Food and Drink Exhibit


Image credit: Ian Maginess
Standing from left:  Stephen Bill for Tourism NI, Rachel Toner, Carol Conlin, Councillor Gareth Keating. Seated:  Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Brendan Curran, the Keeper

Armagh Public Library has launched its next temporary exhibition to mark 2016 as the ‘Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink’, a celebration of local food and drink, promoted by Tourism NI.

The history of food and drink is an important element of cultural inheritance. It shows the place of food and drink in the society, economy and environment of a country, and in the lives of its people.

Library staff member, Rachel Toner, who worked on the exhibition said, “This exhibition highlights what the Library holds on eighteenth century food and drink in Ireland, from production to consumption.  The texts also provide us with an insight into the diet of local people during that period.”

The works of eight authors make up the exhibition, including Jonathan Swift’s humorous essay, ‘Directions to Servants in General, and in Particular to the Butler, Cook, Footman, Coachman, Groom’. Swift satirises the rules and regulations of eighteenth century English society by giving absurd advice to the many servants who would be employed in a large household.  Examples include, “When you roast a long joint of meat, be careful only about the middle, and leave the two extreme parts raw, which will serve another time […]”, and “If a lump of soot falls into the soup, and you cannot conveniently get it out, stir it well in, and it will give the soup a high French taste.”

The Keeper of Armagh Public Library, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan said, “As human necessities, food and drink are fundamental and revealing aspects of any society’s culture.  The books displayed in this exhibition show both science and scorn, the views of foreigner and native-born, the desire to spread ‘improvement’ and affection for tradition.  The exhibition will remain on display until the middle of August.  We look forward to welcoming many visitors to see it.”

Stephen Bill, Regional Manager for Tourism NI, commented, “Tourism NI is delighted to support Armagh Public Library in launching its temporary exhibition to mark 2016 as the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink.

We believe that in partnership with our stakeholders we can really enhance our reputation as a food destination.  Collaboration and partnership, authenticity and genuine passion, are driving the Year of Food and Drink activity and we congratulate Armagh Public Library in showcasing a vital cultural element of our social history.  The exhibition places food and drink firmly at the heart of our visitor’s tourism experience and enables the destination to tell their respective food and drink stories, enhance their reputation and celebrate continuing success.”