MIXING it up Master Brewer Aine O’Hora. Photo: Ray Ryan


The Tuam mix in a Connemara brew

My nostrils were confused. I was expecting a pungent waft of beer, but all I could think of were morish Maltesers. Smelling a small brewery was not what I expected.

Expectations turned out to be different too for Tuam native Áine O’Hora. She thought her love of science in school would lead her to becoming a teacher. She never envisaged that on this, blue-skied day in Connemara we’d be chatting about her life and work as a Master Brewer.

Heading out the Barna road, passing through Spiddal and Inverin, can be quite the tourist trail towards Carraroe. It’s usually that or a drop-off or pick-up run through the Connemara landscape en route to Coláiste Ciarán.

However, the trip along the R336 for Áine is her work commute – but not from her hometown of Tuam but from Knocknacarra, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Carraroe is an unlikely spot to find a brewery – it’s not a place you’d initially associate with homegrown beers. However, a brewery has been in the village for several years and the facility has operated as Connemara Brewery for the past four years.

“I thought I’d just give a help out with the project but here we are, two kids and one brewery later,” giggles Aine.

Setting up a brewery is something the Tuam woman has done before and, in Carraroe, everyone involved in the business agreed that the aim would be to keep the process simple and have a high-quality product. The simple yet eye-catching black and white graphics used in the brand’s marketing ties in with this ethos.

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