Last summer, two Galway archaeologists proposed a theory
which made worldwide headlines.
They suggested that one of the most common archaeological
monuments in the Irish landscape may have been used for brewing
a Bronze Age Beer (Click
The two archaeologists will demonstrate and discuss their
experiments and research (and distribute tasters of the brew)
into the enigmatic site that is the fulacht fiadh at
the World Archaeological Congress - 'Fringe' - at UCD.
Billy Quinn and Declan Moore - two archaeologists with Moore
Archaeological & Environmental Services (Moore Group) in Galway
- believe that an extensive brewing tradition existed in Ireland
as far back as 2500 BC. These ubiquitous monuments - which
are visible in the landscape as small, horseshoe-shaped grass-covered
mounds - have been conventionally thought of by archaeologists
as ancient cooking spots, saunas or industrial sites.
However, Quinn and Moore believe that they may have also
been used as breweries. According to Quinn - "the tradition
of brewing in Ireland has a long history. We think that the
fulacht may have been used as a kitchen sink - for
cooking, dying, many uses - but that a primary use was the
brewing of ale."
The two set out to investigate their theory in a journey
which took them across Europe in search of further evidence.
To prove their theory, Quinn and Moore set out to recreate
the process. They used an old wooden trough filled with water
and added heated stones. After achieving an optimum temperature
of 60-70°C, they began to add milled barley and, after approx
45 minutes, simply baled the final product into fermentation
They added natural wild flavourings (taking care to avoid
anything toxic or hallucinogenic) and then added yeast after
cooling the vessels in a bath of cold water for several hours.
According to Moore - "including the leftover liquid, we could
easily have produced up to 300 litres of this most basic ale".
Through their experiments, they discovered that the process
of brewing ale in a fulacht using hot rock technology
is a simple process. To produce the ale took only a few hours,
followed by a few-days wait to allow for fermentation.
For additional information on ancient Irish beer, contact
Declan or Billy or - Click
Here - alternatively, visit Moore Group's blog
To view a selection of photographs - Click
 Ireland is hosting the Sixth World
Archaeological Congress from 29th June to 4th July 2008, to
be held in Dublin - Click