March 1, 2011

A Little History...

After reading our last post, I hope you said "Rinn Duin, that's an interesting name!"  If it's not apparent yet, we're going to brew Irish (and English) style ales.  Here's some background on our names.


Where Blackthorn Came From:

The Blackthorn is an ancient Irish weapon, made from the wood of Blackthorn trees in the Shillelagh Forest, County Wicklow.  Originally used for defense against animals, the 2 foot long Blackthorn stick evolved into a club for war, with its dense knot (the root of the plant) on the end.  It is called a "bata" in Gaelic.

A Blackthorn, or Shillelagh

Because blackthorn wood is extremely hard and deadly, the English outlawed the weapon in the late 19th century. Since the Irish are so clever, they lengthened the Blackthorn to 3 ft, called it a Shillelagh and used it as a "walking stick." The modern Blackthorn is a 3 ft walking cane, usually used a decoration.


A Brief Story on Rinn Duin Castle:

The castle sits high atop Rinn Duin peninsula, stretching into the waters of Lough (Lake) Ree, in County Roscommon.  Said to be built in 1227 by Turlogh O'Conor, the castle was used to hold hostages during times of war.  In the early 1300's, Castle Rinn Duin became an integral part of the community, serving many purposes; town meetings were held there, a parish was established and the castle housed monasteries.
A current photo of Castle Rinn Duin
Some of Chip's family still lives in County Roscommon, and we can trace our lineage back to  Turlogh O'Conor.  A few years ago, Chip was lucky enough to take a trip to Ireland and visit with some of his family.  Our heritage is very rich and we’re excited to incorporate it into the brewery!