November means it's Thanksgiving mania in America. Whether it means family, feasting, football or the official start to the holiday shopping season, each year some 50 million Americans will hit the road, many of them returning home for Thanksgiving.
And when they return home, everyone enjoys visiting their old haunts and connecting with friends past and present. So in light of the holiday ahead, we’re sharing some favorite memories from a recent trip back to our home to Clonmel in County Tipperary.
Tipperary is a county of immense natural beauty, with a unique and ancient heritage. While we may be a bit biased, we think the county has some of Ireland’s most stunning scenery.
The name Clonmel derives from the Irish name Cluain Meala meaning honey vale or honey meadow, which makes sense given how fertile the valley’s soil is. The combination of the bright Irish sunlight and the gentle Tipperary rain make this part of the world ideal for growing the 17 varieties of cider, culinary and dessert apples that are used to create Magners.
Just outside of town are the magnificent orchards where so many of Magners apples are grown. We’ll let you in on a secret – we don’t pick the apples according to a production schedule, the apples tell us when they are ready and then we gently shake the trees. The apples fall fully ripened to the ground and are collected for washing.
The Vat House on Dowd’s Lane was our home since 1936, and apples from local orchards were literally wheeled down the street to the cider presses. Even though cider making officially ceased there in 2008, Dowd’s Lane in the heart of Clonmel still stands today and we still use the yeast derived from the Oak Vats 80 years ago.
St. Patrick’s Well
No visit to Clonmel would be complete without at stop by St. Patrick’s Well, one of the town’s earliest Christian sanctuaries. This tranquil spot has been a pilgrimage destination for centuries and it is believed St. Patrick came once preached here. We had to stop by for a rest.
One of the things we love most about our town is the sense of hospitality. Take a step down our main street and you’ll be greeted as a friend, particularly if you mention Tipperary’s big win over Kilkenny in the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final back in September. We hope they keep those blue and yellow banners adorning the streets for a long time to come.
Reuniting with friends
Regardless of how far we traveled, or how long it’s been, nothing beats catching up with friends over a pint of Magners Cider. And, Clonmel has some of our favorite pubs who love to share the hometown brew. So whether your journey this holiday is long or brief, join us and raise a glass to family and friends!