Michael Collins was killed in an ambush in west Cork on August 22nd 1922. It was an act was a mystery for many years, but confirmation that Denis ‘Sonny’ O’Neill , a native of West Cork, took part in the ambush is contained in files from the Military Archives was released in 2014. O’Neill, a former RIC man who was wounded fighting with the British army in the first World War, joined the IRA in December 1918. Collins was killed when his convoy was returning to Cork city from Mallow at about 7.15pm on the evening of August 22nd.
So if you’re planning a trip to Ireland this summer be sure to sample some of the very many tasty delights this little country has to offer. Among the favourites has to be brown bread. Try it with fresh seafood chowder and it’s a match made in heaven. There’s something so special about the aroma of freshly baking brown bread that evokes happy memories of mixing the dough by hand with granny as she wipes her floured hands in her crossover apron before cutting the tradional cross in the top, which was said to ward off the devil and protect the household. To this day there is nothing quite like a slice, warm from the oven, slathered with pure kerrygold butter! Ah I’m salivating at the thought! Check out the recipe below and be sure to tell us what other Irish foods you’d like to see covered on the site.
Traditional Irish Brown Bread
4oz plain white flour/cream flour
12oz coarse wholemeal flour
1/2 to 3/4 pint of buttermilk (sourcream is a good substitute)
1 teaspoon bread soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 200°c/400°f/gas 6
Sieve plain flour, salt and breadsoda in a bowl
Add wholemeal flour and stir
Mix in the buttermilk to form a soft dough
Turn onto a floured board and kneed until it comes together
Place on a floured baking sheet and shape into a round and cut a cross in top (don’t go too deep!)
Place in centre of the preheated oven for 40 mins
To check its fully cooked, knock on base of bread and it should sound hollow
Wrap in a clean dry (non fluffy) teatowel while hot and allow to cool to achieve a softer crust
Serve with lashings of kerrygold and enjoy!
Brown Soda Bread Straight from the oven
No yeast, so no rising time. Simple and wholesome.
• 3 cups whole wheat flour
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
• 1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F). Mix the flour, bread soda and salt together in a bowl. Combine the egg with the buttermilk and honey then mix into the flour. Add a little more buttermilk if the mixture is dry – it should be a soft dough. Then pour the lot into a lightly oiled loaf tin. Sprinkle the sesame seeds or porridge oats over the top of the loaf if using. Bake for 45-50 minutes. To know when it is cooked simply tap the bottom of the loaf – it will sound hollow when it is fully cooked. Remove from the tin and wrap in a clean tea towel while cooling. This will keep the crust soft.
What do Saratoga Racecourse in New York and the film Gangs of New York have in common? John Morrissey.
John Morrissey was born in Templemore, Co. Tipperary in 1831 and his family moved to America in 1833. By the time he was 18 he was working for the Irish gangs and got a reputation as a fighter. As leader of the Dead Rabbitts he came across William Poole (Bill the Butcher) and the Bowery Boys when given the task of stopping them from rigging an election, something he achieved.
He also taught himself to read and write. During a lifetime of adventure, he was involved in the gold rush in California, fought for the heavyweight boxing title and became a state Congressman. He then set up a casino in Saratoga and then founded the famous racecourse.
John Morrissey died in 1878, aged just 47. From a small town in Ireland to becoming one of the most famous achievers in America.
Rex Ingram was born in Dublin, lived in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary (see my previous post), and went onto take Hollywood by storm and discover one the biggest stars, Rudolph Valentino. He was an unknown actor cast by Ingram in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) and the rest is history.
Rex Ingram was one of the most influential film directors at the start of the golden era of Hollywood-and he was Irish. He was born in 1892 in Dublin, then moved to Nenagh, Co. Tipperary in 1897 when Rex was 5 years old. When Clearys Circus came to town, Rex had his first encounter with moving image. He described seeing grainy, black and white images of men running a race and a train.
He moved to America in 1911. By 1914 he was directing his first film ( a short), then a full feature film in 1916.
Most famous for his film The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921). He left Hollywood to start a mini studio in Nice, France. After ‘talkies’ became the norm, he decided to retire from film making and take up his first love, art (he studied at Yale when first in America), just 16 years after directing his first film. He died in 1950 in Hollywood.
He influenced many directors, including David Lean, and was mentioned in James Joyces’. Finnegan’s Wake (1939) which contains the line: “his scaffold is there set up, as to edify, by Rex Ingram, pageant-master.
How to make ‘Coddle’, sometimes known as Dublin Coddle. Traditionally made with left overs, this is real comfort food. The word Coddle can mean to slowly cook something or treat someone in an indulgent way or pamper. It’s made with bacon, sausages, potatoes, stock, maybe carrots (depending on who you talk to).
- thick cut bacon
- pork sausages
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 875g (1 3/4lb) potatoes, thickly sliced
- large handful curly parsley, chopped
- carrots (optional)
- 2 pints of stock
- Brown the sausages and bacon in a frying pan for a few minutes. Place half the sausages and bacon in the bottom of a large, oven proof casserole
- Add half the onions, potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper. Add another layer of meat and vegetables, season to taste
- Cover with a lid and cook in a slow oven (180 degress, gas mark 3) for about 2 hours
- Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes and dot the top layer with butter (this allows the top layer to colour and crisp up)