Cultivation of the Vine in the South of Ireland

From The Dublin Penny Journal, Volume 1, Number 23, December 1, 1832.

Those who have witnessed the severe exertions of the peasantry in the South of Ireland to improve their grounds will be sensible of the value of introducing among them the cultivation of plants which might give them much higher returns than they now receive—such for instance as the vine. Vineyards have given a gross return of many thousand pounds an acre, when high flavoured wine was produced. Without being so sanguine as to expect to raise wine immediately, the sale of fruit alone might produce many times the amount of the ordinary crops in the mountains of Cork or Kerry, and that on grounds so steep and strong as to be scarcely fit for corn or potatoes, especially where the vicinity of water carriage offers a cheap conveyance to market. The gentlemen should introduce the cultivation of the vine. Grapes have ripened in the open air with Mr. Kenny, and afterwards with Mr. Tuckey at Bantry. They were of various kinds, and were trained on a blackened wall in the open air; also with the late Mrs. Taylor, in the front of her house to the east of Bantry; with Mr. Hutchins, at Ardnagashall; on the terrace, at the bishop's palace in Waterford; on the rocks at Mucruss, as I was informed many years ago. In the king's garden at Hampton Court, the black Hamburg vine bore fruit many years without any assistance from fuel. In one year it produced half a ton of grapes. The same kind of vine produced coloured grapes in the College Botanic Garden, Ball's-bridge, this year. A gentleman near Portsmouth made a hogshead of wine of his own grapes lately.

That grapes can be ripened in the South of England and Ireland need not be questioned; the only point to be determined is, whether their ripening can be made so certain as to yield a safe profit to industry. The papers mention that a single vine produced this year at Kendal two thousand and seventy bunches of grapes. Grapes often ripen in the neighbourhood of Dublin, on the walls in the open air; but the part of Ireland that I would select for the cultivation of grapes is the south of the line running through Waterford, Clonmel, and Tralee. The best situations are sheltered recesses, opening to the south east. The fittest varieties for Ireland are the Black Hamburg the Sweet Water, and the Miller grape: these, Mr. M'Kay, Curator of the College Botanic Garden, thinks can be best depended upon. We may add to these, by the recommendation of the gentlemen in the employment of the Horticultural Society at Chiswick, the Cambridge Botanic Garden grape, the Black Lombardy, and the White Muscadine might also be tried. As Paris is near the northern boundary of the grape country, the varieties prized there deserve attention, such as the Madeline, also the Chaselin and Charpensier. The difference of the climate in the north and south of Ireland is much greater than is generally supposed.

W. S.