An orchard to cultivate the forbidden fruit in the church itself? This is the case in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh. Not in vain Armagh is known as Orchad County or the Orchard of Ireland. Another emergent reality in the world of cider, not only from the point of view of production. There they are also developing an interesting tourist offer with visits to the cider houses and events such as Armagh Food and Cider Festival.
Apple orchards in Armagh are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The flat terrain allows the plantation of apple trees since old times. The trees have been shaped over time to facilitate the harvest of apples one by one, by hand. Small size trees with robust branches form endless landscapes on the sides of the cross-country roads that surround the city.
The county has traditionally been an important apple producer. The Armagh Bramley Apple is in fact a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). However, since 2005 several small #cider houses have emerged. Before, all the surplus was sold to large producers in England and Ireland. Now, they no longer depend on the price that large companies set depending on the abundance of the crop and other factors. Now they produce their own apple juice and cider.
The origins of St. Patrick’s Cathedral date back to the 445, when the patron of Ireland built a primitive stone church on top of the hill known as Druim Sallach (Willow Ridge). A monastic community was created around, from which I imagine the orchard comes. It belonged to the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland, until it was transferred by order of the British government to the Protestant Church during the Reformation. Since the time of Elizabeth I, the owner is the Anglican Church. At the end of the 19th century another cathedral was erected on an even higher adjoining hill, and since then it seems that they look at each other face to face. Fortunately, today the relations between both churches are defined as cordial.