Feast your eyes upon this lovely little building to the left. Observe, if you will, the Barrel Roll roof, a key part of the West Coast of Ireland’s agricultural architectural vernacular. A traditional style of barn you will see dotted up and down the west coast to this day. Marvel at the local stone cladding the frontage. Installed by a true masonry craftsman. The stone was salvaged from the gable end of the cottage my Grandmother was born in, and that I now live in with my husband and recycled back into this lovely Rackhouse.
Note with wonder the salvaged teak doors still resplendent with the seating numbers they once boasted when they were part of the benches of a local Gaelic Football Field. These were destined for the bonfire if you can believe it until my very own Father (who is 78) made a few phonecalls…..Many is the backside that clenched tightly whilst perched on these seats as they cheered on their football or hurling teams or waited for the final whistle during a close game. I have SAVED these doors from that awful fate both the bonfire and the Arse Clenching stuff.
You will have already noticed, of course, the building’s Southerly aspect, thus ensuring it gets the full force of the sun all throughout the day. The windows? An Unusual addition you say? Perhaps here in Ireland, but we want all that thermal energy flooding in and pushing up the daytime temperature so that our whiskey has just the right conditions to breathe deeply and interact with all those lovely wood sugars in our barrels. Hence the rationale behind painting it black, we need every incremental thermal nudge we can get. It gets goddamn cold here on the West Coast of Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way and we want OUR maturation environment just above 7’ Centigrade for as much of the year as naturally as possible.
My 78-year-old Father P.J. takes full credit for designing the doors and I will give it to him on this occasion, we usually clash over practicality vs. aesthetic. Without him, these lovely doors would not be there. So shout out to P.J. and another big shout out to Eugene our master carpenter who constructed them so beautifully, he is a TRUE CRAFTSMAN.
Am I slightly overexcited about the Rackhouse? Could I talk about it for another 40 minutes or so? Yes, 100% Yes. I could yammer on about the interior the finishes the floor, the planned piece of High Tech kit that will measure every minuscule barometric, humidity and temperature change inside…(there are graphs and everything!!!!!)..but I will not.
The Rackhouse was in my head for a long time. It’s based somewhat on several of the Bourbon Rackhouses I’ve seen, a little on a few French Whiskey Warehouses I’ve been to and influenced heavily by the old traditional dunnage houses that were once common here in Ireland. There was a shed just like this on the property when I was growing up, but it fell over. Now its back! The Rackhouse is the first part of our Whiskey Business vision come to life. The science of distillation is amazing but the science of maturation is even more so, (at least for me) if only because so much more goes on over an extended period of time. I am super excited to see what this little building will produce. Excuse me while I leave my desk to go and stare blankly at it and dream about the future…..(again).