Michael Hartnett

Irish history, folklore and all that

Michael Hartnett (Irish: Mícheál Ó hAirtnéide) (18 September 1941 – 13 October 1999) was an Irish poet who wrote in both English and Irish. He was one of the most significant voices in late 20th-century Irish writing and has been called “Munster‘s de facto poet laureate”.[1]

Hartnett was born in Croom Hospital, County Limerick.[2] Although his parents’ name was Harnett, he was registered in error as Hartnett on his birth certificate. In later life he declined to change this as his legal name was closer to the Irish Ó hAirtnéide. He grew up in the Maiden Street area of Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, spending much of his time with his grandmother Bridget Halpin, who resided in the townland of Camas, in the countryside nearby. Hartnett claimed that his grandmother, was one of the last native speakers to live in Co. Limerick…

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1690 – Siege of Limerick begins.

Stair na hÉireann - History of Ireland

The Williamite War (1689-1691) did not go well for the Jacobites. Crushing defeats of troops supporting King James II at the Siege of Derry in December 1688 and the Battle of the Boyne on 1 July 1690 had forced the Jacobites to retreat west to Limerick and Galway. William of Orange, at the head of the Williamite army pursued them, reaching the city of Limerick on this date in 1690.

The Jacobites, under the leadership of French General Lauzun and Irish commander Richard Talbot after James fled to France, held Limerick with ~14,500 infantry and an additional ~2,500 cavalry under the command of Patrick Sarsfield stationed in nearby Co. Clare. The Williamites had a total strength of ~25,000. When William arrived at Limerick he decided to focus his attack on the less fortified Irish Town section of Limerick. William deployed his troops and awaited the arrival of his heavy artillery…

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1922 – Anti-Treaty forces abandon The Four Courts in Dublin which was bombarded for two days under the orders of Michael Collins.

Stair na hÉireann - History of Ireland

Anti-Treaty commander in the Four Courts, Paddy O’Brien is wounded by shrapnel. Ernie O’Malley assumes command. In the morning there is a truce to remove the wounded. Shortly afterward, a massive explosion destroys the western wing of the Four Courts and the Irish Public Records Office along with it. Forty advancing Free State troops were seriously injured. It was alleged by the National Army Headquarters that the Anti-treaty forces deliberately booby-trapped the Public Record office to kill Free State troops. Tim Healy, a government supporter, later alleged that the explosion was the result of land-mines laid before the surrender, which exploded after the surrender. However, a study of the battle concluded that the explosion was caused by fires ignited by the shelling of the Four Courts, which eventually reached two truck loads of gelignite in the munitions factory. A towering mushroom cloud rose 200 feet over the Four Courts.


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Powerful Tombs: The Medieval ‘Living’ Dead


IMG_20160427_125224As part of the Leverhulme Trust-funded Speaking with the Dead project, extended by the Past in its Place project, I have been exploring the mnemonics of tombs in English and Welsh cathedrals from the Middle Ages to the present day. Having presented a version of my research under the title ‘Being Medieval in the Cathedral’ at the Society of Medieval Archaeology conference entitled Being Medieval at UCLan (Preston) organised by Dr Duncan Sayer, I decided to present an expanded version of the paper as a public lecture in the Grosvenor Lunchtime Lecture Series.

Picture3Having previously explored Tombs in Beowulf (exploring tombs within and behind the Anglo-Saxon poem) and Tombs of Terror (exploring the mortuary and material associations and manifestations of the legendary smith Weland), this was my third of a series of three lunchtime talks at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester.

Effigy tombs

I thought I would explore a particular…

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Æthelflæd 1100

History at Keele University

2018 marks the 1100th anniversary of the death at Tamworth of Æthelflæd ‘ruler of the Mercians’. The first-born child of King Alfred, Æthelflæd is a rare example of female rulership in English history, all the rarer in her case since she was succeeded by her daughter, Ælfwynn, an unmarried woman of 30. A collaboration has been established amongst local groups, including Tamworth Borough Council, Tamworth Museum, Tamworth’ Civic Society and the St Editha’s church, to join with History departments at the Universities of Chester, Keele and Manchester to plan a series of events and publications in 2018. The first planning meeting was held at Keele University this morning.

‘Alfled le Sage’ (Æthelflæd the wise) looks on as some of the planning group examine some of Tamworth’s medieval court rolls which are held in the archives at Keele University. A web site http://www.aethelflaed.org has been created and will serve as a…

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Richard Lionheart: Bad King, Bad Crusader

JUNE 11, 2014 BY

Richard Lionheart: Bad King, Bad Crusader?

Michael Markowski

Journal of Medieval History, Vol.23:4 (1997)

Richard Lionheart


This paper analyzes the impact of King Richard Lionheart of England during his tenure as leader of the Third Crusade. It examines crusade policy and the significance of Richard’s decisions to deviate from it. The lack of control which both the Church and normative crusading precedents had over him becomes apparent. Richard’s failure to take Jerusalem leads to the conclusion that his self-centred, puerile interests in personal adventures destroyed the chance for success of the Third Crusade, and thus prolonged warfare. Most wars have some sort of peace as the ultimate goal. The Third Crusade is no exception, but Richard subverted the goal of peace by turning away from a siege of Jerusalem and toward various other adventures, for example, attacks on Egyptian holdings, border skirmishes, the conquest of Cyprus from the Byzantines. Still, the Lionheart’s legend persists from his day to our own to extol chivalrous virtues and courageous action. This paper presents the other side of the coin in the hope of approaching a more balanced, accurate portrayal of Richard’s crusade leadership and of the ends of crusade ideology which he undermined.

In June 1192, King Richard led a crusade advance toward Jersualem. Moving quickly, the army crossed the inland hills without incident. Saracen troops could not contest the advance. The crusaders felt high in anticipation as they fortified a camp at Beit Nuba, only hours from the Holy City. Suspence heightened as the poet Ambroise, who was there, related in verse:

These were adventures and alarms
And mishap, frays, and feats of arms

Ambroise told how a squad of Muslins were spying on crusader movements from a nearby mountain-top. The king and a small group of crusaders, including the poet Ambroise, scaled the height and secured the area. King Richard himself pursued the Muslims down the valley, then suddenly found himself just outside Jerusalem. Stunned, he stopped and gazed at the city. A century later, Joinville would use this scene as a spur for later crusaders, having Richard hide his head under his tunic and say that one who could not take the city should not allowed to look upon it.

Click here to read this article from the Monumenta Germanica Historica

Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck

The Brewery

The Beginning – Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck is named after the famous fortress that also graces the brewery’s logo. Once the stronghold of the Count of Flanders, Robrecht de Fries, the castle was converted into a luxurious country mansion in 1736.

Brewery Van Honsebrouck, Kasteel© BeerTourism.com

In 1986 it was acquired by the Van Honsebrouck family, who have been brewing in Ingelmunster since 1900. However, the roots of the Van Honsebrouck family go back far beyond the beginning of the 20th century.

It wasn’t until the middle of the 1950s that the brewery acquired its present form when Luc Van Honsebrouck took up the reins of the company. In his own unconventional way he gave the brewery a new commercial focus and a direction for its products.

Within a few years the brewery was flourishing as never before, Luc Van Honsebrouck had made his name and was a serious player in the brewing world.

In the 1970s a ‘geuzenoorlog’ broke out in Belgian football. Van Honsebrouck with its St Louis fruit beers was the main sponsor of Club Brugge. Their arch rivals Anderlecht, from Brussels, were backed by the Vanderstock family and their Belle Vue beer.Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck© Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck
Sparks flew on the terraces and in nearby cafés. “If the Brusselaars claim that geuze cannot be made in Ingelmunster, no doubt it will be banned,” Luc Van Honsebrouck said.

These days Luc’s son Xavier has been leading the company for several years and, just like his Dad, he has ambitious plans.

In 1900 the brewery was located on the outskirts of Ingelmunster; nowadays it is to be found right in the heart of the town. Expansion within Ingelmunster is simply impossible and thus, within a few years, a brand new brewery will arise in the nearby village of Emelgem, part of the municipality of Izegem. The brewery will be built with the latest requirements of the modern brewer very much in mind, guided by Xavier’s personal vision.

Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck, kasteel© BeerTourism.com

The current brewery’s capacity is around 10,000,000 litres, the plans include an expansion to 15,000,000 litres.

Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck is a member of the Belgian Family Brewers.

The association only accepts as its members Belgian, family-owned breweries that have been brewing beer in Belgium for at least half a century. This group of 20 historical and independent family breweries truly provide added value to the identity and authenticity of Belgian beer brewing. Combined they represent more than 1500 years of brewing experience.

The Brewing

When Luc Van Honsebrouck joined the brewery in 1953, its products included brown table beer, export beer, pils and old brown (an oudbruin, later named Bacchus). The Bacchus Vlaams Oud Bruin turned out to be a great success, which prompted the brewery to focus on specialty beers to the exclusion of everything else.

Van Honsebrouck
© BeerTourism.com

In 1957 Van Honsebrouck purchased their first lambiek yeast from Van Halen Frères in Ukkel. This particular type of yeast, or wort, was produced in a cooling basin where it collects wild bacteria from the air.

The following day, the mixture would be driven to Ingelmunster, where it would be added to the casks or foeders in which the Bacchus was maturing. Thus, the Bacchus would ripen while mixing with local wort.

By transferring this small, precious yeast culture from cask to cask, the brewer managed to produce enough lambiek to start up geuze and kriek production.

The bacteria doesn’t just fall out of the air, but they are never far away. They exist all around the brewery and with the Van Haelen wort present for many years a micro-climate is created. And so the Gueuze St Louis was born,followed by a kriek and a raspberry beer. Van Honsebrouck was to offer draught gueuze in time.


Van Honsebrouck© BeerTourism.com

After Luc Van Honsebrouck bought Ingelmunster Castle he launched the popular Kasteel. The idea of brewing a gastronomic beer came to him after tasting aged ‘Kasteel’.

Its touches of port and Madeira inspired him to create Cuvée du Château, a beer that is reminiscent of Liefmans or Rodenbach, enriched with touches of port. It’s one to enjoy in front of an open fire.

Castle Brewery Van HonsebrouckThe brewing hall
© Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck

Current CEO Xavier Van Honsebrouck sums up the philosophy: ‘We give our beers all the time they need. We are not a beer factory. You wouldn’t make a Flemish Stew in a pressure cooker, would you?”

The 1980’s saw a change in the Belgian beer market, with an increased demand for heavier, blond beers. In response, Van Honsebrouck launched, among other new beers, the Brigand, a very malty, strong and heavy beer.

Nowadays, Luc’s son Xavier Van Honsebrouck – the seventh generation of the family to brew – follows in his father’s idiosyncratic footsteps in his own special way.

The brewery now offers a range of close to 20 different beers. Xavier, in co-operation with brewmaster Hans Mehuis, is already responsible for a number of new brews, such as the Kasteel Hoppy and thePasschendaele, a beer created specifically to commemorate the notorious WWI battle.

The Brewers

The story of the Van Honsebrouck beer dynasty starts in 1811 with the birth of Amandus Van Honsebrouck. He was a farmer who expanded his farm with a dairy, distillery and brewery.

Emile Van Honsebrouck

Emile Van Honsebrouck
© Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck
He even became mayor of Werken in West Flanders, then just a village of a few hundred souls.

When Amandus died suddenly in 1865 his son Emile Van Honsebrouck (1844 – 1929) took over, first as a brewer and later on also as Mayor of Werken.

After a number of failed attempts, Emile and his wife Louise De Poorter settled on the edge of Louise’s home town of Ingelmunster to set up the Sint Jozef brewery. Louise was the driving force behind the brewery until her favourite son Paul and his older brother Ernest took over the reins in 1922.

The brothers were responsible for the first steps towards the expansion of the brewery from a small family affair to something bigger. In 1930 they began the building of a four-storey new home, which opened in 1939 with a new brewing hall, tank storage and bottling plant.

Van Honsebrouck© Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck
Ernest never married and when Paul’s health started to suffer his eldest son Luc (b 1930) put forward a proposition. Luc promised to gain his brewer’s qualifications to ensure the continuation of the brewery.

By the time Luc graduated he had already gained a wealth of practical experience in breweries like the Kupperbrauerei in Germany and had all the necessary expertise and discipline to take over the business.

In 1953 he made his first steps into the brewery business. In the same year, he also broke with tradition by concentrating on specialty beers rather than trying to compete with the large pilsner breweries. What is more, Luc abandoned pils brewing completely and, in the middle of the 1950s, he changed the company name to Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck. At the end of the day, Luc was the man who made a great success of the family firm.

Brouwerij Van HonsebrouckXavier Van Honsebrouck
© Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck

His vision contributed to the flourishing of a brewery which is now an important landmark on the crowded Belgian beer landscape.

After 55 years, aged 78, Luc decided that enough was enough and it was time for a new broom and some new blood. On the first of January 2009, Luc’s sonXavier (b 1967) took over the brewery.

He has his father’s knack for trend-setting and a commitment to a vision; he’s another innovator who doesn’t necessarily follow tradition. Xavier, with his wife Lindsey Herman, has four children (two sets of twins!), so the next generation of this Belgian brewing dynasty from West Flanders is now assured.

The Beers

The Visit

At present, unfortunately, there’s nothing to visit. From an operational point of view it is hard to open up the brewery to visitors without interrupting the brewing process. Visit King Philippe

HRM King Philippe, HRM Queen Mathilde and Xavier Van Honsebrouck
© Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck
After all, this is still a breweries main activity.

This is unless, of course, your name is Crown Prince Philippe (who recently became King Philippe of Belgium), who honoured the brewery with his presence in the spring of 2013.

The castle used to be open to visitors, but after a destructive fire in September 2001 this is no longer possible, although you can view its impressive exterior.

But don’t be too disappointed. The future is definitely looking rosy. Xavier Van Honsebrouck is hopeful that by 2017 he will be able to open the doors of a brand new brewing complex designed as a modern 21st century castle. The new site will have space for a visitors’ centre. This project, costing around €30 million, will no doubt be enthusiastically supported by the local community.

The Location

Ingelmunster is a community of just over 11,000 inhabitants in the south of the province of West Flanders and is part of the Leieland tourist region. This green, forested townis situated on the banks of the river Mandel. The area offers a good choice of overnight accommodation and there are a number of walking trails and cycling routes.westtour - west flanders© Westtoer

Ieper (Ypres) and many other WWI memorials and battlefield sites can be reached within an hour. Ingelmunster is also host to the annual Labadoux folk festival, which takes place on the first weekend in May.

Ingelmunster is sometimes called the Brigandsgemeente or“Town of the Brigands”, in remembrance of Brigands Sunday on 28 October, 1798, the day of the repression of the Brigands’ Revolt by the French during the so-called Boerenkrijg, or Peasants’ War.

Ingelmunster is also where French pilot Roland Garros crashed his plane during World War I.

He survived the crash only to die later on in the war and the French paid homage to their aviation pioneer and war hero by naming their national tennis championship after him.

Getting There & Around

Ingelmunster is relatively easy to reach with public transport. The train ride from Brusselstakes just under two hours. There is a good road network; from Calais you can expect to drive for one-and-a-half hours, after which it is another half-an-hour’s journey to Bruges.

Poperinge© BeerTourism.com

It does exist, but public transport is perhaps not the most efficient way to travel to and between any West Flemish cities and villages. So, if you are planning to do some touring, a car is the best option.

Once you have arrived at your destination and checked in, you can leave the car parked up; the scenery is nice enough to enjoy at a slower pace, certainly in summertime.

There are also several opportunities to discover the area by bikeor on a scooter; guides can be booked for a varied selection of themed walks too.

Many of these are of course are related to WWI but there are also a couple of beer orientated tours. West Flanders historically is the hops province of Belgium so there is more than enough too see, taste and experience. See our relevant city guides for more information on the subject.

Gastronomy, Food & More Beer

Ingelmunster is located in the province of West Flanders, which has historic Bruges as its capital. The province excels when it comes to gastronomy and breweries and the density of Michelin stars is impressive.

Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck© Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck
The Sint-Sixtus brewery ofWestvleteren, St. Bernardus and the Struise Brouwers are just a few of the breweries in the vicinity and two of Belgium’s three starred Michelin restaurants are also located in the province.

As this is the only Belgian coastal province, with a strong agricultural heritage, you’ll find a rich selection of regional products and specialities being served in local restaurants.

You are sure to find places selling the brews of Van Honsebrouck to enjoy with your meal. As some of their brews (Cuvée du Chateau for example) have been conceived and developed as gastronomic/culinary beers, some chefs also use them in certain recipes, such as ‘Stoofvlees’ (Flemish Stew), one of Belgium’s undisputed and most popular national dishes.

More Info

You can contact the tourism information office in Ingelmunster at:

Tourism Ingelmunster

Telephone: Tel: +32 (0) 51 33 74 46

Email: toerisme@ingelmunster.be
Website: www.ingelmunster.be/toerisme



Castle Brewery Van Honsebrouck

Ingelmunstersestraat 46
Emelgem (Izegem)
West Flanders, Belgium