Local Artisan Producers
Goatsbridge Trout Farm
If you came to Mount Juliet via Thomastown, you will have passed Goatsbridge Trout Farm. Indeed, you will have crossed over the bridge that gives it its name. The waters of the Little Arrigle River have been fished for centuries and it is known to have been a source of food for the Monks at Jerpoint Abbey, which was founded in 1180.
The farm itself was founded in 1961, making it one of the longest running and best known trout farms in the country. Today Goatsbridge is in the hands of a second generation, Mag and Ger Kirwan, who would be delighted to see you at the Visitors’ Centre or in their shop, where you’ll find fresh trout fillets, smoked trout and trout caviar available to buy.
Helen Finnegan began experimenting with cheese making in her kitchen in Stoneyford, back in 2004. It was soon evident that she has a flair for it – though she does say her early failures kept the foxes in the area very well fed for a while!
Her first commercially produced cheese was a Camembert style goats’ cheese, Knockdrinna Snow. Today she produces 10 different cheeses, including hard and soft goats’ cheeses, a Feta style soft cheese and a Brie under the Knockdrinna name. She also took over production of one of Ireland’s oldest farmhouse cheeses Lavistown, which includes two cow’s milk cheeses, one Caerphilly style, the other Red Leicester style. And Helen isn’t keeping her secrets to herself – she is holding cheese making courses at her Stoneyford Farmhouse.
Mileeven Fine Foods
Eilis Gough had been keeping bees as a hobby when the idea of starting Mileevan Fine Foods came to her. She began by selling her own honey and the Mileevan range of honeys has been expanded to include Organic Honey, Single Source Manuka 10+ and Manuka 15+. These days Eilis operates in partnership with her daughter Sarah. Together they produce a range of delicious preserves, cakes, Christmas puddings and Sarah’s range of 100% pure honeys, with exciting additions like ginger, mango and sour cherry.
From their base in Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, EIlis and Sarah export their irresistible treats to discerning shops around the world, including Harrods and Selfridges – they’re also a favourite of award winning Chef Neven Maguire.
Jerpoint Glass Studio
Jerpoint Glass is just a stone’s throw from Mount Juliet – though of course we would discourage throwing stones around such beautiful glassware. The studio was set up in 1979, and combines the skills of Keith Ledbetter, a one-time potter who converted to glass blowing, and his wife Kathleen, a self-taught artist and designer. Working from a converted barn adjacent to their home, they have built a reputation for exquisitely crafted, distinctively styled glassware. They have also raised a family of four, all of whom are now involved in the Jerpoint Glass - in design, marketing and glass blowing.
Waterford Crystal was founded in 1783 by brothers William and George Penrose. Their aim was to ‘Create the finest quality crystal for drinking vessels and objects of beauty for the home’. Their reputation for quality spread rapidly and the company was soon employing 70 people and exporting to Spain, New York, New England and the West Indies. A mere 68 years later, however, the company was forced to close due to high taxation on its wares. But the tradition and reputation endured and a century later, in 1947, Waterford Crystal was re-established and has been creating its world famous crystal wine glasses, bowls, tableware and chandeliers ever since. The Waterford Crystal Visitors’ Centre in Waterford City, just over half an hour from Mount Juliet, brings that history to life.
Nicholas Mosse Pottery
Nicholas Mosse’s passion for working with pottery dates back to when he first kneaded clay with his hands at the age of seven. His passion for the craft stayed with him and he went on to study under master potters around the world, before returning to set up his kiln on the family farm in Bennetsbridge. Working with his wife, botanical artist Susan Mosse, they converted the family flour mill into a studio, powered by its own hydro-electric generator powered by the river Nore, which flows on southward to Mount Juliet. Together, they take great pride in producing distinctive, collectable tableware that is both a pleasure to look at and a pleasure to use.
Linda McKay – Couture Milliner
As you drive through the lush fields, rolling pastures and ancient woodlands of the Nore Valley, you might not be surprised to find beekeepers, potters and cheese makers. A globally recognised Couture Milliner, on the other hand, might raise an eyebrow. After studying under the great Jean Carroll in Sydney Australia, Linda McKay came home to Ireland. After working out of Dublin for a few years she fulfilled a lifelong dream of setting up a studio in Thomastown, just up the road from Mount Juliet. As well as the commissions that come her way from far and wide, she also welcomes visitors to her studio.
Newtown Jerpoint – The Lost Town
We’ve all heard of the ‘Lost City of Atlantis’ which was swallowed by the sea, a volcano or an earthquake – depending on who is telling the story. But how easy is it to lose a town?
Well, right here, on the banks of the Arrigle River, which flows into the river Nore not far from Mount Juliet, the town of Newtown Jerpoint all but disappeared, forgotten and ignored.
And it was a significant settlement, with 27 houses, a court house, a woollen mill and – reputedly – 14 taverns. It was founded at some time in the 12 century and it had all but disappeared by the 17th century. Was it the demise of the nearby Cistercian monastery that sealed its fate? Did the main road change its route and put the Jerpoint toll bridge out of business? Or was it the plague ….. Why not pay a visit to Jerpoint Park and decide for yourself? http://jerpointpark.com/