The BBC’s marketing director recently returned from a vacation in Ireland, where her daughter lives (and works in a pub) on the scenic Sheep’s Head Peninsula in West Cork. She learned there’s more than beer to write about in the Emerald Isle.

By Carol Dumas

AHAKISTA, West Cork, Ireland — (September 2018) British Beer Company prides itself on bringing the British pub experience to New England and it’s always fun to visit a pub in the U.K.

My eldest daughter and family have lived in the West Cork area of Ireland, southwest of Cork, for nearly three years. The Sheep’s Head peninsula is a beautiful, tranquil area of small villages, green fields, sheep and cows, bordering the ocean, plus a popular walking path with spectacular mountains and sea views.  I love visiting as often as possible. Liz and her husband Simon have introduced me to many fine Irish beers (yes, there is more than the famous Guinness), but on a recent trip I learned this area is becoming famous for its gin! Who knew!

Well, BBC Operations Manager Shane Egan, an Irishman himself, did.

“Gin is massive in the UK!” he told me. “And we have a gin menu.” More on that later.

The family-run Arundels By The Pier is located in the tiny village of Ahakista, about 25 minutes from Bantry in West Cork.

My daughter works at Arundels By the Pier, a small year-round pub right on Dunmarrus Bay, which eventually spills out into the Atlantic Ocean. Her Dublin-born husband told me there were many local gins being made in Ireland, particularly in this southwest area. Our lodging for the week was a five-minute stroll from Arundels, so it was easy to have a gin and tonic every night and try a different gin. Research, afterall! This tiny pub offered at least six different kinds of gin made in Ireland.

The view from Arundels By The Pier.
The pub served a gin and tonic in a wine goblet, so yes, I am smiling.

The local gins incorporate unexpected ingredients, such as the sea water and seaweed in Beara Ocean Gin. The slightly  taste was a nice balance to the sweetness of the tonic water.

Glendalough Sloe Gin was pink! It contained “ingredients foraged in the Wicklow Mountains.” Dingle Original Gin is made in small batches; the name refers to another ocean peninsula in southwest Ireland. Flavor-wise it’s dry, like the more well-known London dry gin. The Dingle distillers use unusual, locally-sourced botanicals: rowan berry from the mountain ash trees, fuchsia, bog myrtle, hawthorn and heather “for a taste of the Kerry lands.” It’s an experience.

It was nice and refreshing to sip a G&T overlooking the sea in the unseasonably yet welcome warm late summer in Ireland.

Back to the British Beer Company.

While the Irish gins above are not available, we do offer some British ones. Ask about our Gin Cocktails to try something a little different than Beefeaters, Bombay or Gordon’s! Cheers!

British Beer Company’s Gin Cocktail Menu is available at select pubs including Hyannis and Franklin.