23rd APRIL 2020 - Page 12



12 FARM WEEK
FEATURE
NOVEMBER 23 2017
ruralreality
CRAFT BREWER:
Gordon Fallis of the
parish of Botha,
Derrygonnelly, Co.
Fermanagh, who started
brewing craft beer eight
years ago on the family
farm, near the shores
of Lough Erne, has
moved the brewery to
Derrygonnelly. FW-1A.
Did you know?
WILLIAM Hugh
Patterson’s late
nineteenth century
research into everyday
words and expressions
in common use among
rural folk within the two
most north easterly
counties of Ireland,
culminated in the
1880 publication of a
small book titled, ‘A
Glossary of Words in
Use in the Counties of
Antrim and Down’. The
work highlighted the
fact that much of the
commonplace language
at that time, which had
Elizabethan English
and Anglicised Irish
terminology interwoven,
was nevertheless
heavily influenced by
the linguistic variations
of Scottish settlers of a
century or so earlier. It’s
interesting to note the
number of words which
are still in common
use today. This week I
continue with extracts
from his book and words
beginning with the letter
‘T’.
“Top, v. to lop off the top
branches in pruning a
hedge.
Top pickle. ‘The top
pickle of all grain
belongs to the gentry’,
i.e. to the fairies!
Tory, sb. a deceiving
person, usually applied
in banter; a term of
endearment for a child,
thus - ‘Ah! you’re a right
tory’, or ‘A rayl tory’, even
‘A sore tory’ and so on.
Tothan, sb. a silly
person.
To the fore, in
extistence.
Tottherry, adj. untidy;
ragged.
Touch, sb. a loop of
cord put round a horse’s
tongue or lip.
Touch an’ hail, sb. [touch
and heal], the St. John’s
Wort plant.
Tours, sb. pl. peat sods
used in firing.
Tove, v. to boast or brag.
Tover, sb. a boaster.
Tovey, Toved, adj. puffed
up; silly; self-important.”
Useful contacts
q Rural Development Council
028 8676 6980
q Rural Community Network
028 8676 6670
q Rural Support Line
0845 606 7607
q DARD Grants and Subsidies
Division 028 7131 9900
q Post Office Customer
Helpline 08457 223344
q Health Action Zone
028 8772 9017
q Farming Families Bureau
028 7930 1003
BUILDING A BETTER RURAL FUTURE
KETTLE: Known as
a brewing kettle this
stainless steel bulk
kettle with a creative
wooden exterior
facade is where the
brewing of Fermanagh
Beer Company’s
Inishmacsaint craft
beers is carried out.
FW-1E.
Expansion for hand crafted beer
Inishmacsaint craft beer created and brewed on Gordon Fallis’s 30
acre family farm near Derrygonnelly, in County Fermanagh, had
for seven years built an impressive reputation, so much so that it
became the victim of its own success. Within the past year, as
Ian Harvey found out, the brewery has moved the short distance
from its original location in the farm’s former dairy, to larger
premises located at Old Pal’s Bar in the village of Derrygonnelly
and a new business partnership.
F
OR once it actually wasn’t
raining as I drove through
Enniskillen on my way to the
rural village of Derrygonnelly,
nestling in the hills to the west
of the County Fermanagh capital town.
Rainfall and lots of it, is simply a fact of
life for people who live and work in that
part of the country.
It’s seen as both blight and bonus at
the same time. Without it the famous
tourist Lakeland wouldn’t exist yet
farmers have had to live with the
extremes of a water-bedevilled lifestyle.
Fortunately it doesn’t rain all the time
in that beautiful county, just somewhat
more than the rest of Northern Ireland.
That said there is one growth business,
craft beer, first created on Gordon
Fallis’s family farm, in the townland
of Drumskimly a mile or so from
Derrygonnelly, which thrives on soft
Fermanagh rainfall. No co-incidence
then that Drumskimly means, ‘The
Cloudy Ridge’!
It only seems like yesterday that I
stood with Gordon on the island of
Inishmacsaint, surrounded by the
hand-hewn lichen covered stonewall
remains of a once impressive Christian
monastery dating back to the sixth
century.
That visit was almost six years ago
but I still recall him telling me how
the monastic island settlements on
the lakes and around the shores
of Lough Erne became centres of
importance, acting like a port of call
on the waterways with a reputation
for hospitality to travellers and
pilgrims alike.
He explained how the
monks introduced farming,
raising cattle, growing
barley, baking bread and
even making beer from
their malted barley.
It was that history of
monastic, island beermaking that persuaded
him to identify his own early
attempts at craft beer, with
Inishmacsaint, since he was
actually living within the same
ancient parish, later to become part of
the amalgamated parish of Botha.
In 2009, the brand name for his
newly introduced farm-produced hand
crafted beer became an obvious choice
and a big identifying hit locally.
It all started to take shape in an old
converted dairy on the farm which now
sees its fifth generation of the same
family living on that land; a family who
have lived off and contributed to the
farmland since the 1600’s.
The
market
for
the
Inishmacsaint
beers
he
developed
and
brewed, selling to
pubs, off-licences
and
restaurants,
just seemed to
blossom over the
years. When I
first called there
the business had
already taken firm
root in the county
as one of the first to
produce a local craft
beer in that part
of the country, if not on the
island of Ireland. Now it’s reaching the
same target market but spread right
across Northern Ireland.
“Welcome back again Ian,” said
Gordon, smiling and shaking me firmly
by the hand as I got out of my car at the
rear of Old Pal’s Bar, on the main street
of the village of Derrygonnelly.
He had emerged through a double
door at the end of a single storey
extension to the bar and invited me to
join him in the new premises.
“We’ve
upped
production and
we’re now bottling
5,000 a month
with room for
expansion.”
RANGE: The range of Fermanagh Beer
Company Inishmacsaint craft beers now
extends to four beer types; a brown porter,
a blonde ale, a Belgiun style blonde and
the most recent, a pale ale. FW-1T.
BRAND LABELLED: The Inishmacsaint
brand name for Fermanagh Beer Company’s
craft beers comes from a small Lough Erne
island not far from Derrygonnelly, where
monks would have brewed their own beer.
FW-1L.
As
we
stood
momentarily,
surrounded by pallet-high boxed
crates of Inishmacsaint beers, it was
slightly over-whelming since my first
visit hadn’t even begun to look so
impressive. In one corner there were
sacks of malted barley in stacked
piles raised off the floor, the basic
ingredient for the beers along with pure
Fermanagh water of course! Seeing my
surprise he commented.
“This is quite a transformation, but
a year ago I’d come to a point where
the demand was greater than I could
possibly meet on my own and the onfarm brewery was just not big enough
to increase production without a major
expenditure.
“I was faced with two options, either
stop brewing or find a better brewing
facility with room for expansion.
“I love brewing despite the fact that I

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