Archive of 2022

  • Big Bertha - the world's oldest cow

    published by Justin Green in News

    Big Bertha | Illustration by Fiona Mansfield

    Bertha, or ‘Big Bertha’ as she was known, was a legendary Droimeann cow from Sneem in Co. Kerry. She was reared locally, and was bought as a calf by a farmer called Jerome O’Leary.

    When she died on New Year’s Eve 1993, just 3 months shy of her 49th birthday, she had become something of a local celebrity. Over the course of her long life she had given birth to 39 calves, and this achievement, together with her tremendous age, had earned her an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. This fame was harnessed productively by Mr. O’Leary; Bertha became a regular at local fairs, and lead the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Sneem where she was engaged in raising money for local cancer relief charities.

    BERTHA’S WAKE The reason that we know so much about Bertha is that a mutual friend of ours, writer and historian Turtle Bunbury, stumbled upon her wake which was held in the Blackwater Tavern between Sneem and Kenmare on the the night of the 31st December 1993. We have always loved the story which he later had published in the Guardian newspaper.

    When we were thinking of a name for our gin we wanted to find something that was eye-catching, distinctive and that dove-tailed with the pedigree of what are working with and what we have set out to achieve. The dairy farming heritage of Ballyvolane, our use of whey alcohol in the gin, and our shared love of the gorgeous and gentle characters that can be found only in Ireland led us back to Bertha. To immortalise her memory, we have brought her back in spirit, literally!!

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