Peter Continues with his account of how Mullingar Pewter evolved:
‘Welcome back! I will continue from where I left you, at the grain store where we were settling in nicely, we were pleased with our achievements. The next item we wanted to make was a tankard that told the story of how Mullingar got its name. Every town or small settlement in Ireland had a monastic settlement close by or in the center of towns and villages in Ireland. The monastic settlement was often there before the town or village, in Ireland, as it was from these monastic settlements and holy places that the towns and villages came to being. Mullingar was no different and we at Mullingar Pewter wanted to make a tankard to celebrate this fact.
Saint Colman, the holy man
St.Colman was a local holy man and the story goes that his father was asked by the King for a large supply of Barley so a feast could be arranged in the Kings honor. Colman takes his fathers barley to the Mill to have it ground, but he is told that the King was having his wheat ground at that time and he would need to wait. Colman decided to mix his barley with the Kings wheat and he turns the mill wheel backwards. The King gets the milled barley and in turn Colman gets the Kings wheat. As far as Colman was concerned he had satisfied the Kings request and he had supplied the King with ground barley and he in turn got the ground wheat. The town became known as "an Muileann Cearr" ( the backward mill) and translated by the English as Mullingar. This is a story taken from "The Life of St. Colman of Lynn" form the town library of Rennes in Brittany in France. To this day the remains of Colmans settlement are in the Lynn area of Mullingar as a monastic ruin. We continue to sell this pewter tankard to a limited amount of interested people. It is a belly shaped tankard with the story told in picture and word form and we have also included some of the Celtic symbols from the Bealin cross to add to its character. In total our Bealin range has a selection of pewter tankards, pewter beakers, pewter goblets, pewter sherry set, pewter shot measures and a pewter Quaich (from the Gaelic word “cuach” meaning “shallow cup”). All of these make great gifts for any new home, Birthday, house warming, men's gifts, wedding gifts and office gifts.
Once we were able to produce our first pewter items we began to see where our sales would be focused and how we should go about selling our items. As our pewter mix was the same as the pewter mix I worked with in Germany 95% tin,3% antimony and 2% copper. It was most appropriate for us to use the same. This mix is ideal for the type of items we were making. In fact we still use this mix today.
From Saints to native wildlife
We began our next collection, it was to be a range of animal themed drinking goblets, tankards and beakers. The animals we decided to use were Irelands native wildlife. The red fox, Irish hare, red deer and fallow deer and pheasant. Each Goblet was decorated with animals all around the body of the goblet, tankard or beaker in a continuous picture. We tried to include every detail possible in the mold so the animals were as life like as possible. This range was very popular as beer drinking tankards, wine goblets and water beakers. Every item has its place and certain items are very suitable to certain drinks and can complement the taste of the drink. The feel of the vessel in the hand also adds to the evening's enjoyment, quality pewter has a feeling second to none. There is nothing like having a cool beer on a warm evening from your favorite pewter beer tankard.
This animal range proved to be one of our most favorite and so the sales grew to the point where the molds were no longer good to cast. We retired the range in 1987, or so if memory serves me right, but at a much later stage we will see them re-emerge in a different guise.
And with that natural break, I will take my leave and continue our story another time. Please enjoy the blogs and we will continue this story over time. Regards, Peter!