written by Michael McKeown
Michael McKeown, having Sunday lunch out with his wife Carmel- a hour of relaxation, contentment, and reflection on a creative and successful life as an entrepreneur and historian- 69 years of age and then, at the zenith of this contentment he is stirred by the sight of a mirror, on the wall of the restaurant, advertising an old Newry whiskey.
Coming from a family of wine and sprit merchants, the appearance of this image at this particular time quite speedily blended quiet thoughts into serious thoughts, maybe the coming to life a long unconscious ambition, something unfinished. And so, the overall ambition eventually clarified itself: to create the history of Old Newry Whiskies and to re-establish the former distillery premises in Monaghan Street, raise it up anew as a going concern for the twenty first century.
It seems there are two basic strands involved in the creation of a particular history. The first is gathering of facts, of information. But such a projection does not do justice to what is at stake. The author is recreating a drama, gathering hidden and long-lost things, building up characters and events piece by piece, the embarking of heroes and villains on their journey.
But there is another factor in the compilation of a history, the mystical element. In the history of Old Newry Whiskey through the heroic name of Matt D'Arcy, what was dead and long forgotten is come alive again.
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