NEW ROUTE?Joe Gilmore, MD of IWAK, holds a pint of Guinness sausage while wishing Seán Kelly from Kelly's Butchers in Newport; Gina Lashford of Lashfords in Birmingham and Paul Willoughby of Flybe, a safe trip to the English midlands.
Sausages soar with new Birmingham to Knock route
Our reporter Ciara Galvin recently travelled on Flybe’s new route with some famous local produce
IT is tradition that on every St Patrick’s Day, An Taoiseach presents the US President with a bowl of shamrock. A diplomatic gesture of goodwill that has lasted for decades.
To celebrate regional UK airline Flybe’s new route from Birmingham to Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK), launched last month, a diplomatic exchange of sausages marked the new route.
Two sausage dynasties as it were: Kelly’s of Newport and Lashford’s of Birmingham; exchanged produce on the runway of IWAK before flying back to Birmingham for British Sausage Week recently.
Kelly’s of Newport was established in 1930 by the late Dominick Kelly and the business is steeped in family tradition to this day, with Seán and his brother Seamús carrying on the torch of high quality produce. A third generation has since come to the fold with Seán’s sons Kenneth and Cormac taking on positions in the business.
One the other side of the Irish Sea, AW Lashford and Sons was established in 1889 in the Kings Heath area of Birmingham. Today the company have over 100 types of sausages with six in main production.
Along with launching the new Birmingham route, Ireland West Airport Knock had more cause for celebration as it had its busiest month since it opened 28 years ago. Over 62, 000 passengers passed through the airport in the month of October.
While awaiting the arrival of the flight from Birmingham to Knock, carrying Paul Willoughby of Flybe and Gina Lashford of Lashford’s, Seán Kelly donned his butcher’s garb and gathered his award-winning produce. On the menu later that day was a myriad of specialist Kelly’s sausages and the award winning white and black pudding, which was even fashioned into a pint of Guinness for the occasion.
Speaking about the new routes Niall Duffy, Flybe’s Director of PR and Communications, commented: “We thought a sausage swap which showcases the culinary excellence of both destinations was a particularly fantastic way to mark the start of our new Birmingham to Knock service that is already proving popular with both business and leisure travellers to the West of Ireland.”
Ireland West Airport Knock’s MD Joe Gilmore added: “We wish Flybe every success with the new route and look forward to working with the Flybe team in the coming months in promoting the new service in both the UK and Ireland.”
Commenting on IWAK’s success, Mr Gilmore said: “We are delighted to have experienced our busiest ever October in the airport’s 28 year history and its hugely positive to see such strong growth in passenger numbers, particularly on our UK services, in a month which saw Flybe commence a new Birmingham service, their third new route from the airport.”
Proof is in the pudding
After the group’s arrival in Birmingham, both award-winning butchers and their meaty morsels headed to the ‘Old Joint Stock’ pub in Birmingham city centre where they met with celebrity chef and British Sausage Week’s celebrity ambassador, Simon Rimmer, who was there to judge the British Banger Award for the West Midlands region.
Brought to Jury’s Inn on Broad Street, Seán delivered his quality sausages to the talented chefs to put their own mark on his labour of love.
The delectable menu of Kelly’s finest included black pudding fritters with tomato jam, a crostini of garlic sausages with a pea and cream cheese puree with wild mushroom and pancetta, followed by butternut squash gnocchi with white pudding.
So impressed was Seán Kelly with the chefs’ exploits, he vowed to bring the recipes back to Kelly’s Kitchen, the restaurant that his daughter Shauna runs in Newport.
Known as ‘the city of a thousand trades’, Birmingham is steeped in history for its prominence in the Industrial Revolution. The development of the industrial steam engine by James Watt and Matthew Boulton and the emergence of skilled workshops gave the city this claim.
Walking aimlessly through the many ornate squares and quaint alleyways won’t do the city justice. A walking tour of the city is truly worthwhile. However, if it is a leisurely walk or shopping you’re after then a visit to the shopping district of the famous ‘Bullring’ should figure highly on the agenda for any fashionistas.
After a walking tour of the city, a visit to hip wine merchant, shop and bar ‘Loki’ proved that being at the forefront of ingenuity is not dead in the city. Loki’s director and wine expert Phil explained it is one of the only places outside of London to offer customers the experience of trying up to 24 wines by the glass at any one time.
The modern approach allows customers to put credit on a Loki Wine Tasting Card and taste a selection of fine, boutique and award-winning wines from their wine preservation machines. When you’ve found exactly what you’re looking for, you can either buy to enjoy at home or drink in their upstairs wine bar.
For the foodies out there the city offers a continental selection of boutique eateries along the city’s many canals, traditional British pubs and any amount of established balti houses which the city is also famous for.
A visit to The Queens Arms Bar for lunch gave Seán the opportunity to taste a trio of Lashford’s sausages along with sampling one of the bar’s craft ales. Established in the 1820s, the bar is located in the Jewellery Quarter of the city.
If it is history, food, fine wine, or shopping that appeals to you, Birmingham has it all. And with Flybe’s new route operating on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, a city break for even the busiest butcher, businessman or baker can be catered for.
And for Ireland West Airport Knock, the only way is up. More new services are promised next year combined with an additional 60,000 new seats on existing London services. This will see the airport breakthrough the 700,000 passenger mark in 2014 – another milestone for the airport.