In the late 18th Century, back when Cork was a key Port of the British Empire, (and lays claim to being 2nd largest natural harbour in the world, as Cork people are fond of saying!), navigating through the channel and up to the City docks was easier said than done. So the building of a 3 story house on the hills of the harbour by a wealthy landowner had an unexpected benefit… It became an unofficial lighthouse and navigating landmark to guide the ships back and forth.
The name, Killahora, comes from the Irish, Coill a Horaigh, (Hora), which is thought to either mean ‘Doubtful Wood’, or possibly simply Hore’s Wood, (from the le Hore family being descendents of the Anglo-Normans who arrived in Ireland from the 12th century).
Regardless however, the OS map of 1837, and tithe book of 1833 shows a, (taxed), orchard, likely producing cider, which at the time was generally perceived as superior to wine. Today its mossed old boundary walls and collection of massive Wild Apple trees in the hedgerows is an obvious testament to that. While, the original farmhouse didnt survive, the land itself has had a colourful history since its naming many hundreds of years ago, and up until its current new replanting with one of the most esoteric and interesting varietals of Apples and Pears that have likely ever been seen in Ireland.
What we are aiming to do in this beautiful location, is to elevate our ciders to as lofty a height as the land itself, by starting with the fruit we’ve planted, developing our production methods to create a product of the highest quality, (at the expense of quantity), and to continually experiment, revise, evolve and learn. While it has taken years, and will take many more for all our trees to grow, the amazing pallet of fruit that we will have planted, combined with our unique south facing land exposed to the Atlantic, gives us the oppprtunity to create an infinity of expressions of the land itself, that will surely change year to year, but we hope will retain a familiar style and optimum quality.
One of our inspirations in this the the fact that while Ireland is famous for Whiskey and Guinness, it came as a surprise to us to learn that not much of the barley orgrain involved, (and none of the hops), come from Ireland! So using our combined interests in horticulture, fermentation, flavour, handiwork and learning new things, we set out to create an Irish drink, using fruit grown on this land that can be visited and tasted under the very trees it came from.
We look forward to the journey of knowledge and taste, (which can be a cold and lonely one pressing late Bittersweets in December!), and to incorporate the best of proven old production skills as well as new techniques, to create a new generation of Ciders that allows us to bring a vintage, vineyard feel to what we make. There isnt yet an Irish word for ‘terroir’, but give us 20 years or so and there might be!
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