Here we have Janice’s second blog post!
We all now know my love for craft beer, but did you know i’m also quite partial to good cider? So can you imagine my excitement when Wayne tells me he’s organised a trip to meet the makers behind Dan Kellys Cider? Our very own private tour behind the scenes and the orchard itself, I lept for joy!!
So after a short drive on a beautiful sunny day we arrived to Boyne Grove Fruit Farm, the home of Dan Kelly’s Cider. It is located in Stameen, Drogheda, situated on the banks of the Boyne. Literally it is an oasis within the borough of Drogheda that I had no idea was there. I was introduced to the very friendly and welcoming Olan, who with his sister Fiona look after Dan Kelly’s Cider as well as the fruit side of the business. He kindly took some time out of a very busy day to show us around the farm and orchards.
This fully functioning fruit farm started in 1962 when Gerard Mc Neese, followed in his fathers footseps, and continued a family tradition of planting bramley apples. A tradition that goes back to 1880. Today they supply a number of the supermarkets with their fresh fruit, and also they produce their own apple juice, which is fantastic. It’s only natural that they make their own ciders.
Once we met Olan, he brought us around the different buildings which house the various parts of their business. From the impressive machinery which sorts the apples and packs them, to the huge cool rooms they have for storing both apples, and the aging cider. The scale of the operation was mind boggling, and it was very interesting to learn the various processes involved in preserving the apples in the best possible way.
The orchard itself is 80 acres in the total of the 200 acres. It’s extremely impressive with lots of beautiful apples trees with many varities. I think Olan had said there was over 14,000 trees in the Orchard. Bramley, is of course the apple used to make the magnificent cider, named after their Great Grandfather, Dan Kelly. He drove the “enterpise” steam engine and passed through the orchard daily. The main Dublin to Belfast train line passes through this farmland.
The cider is made from handpicked apples and wild yeasts that give a beautiful refreshing flavour. It really does taste like fizzy apple juice, though if you drink too many, you’ll know all about it! Olan was kind enough to give us a couple of bottles, and also of their famous apple juice. It really is a great summer drop, and we are spoiled to have such another great cider maker in the Boyne Valley.
Olan will be at the The Central’s Beer Festival on the 16th August in Navan, they will also have a tent at the Big Grill Festival the same weekend. They will of course be at the annual Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival in the RDS in September also, so you’ll all get to try this great Irish product.