Master Cooper Ger Buckley learned his trade directly from his father. His family have been making barrels for over 200 years and Ger himself is a 5th generation Master Cooper at Midleton Distillery here in East Cork. Ger Buckley is keeping this ancient craft alive and passing on the skills to the next generation.
We recently welcomed Ger Buckley, Master Cooper Midleton Distillery to Ballymaloe Cookery School for a talk & demo on the ancient craft of Cooperage, for the students of the 12week cookery course and Slow Food East Cork. Ger spoke about the origin of the craft dating back to Roman times and brought along a selection of the ancient tools still used to this very day. A fascinating line-up of cooperage tools – and not the usual line up of utensils normally seen on the cookery demo counter at the Ballymaloe Cookery School!
Ger also brought along a barrel which he dismantled and asked for volunteer from the class to show them how to re-assemble it – so one of the 12-week students had a hands-on step by step ‘how to make a barrel’ from a Master Cooper. Ger Buckley explained that it was always one of the most highly regarded trades and crafts, but that the tradition of apprentices having a little of the char from the inside of the barrel on the face of the apprentice for their first barrel was continued to the surprise of the volunteer cookery student! All taken in good spirits. And we enjoyed a taste of ‘Cooper’s Croze’ Irish Whiskey, created and named in honour of Ger. Our thanks to Ger Buckley Master Cooper for a fascinating talk and demo which was really enjoyed and appreciated by all.