Saturday 21 May
Nine members of the Irish-Austrian Society went on a culture and wine tour to Burgenland and South Styria from the 17th - 22nd April. The tour was organised by Ulrike Schoeller and we all met up at Dublin Airport for our Aer Lingus flight to Vienna on Sunday morning 17th April. From Vienna we travelled by coach to the village of Podersdorf in Burgenland - a journey of about an hour. Our Hotel Seewirt had lovely views over the lake (Neusiedlersee) - and we had an excellent dinner in a dining room of our own during which we sampled some local wines.
Next morning was overcast and dull and we had rain on our journey by coach to the town of Eisenstadt where we were met by our excellent guide, Waltraud Kumer. She was steeped in the history of the town, where the composer Haydn was in residence for so long, and gave us a very interesting tour including the wonderful Castle Esterhazy. The rain soon cleared and after lunch we headed for Frauenkirchen and the Umathum vineyard. The owner gave us a very interesting talk on the soil of the region and took us out to his vineyard. On our return to Podersdorf we stopped to see the basilica in Frauenkirchen.
On Tuesday we travelled to Riegersburg and visited the huge Goelles distillery - famous for its vinegars and Schnapps. I brought home a delicious rose wine vinegar. Not far away we stopped at a chocolate shop - selling beautifully wrapped homemade chocolates. Ideal presents!
After lunch we travelled through South Styria in lovely warm spring weather: acres of vineyards and peach, pear, apple and cherry orchards covered in blossom. We were really seeing the countryside at its best. We arrived at the village of Leutschach where we were to stay at the excellent Hotel Langgasthof Tscheppe for the next three days and enjoy its excellent cuisine and wine.
On Wednesday we set off for Graz on a glorious sunny morning. We were met by our guide Martin Haller who told us he had lived for a number of years in Kilfenora, County Clare breeding Connemara ponies ! He also spoke English with a Clare accent! Graz is a 900 year old imperial city dominated by the Schlossberg on the hill with its famous clock tower and wonderful views over the city. To get there our guide took us through the tunnel built during World War 2 to serve as an air raid shelter - and then to the glass lift which brought us to the top. We were glad to sit up there and have cool drinks in the sunshine. Afterwards Martin took us to the beautiful baroque basilica in Stainz and told us of the influence and patronage of Archduke Johann - the "Styrian Prince" whose statue stands in the main square in Graz. He also mentioned that the great Austrian conductor, Nikolaus Harnoncourt (recently deceased) was a direct descendent of Archduke Johann and had given a special concert in the basilica. And we saw a small exhibition of photographs of Harnoncourt and his family at the back of the church. Then we returned to our hotel in Leutschach after a very fulfilled day.
On Thursday morning we were taken on a walking tour of Leutschach by the town mayor and former school teacher, Karl Neubauer. Karl knew everyone in the village and we were constantly greeted by locals as we walked along ! He took us to sample some beer at a local small brewery and also pointed out a large house opposite our hotel which once belonged to a branch of the Trapp family. Karl came with us when we later visited the winemaker Skoff and all had lunch at his restaurant near the Slovenian border.
Friday was our last day and on our way to Vienna airport in the morning we visited a small family-owned pumpkin oil factory near Leutschach, Styria is famous for its delicious pumpkin oil which I find makes great salad dressings.
Thank you, Ulli for a truly Austrian experience. I know I speak for everyone on the trip when I say we appreciate all your dedication and hard work.
(Click on image above for full album)
The Winners of the 2016 German Language Essay Competition were announced today at a ceremony hosted by the Austrian Ambassador Dr. Thomas Nader in Dublin. At the ceremony, the Dr. Nader thanked the Irish Austrian Society for organizing the competition and the schools, teachers and pupils for their participation. He also expressed his thanks to the Austrian Lecturers in Ireland for reviewing and assessing all essays. The President of the Irish Austrian Society, Guy Johnston, also thanked all participants and teachers for their participation and comittment to the german language, which they will find valuable in years to come.
Andrew Roche, St Mary's Knockbeg College, Carlow
Winner of the St. Fergal Trophy
Teacher: Ms Louise Dillon-Reeves
Jessica Byrne, St. Leo's College, Carlow
Teacher: Ms Ann Tully
Aoife Madden, St. Joseph's Secondary School Castlebar, Mayo
Winner of Paul Dubsky's Environment Trophy
Teacher: Ms Caroline Loftus
Alice O'Donnell, Midleton College, Cork
Teacher: Ms Melanie Henry
Weiran Bian, Midleton College, Cork
Winner of Dr. Otto Glaser Trophy
Teacher: Ms Melanie Henry
Mikolaj Glegolski, CBS High School Clonmel, Tipperary
Teacher: Ms Martina O'Reilly
Winner of Catriona Dowling Memorial Trophy for Best Teacher:
Ms Marion Cronin, Presentation Secondary School Tralee, Kerry
The Irish Austrian Society congratulates all participants and winners and thanks all schools for their participation in this year's competition.
On a cold and sunny day at Glasnevin Cemetery last Saturday 9 April , we had a tour of the cemetery linked in with a fascinating lecture on Irish History and some of it's iconic figures such as Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Collins, Constance Markievicz and some rather more contemporary ones like Éamon de Valera, James Larkin and Seán MacBride. Proceedings were brought to a fitting conclusion at the Gravediggers Pub.
Click on picture above for photo gallery.
On Wednesday, 9 March, we had our first ever Whiskey Tasting, with a line up premium Irish Whiskies. It was a relaxed gathering of members, new members and friends who all enjoyed the tasting of the various whiskies as well as some entertaining facts about the making and the history of Irish Whiskey. The tasting was hosted by our member and Whiskey expert Reinhard Schoeller.
On 11 February, the annual general meeting took place at St John's House in Dublin. Hon Secretary Peta Taffe read the minutes of the previous AGM from the 2015, which were adopted. Hon Treasurer Ulrike Schoeller presented the accounts and financial statement. President Guy Johnston then gave on overview of the past year and the events held. The current committee was re-elected.
On Tuesday 9th of February we enjoyed an exclusive evening with Wilhelm Klinger. Wilhelm Klinger is head of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board and was in Ireland on a mission to promote Austrian Wines. We were graciously invited to the residence of the Austrian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Thomas Nader and his wife Ingrid.
Wilhelm Klinger gave an insightful lecture about Austrian Wines, the wine marketing board and his role in the board. We had then the unique opportunity to taste some of the Austrian wines we talked about before, guided himself.
It was a very lively evening of wine, culture and music – the definite highlight of the evening was Wilhelm Klinger performing two songs by Gerhard Bronner.
For more about Austrian Wine and the Austrian Wine marketing board please visit www.austrianwine.com
Dear Principals, Teachers and Students
The 2016 German Language Essay competition is now open. Invitation letters/Emails have been sent out to all Schools. For full competition details please go to page Essay Competition 2016. Good Luck to all participants.
Also check out photos of the 2015 award ceremony.
Our annual Christmas gala dinner once again took place at the magnificent Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, which year after year is an excellent venue for our final event of the year. 80 members and guests came together to enjoy this convivial celebration. Prizes for the raffle and auction were sponsored by Topflight, The Imperial Hotel Vienna, Restaurant Matt The Tresher, The Marker Hotel Dublin and The National Concert Hall.
For pictures from the evening, please click the photo above.