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You may not know but Ireland and especially the West of Ireland has a close relationship with wine production along with a 400 year history to go with it. Lynch Bages, for example….one of Bordeaux' finest vineyards known the world over, shares its name with an impressive lineage of Lynch's who presided over Galway's ruling class for several hundred years. Walking the streets of Galway, you will come across the name Lynch, one of 14 families or tribes that ruled the City for centuries. The Flight of the Earls in 1607 was probably the maiden voyage of forging this relationship with wine. The old Gaelic ruling class emigrated to Continental Europe, this becoming more of a self-exile above anything else with the great Gaelic houses of the O’Neill’s and O’Donnell’s leaving Irish shores forever and stretching their quest for renewed wealth and power across much of France and Spain. With more certainty on the relationship of Ireland and wine, the Wild Geese (or the Wine Geese) left Ireland after the Williamite wars ended in 1691 and to gain or regain an economic foothold on their lives, some of these soldiers and officers began new peaceful lives cultivating lands in Bordeaux and beyond. Names like Barton, Kirwin, Dillon, Phelan along with Lynch have become synonymous with great winery houses of France. One of the most famous names is Hennessy. The cognac, started by Richard Hennessy from Cork now accounts for 40% of global brandy sales.
To summarize, Ireland may not be the ideal geographic location to grow and harvest wine grapes, but the contribution Ireland has made to the wine world is some legacy. A total of 14 châteaux in the Bordeaux area have distinct Irish names attached to them. We hope you enjoy your wine this evening. Sláinte mhaith!