experiences

Adventures in Ireland: Mead Tasting at Bunratty Winery

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As we pulled into the parking lot for Bunratty Castle, I saw a sign for Bunratty Winery a few kilometers down the road. You might have picked up on the fact that I’m a big fan of tasting different wines, so I was excited about the possibility. Once we were done at the Folk Park, we headed out to find the winery, which wound up being adjacent to the park. In the former stables of Bunratty House in fact!

The exterior was rather neat – a long stone building. We hadn’t seen enough of the Irish countryside yet to realize this would be a fairly common structure. 🙂

courtesy of bunratty wineryThe tasting room was amazing and overwhelming. Every wall was covered in pictures, articles, historical implements, or bottles of mead or Potcheen. Their selection wasn’t quite what I had anticipated, though I’d never heard of wine grapes growing in Ireland. Turns out my tasting choices (free) were Meade or Potcheen (Irish moonshine). I don’t really drink liquor, so I passed on the Potcheen. Not a huge fan of mead, but decided to give it a try.

Keri tasting mead at Bunratty Winery

For mead, it was good. Probably the best mead I’d had. It was still very sweet, but not as cloying as the versions I’ve had at US renaissance festivals. This actually had some subtle flavors and I felt like I could taste its honey origins. Not grocery store honey, more like country honey that has delicate flavors of lavender or whatnot. My tiny cup was quite enough though.

I did pick up some minibottles of potcheen as gifts though. If only for the cute label that boasts “Illegal since 1661.”

Bunratty Winery Potcheen (284x450)

Not worth a special trip, but if you’re in the Bunratty neighborhood consider stopping by.

Fun Fact (according to the winery): In ancient times, the bride and groom drank mead for a month after their wedding, hence the term “honeymoon.”

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