Wexford, 19th August 2019: Irish Distillers, Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines and producer of some of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys, today donated the records from the Power family’s Oylegate estate to Wexford County Archive. The renowned Power family – of whiskey fame – chose to settle in Oylegate in 1838, building their family seat at Edermine House. Passionate about Irish agriculture and dedicated to improving the lives of those who worked the land, they invested heavily in the community by building model houses in the village that are still inhabited to this day. The family also sponsored educational trips to the RDS Winter Fair in 1896 so that people from the locality could learn the latest innovations in farming and apply them to their own holdings.
During these early years, the Power family provided much-needed employment at their John’s Lane Distillery in Dublin to generations of fishermen working the River Slaney, easing harsh winters for them and their families. Many Wexford men employed by the Power family at that time went on to marry women from the Liberties area of Dublin, settling to raise families and adding a distinctive accent to the Dublin borough.
In 1966 the historic distillery of John Power & Son amalgamated with two others; John Jameson & Son and the Cork Distilleries Company, to form Irish Distillers which now operates as the world-famous Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork. The Edermine Estate papers, comprised of rentals and land sales correspondence, were found among the records of whiskey production at John’s Lane during the cataloguing of the Irish Distillers archives, now preserved at Midleton Distillery.
Archivist at Irish Distillers, Carol Quinn, explained:
“We realised that these records weren’t telling the story of our whiskey but instead told a unique story about the lives of families, living and working in Wexford, for whom other records may not have survived. We felt strongly that they should be publicly accessible and open to family history researchers which led us to reach out to Wexford County Archivist, Grainne Doran, and offer the transfer of these archives into the Wexford County Council’s care. While the Power family no longer lives in Oylegate, we hope that by making this gift the family’s memory, and the memory of the deep affection they had for this area, is preserved”.
Speaking about the transfer of the papers, Archivist at Wexford County Archive, Gráinne Doran, added:
“We are delighted that the Power’s family records are coming home to Wexford. The papers include valuable information that details the history of the Power family’s contribution to life in the county. We have no doubt this material will be a primary source for historians, local and family researchers, and students from primary to the third level, for generations to come.”