Launching Sláinte: a whirlwind week

Kristin Jensen and Caroline Hennessy at the launch of Sláinte - The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider

Can you see the relief?

The writing of Sláinte? That’s something that was mainly done in splendid isolation. When the girls were out of the house for preschool mornings, or late at night, with everyone else tucked up in bed, I sat at the computer and tap-tap-tapped away at the keyboard. It was written in short bursts, lots of them, when I just couldn’t justify doing any more interviews, ‘research’ or scrubbing the kitchen sink in an effort to stay away from the desk.

The writing might have been done in isolation, but my co-author Kristin – working away in parallel up there in Co Louth – was always there, a touchstone, especially at the editing stage when it was not unusual for us to flick a couple of dozen emails back and forth each day. It makes the writing-a-book stage so much more bearable when there’s someone there to share the pain of chopping all that glorious prose (think too wordy, too long and not at all glorious!) or figure out the structure or re-count the every-increasing number of breweries.

But it’s one thing to write a book – it’s a whole other sociable situation and incredible thrill to actually see it get out into the world. Last week was the time for that.

We kicked off the whole thing with an appearance in the Sunday Times.

Monday was a trip to Dublin for book signings, off licence visits and an appearance in the RTÉ Radio Centre to talk to Sean O’Rourke about the revolution happening in Irish craft beer and cider.

Listen here: Today with Sean O’Rourke: Craft beer and cider with Kristin Jensen, Caroline Hennessy and Cathal O’Donoghue.

Tuesday: deep breath.

Wednesday saw Sláinte popping up everywhere, as the people who contributed recipes and helped us with photos had their copies landing through the postbox.

And on to Thursday. Launch day. Crazy, crazy day. Car back up to Dublin, laden with the Good Dress, paper cups, jugs and other launch paraphernalia as I tried to write a speech in my head and get the Small Brother delivered to his interview on time. There’s nothing like multitasking to ensure that you get nothing done properly!

At least some people were getting out the word about the launch.

It was a dream come true to be able to hold the launch at the right old hooley which is the opening night of the Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival. Even better, we had Reuben Gray of Beoir, whose in depth knowledge of and involvement in the Irish brewing scene is legion, on hand to actually launch the book.

Beer was poured by the Dublin Beer Ladies – think Grease’s Pink Ladies, but in purple and on a beer mission. Sign up for their nationwide events here (not just for Dubs!).

We were humbled by the number of friends and family, designers, producers and publishers who all made the effort to come along to the RDS. It felt like a wedding, but so much more fun! At least there was no crying during these speeches.

A weekend of beer, books, double chocolate porter brownies – and book signing. What more could any author dream of? Now, if you’ll just excuse me while I pinch myself (author! me!) normal transmission will resume soon.


Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider is NOW ON SALE!

You can find it in good bookshops, including Hodges Figgis, Dubray Books and Easons, and many of the independent off licences like Bradleys in Cork, Baggot Street Wines, Redmonds of Ranelagh and Deveneys of Dundrum.

It’s also for sale online at New Island and Kennys currently have it on offer for €15.07 plus free shipping worldwide.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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