge, and their last stop was Matt’s tavern, it was said many of Kilkenny’s most infamous thieves and rogues had their last request granted on fresh fish from adjoining River Nore, a loaf of home-made soda bread and a jug oft Matt’s ale.

Corlene (left) and Jean De Ieso enjoy pints in the heart of Ireland

As the story goes, twice a year the ghost of Matt is seen in the cellar bar of Matt the Millers, just to be sure the finest of brews are still being served to the condemned rogues of thieve of Kilkenny.

Renatta, barkeepWe entered this beautiful old building on a cold windy night in search of refreshment and nourishment. We were greeted by a lovely young barmaid, Renatta. We were served a locally brewed dark beer, named appropriately Kilkenny. It went down too easy, with a surprisingly light creamy taste. It was pared with the day’s “Joint of the Day” (ham dinner for those of us who had never heard this term), hot mashed potatoes with a light cream sauce and fresh vegetables. This was the best meal we had during our whole trip. We ended the long day with a walk back to our B & B, but not before catching a glimpse of what appeared to be a wispy young lad floating above the river. A good Irish brew can make all kinds of wonderful things happen.

November 2009

Jean DeIeso

(Angelo’s Mom)