By Caitlyn McGuire
CORK, Ireland – In the progressive city of Cork, one sweet manufacturer remains. Shandon Sweets represents a fading family-run hard candy business tradition for the the town of Cork. Tucked underneath Shandon Steeple lies the small shop. Owned by Dan Linehan and his son, Tony, the 3rd and 4th generations of their family to make sweets by hand, this small shop is a regular stop for a range of customers. From shopkeepers and wholesalers, to school kids and tourists, Shandon Sweets presents a variety of candies to all.
The sweets are quite simple. Sugar, water and tasty syrups are boiled together creating a delightful mixture which is then folded and refolded on a warm table. The concoction goes on to a hand cranked brass shaper, forming them into the final candies which are then are left to harden.
While this may sound easy enough, the results are candies in a wide variety of shapes, flavors, colors and textures. The sweet aroma of sugar is prominent throughout the shop, and you are engulfed with a child-like sensation as memories of sugar-rushes and pure giddiness come to life. The flavors range from clover rock candy to butter nuggets and everything in between.
The flavors aren’t the only appeal to the sugar coma-inducing treats (which you can’t help but gorge yourself on – hence the sugar coma). The shop feels wholesome. There are no artful marketing displays to entice you, the candy itself does the work. While Dan and Tony own the family business, the rest of the Linehan’s lend a hand from time to time – hand cranking the shapers to mold the candy into pleasing shapes and preserving the original recipes, and keeping tradition alive.