Irelands Ancient East Food Tour
Irelands Ancient East is a wonderful initiative that covers thousands of years, and much of the food we eat today has remained the same all that time. This tour, Irelands Ancient Feasts explores how sometimes less is more and that sometimes the old ways are the best ways!
This mill is one of Wexfords true hidden gems, one of the last remaining functioning Watermills in Ireland, and the last one still producing flour, it is a thing of beauty to behold.
The mill stands on the site of an earlier mill and other than the addition of a small cottage, built in 1905, it is untouched by our modern world. Owned by the Murphy family, John Murphy is the latest generation to take over and has chosen to open the doors to the Mill in 2018 for the very first time.
On your tour, John will take you through the Mill, explaining how the 2 mile mill race was dug out by hand, many so years ago, how the French Birr Stones at over 200 years old, will see his sons and perhaps grandchildren’s lives before they will be replaced. John will demonstrate how the water powers the mechanisms that turn the millstones, grinding the wheat to flour.
This age old process is no different to the mills that dotted Europe 1000’s of years ago.
At the end of the tour, you will receive a complimentary bag of Ballyminane Stone Ground flour to take home
A little strange perhaps to see something like this on a food tour, but to truly appreciate the relationship with the Irish and our food, you must understand our past.
The 1840s saw the invention of the rubber band, the safety pin, the first use of antiseptic and anaesthesia in hospitals, California was established and Railway Mania took off. But here in Ireland, we faced a terrible famine, killing millions and forcing millions more to flee to the US, Canada and the UK. A visit to the SS Dunbrody is a fascinating insight into what Ireland was like at that time, the food we ate, the lives we lived and how the shadow still hangs over us as a nation.
Your tour also allows you time to explore the ship, its booths and kitchen and get a brief insight into what lay on the other side of the journey
Leaving the darkness of the Dunbrody behind us, we step out into a bright and vibrant New Ross, home of the Wexford Food Family and one of the best places to explore Irish food.
The Bakehouse is a traditional Irish bakery, specialising in Soda Breads, cakes and buns. Housed in an ancient old building it is run by brother and sister team, Barbra and Sean. Renowned locally for their great offerings, it is always a bustling spot, whether its someone picking up a fresh loaf of bread, a small child getting a custard cream slice on their way home from school, or a bunch of foodies tasting a traditional teabrack!
Afterwards, we will head to the Cracked Teapot. Only open a couple of years it is fast earning itself a strong reputation, and no wonder when the chef Tina insists on using local, organic and free-range ingredients. Ballyhack Smoked Salmon along with Soda Bread made from Ballyminane Flour is a speciality dish, and well worth trying! The menu changes daily and is heavily influenced by seasonal availability, it also leans heavily toward traditional Irish foods, homemade farmhouse butter, baked goods with free range eggs and non-homogenised milk from her families farm in Tinnock, O’Neills Dry Cure Bacon from Enniscorthy, Wexford Cheddar from Wexford town and so many more!
Moving to on from New Ross, we head towards the small village of Ballyhack, home to the Ballyhack Smokehouse. Here proprietor Micheal Walsh remains as one of the last independent Fishmongers in the area, he also smokes his own salmon using only the traditional beech smoked methods he learnt as a child.
Using an 80 year old Smokehouse, it can take up to three days for the fish to be smoked to perfection, unlike modern smokers that can achieve a similar effect within a few hours. I say similar but in reality, it is nothing like it. One taste of Ballyhack Smoked Salmon and you will quickly appreciate the difference in taste, colour and the rich smoky smell from the beech chippings.
Mick will also explain how the fish is selected, filleted and sold across the county by small fishmongers like himself.
While here, you will have the opportunity to taste the salmon and also receive a 100grm packet to take home and enjoy later
Our final stop is at Colclough Walled Gardens. Built as part of the Colclough estate around 1810 these walled gardens lay forgotten and hidden away in thick woodland by the ruins of Tintern Abbey. But in 2010, thanks to a team of dedicated local gardeners and horticulturists the garden has been restored to its former glory.
These walled Gardens were at one time built to feed the staff and families that lived in the grand country estates. Designed in such a way, that the garden would produce food from early spring to late winter and Colclough is no different, except that it is one of the oldest in Ireland!
A lush abundance of fruit, berries and vegetables burst forth from this garden. Along with many beautiful flowers. Using only the methods used in the Georgian and Victorian era, you will find no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilisers being used here either!
Every day, ripened fruit and vegetables are collected and are available to purchase using a donation box. And the gardeners themselves are more than happy to stop and pass on a little advice on your own efforts at home
As with all of our tours, this food tour runs a full day and you will be collected and dropped off to and from your accommodation. Due to the size of some of the venues, we are restricted by size and so this tour is only suitable for groups of 6 to 12 people
To book your tour please email us at info@gallivantingtours with your dates and group size!